Around The World Voyage : Commentary : Leg 2

March 6, 2002

Time: 12:00 Local
Position: 11.38' North - 43.12' East
Course: 254 degrees magnetic
Speed: 7.3 knots

It's Wednesday and we'll be arriving before dark in Djibouti.

The 700 mile voyage down from Salalah, Oman has been uneventful and we've made good time. We left Salalah in company with "Millennium", a twin engine Choey Lee motor sailor, with the intent of convoying down from the Arabian Sea into the Gulf of Aden and into Djibouti. As it has turned out we have left Millennium behind and at last check she was about 100 miles astern. There has been such a huge presence of warships in the area that the concern over security has vanished and "Millennium" is more comfortable at a slower speed than NORDHAVN.

We had a bonus yesterday afternoon as a twin-engine reconnaissance plane buzzed us at no more than 250 feet above our heads. Paul, our aviation expert, was not sure what type of aircraft it was but knew it was not American - also it was a land based plane - meaning it had to come to Djibouti or Aden. It was gray in color and we think was British or French. Throughout the day and night we continue to hear warships hailing vessels and asking a long list of questions.

To our left now is Somalia, the "Horn of Africa". Yemen is to starboard and Aden is off of our starboard quarter. Some of the sailboats we met in Salalah are bound for Aden which probably would have been a better choice for us had we not been so concerned over security (the "U.S.S. Cole" bombing is still fresh in our minds).

Peter Swanson has read every scrap of information we have aboard about Djibouti and has pronounced it a place worth visiting. Our main guidebook aboard opens its section on Djibouti by stating, "Before crossing this country, even the jackal makes his will".

Djibouti is considered one of the tiniest countries of Africa and is little more than a port, however it's location at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia gives it significant strategic importance. It's stated that Djibouti was colonized by the French to thwart British ambitions across the waters in Yemen.

The weather continues to be fair and with an easterly wind of 10 to 15 knots directly on our stern. Our sailing friends have had a hard time in these conditions - running directly before the light wind and sea with apparent winds so low that sails slat and bang - plus the rolling motion of the downwind sailboats has been uncomfortable.

We'll give a complete report on Djibouti tomorrow.
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