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Port of Salalah, Oman S/V PEACE AND ALOHA, Update, February 19, 2005

Aloha Family and Friends,

S/V PEACE AND ALOHA was safely anchored in the inner anchorage of the commercial Port of Salalah, Sultanate of Oman yesterday, February 18, 2005. We sailed 1258 miles in 8 days and 3 hours after departing Uligan, Maldives on February 10, 2005, for a total of 2843 miles in 19 days, 12 hours, with 73 total hours of motoring (32 hours to Maldives and 41 hours to Oman) after leaving Thailand on January 24. We enjoyed more wind on passage to Oman; however, we have never experienced such a strong adverse current for an entire passage. This was a rather ideal passage with dolphins and whales, two mahi mahi caught and unfortunately, two small ahi lost off the hooks and clear skies with stars at night to view the incredible phosphorescence, which became brighter each night, possibly because of the rapid decrease in sea temperature from 85 to 79 degrees in the past few days. We enjoyed winds to sail peacefully at 8-9 knots over the water on flat seas of varying colors from deep sapphire blue, green/blue, azure to turquoise; however, with the adverse current we were often only sailing at 6-8 knots over ground in sometimes bumpy conditions of wind against current. We were concerned about the number of dangerous long (10-12km) fishing drift nets being set along the rhumb line from Uligan to Salalah even 550 miles from Oman. Luckily, there were only a few boats caught in nets whereby their captains needed to cut the nets away from their propellers in open ocean usually at night. Both passages were rather stressful because of the need for such constant vigilance for tsunami debris (huge logs) on the Maldives passage and fish nets and shipping traffic on the passage to Oman.

We are anchored in the small inner anchorage with 25+ other yachts with 5-6 yachts arriving daily en route from the Maldives or Cochin, India. We were quickly checked in yesterday when the efficient and friendly Customs and Immigration Officers came aboard for only ten minutes to fill out forms in Arabic, and to collect our Port Clearance from Uligan, Maldives and our passports. We were thrown an expensive curve ball by the Harbormaster, when we were told that we needed an Agent for $100US because we were over 30 tons! We were given rules for anchoring, which include a 48 hour stay at which time we will need to move to the outer anchorage. We are rather concerned about this regulation, since we do not want to depart until next Sunday to arrive at the problem piracy area in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday. We will just have to wait and see!

We will rent a car tomorrow and venture to the town which is 20km away from our anchorage in the harbour secure behind gates and barbwire fences, after being granted a shore pass to leave. We will fill up our jerry cans with diesel at 25 US cents/liter at half the cost of the cost at the port. We will also visit the supermarket for fruits, vegs and provisioning. We will write more of our first experiences here in the Middle East. We have already pulled out blankets, since it is much drier and the temperature was only 71 Degrees this morning, which is quite a change from our recent temperatures of 80+ degrees with 80% humidity!

Please stay in touch and send us your news. Reply to KH7JL@winlink.org, but please do NOT send this message back to us. If you do not want to receive future updates, write us and say REMOVE. Take care. Be safe. Smooth sailing to our cruiser friends where ever you may be. God Bless.

With Love, Peace and Aloha,
Ellen, David, Jason and Eric
February 19, 2005
Port of Salalah, Sultanate of Oman
16 Deg 56 North 54 Deg 00 East