I didn't plan to sail up the Red Sea.  It sort of happened by default.

My trip around the world in Exit Only took so long, I was hoping they would have a Trans-African Canal completed by the time I arrived in the Western Indian Ocean, but that turned out to be wishful thinking.  In the real world where I lived, I had only two choices.  I could head south into the deep southern ocean, visit Madagascar and South Africa, and sail round the Cape of Good Hope into the Atlantic Ocean, or I could sail up the dreaded Red Sea.

I knew that Exit Only could withstand the rigors of either trip if I was careful.  The southern route would be potentially dangerous because of the weather; sailing in the southern ocean during winter is never fun.  The waters of the Mozambique Channel with its treacherous Agulhas current is a graveyard for ships, and if you don't get it right, you take a mighty beating.  One of my friends flipped his monohull sailboat upside down in that area.  Fortunately, he and his boat survived with minimal damage.

The northern route suffers mainly from political perils.  The reefs and headwinds of the northern Red Sea are manageable challenges, and as long as there aren't any major foreign policy disasters working themselves out during the trip, you can make the Red Sea transit without too much difficulty.

I had to decide whether I wanted to see Red Sea sunsets or southern ocean sunrises.  All of our friends were sailing up the Red Sea, and so we decided to go with the flow.  It turned out to be a good decision, because we survived, and survival is always good.

Our Red Sea Adventure took us to Oman, Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan and Egypt, and in spite of the politics, we had a uniformly good trip.  I speak Arabic, and I'm sure that lubricated our passage through those supposedly perilous waters.  Wherever we went, people always treated us with respect.  We never felt threatened when on dry land; it was only at sea in the Gulf of Aden that we had any major concerns.  There's a hundred mile long danger zone where Somali and Yemeni Pirates prey upon passing ships and yachts.  We teamed up with another yacht, Balmacara, to make an uneventful radio silent passage through pirate alley.  Not all yachts were so lucky.  Gandolf and Mahdi had a gun battle with Yemeni pirates two days after we made our trip, and the pirates lost.  Several of the pirates went to paradise, or to wherever pirates go when they die.

We didn't plan to go into Yemen, because the US Navy ship, the Cole, was nearly sunk in Aden harbor.   As it turned out, we had no choice but to stop in Aden for refueling because diesel wouldn't be available again until we were half way up the Red Sea in Sudan.  There was a fuel shortage in Eritrea, and the government wouldn't allow yachts to purchase diesel at any price.

Aden turned out to be a nice surprise.  We had total freedom of movement in this former British protectorate.  More than once, people walked up to us on the street and spontaneously said, "Welcome to our country."  That had never happened to us before and hasn't happened since.  Fuel was cheap, food supplies were basic, but adequate, and the people were lovely.

We made only one significant blunder on our trip up the Red Sea.  We unknowingly walked through a minefield on Difnein Island in Eritrea.  Next time I make the trip, I'll read the cruising guide before I go ashore on remote islands, because that type of mistake can end in disaster.


I worked as an eye surgeon for sixteen years in Saudi Arabia at King Khalid Eye Specialist Hospital, and my patients came from all the lands bordering on the Red Sea.  The trip north gave me an opportunity to visit the homelands of the people on whom I performed surgery during all those years.  I now had the privilege of walking in their footsteps and seeing their towns and cities.  What I saw confirmed what I already knew.  The overwhelming majority of them are good people, and when you treat them with respect, they treat you the same way. 

We saw more than sixty sunsets as we sailed up the Red Sea.  Because of the dust in the air and paucity of clouds, an orange sunset frequently greeted us at the end of the day.  We saw the same type of sunsets when we camped in Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula. 

Sailing up the Red Sea isn't for everyone, but it worked for us.  If it wasn't so far away, I would happily do it again without fear in my heart.  In spite of the negative media coverage of this region of the world, it's a great place to cruise.  If you like pristine diving, wonderful people, and orange sunsets, the Red Sea is the place to be.

Even in the Red Sea, life is good.

Log 1 Peter Pan Around the World
Log 2 Weapons of Mackerel Destruction
Log 3 Pirates of the Malacca Straits
Log 4 Kissing Cobras
Log 5 Debriosaurus Rex
Log 6 Go Ahead - Live Your Dreams

Log 7 The Man Who Built His House on a Rock
Log 8 Ambivalent Eagles
Log 9 One-Shovel Full at a Time
Log 10 Hitchhiker's Guide to Planet Earth

Log 11 Keeshond

Log 12 The Red Sea Blues

Log 13 Feel the Freedom

Log 14 The Danger Zone

Log 15 Lucky Man
Log 16 Dream Machines - Land Rover Defenders

Log 17 Trade Wind Dreams
Log 18 Logs With Fins
Log 19 Everywhere, Everything
Log 20 Shark Slayer Is History

Log 21 Viking Funeral - Burial at Sea
Log 22 Improbable and Impossible

Log 23 Keep on Trucking
Log 24 Dream Machines II
Log 25 Bodysurfing Whales
Log 26 Hitting the Wall
Log 27 Surviving the Savage Seas

Log 28 The Next Step
Log 29 Welcome to Barbados
Log 30 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Log 31 The Man with the Unplan
Log 32 Dali Dolphins
Log 33 Flying Like a Turtle
Log 34 The Foolish Man Built His House on a Pitch Lake
Log 35 Go West Young Man
Log 36 Crossing the Atlantic in a Row Boat
Log 37 The Unsinkable HMS Diamond Rock
Log 38 Catamaran Capsize in 170 mph Winds
Log 39 When Are You Coming Home?

Log 40 Master and Commander of Anegada - Frigate Birds
Log 41 Baths of Virgin Gorda - Batholiths of Central Arabia

Log 42 Free at Last
Log 43 Stalking the Wild Manatee

Log 44 Spreaderman
Log 45 Attack of the Flesh Eating Bees
Log 46 Sharks and Coconuts
Log 47 Stingray Picnic
Log 48 Boo Boo Hill
Log 49 Whale Slayers
Log 50 Noddies (Not Naughty)


Log 51 Exumas Land and Sea Park
Log 52 David and Goliath
Log 53 Turquoise Clouds of Paradise

Log 54 Momma Nightjar
Log 55 Maximillian The Great
Log 56 Chiton Kingdom
Log 57 Flying and Holding On
Log 58 Far Horizons
Log 59 Clouds Are a Sailor's Friend
Log 60 Getting Connected
Log 61 Fear
Log 62 Grand Schemes and Other Important Things
Log 63 If Jellyfish Had a Brain
Log 64 Cousins That Don't Kiss
Log 65 Swimming With Sharks
Log 66 Perfect the Way You Are
Log 67 Space Travelers
Log 68 Aliens
Log 69 Monsters of the Mind
Log 70 My Butterfly Collection
Log 71 Somewhere Other Than Here Societies
Log 72 Five-Hundred Pound Spiders
Log 73 Red Sea Sunsets
Log 74 Gibraltar Sunrise
Log 75 Big Sea - Small Ship
Log 76 Just Cruising
Log 77 Castle Mania
Log 78 You Must Know the Sea
Log 79 Flying Like a Goat
Log 80 The Joy of Photography
Log 81 Universal Camouflage
Log 82 My Rainbow Collection
Log 83 Indian Ocean Reward
Log 84 Fiber W
Log 85 Turkish Reflections
Log 86 Mirrors and Mirages
Log 87 Lycean Tombs Rock
Log 88 Rigging Emergency
Log 89 Pamukkale
Log 90 Volcano Land
Log 91 Sniffing the Air
Log 92 Why I Don't Kite Surf
Log 93 Resurrecting Exit Only in Turkey
Log 94 Greased Pole Competition
Log 95 Tsunami Damage
Log 96 Afraid of Living
Log 97 Living on the Edge
Log 98 Borneo Adventure
Log 99 Uligamu Tree Tender with Full Benefits
Log 100 God's Fireworks Display

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