Around The World Voyage : Commentary : Leg 2

February 27, 2002

Position - anchored in Salalah Port - Oman

We arrived here mid morning on Monday and spent the day clearing in with immigration, customs and the Port Authority police. Everyone was very courteous and they came to us in the police launch - completing the whole process in less than 30 minutes.

Yesterday and today have been spent changing oil, fuel filters, cleaning strainers and fueling our ship for the next leg up the Red Sea. We've also given NORDHAVN a thorough cleaning inside and out. We're ready to go now but are waiting for PassageMaker Technical Editor Peter Swanson to arrive. He should be here on Thursday night or in the early morning on Friday. We hope he can find the harbor and boat and worry that he'll be exhausted by the time he arrives. We were planning to leave on Friday morning but now plan to wait until Saturday to give Peter a chance to rest and to arrange our departure with another boat capable of cruising at our speed. We've been fortunate enough to meet up with some folks cruising on a twin engine Cheoy Lee 63-foot motor sailor. We plan to run with them at least until we reach the area of Djibouti where we may make a quick stop - only to top off our tanks to make the final 1200 mile push up the Red Sea.

Port Salalah is a small but bustling man-made port and can handle seven or eight large container ships at one time. There are modern container cranes along with traditional single arm cranes for unloading non-containerized freight. There are also numerous fishing vessels and old wooden cargo ships loading and unloading their freight. We saw one woody - about 120 feet long - a traditional Dhow type vessel - unloading sheep and chickens today. Another fishing boat came in with hundreds of tons of smelly smelt type fish - all packed into burlap bags and stinking beyond description. They filled many trucks to the height of their freight fences and each lumbered off towards town. I noticed today that there is a cattle feed factory so maybe the fish are intended for that purpose.

When we first arrived, there were no less than 30 sailboats crowded into a tiny section of the harbor and all anchored - some only clearing others by 10 to 15 feet. There is a little restaurant about a mile's walk from the harbor. It's a great little place with good food and they serve drinks. In this part of the world the restaurant is aptly named "The Oasis" and in the evening it's the meeting place for all the yacht crews. We met the Cheoy Lee crew there two nights ago. Yesterday and today about half of the fleet of 30 have departed, arranging convoys of boats based upon their speed and desire to stop along the way.

We're the odd balls in the anchorage and there is a steady parade of people coming by to visit and we've collected a tremendous amount of information about cruising in the Middle East. Our confidence level has improved significantly since being here about the waters that lie ahead. We understand that there have been no reports of any incidences in as much as two years and that the whole region is being watched very carefully by a coalition of governments - including the German navy which we understand is on patrol at the entrance and south end of the Red Sea. I've been very impressed at how nice the people are here. They routinely stop to ask you if you need a ride, rarely pass by without a friendly wave and I've not detected the slightest animosity from anyone at all. I like it here as the climate and terrain is very much like what we have in the Sea of Cortez. It's warm but quite dry. We shut down the AC system yesterday and slept through the night very comfortably.

So all goes well and we're looking forward to collecting Peter and putting to Sea. It's late afternoon now and the crew is anxious to begin the trek to the Oasis.


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