The last time we went down (south) the Red Sea was in March, we were in the Gulf by late March and in the eastern Indian Ocean by mid-April. We returned in September - both times the Gulf of Aden was a mill pond - as we have found on most previous trips. The same applied as far as Massawa (Eritrea). We normally fill up with diesel
in Aden ready for a lot of motoring if going north (we carry extra fuel
bladders just for the Red Sea). We have also found the Saudi's, despite reports to the contrary to be very friendly and helpful if you should need assistance. Also, the Red Sea pilot has many errors in it - we have reported these to the publishers but to no avail. Some of the marsa's in Sudan which are reported to be available for anchorages
are totally inaccessible if your vessel draws more than a 1000mm (we always double check from the dinghy
and now have good marked up charts) and one port of entry in Egypt
has been closed to non-Egyptian Naval vessels for over 10 years!! We have found the Yemeni officials very helpful and the Omani's also very reasonable. Oman does have long stretches without any anchorages
and pirates have been reported as close as 150NM from Muscat. We have, thankfully, not had any issues but have met others whom have had. We also maintain silence on our SSB
and only use the VHF
when we need to. There is still plentiful commercial
traffic and you'll see plenty of naval vessels. If sailing in company identify a number of waypoints on your charts
and when you communicate with your sister vessel you can identify your position in relationship to these, any one else listening shall be none the wiser except your sister yacht. We did this once only and agreed only to transmit if there were any issues - there were none.
We have also been subject to the US Navy
being rather bossy in this area and demanding we move out of their way - we had to remind them of the Coll Regs and the rules for overtaking. In the dark they played games with us passing a little too close for comfort. It would have taken a brave pirate to come close under those conditions. If passing along the Yemeni / Omani coast watch closely for inshore fishing
nets and unlit small craft at night. These we have seen as far as 15NM off-shore.