Safe in Aden S/V PEACE AND ALOHA, Update, March 4, 2005
Aloha Friends and Family,
S/V PEACE AND ALOHA and her crew arrived safely this morning (March 4, 2005) and are anchored off the Prince of Wales Pier, Aden Harbor, Yemen, where the USS COLE was bombed in 2000. We are in company with over twenty international yachts en-route from Salalah, Oman on the Arabian Peninsular to Masawa, Eritrea in Africa through the small Strait of Bab el Mandeb, variously named the "Gates of Tears" or the "Gates of Sorrows" between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. We traveled 650 miles in 5 day 2 hours. We diverted to Aden because of strong 25+ knot winds, which translate to almost twice that speed as it funnels into the Red Sea at the Straits with possible waves developing from wind against current. We were notified that with the rationing of both diesel and petrol in Eritrea, we would not be able to easily and cheaply fill our diesel tanks and jerry cans for our passage north to Port Sudan in the Red Sea, so we will fill up here.
Our recent passage was one of our most difficult because of wind and sea conditions and the complications of being part of a convoy with the very real threat of a piracy attack. We have passed through "Pirate Alley," the high risk zone; however, we have just learned of the chase of Erik and Kris on *Lady Meg* at 0300 today at 12 Deg 10 Minutes North 44 Degrees 26 Minutes East. Yesterday they continued on to the Straits and Massawa because their guests are arriving there, while the other five boats in our convoy sailed to Aden. Luckily, no shots were fired and with 20-25+ knot winds with big seas, they were able to outrun them and were not boarded. Erik said that the adrenalin is still pumping. So, we will remain alert and all items will remain well hidden until we are actually anchored in Massawa. We experienced complete frustration on the first days of our passage with light winds and current against us, then we experienced high winds on the nose accompanied by a knot of current against us, but thankfully, the wind came up nicely with a current with us for us to transverse the high risk zone very quickly on Wednesday night, March 2. This was perfect timing since there have been no incidents on Wednesdays; however, "Bambola" was attacked and robbed on March 2, 2003 only 27 miles north of our track. Sailing in a convoy was more difficult than might be expected, especially without lights and with varying speeds for each yacht. We stayed together unlike several other convoys who split apart. Last night was another frustrating and sleepless one, as we tried to slow down S/V PEACE AND ALOHA to arrive at Aden at dawn. We sailed all night with bare poles, traveling over 5 knots/hour with 25-30 knots of wind in lumpy seas and 1.5 knot of current with us.
We made the dinghy and checked in to the country of Yemen before lunch. I will make a flag tomorrow, while the guys are jerry jugging the diesel from the fuel terminal. We are still experiencing high winds in the anchorage, where it is cloudy and we even had a few drops of rain. We are noticing the red dust is beginning to accumulate, so we will start using our winch covers to protect them from the blowing sand of the desert which we understand blows often and ruins many items on board. We will have an early night tonight, to be rested to finish all our boat projects before touring the Aden area. Once again we have had our passports retained and given a shore pass to use when we exit the harbor gate to visit the nearby town by taxi and to experience the people of Yemen. We will regroup into our convoy to leave possibly Monday, hoping for a better weather window to transit the Straits and sail to Massawa 400 miles from Aden.
We thank you for your outpouring of love, concern and prayers for our passage to the Red Sea. Please continue your prayers for a short while longer!:) We will answer your emails and write updates of our wonderful experiences in Oman and now here in Aden soon. We hope that you are all well and happy and enjoying cruising/sailing where ever you may be. Please write about your news. We love to hear from you, so please stay in touch. Be safe. God Bless!
With Love, Peace and Aloha,
Ellen, David, Jason and Eric
S/V PEACE AND ALOHA
March 4, 2005
12 Deg 48 North 44 Deg 59 East
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