WHAT TO DO WHEN ADVERSITY PAYS A VISIT
Take a look at the wind and waves.
The wind is blowing forty knots and Duetto, Balmacara, and Exit Only are anchored at Ras Terma in Eritrea.
There is a white out from blowing sand lifted high into the air by a sandstorm. But at least the anchors are down and holding, and we are no longer being hammered by the seas of the Bab Al Mandeb.
Two days earlier, we left Yemen and sailed through the Gulf of Aden until we arrived at the Bab Al Mandeb which is the southern entrance to the Red Sea.
The Bab has a ferocious reputation because the winds in that area frequently blow at fifty knots. Everyone sailing up the Red Sea must run the boisterous gauntlet as they sail through the Bab.
When it was our turn to sail those treacherous waters, we experienced first hand why the the Bab al Mandeb is called the Gate of Sorrows.
We pointed our bows north, pushed open the Gate, and before long, we running downwind in a fifty knot gale with turbulent steep seas crashing into our stern.
We went through the Bab in the morning, and so we had plenty of daylight to work our way north at about eight to ten knots.
We hoped that if we got far enough north, the winds would moderate, and the seas would lose their punch, and we would have a more enjoyable and less risky sail up the Red Sea.
Unfortunately, the Bab showed us no mercy. The wind persisted at fifty knots all day long, and it was apparent that it was going to be a long night at sea if we didn’t find shelter. We wanted to continue north as fast as possible, but we also wanted to do it safely.
We had talked on the radio with other people who had transited the Bab in similar conditions, and they reported strong winds for up to thirty six hours.
That was bad news, and we didn’t want to take a beating for that long.
Our other option was to head for Ras Terma, which was a deserted anchorage behind a high headland in Eritrea about fifteen miles away.
We decided to go to Ras Terma and hopefully ride out the strong winds in a sheltered location.
We tacked over on to a beam reach and headed for land. I turned off the autopilot and steered by hand.
I was afraid that the wild seas might overpower the autopilot and strip its gears.
Hand steering the yacht for half a day in rough conditions was inconvenient, but at least I would be sure to have an autopilot that was working when the weather moderated.
We needed the autopilot to comfortably steer Exit Only for 1700 miles up the Red Sea.
It took three hours of extremely wet sailing to arrive at Ras Terma.
We were beam on to the steep seas, and the waves that struck the side of the yacht relentlessly dumped gallons of salt water over me as I steered at the unprotected helm.
Each new wave deposited more salt into my clothes until my shirt and pants became stiff from the accumulation of salt. My clothes turned into a pillar of salt.
Ras Terma proved to be a secure anchorage, but the winds still blew at thirty-five to forty knots for at least a day and a half before they abated.
We hunkered down and waited for conditions to improve.
While we were anchored there, a sandstorm came through and covered our boat with red desert dust.
We shut up the boat to keep sand from coming inside and creating a huge mess.
At least we had survived the Bab without damage. Caked on salt spray mixed with desert dust is a small price to pay to escape from the clutches of the Bab Al Mandeb.
Once again, Exit Only had proven that it was a strong and seaworthy vessel. It took a licking and kept on ticking.
While it’s true that adversity had paid visit, it didn’t move in and become a permanent member of our crew.
We are careful about such things. When adversity pays a visit, we modify our plans, stick to our purpose, and never surrender our dreams.
Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.
Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.
If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.
Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.
Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.
Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.
After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.
Join Team Maxingout as they sail through Pirate Alley and up the Red Sea
See what it's like to cruise on a catamaran before you spend a bazillion dollars purchasing one
After watching the Red Sea Chronicles you will be able to see yourself sailing on the ocean of your dreams
Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.