03/12/2011, 25 32.03N 34 38.32E
Quick note to update on our progress.
We finally made it to Port Ghalib, Egypt. Arriving this morning at 9:30am local time. It was a long slow beat into rough seas and heavy wind - we even pulled out the storm jib which hasn't been used since the Caribbean 1500 years ago, but Imagine pushed through it all in better form than her crew. But that is now behind us, and we are in the process of clearing into Egypt with Customs & Immigrations.
This afternoon, Jane & the kids arrive from Oman & Imagine will be back to normal. At least for Mike & I, we'll be looking forward to a day or two of rest before we head off to visit some of the treasures of Egypt.
Port Ghalib is a new port in Egypt and so far, everything looks great - even a proper fuel dock! We'll update more later, but just wanted to let you know that all is good & looks like we'll be spending the better part of the day rinsing the salt off Imagine that is caked on everywhere!
Marc & Mike & soon to be the rest of the Crew!!!!
03/10/2011, 23 53.7N 35 46.8E
We set the hook this morning at 8am local time (think it's 8 here) in Egypt! After 6 days of beating up the Red Sea, we had to pull into an anchorage to wait out a cold front that is blowing through from the north. Wind of 30 knots on the nose & rough seas will keep us here for a bit until we can push the last 120 miles to Marsa Alam (Port Ghalib) where we will meet Jane & the kids. Our buddy boat LaPalapa decided to pull into an anchorage further south - beating into this crap wasn't of interest to Karli or Roger - can't blame them, but my motivation is a bit different. So we'll look forward to reuniting in Port Ghalib for that cocktail hour that we've been waiting on for so long!
So we are happy on the hook right now. Mike has gone for a snorkel - the air is cool and crisp, & I'll wait on that for a while. Got a good rest in this morning and not sure how long we'll sit out the weather here, but not too bad of a place to chill out.
We were greeted yesterday afternoon as we passed north of the Sudanese border into Egypt by an Egyptian Naval vessel who called on us - actually several times, before we could understand they were actually hailing us. Language barrier was a bit tough, but they were extremely nice & welcoming and offered any assistance. What was interesting were the 2 massive missiles that were mounted on the back of the otherwise tiny patrol boat - these were huge - I have no idea how they could actually launch them from this small boat. Mike got a couple of photos before they asked not to take any pix. It was pretty cool though and after they circled us a few times, they took up a position about 40 feet of our stern. I guess they get pretty bored out here. So other than 20 knots on the nose and choppy seas, that was our excitement for the day.
One thing out of the last month and a half that we've got out of this trip is an impressive up-close & personal display of naval firepower. Even cooler was the outreach by a crew aboard the USS Destroyer Bulkeley who found our contact info from our webpage and sent us a note.(the Bulkeley was the warship we met at the beginning of the corridor & who's commandos recently took back a MV from pirates)
All the best to everyone on the high seas ahead of us and behind, at anchor, and at home!
Marc & Mike
03/08/2011, 19 56.8N 38 12.3E
Our Current Position:
Quick note from Imagine. We are continuing our progress north on the Red Sea. Weather has calmed today and we are motoring in flat seas. At least we have a positive current at the moment, and making good speed towards Egypt and NO dramas to report!!
We have heard from Jane, and she has flights scheduled to meet us in Port Ghalib, Egypt for Saturday, and we are hoping that the weather will cooperate with us to allow us to get there not too long after. Right now though, it looks like we will have to stop short - just 150-200 miles south and wait several days possibly before making it into Port Ghalib. So close, yet still so far away!
As you can imagine from both ends, we are looking forward to getting back together. It has been way too long to be apart and way too stressful for all of us.
It has been pretty uneventful here for us on the Red Sea - no fishing boats to watch for, and very little shipping traffic in our area. Last night though, we had a US Aircraft carrier operating in the area. We got within 2 miles of the gigantic ship and they were launching all kinds of jets & helicopters during the night. Very cool watching the lights approach the carrier and disappear as they landed on the ship. We think they should be conducting their exercises a little further south though....somewhere in the GoA, but we were excited to have the action. It also prompted 2 Sudanese choppers to give us a flyby as I think they were monitoring what was going on just off their border. Either that, or they were in on the exercises.
Right now, we are looking forward to setting the hook somewhere soon, and getting a good nights rest.
Marc & Mike
03/06/2011, 15 49.8N 41 06.0E
Our Current Position:
We continue up the Red Sea, making fairly decent time. The wild winds have calmed since yesterday, but took a toll on Imagine earlier yesterday doing a bit of damage to the mainsail.
Good news is we are 310 miles from Somalia, and we are feeling more and more comfortable that the majority of the piracy is behind, leaving us to focus on sailing and winds. We'll still be vigilant as normal, but are relieved that this drama is fading to our stern. This story won't end though until all our friends and yachts are out of this region - by sail, or transport or via different route - we keep them all in our thoughts - especially for ING, and the families of Quest.
Previously, I mentioned how our watch schedule would be a bit tougher without Kieran, but more relaxed given where we are now. I was subtly reminded of this and I do need to comment (for folks back home especially) on two close friends who have also made this passage ahead of us. Martin on S/V Anima & Jason on S/V Pegasus. If you think this last month was difficult (it was) now imagine doing this on your own - without crew. Sailing, dodging pirates, across 2,000+ miles by yourself trying to keep your head about you along the way. I cannot imagine it, and really don't think I'd have it in me to do what Martin & Jason have just done. Courageous or just crazier than me, congratulations to you both! Both Martin & Jason are working their way north in the Red Sea where we all look forward to reuniting with family and friends. Next beers on me guys!
As for us, we'll sail as far north in the Red Sea as possible before the winds are expected to roar out of the north. If we can, we'd like to make it to a small anchorage just north of Sudan in Egypt. We continue on with LaPalapa and for the first time in a month, actually had our lights on last night! Once the north winds abate, we'll push on into Port Ghalib where Jane & the kids will be waiting (I hope!) & I get to shave.
Marc & Mike
03/04/2011, 13 12.4N 42 48.5E
Our Current Position:
WE ARE IN THE RED SEA! Very happy to report that we made it through Bab el Mandeb strait last night around 1am.
It was a fast ride with winds reaching 35 knots, but no complaints here since we've actually been sailing the majority of the time since we left as we continue to convoy with LaPalapa.
We are now just north of the northern most piracy attack in the last 4 months, and are feeling just slightly more confident about the risk of piracy. With every passing mile, Somalia, motherships and skiffs loaded with pirates, AK47's & RPG's are fading in the rear view mirror. After another 150 miles, we'll rest easier I think, but this is a big step for us, and for the first time, we can take a deep breath.
Now it's back to sailing & seas. It has been a wild & rolly ride with high winds and fairly large waves - a welcome change to the last month. If you can recall, we departed the Maldives almost exactly 1 month ago on 6 Feb, traveled about 2,500 miles and almost all of it motoring until yesterday! I've been separated from Jane & the kids for 11 days now which seems like a lifetime and counting the hours til we are together again. We expect to be in Sudan in 3 days now.
For Mike & I, our watches will become more relaxed and our eyes won't be glued to the horizon 24/7 keeping an eye out for the bad guys. The captain will even lift the reading ban during watch hour. Hopefully, once Jane & the kids return, our life at sea will regain some 'normalcy' but after this past month, it may take a long while to get there.
Take care, and I can't thank you all enough for all your emails, assistance for me & Jane and your thoughts and prayers.
We'll continue to send updates on our progress, but my hope is that our reporting will become so boring that you ask me to take you off our email lists!
Marc & Mike