Our trip is complete to New Zealand and the results may be followed in Hot News or Ports of Call.
As we cross into the Indian Ocean and make our way to and through the Red Sea we enter sailing grounds that are both climatically and politically hostile. We will only set out if we feel we are mentally and physically prepared for this stage.
The Indian Ocean offers few ports that provide access to safe food and fuel and there are significant crime piracy problems in many of the ports. We plan to sail from Singapore to Sri Lanka assuming the situation in Sri Lanka has not deteriorated. We plan to spend some time in the Maldives and then continue to the Red Sea. Port Sudan has a good reputation for welcoming vessels of foreign flag even though Sudan and the US have strained relations.
The Red Sea itself offers one of the biggest challenges because the wind usually blows straight don making a trip up a long and uncomfortable series of tacks. The shipping traffic is heavy and use of navigation aids like radar or even running lights is spotty. Places to anchor are few and far between and local authorities can be difficult.
So why try you ask? The north end of the Red Sea has some of the best diving in the world and the other side of the Suez canal is the Mediterranean Sea which offers many attractions.
It is obviously difficult to commit to all of our plans we do hope to circumnavigate before we are done. We consider that we have passed our outbound track when we hit Tampa because we purchased the boat near by and trucked it to San Francisco. If we return to San Francisco from Florida we will do it by truck because we have sailed on the coast of California enough to know we don't want to sail up from the Panama Canal.
Addendum 2/12/99 All of the above could still be true but maybe not. We have a hard time deciding what to do 3 weeks from now so we can't really say where we will be next year. Sailing has been tougher than we expected and taking off across the Indian Ocean is a little intimidating and beyond that we are concerned about the Red Sea.
Who knows, we may just run around the Pacific a little while longer and then go home. If we decide to return home from the South Pacific we will look at options of getting the boat home without us, like on a ship or by delivery crew.