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Old 24-08-2009, 20:33   #1
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Thoughts on Crossing the Southern Indian Ocean

Does anyone out there have experience with crossing the Indian Ocean from Australia to South Africa? With the pirate problems in Somalia, we're considering changing our route to use the Cape of Good Hope instead (transiting next year). My concern is the large, confused seas, especially near the south tip of Madagascar. Am I worried about nothing? What about a route that passes from the Seychelles to South Africa along the east coast of Africa or west coast of Madagascar? Our boat is a 1990 Privilege 39 catamaran. Thanks.

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Old 24-08-2009, 22:10   #2
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Check out Jimmy Cornell's Noonsite: The global site for cruising sailors . He offers good advice on transiting virtually anywhere in the world.
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Old 25-08-2009, 00:32   #3
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Us too!

Hi Dallas,
We are thinking about heading the same way next year as well. Thailand - Sri Lanka - Maldives - Seychelles - Kenya and down the coast of Africa. We haven't checked out all the nitty-gritty yet, still on the big-scale thinking, but plan to get the Imray East Africa Pilot in the next couple of months and see if we REALLY want to do it.

Keep in touch and we can share any info.
Cheers,
Jill
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Old 25-08-2009, 03:47   #4
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Whilst recognising the thrust behind your request, the Pirates from Somalia have been known to work all the way across to the Seychelles.
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Old 25-08-2009, 04:24   #5
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Check out Southern Indian Ocean Passage Guide by Tony Herrick. This should give you some info on the route to Cape of Good Hope
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Old 25-08-2009, 04:39   #6
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As the Seychelles are within the area pirates have taken sailing yachts and ships I wonder the advantage? You would have to keep well south, just north of Madagascar.

South of Madagascar would be a little more rough, wouldn’t it? But one would think it the way to go.

Too far south puts one boat against the wind about the Cape of Storms.

It’s a conundrum.

Safety of the ship and those on board and we have to toss up weather or security.

What is your intended next major cruising area?
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Old 25-08-2009, 11:56   #7
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Hi,

We have sailed Darwin to RSA, South of Madagascar. 26 footer. No problems.

We sailed late (September-November), for two reason's: we had to time it with our earlier sail from New Caledonia to Australia earlier the same season, and 2) the peak winds are mid-ocean from July to August - and sailing a smallish boat we tried not to be there then.

Indeed, even so late in the season we lost the trades S of Madagascar but nonetheless sailed on without any problem to South Africa. The landfall (ours was Richard's Bay) is where you have to read the weather well - to avoid being caught in the middle of the infamous Aghullas current while a SW system approaches - not the combination you will like - no matter what size the boat.

The other route - via the Mozambique Channel - we cannot recommend - it can be upwind on your landfall. But it can be done OK if you want to visit places thereabout.

We did not use Cornell's book which we found inadequate earlier, we used the Ocean Passages of the World and the Herrick's book. We found both very useful.

We used RSA weatherfax to time our crossing of the current.

Some cruisers stopped at Chagos but now I hear one needs a permit to be obtained in advance.

Some other cruisers stopped at the Cargados Carajos and other shallows in the area and loved it there.

Otherwise the Chrismas, the Keeling (only allowed to stop in the Southern), Mauritius, Reunion, and a couple of minor specks - all very lovely, great nature, nice people, zero red tape.

b.
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Old 27-08-2009, 01:45   #8
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We did it many years ago as far south as Mayotte. Then sailed up to Kenya. (Somalia hadn't discovered piracy yet). Actually they were pretty much in the midst of civil war and that allowed me to pick up work there for a couple of years. But we went from Thailand, to Sri Lanka, then Chagos, then Mayotte over the top of Madagascar. From Mayotte we turned right rather than left as we could find work in Somalia. But many of the boats in Mayotte went south to Richards Bay and they had pretty great trips. Now that Mozambique is more open I would highly recommend this route. The problem is that Chagos limits your stay quite a bit now (from my understanding) whereas before you sat there and waited for the winds to shift and spent a wonderful 3 months waiting.

Cheers

Mark
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Old 27-08-2009, 04:31   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by puravidasail View Post
Does anyone out there have experience with crossing the Indian Ocean from Australia to South Africa?
We have done it both ways (e to w and w to e) The trip from Australia to Durban is quite fast sailing and not difficult - wind behind the beam and current with you. There are several nice island on the way. I recommend staying just in deep water just south of the shallow shelf off Madagascar. You may well get a SW blow for a day or so between Reunion and Durban, but so long as you are in deep water the waves will be ok, just heave to or fore reach until it stops.

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Old 03-09-2009, 17:24   #10
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Funny, you should ask ........

......... as I and 73 goode ol' boy southern USA buddies are being dragged by a tug to Cape Town from Singapore on an oil rig. We are to pick up a second tug, thank the lord, in Mauritius. At the moment we are doing a blistering pace of 3- 5 kts. After Mauritius we head south of Madagascar, direct to Cape Town.

Just transitting into the Java Sea from the South China Sea, travelling past the Karimata Islands nature reserve off SW Kalimantan - home of the 'birds' nest soup' cave swallows. Not much of a reserve as the Indos are logging the place to death and planning resorts. The islands have one of the highest rates of cerebral malaria in Indonesia. Great place for a resort IMHO

Haven't seen any pirates, YET. They will probably just capture the tug and just drag our arse to Somalia or China.

I will let you know conditions in 10 days after we get into the Indian Ocean via the Sunda Strait. This hitch was supposed to take 4 weeks. At this rate, I won't get back to my boat for 8 weeks. The bastards at work ALWAYS lie about the length of the tow. My wife & Kaspa de Wonda Dawg will kill me.


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Old 03-09-2009, 18:58   #11
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Paul which rig are you on and where are you eventually heading.

Cheers

Mark Blasky
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Old 03-09-2009, 19:34   #12
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Rig "Ocean Courage"

Hi Mark
The rig is a new semisubmersible, originally built for Larsen in Singapore earlier this year but taken over by Diamond Offshore when Larsen went belly up. I am getting off at Cape Town and then she continues to Gulf of Mexico and maybe next year to Brazil.
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Old 03-09-2009, 20:02   #13
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Good to hear the rig is going to work. Have a good trip and enjoy a good wine in Cape Town.

Cheers

Mark
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Old 27-09-2009, 08:40   #14
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pirate Southern Indian Ocean conditions - today

Quote:
Originally Posted by puravidasail View Post
Does anyone out there have experience with crossing the Indian Ocean from Australia to South Africa? With the pirate problems in Somalia, we're considering changing our route to use the Cape of Good Hope instead (transiting next year). My concern is the large, confused seas, especially near the south tip of Madagascar. Am I worried about nothing? What about a route that passes from the Seychelles to South Africa along the east coast of Africa or west coast of Madagascar? Our boat is a 1990 Privilege 39 catamaran. Thanks.

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Hi Dallas
As promised earlier (24 days ago) here are present conditions about
450 nm NNE of Mauritius (S18o 04.6' E62o 55.9') Wind SSE 25 - 30 kts swell = 3-4m (+/- 1m) Fine. Seas are not confused. They definitely know where they are going although of course we are not south of Madigascar yet.

Over the last three weeks, we have had only two days when the wind was less than 20 kts and on those days it was about 10 kts. Wind always SSE to S. Wind usually sits on 20 - 25 kts during the day and reaches 30 kts most nights (ain't that always the way). Half the days have been fine & the remainder cloudy with rain squalls.
But HEY - wot do I care. The bridge is 130 ft above the waves. Makes running on the treadmill interesting though.
How's that for real time weather forecasting?

I will let you know about confused seas south of Madagascar in another week.
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Old 28-09-2009, 00:36   #15
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IF you decide to go via Cape of Good Hope route, here is a good pdf file about arriving in Durban.
http://www.cruisingconnections.co.za/DURBAN.pdf
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