09 July 2011 | San Francisco, USA
06 July 2011 | Monterey, California, USA
29 June 2011 | Santa Barbara, California, USA
17 June 2011 | San Diego, California
16 June 2011 | Northern Baja, Mexico
14 June 2011 | Turtle Bay, Baja, Mexico
12 June 2011 | Past Magdalena Bay, Baja, Mexico
11 June 2011 | Cabo Los Puertos, Mexico
05 June 2011 | Cabo Del San Jose,Baja, Mexico
28 May 2011 | La Cruz Marina, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
19 May 2011 | Barra De Navidad, Mexico
13 May 2011 | Zithuatanejo, Mexico
09 May 2011 | Punta Galera, Mexico
06 May 2011 | Oaxaca city, Mexico
03 May 2011 | Huatulco, Mexico
27 April 2011 | Puerto Chiapas, Southern Mexico
23 April 2011 | Bahia Del Sol, El Salvador
21 April 2011 | Golfo De Fonseca, El Salvador,Honduras,Nicaragua
19 April 2011 | Playa Del Cocos, Northern Costa Rica
18 April 2011 | Quepos

Successful Transit Through Pirate Alley

20 March 2010 | Aden, Yemen
We did it! Teams Magnum and Kleiner Bar have arrived safely in Aden, Yemen, after a 4 day passage from Oman on Friday March 19th at 11am local time. And what a good team we were! Our transit brought us through the Gulf of Aden, a span of water that separates Africa from the Middle East, aptly named "pirate alley", where the age old practice of piracy has evolved and escalated in the most modern of ways. I can certainly say that relief is featuring most prominently in our minds; a release both physically and mentally from the stress of the journey and its preparations; sleep deprivation also exists. If we were any way superstitious, we may have taken more notice of the omen unwittingly revealed by Kara, when on the 2nd night out after opening her kinder egg treat after dinner, an eerily odd surprise emerged from the plastic egg: an old fashioned fat pirate with a map of hidden treasure. Alas, the kinder enterprise has not been keeping up with the modern day advances in piracy. Here is a rough description transcribed from our log book of those 4 days.
Day 1: For the 1st few miles out of Oman we had to dodge lots of fishing buoys, which is a minor deterrence for us by now. Then it was out into the clear water of the Arabian Sea along a dramatically beautiful coastline. A helicopter flew overhead twice during the day. During the night we could clearly see the end of Oman, abruptly the bright lights turned to darkness on the Yemen side of the coast, a clear disparity between 2 neighbors that is even obvious from the sea. No moon either, just us, Kleiner Bar and our friend the radar. We turned only low navigation lights on to keep a low visibility against those unwanted unknowns who may be lurking.

Day 2: Each morning we telephoned the allied forces to register our whereabouts. During the night we sometimes saw things on the radar but nothing in reality. These are the moments of realization of where we are and what could show up in the darkness of the night. Every little dot on the radar sends little signals of warning to us. Werner on Kleiner Bar is monitoring all the VHF traffic between the warships and coalition forces. Our VHF radio doesn't seem to pick these conversations up for some strange reason (another job to check out). A suspicious ship was reported and the forces responded. We communicated with Kleiner Bar by clicking the VHF 3 times and then moving to a pre arranged HF frequency. That worked well.

Day 3: Today an attempt to take over an oil tanker with 7 skiffs involved took place 200 miles south west of us. And this occurred during a time when a convoy of 7 big ships was underway with the navy nearby. We don't know the outcome. Shortly after, we sighted about 10 skiffs chasing towards our direction. We changed course by 60 degrees. But still the activity continued. By looking through the binoculars we noticed fish jumping into the air and so it turned out be just an exodus toward the shoal of real fish, and not us little fish. But the nerves play their little games as well. We rendezvous-ed with KB again and dipped into the clear delicious water and swapped kids. All of a sudden a fast fishing boat came pretty close and without slowing down waved back at us, probably smiling but of course he was too far to really confirm that.

Day 4: Seas no longer flat- Magnum tossed us from side to side all night. And so the hours pass. Last night at 01:45, Uwe saw a big ship 12 miles straight behind us on the radar moving slowly up our butts. When it was 4 miles away he called "big ship big ship etc" but no response due to the radio silence chosen by most boats. (AIS is also useless out here since none of the ships are transmitting). But at least they had some lights on. After turning on our stern and mast lights, the big one moved ever so slightly to our portside, not according to the radar but the light of their green starboard navigation lamp came into view. They passed at 0345 and peace returned to the night shift, if you can say that. On shore we observed a strange little red light with an illumination of the sky around it which turned out to be a big fire 12 miles away. I pulled the jib out but with all the rolling it would backwind and crack and flap noisily around. The night was too dark to fiddle outside to create a different sail plan and I was also too tired. Good sleeping in-between? Not really. At 0700 Uwe finally set all sails and we got to fly downwind with up to 8.2 knots with 144 miles to go. Fishing boats continue to zoom by, but none stop, the rougher sea conditions help to keep them from pulling at our nerves. Kara and teacher has a day off school due to roly seas so she watched Charlie Chaplin's "It's a Dogs Life "instead.

Day 5: Arrival-11.30am Wa-oh, what a dramatic sight from the sea, as the coastline of Aden swells into view. A lighthouse and some buildings sit at the edge of a sloping volcanic mountain top, like an ancient Greek city and the land continues both humped and jagged, with the sun reflecting the paler shades of long since dried lava.

And so, the conclusion? We know some of you think we are not quite together in the head to consider passing through here but we'll try to put the expedition into a little perspective. Few people would ever consider not leaving their house knowing 100 people or more will be killed in San Francisco each year. In our neighborhood alone you could be shot for as little as driving through the wrong place at the wrong time. Many people get into their cars each day without hesitation even knowing the statistics of fatal accidents occurring daily on the highways. All relative, somehow, maybe? We did have a strategy, based on research closer to the source of experience and information divulged from friends on boats that had already sailed ahead of us. The targets of the Somali pirates have been and continue to be the merchant ships or boats traveling alone. All of these ships follow the shipping lane, some 100 miles out toward the Somali side of the Gulf of Aden. We, on the other hand hugged the coast of Yemen keeping between 10-15 miles offshore. This considerably reduces the risks of being attacked by Somali pirates since they seem to hang on the other side of the shipping lane. We do accept that the passage contained an element of risk, but doesn't everything?

But also don't forget we are not some suicidilists who blindly decide to run into death. A lot of people get their knowledge from the media and hardly know where the troubled piracy spots exactly are and how everything changes so fast. The Internet is also not necessarily the gods answer to your questions about most subjects, (except for maybe the next sale at Macy's) and should not always be taken as verbatim of truth. Now, more than ever, we realize as we travel around the world the shortfall of the mass media and in particular the Internet as a source of reliable information.

It's strange to be in-between very poor countries; Somalia on our port side, a country that has not had a formed government since 1991 and just starting as we speak to kill each other in the streets of Mogadishu. And there is Yemen on our starboard side, a country that is slowly beginning to see better times but are still is very poor, and then there is Oman, doing very well and only because the good Allah saw fit to bestow oil reserves in one place but not another. Now its rest for a few days, and at first glimpse Aden indeed feels very medieval, everyone is friendly and smiling.
Vessel Name: Magnum
Vessel Make/Model: Peterson 44
Hailing Port: San Francisco
Crew: Uwe Anne Kara
About: Anne Crowley Kara Dobers
Extra: http://www.sailblogs.com/gallery/magnum
Home Page: http://www.sailmagnum.com
Magnum's Photos - Magnum: Anne Crowley,Uwe Dobers, Kara Dobers (Main)
A much more exciting transit than the Suez canal 9 months earlier, another epic moment in the voyage as we re entered the Pacific Ocean
21 Photos
Created 28 May 2011
We spent an enjoyable 2 weeks exploring these close knit group of islands, home to the Kuna Indians. It was the first time in a while that we felt like we were cruising and not racing to get somewhere. Many cruising boats chose to make it their home by staying long periods of time. The Kuna's still live in a very traditional way, and create the most intricate sewing cloths called "molas". We hooked up with other kid boats, which pleased us all, and Kara certainly enjoyed her last taste of island life
32 Photos
Created 27 March 2011
The passage from Aruba to Colombia can be one of the roughest passages in the world, thankfully ours was not too bad, as we paid close attention to the weather. We sailed direct to the big city of Cartagena, and took the bus to the old city of Santa Marta
14 Photos
Created 27 March 2011
Late at night on December 23rd 2010, we made landfall at St.Lucia, 22 days after leaving Canary Islands, with a 2 night rest at Cape Verde in between. We were tired but happy to have made it in time for Santa's arrival. Daniel and Philippine flew in from SF and joined us for Christmas and came aboard to sail down through the Grenadines with us. We continued on to Grenada with brief stops at the Dutch Antilles islands of Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba.
21 Photos
Created 15 January 2011
First stop in the Canary Islands was Lanzarote, followed by Fuerteventura and then to the Capital of Las Palmas to await weather to Cape Verde. We had 2 short nights in Mindelo, before the Atlantic crossing to the Carribbean
9 Photos
Created 15 January 2011
At tip south end of mainland Spain lies the British territory of Gibraltar. It marked the end of the Meditteranean, and entrance to the Atlantic Ocean
9 Photos
Created 15 January 2011
Our first stop in Spain was at the Balearic Island of Menorca. From there we continued rapidly through Mallorca, Ibiza and Formentera, before arriving at mainland Spain. We left Magnum in Alicante and took the plane to visit beautiful Barcelona. Halloween was spent in Cartegena befor continuing on to Gibraltar.
16 Photos
Created 15 January 2011
Stops at both Sicily and Sardinia were brief, but enjoyable nonetheless. The island of Favignana, off Sicily was just beautiful as were the quiet anchorages in southern Sardinia, especially with the end of high season
8 Photos
Created 22 October 2010
A quick detour to Malta to pick up our mainsail made us glad to see the old city of Valetta
12 Photos
Created 22 October 2010
We meandered slowly through the Dodecanese, Cyclades and Peleponnese islands, together with Kleiner Bar. Despite the high winds in some places and the high temperatures, it was a truly enjoyable few weeks
30 Photos
Created 22 October 2010
Reaching Turkey was greeted by all with relief, and a feeling of returning to civilisation. Delicious food, warm waters, wonderful anchorages and many things ancient
12 Photos
Created 23 August 2010
After arriving in Turkey in late May, we took a break from the boat to visit our families and enjoy the comforts of land for a month
15 Photos
Created 23 August 2010
From the endless desert to the ancient temples of Luxor,endless baksheesh in the suez canal; A box of contrasts.
25 Photos
Created 25 May 2010
After crossing the Gulf Aden, Eritrea was our first introduction to the east coast of Africa. From the Italian colonial feel of Eritrea's Port Massawa to the remoteness of Sudan, both countries were certainly unique. In Sudan, taking pictures was sometimes difficult as most Sudanese expressed great reluctance toward it, so we eventually put the camera away.
34 Photos
Created 21 May 2010
After Maldives, it was a 12 day sail into Oman, in completely new surroundings. After managing to go through the pirated Gulf of Aden, we arrived in Aden, Yemen, another new experience
34 Photos
Created 11 April 2010
From Sri Lanka we sailed to the Northern Most Atoll of the Maldives Islands called Uligan. We swam and relaxed for 7 days in this slice of paradise, clear water and tons of fish
24 Photos
Created 13 March 2010
From Galle Harbor, we took a 5 day trip inland via train, and bumpy buses with our companions on Kleiner Bar
27 Photos
Created 11 March 2010
From Phuket Thailand, we began our progression west, our first stop being the beautiful and remote Andaman Islands, a welcome break from the chaotic and busy Phuket
28 Photos
Created 25 February 2010
From Langkawi Malaysia, it was a brief trip up to the first island in Thailand,south of Phuket. We spent Christmas on the west side of Phuket, at Nai Han Bay with my sister and family. Travel in Thailand was limited,as the passage to the Indian Ocean beckoned by January.
50 Photos
Created 9 January 2010
From Indonesia, we motored our way through the maze of the busy shipping lane of the Malacca Strait, and into glitzy Singapore for a brief stop. We then continued along the Malacca strait on the west side of Malaysia stopping at Pangkor, Georgetown (Penang) and finally on to the last Malaysian island of Langkawi.
33 Photos
Created 8 January 2010
From Ashmore Reef, we sailed north toward Central Indonesia to Rinca and then sailed the southern route to Lombok and Bali. From there we sailed north in the Java Sea to the last exit port of Indonesia to the Island of Batam
74 Photos
Created 19 October 2009
Our first stop at an Ocean reef, Ashmore reef, still part of Australia, although closer to Indonesia, did not dissappoint. We spent about 5 great days here.
9 Photos
Created 8 September 2009
Our last passage in Australia brought up along the reefs of Eastern Austrlalia, around the rugged top end of Cape York to our last port of call in Australia:Darwin
11 Photos
Created 27 July 2009
As we left New South Wales, we moved slowly up the Coast towards Queensland, haven of wonderful weather and sandy beaches
49 Photos
Created 22 June 2009
Pictures from our first port of entry at Coffs Harbour. We then made our way down the coast to Sydney where we spent Christmas and New Year. We took a road trip to Melbourne for 2 weeks in January. Then toward the end of Febuary we sadly left Sydney and progressed back north.
67 Photos
Created 27 February 2009
From the Loyalty Islands of Lifou, Mare, then the Capital of Noumea and the Idyllic Isle De Pins Further South
42 Photos
Created 10 December 2008
Vanuatu's Capital Port Vila where Kara celebrated her 6th Birthday, and Islands of Malekula and Espirito Santo
27 Photos
Created 22 October 2008
Our First Destination in Vanuatu was Tanna, home of the Mt Yasur Volcano
41 Photos
Created 10 September 2008
A few pictures from Viti Levu on Fiji's Western Side
38 Photos
Created 20 August 2008
We left the boat in Tauranga and drove to Wellington, where we took the ferry to the South Island. We completed the circle of the South Island by going down the West Coast and back up the East Coast
89 Photos
Created 31 March 2008
Our first trip in the North Island brought us From Tauranga to Roturua, Hamilton,Waitomo Caves,Galatea, Taupo,Whakatane
37 Photos
Created 23 January 2008
50 Photos
Created 12 October 2007
32 Photos
Created 5 October 2007
30 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 22 June 2007
36 Photos
Created 22 June 2007
16 Photos
Created 12 April 2007
31 Photos
Created 6 February 2007
55 Photos
Created 20 January 2007
6 Photos
Created 20 January 2007
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Created 20 January 2007
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Created 20 January 2007
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Created 20 January 2007
1 Photo
Created 20 January 2007
19 Photos
Created 20 January 2007
5 Photos
Created 1 December 2006