Around The World Voyage : Commentary : Leg 2

March 3, 2002

Local Time: 14:15
UTC: 10:15
Position: 14.40' North - 051.46 East
Speed: 7.4 knots
Course: 243 degrees magnetic

It's good to be back at sea again and making mileage. We have a new crew aboard - Peter Swanson, editor of the exceptional PassageMaker Magazine. Peter arrived on Thursday night after a grueling airplane ride with too many transfers to list. He found his way to "Nordhavn" even hitching a dingy ride right to our aft deck. Paul Grover was aboard to greet Peter while Brian and I were aboard the British Navy Supply vessel "Fort Rosari" - receiving hospitality and information, which we found quite remarkable.

While approaching the Oman coast we heard a vessel hailing another - the radioman having a strong British accent and referring to themselves as Coalition Ship ###. We could only hear one side of the conversation but the hailing Coalition ship was asking a series of questions to the other vessel regarding cargo, destination, departure point, etc. We hoped that this Coalition ship might be providing some security but did not know.

A day after arriving in Salalah, the British Aircraft Carrier "Illustrious" arrived along with the Supply Ship "Fort Rosari" and a small British Frigate. In another part of the harbor two additional supply ships berthed. The evening Peter arrived, Brian and I were returning from the Oasis Restaurant and as we walked we spoke with some of the British Merchant Marines that were returning to the "Fort Rosari". We were invited to join them aboard ship for a beer! Comfortable in their aft lounge we spoke with many of the crew and the second officer of the ship. I don't understand the exact details but the "Fort Rosari" is a gray Navy Ship but is crewed by British Merchant Marines. The ship carried supplies, ammunition and fuel. Technically the crew could not tell us where they had been nor where they were going but we did understand that the British Ships were part of the Coalition - made up of American, German, French, Italian and British Ships. Each person was careful not to give us too much information and would not be quoted however they had no problem in telling us that we were very safe in these waters. We have the impression that ships have been assigned specific areas and are blanketing the approaches and entry to the Red Sea. Plus we believe they are covering much of the Red Sea itself.

It was suggested by some of the crew that if we key our mic on channel 16 anywhere in the region - make a distress call - that they would have aircraft in the air and over our position in less than 15 minutes.

Last night running south out of Salaha we saw one warship and heard numerous ships of the Coalition hailing and questioning others. One ship with an American (accent at least) crew referred to his ship as Navy Coalition Ship ### and explained that they were the "Coalition of Navy War Ships for the prevention of terrorism".

The morning after our visit to the "Fort Rosari" we invited some of the crew out to the boat for a tour and refreshments. By this time word had spread through the anchorage (about 16 yachts) of the protection being afforded by this Coalition and soon we found half the anchorage aboard "Nordhavn" followed by tours of the other sailboats. The British crew had a great afternoon and everyone was relieved and elated over the great news of security.

So south we go, bound for Djibouti. We are enjoying 10 knots of northeasterly wind and calm seas. At the speed we're making we expect to arrive in Djibouti Wednesday evening.

 

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