Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Passage Blurbs: Salalah, Oman to Aden, Yemen

Aden, Oman: 25 feet Mud in Busy Port

Trip Summary - 617 nM, 122 hours, Ave 5 knots
Nautical Miles to Date - 25,502

Aden Yemen Yacht Anchorage

Night 5 - Feb 25, 2008

549 nM down - 63 nM to go Almost there, Nice Sailing, Lots of BIG Ships coming through the convoy

It was good sailing during the day. The wind picked up as the day carried on, and by night the seas had a pretty good swell going. The wind was directly behind us, so we had to run wing-on-wing. The difficult thing was that we were trying to keep our speed up in order to not cause everyone an extra night out, so we had our full main up, which meant we could absolutely not afford to accidentally jibe. Simon (the auto pilot) was having trouble steering down the big seas without going off course, so we had to continuously adjust and monitor things, practically hand steering, to ensure we did not jibe.

Sunset Last Night

Night 4 - Feb 24, 2008

427 nM down - 185 nM to go Passed through Pirate Alley with no problems, motor sailing to keep speed up

We hit the "pirate alley" around sunset and decided to run with anchor lights. Originally we had planned on no lights, but it was too difficult with the close proximity of the boats. All our anchor lights were pretty dim, so we figured it was good enough.

We got through the area without a single worry. We were almost to Aden and ready to be done with the convoy.

Night 3 - Feb 23, 2008

312 nM down - 300 nM to go Much Nicer day, sailing + motoring, Dust Clearing

Things were much, much better. The wind would occasionally pick up, but nothing like the day before. A brown haze still hung in the area -- we couldn't even spot a huge tanker that was barely 4 miles away! And dust still filled ever nook and cranny both on boat and person. I had trouble relaxing as every time a little burst of wind would come through I'd find myself bracing, waiting for the storm that was sure to follow...

Convoy sailing (photo by Stardust)

Night 2 - Feb 22, 2008

192 nM down - 420 nM to go 30-35 knots breaking Seas, a very Wet day. Still have reduced visibility due to desert winds

With the rising sun came a horrendous sand & wind storm. I can honestly say that these were the worst seas poor Billabong (and crew) have ever been through. They were big, steep, and extremely close together. A lot of them literally broke across Billabong. There was so much sand in the area that within minutes everything was turning dingy brown, and visibility was so low we couldn't make out any of the other boats...

Night 1 - Feb 21, 2008

62 nM down - 550 nM to go Crappy first day left in a Sand Storm very little visibility and lots of wind

The morning of our departure was a bit of a debacle. First the wind picked up enough to cause a few boats to drag and they had to re-anchor.   Then one of the tug boats came through asking about 10 of us to move as a ship was coming in that needed to dock behind us. In Oman you have to check out within a couple of hours of your departure, no 24 hour leeway, therefore we hadn't yet cleared out which meant we didn't have the option of just leaving, we had to re-anchor - not the easiest task with the higher winds, too-small of anchorage, and poor holding ground. We managed, and Chris was finally able to go ashore to check-out while I kept an eye on Billabong...

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