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Reflection at the half way point

Yes, it's true. After the months and months and months of effort spent commissioning, route planning, publicizing, sea trialing and organizing, the Around The World trip came close to never happening. The events of September 11th shocked and saddened everyone, and for us at P.A.E., it gave significant pause as whether to even bother embarking on the trip. A huge chunk of time would be spent in the waters surrounding the "battle zones" and the potential for the crews' safety was of utmost concern. After weeks of anguishing deliberation, the decision was made to go on.

The first leg was casual and easygoing - a cruise through Pacific islands where the only malaise came from trying to outsmart a pesky tropical storm. For nearly three months, we almost forgot about the potential for real danger that lie in Nordhavn's course. Since the beginning of March, however, the boat not only passed just a few hundred miles from the border of Pakistan where violence erupted Sunday killing two Americans; it skirted the coast of Yemen where just last week an attack was made against the U.S. embassy.

How reassuring - and a bit unexpected - it was to hear of Capt. Jim Leishman's praise for the people of Oman, a country that borders both Pakistan and Yemen. It was the ATWers first stop in the Middle East and they found the locals were friendly and displayed not an ounce of animosity toward them - not to mention the sheer comfort they enjoyed sharing the harbor with the British Merchant Marines.

Their encounters in Djibouti - separated from Yemen by just 25 miles at the entrance of the Red Sea - were closer to what they expected. If not for having to pick up a part that was Fed Exed there, the boat would never have made the stop in Djibouti. Still, local climate was disdain more for the U.S. government than actual hostility directed towards them as Americans. Back at P.A.E. in California, we held our breath waiting to hear from the crew after what seemed like several days since the last correspondence. Thankfully, it was time spent maneuvering around the country's dirty, archaic surroundings, figuring out questionable local customs and procedures, and - simply put - bad food that prevented a check-in to the homefront.

They finally got out of Djibouti and are now climbing the Red Sea en route to the Suez. There are still a few hundred miles left before the boat is out of politically uncertain waters, but we're all happy with how events have gone thus far. Not lost in all this is the boat's performance at the half-way point of the trip. A couple of minor parts adjustments and the boat is as steady and proficient as it was when she left Dana Point. 13,000 miles down, 13,000 to go.

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Nordhavn 40 Around the World Voyage