Michael Klein, Melbounre, AUS
Subject: Where you ever scared?
Hi, I have recently watched your videos and you are both very
very incredible people to have seen and done what you have done. I am very jealous! I just sold my 40ft Riveria flybridge and looking for a 50 ft as my next adventurer. One question I would love to ask is were you ever scared of running into pirates out there? Did it cause you to alter course or destinations because you were warned that the area is known to be inhabited by pirates?
Also, while you were on the water, was there ever a time where you were scared of the seas and thought you shouldn't be out there or didn't want to be out there?
God bless you both,
Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
There are two types of pirates. Organized and opportunistic. Organized are not a problem if you use common sense and stay well away from where they are operating. The organized we all know about are the Somali pirates operating in the NW Indian Ocean as far south as the Mozambique Channel and as far east as near India. If you google NATO Piracy you will come across a website for NATO called Operation Ocean Shield. All the information you need to know is there including current - by the hour - updates.
The opportunistic pirates or thieves or thugs are scattered here and there like along the Venezuelan coast and Mediterranean N. African coast. Once near these types of areas your fellow cruisers will keep you informed. In the Caribbean there is a Marine Safety Net on the SSB that has daily broadcasts.
For Egret personally we had a single incident that was Very Scary but it was an innocent incident in the end. Egret was roughly 1000nm off the coast of Australia on the way to Mauritius when we had a target on radar. There was no AIS for such a large ship which is unusual. One target morphed into two then one and they kept closing. We changed course drastically and a second target broke away and came in our direction. This was at night. In the end we found it was an Asian fishing boat mother ship idling down sea unloading catch from a smaller Asian fishing boat. Apparently when the catch was unloaded the smaller boat left to resume fishing. It happened to be in Egret's direction. Neither answered the VHF which is typical of Asian fishing boats as well as no AIS.
Another time we were nervous was in the Chilean Channels. It was near dark with fog and mist. It was rough. The electronic charting was non existent and Egret closed on a shore looking for an anchorage using radar, Chilean paper charts and a hand drawing from the Italian Guide. However, we took our time, bumped in and out of gear and in time found what we were looking for. No problem.
As far as big seas being scary, we have never experienced fear from waves. Experience comes over time, and needs to come over time. In time, with experience, seas are to be dealt with, not feared. All weather eventually moves on and you are back to something more normal. A good example is right now. Egret is approaching Gibraltar surrounded by shipping. She is making 2.8 - 3.2 knots. 40.02nm to go. The wind is gusting to over 30 knots driving the tide into 2 - 2.5m very tight confused head seas. Every now and then Egret's bow shovels a pile of water over the deck pitching heavily. Spray is going everywhere. Most new boaters would be quite fearful just now. I am typing your reply. I'm not special, Mary could do the same, we just have the experience. You or anyone else who wishes can get the same comfort at sea. No biggie, just takes time.