Originally Posted by mausgras
Its my impression that pirates on the Suez route
are more interested in a $50 million tanker of oil
than a private yacht where they would be lucky to get a $50 000 ransom and unlucky enough to bring down half the European navies. When was the last yottie hijacked?
To the best of my knowledge three years ago when special forces were involved in the release of the couple involved. However, this is an unconfirmed story circulating amongst several yachts that we spoke to in Eritrea. We also follow this website for reports. I also think that events
on land can unduly influence peoples attitudes. We have cruised pretty extensively in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean
and have found the locals in places like Yemen to be very friendly and welcoming - but so saying I would not go there right now despite having a couple of friends (European medical
professionals) in Aden. It only takes one fruit cake with ambitions to please his ISIS masters to ruin my day although UAE military forces are apparently controlling Aden harbour area presently. One of the reasons to stop anywhere is to experience the local culture and to enjoy contact with the locals but Yemen is not the place to do that just at the moment. However, bypass the countries flanking the Gulf of Aden and the balance of the journey can be worthwhile. Oman is a great country with super hospitable people ( + cheap fuel
and excellent food
from supermarkets like Carrefour and LuLu, plus a wonderful selection of fruit & veg in the local markets) and is also the last country to seriously re-provision if coming from the east. Salalah is the western most Omani port where you can do this. Oman is also very easy to get repairs
undertaken and importing parts
is no issue without any duties being levied and also no backhanders. Madagascar
has very limited long term food stuffs (fresh fruit and veg are no issue) and the same applies to Mozambique. Forget about even attempting to bring in goods from outside the country unless you are prepared to hand over various taxes
that no receipt shall be given for. Reasonable supplies can be obtained in Mombasa from Nakumat and similarly in Dar es Salaam.
Dar also has a very good yacht club and free moorings that have a security
patrol - free for up to a month depending on your reciprocal membership
of a yacht club, otherwise its free for one week. There is also free anchoring
close by. Places like Comoro Island; Mayotte are also lovely altho' food is expensive (avoid Grand Comoro, Moroni, as they frequently impose substantial levies). Mauritius is also very pleasant but also not the easiest to provision in, whilst Chagos
is simply stunning for beauty but 0/10 for food/fuel etc and is now restricted for cruising permits. Madagascar
is a must stop as are places like Juan de Nova and Bassa da India
also has many marina's offering free moorings for international boats for up to a month at a time depending on where you are. Durban, typically, has an international jetty where you tie up and step ashore in the centre of the city for a month, free of charge. However, beware the crime - we prefer to anchor
a couple of hundred meters out for security and we always padlock our dinghy
, and do not walk anywhere after dark and never carry fanny packs as they are a likely target. However, after a long period crossing the Indian Ocean
the supermarkets are fantastic and everything is available in the chandleries, plus the usual sail lofts, engine
suppliers etc are all there. The haul out
facilities are also good value. It is a pleasure to stock up and get maintenance
done in SA but just be cautious with safety
. It is also a good opportunity to visit some of the incredible game
parks or even to travel north to Zimbabwe (got to give the home country a plug!) and the cheap game
parks there and of course the Victoria Falls.
In South Africa
places like the stunning Knysna lagoon
, which has an interesting entrance is a stop worth making if the weather
allows - along with several other places. South Africa
does have some significant benefits.
So saying, the Red Sea has so many attractions as well including the amazing diving
along the unspoilt coast of Sudan. As I said in the earlier posting
, a stop on the western coast of Saudi is also possible if you should find you need to undertake repairs
. We usually do need repairs and then also find the local customs/immigration officers are very accomodating with reprovisioning and topping up the fuel. Transiting the canal is also not a particularly hard experience.
I would guess that the choice of route at this time is no different in reality to what it was a number of years ago - dependent upon your time frame.
If you want to get to the Caribbean
/ east coast
US as quickly as possible then the trip around SA is a good choice. If the Med beckons, especially with its history
then the Red Sea is certainly do-able. A stop in Aqaba (Jordan) allows for a visit to Petra and to Wadi Rum
- places that have such incredible history
. It is also easy enough to anchor
on the Egyptian side of the Sinai and jump on the ferry
to Aqaba (a short trip) - but pay a boat boy to secure your boat against pilfering or buddy boat with someone else and stagger your trips.
If anyone wants/needs I have plenty of information on both routes.