Saturday, December 1, 2007

Max Young Circumnavigation

C J on the bow of Reflections in the Maldive, a crewmember that went all the way from Thailand to Turkey. A voyage of 6,400 miles, five months to complete. The cruise was exciting at times, boring at times with beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the ocean, long passages, all the countries we stopped were very interesting rich in beauty, culture and history.

About Reflections, I bought her new in 1985, she has many wonderful memories, she is 50 feet long, 13' 6" wide, weighs 20 tonnes, fast for her size, she sleeps 7 (excluding the pilot house that can sleep 3); V berth forward, mid-ship single berth, crews' quarters, aft captain cabin, bow and stern teak decks, all the electronic 'toys' a captain could ask for. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN CREWING* and if you would like pictures of the interior and exterior please email me at; (I have a home in California, when not sailing)

Sailing it the Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean, parts of the South Pacific is very different than a long passage, most of the time is just 'day-hops'. We did cruise the southern half of the Greek Islands in 2007-09, what a beautiful area, the people, food, sights are spectacular.
Circumnavigating the world takes devotion to a childhood dream. I did 'follow my dream'. Many of the places I have seen are beyond words to explain the beautiful that I witness. If you are interested in joining the crew, I hope you will read the blog completely; any goal/adventure in life if not without it's challenges. I tried not to post a 'rosie' picture; was sailing around the world worth it? The circumnavigation was just amazing, more amazing that I even thought it would be.  Reflections has taken me and the crew members safetly around the world. So, my life long dream continues. As Mark Twain said:
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. EXPLORE DREAM DISCOVER" (I did and will, Max)

SAILING FROM THAILAND TO THE MALDIVES.************************************************************************
The boat is a 50’ Perry Cutter, not fast but not slow either. (Orginally, Refections was a Perry 47, I added 4' to the stern, made the boat faster and easier to come aboard while at anchor. Also, added a pilothouse, made doing 'watch' much more comfortable. The sailboat was very comfortable inside and out. I have sailed around the world with her (abiet, 490 miles short from San Diego). Singlehanded across the Atlantic with Reflections, Costs; all I expect is for the crew to cover their food cost and their expenses, if they want to help out on other cost that is fine but not expected. I have a beautiful boat I do expect the crew to help with upkeep, varnishing etc. If you are interested please contact me at  email address. Fair winds, following sea, Max Young

Crewmember-Max is a capable, knowledgeable and nice person and he has traveled all over the world. In 2000 he sailed the boat from San Francisco to Hawaii through the South Pacific to Australia, where he stayed for 3 years. Then he took it to Malaysia and later to Thailand, where this voyage started.
 Our first mate is C.J. Hendrix, he passaged with us from Thailand to Oman, we complete the passage to Turkey.

C J is from Tennessee, we won’t hold that against him though. For the last several years he has worked off and on for the U.N. as a map maker for the foreign aid workers in disaster areas . This job has placed him in Pakistan (after the disastrous earthquake), and Eritrea, he just returned from working in Sudan. C.J. sailed with me from Australia to Malaysia and then did some sailing with another boat from Eritrea to Egypt. He is a super nice and very interesting fellow. He has travelled the world.

Susie is a marine biologist and a scuba dive instructor from Wisconsin.

She has spent most of her time outside of the USA in the last years and she has been a fair amount of time around sail boats. We call her super-girl, nothing seems to be out of her reach. She is our go-getter and information gatherer and she has been entertaining us with great planetary stories. She left the boat in the Maldives, to do  an instructor job teaching diving. Currently a ferry captain in the Philippines. She is very knowledgeable person and easy to get alone with.

Last, but not least is Sarah from Sacramento, California, our youngest at 26 years old.
She is athletic, adventurous and the all-American girl next door. We have adopted her as our daughter. She has a degree in psychology and so she can give great insight in the various personalities. As she is the smallest and the most limber of the group, she gets to do the jobs in tight and high places. We ended up spending more than 6 weeks together in a pretty small area and we all got along just fine .Now back to the trip: We all met on January 26, 2007 on Phuket Island in Thailand. The boat “Reflections’ was at the Royal Phuket Marina “on the hard” (meaning: out of the water. The plan was to go at it for a few days and to get her ready for the ocean voyage. I had figured out, what all needed to be done. I had bought a new feathering propeller, a new windlass (a system to electrically lower and raise the anchor), a new automatic pilot and a new chart plotter. We were going to install these items, do a good cleaning and overall check-up, some painting. Get her into the water and start sailing into the wide blue yonder ............Right! The boat had different ideas. Getting the propeller and the windlass installed turned out to be an epic adventure, that took 5 days.

We were not even able to place the boat into the water until the middle of  February 2007. Oh well, that is cruising. But if you have to be stuck somewhere what a better place to be than Thailand!

This allow us time to explore go out to dinner together, in other words, have a great time. When we left Royal Pucket Marina we motored to another harbor at Chalong Bay, where the immigration had to finalize our exit. While the others went by boat, the crew took the rental car and  went shopping for our trip supplies and food, a huge undertaking. Especially in a country where you can not read the labels on most of the products. It took us much longer than expected and by the time we were done it was dark. Reflections had anchored off-shore in Chalong Bay. The next day we dealt with the immigration, did last minute shopping, sent out the last emails and we all got our last Thai massages. On February 24, we sailed from Thailand into the Andaman Sea. The weather was gorgeous, we had a 7 knots

(Another magnificent night aboard Reflections offshore)

of wind filling the sails and we were all excited about the start of our journey. A few hours later the winds died, so we started the diesel engine.  C.J. and I  had calculated our diesel fuel needs, even if we would have no more wind, we should have enough fuel to make it to Sri Lanka. There was no more land in sight. On the 2nd morning we passed through the Nicobar islands. We saw 4 of the islands from a distance, but sailboats are not allowed to stop here. Each of us would be “on watch” twice a day for 2 hours periods. Everyone choose their favorite times. Amazingly none of them conflicted with anyone else’s.

Life on board was idyllic with plenty to keep us busy. We saw large schools of flying fish, which occasionally flew right into the boat.

Dolphins were riding our bow frequently. Other times we threw long lines off the stern and swam behind the boat, while holding on to the lines in order to keep up with the boat. Occasionally we saw other boats, mostly freighters, but on the 2nd day there was a sailboat on the horizon. We got in radio contact with them; it was called “the Break-away”, a 47 ft. British yacht. They were going the same direction as us, and we agreed to communicate twice a day. (I had met the couple in Mooloolaba, Australia while I was dock there for three years.) We all took turns cooking, which meant that some nights we eat very well and other nights the meals were somewhat simpler. But overall the food has been good. Soon after we left Thailand the wind died. Prayers were send out to the wind gods and new calculations made.
Time to take a bath.
The next day we had light winds and we decided to raise the spinnaker sail. The boat has 2 spinakers, a small one which is only connected by lines and a large one, which uses a “whisker pole". We raised the large one, turned off the engine and we were able to sail all day along nicely at about 4 knots.

The following day the winds died again completely and we had no choice but to run the engine. “Break-Away” had some information for  Boats were advised not to stop at Sri Lanka. Apparently the civil war there has intensified and the country is under martial law. We were advised to go to the Maldives instead, a message that was happily received by the crew.
For the first 7 days even though we had no wind, we always had some sort of adventure. Like the American war ship that notified us by radio, that they were going to conduct live shooting exercises. Initially they advised boats to stay 2 miles away, o.k. no problem. Next we received the message that we had to stay 16 miles away. Now there was a problem because we were only 8 miles away. I radioed them and told them our position. O.k. not to worry, they promised not to shoot at us. Puffff.
On the 8th day the wind gods decided to pay attention to our prayers. The winds picked up nicely accompanied by big swells. It was a gorgeous following wind and so we could set up the main and jib sails. What a delight! After all we were on a sail boat, who wants to hear the noise of a diesel engine all day?

Then on day 11, the wind became quite strong and the waves height increased.

I with help of the crew put up the storm jib and main storm sail, things actually worked quite well and we continued to sail with not too much loss of speed.

A crewmember said, " I knew I had pick the right boat and captain, that was the point that confirmed what I felt. It was important to me to join a crew on a larger than most of the other cruising sailboats and a very experience captain".

One never tires of the wonderful sunsets.

On Day 12 there was a yell, “Land Ho”, the islands of the Maldives were in sight. They are a group of a 1190, very low, coral islands, bound by reefs into various atolls.

Just another beautiful day on the Ocean

Only about 25 are inhabited by 300.000 people. The main island is Male, 2 km (1.5 mile) in size, which has a small town on it, where 80.000 people live .About 20 of the islands have been made into very exclusive and pricy resorts, where a room can go as high as US $ 3000 per night. Locals do not live on these resort islands. As it is an Islamic society, Western money is welcome, but western morals are not.

The island and town of Male is about in the center of these islands. We arrived nearby at 1:00 p.m., and per radio we were told where to anchor. It was after dark by the time we finally reached our temporary anchor spot. Here the water was so deep, 135 ft (45 meter) that the anchorage felt very insecure. Therefore we still had to do our watches that night to make sure that the anchor would not drag and put the boat onto a reef. About an hour after arrival a boat pulled up with 8 men in various official uniforms. They were from Immigration, Port police and who knows what else. It seemed like an invasion, but once on board they were friendly and polite. Our passports and boat papers had to be checked in and we had to give them all the information that they wanted to allow us to visit their country. A few hours later they left, and we could have a good night’s sleep, except for the crew on watch. So our visit to this paradise had 3 major goals: replace the leaky diesel tank, replace all the batteries (5 altogether), have a lot of fun doing it and we did!! It has now been 3 weeks since our arrival at the Maldives. It has been a very busy time. We moved to another island near Male {Hulhumale} with much better and shallower anchorage. A ferry goes from here every 30 minutes so we can do our shopping in Male. We were able to get the main sail repaired, we replaced all the batteries (accu’s) and we even have a new diesel tank. It took over 10 days to get a new tank made in the town. While that was being completed we all went diving, saw the most beautiful fish and coral that we have ever seen. It certainly was worth the extra stay, The Maldives are one of the most beautiful group of islands I have ever seen, the coral, fish are the most colorful as anywhere I have been, just amazing!

Just a few days we had the tank installed. After that we have been working on cleaning the boat. Now we can start buying the trip food and get the boat ready for the next part of the voyage. A crewmember said, "I learned a new sailing truth. Cruising is about visiting exotic ports to work on your boat". But the upside to that, you get to meet people that you wouldn't ordinarily get to know. Because of that we were invited out to dinner with some of the locals. That is the sort of thing that creats 'friends for life'. If you have to be stuck in a place, you could do way worse than HAVING to spend 3 weeks in the Maldives. The weather has been gorgeous. The ocean has perfect colors and where ever you look you're surrounded by small islands. Male is a busy little town, but the people are absolutely great. Everybody is super friendly and helpful. And all has not been just work though, we have also taken time out to have fun and explore the area. One day we made arrangements with the island resort of Embubu. We were provided with boat transport, a room and lunch. The room was gorgeous; it sat over the water with a window built into the floor, so you could see fish swim below us. It had a great bath tub, where we all took a long soak (badly needed) and some of us even used it to do some laundry. Everyone spent the day in their own favorite way.

Most of crew went snorkeling on the reef that surrounded the island and saw lots of colorful fish, turtles and sharks. The island was small, it took only 10 minutes to walk clear around it. It is surrounded by a reef, nice beaches and covered with palm trees.
On another day two of the crew went boat diving on a coral reef wall with some caves. The coral was amazing saw an amazing number of gorgeous colorful fish, including several beautiful lion fish.

They also been able to do some snorkeling on reefs nearby the boat. Again, the underwater life is amazing. Nearby a boat have been watching a huge manta ray feeding. From wing tip to wing tip must have been about 10 feet! As the crew was doing what crews do, I rested most of the day, fell asleep in the bath tub, read a book.

We celebrated C.J.’s birthday with a nice dinner in Male and this happened to be the last time that the whole group was together. (Susie was leaving to teach suba diving in the Maldives and Sara needed to return back to the States to be with her boyfriend and go back to college, which was about to begin.)

Sailing through the Maldives

Male Atoll

in the Maldives.

We decided to head north/west to Oman, but first we went north from Male and did some traveling through the islands. We left Male on March 20, 2007  2 days short of a 4 week stay. We had a lot of good times in this port. The town was very pleasant and the people extremely nice, hospitable and helpful. We had a final dinner with the 2 boat mates, who were separating from us. We were very sad to say goodbye to them; we had some great times together, but I know I’ll see them again in the future. Especially C.J. was sad, but also for another reason. Suzie had attempted an unsuccessful cut on his hair and so C.J. had decided to just shave it all off. Something you really have to get used to in the beginning. It was amazing how pasty a skull looks when it has never been exposed to the sun. He planned to leave it like this for a while, to see if he would get to like it. However, before reaching our next destination he ended up having his hair grow back. We sailed north through a multitude of Maldivian Islands
for 9 wonderful days. The weather of course was gorgeous, sunny, warm (around 30 C – 90 F) with little wind. Actually too little wind, which means a sail boat cannot sail. So we motored all the way. But then there are so many coral reefs and small islands around, that sailing would have been tricky anyway. We had some charts of the area, but no really good ones, because I had initially not planned on traveling through these islands. So even though it showed us most of the underwater obstacles, not all were marked, and we had to keep a close watch. The ocean colors help a lot. Deep dark blue means plenty deep. Lighter blue is much shallower, keep an eye out! The most gorgeous aqua color was a “no go” for the boat, especially if there were dark areas within. Those signified very shallow rocks and coral. Of course these were also the primo areas to go snorkeling in. Because we are now with only 3 people we had to rearrange the way we have been doing things on board. On the last trip everyone took turns cooking. Because I am  infamous for his ability to cook pasta, but nothing else and C.J. is great with opening cans, the female crewmember offered to be the primary cook. The men were very happy to agree to this, even though it meant that we will wash all the dishes and do all the cleaning on the boat. An arrangement that makes me happy just as well. The first island we stopped was Thulusdoo, also called Coca-Cola Island, because there is a Coca-Cola factory, very obviously painted in

Coca-Cola red colors. The island had a small village with about 1200 people. A few men came to greet us right on arrival. After first taking us to their local little tourist shop, 2 young men appointed themselves as our guides and took us all over the island.

There was a boat building facility in the process of making a huge yacht. The streets were very clean covered with beach sand and all the houses were hidden behind stone walls. They had us visit the local school and introduced us to the head teacher, so he and I could compare notes about the Maldivian versus American school systems. They took us to a gorgeous beach on an island right next to theirs where we could watch the sunset and have a view on another island that according to them was used for police training. I and C.J. went night fishing with them, I caught two fish, the others caught zero! Just luck really.

Coke Cola Island - Reflections in background


We snorkeled around, and surprised a large lobster in its hole in the wall. Several dolphins swam leisurely past me at about 3 meter (10 ft) distance; however they were not interested in having a chat with me and the water was too murky to see them underwater. The next day there was time to just relax, my little inflatable kayak is just the spot for it. Later 3 locals came with us and all of us went back to the same area. I did see the lobster again, but when we tried to get it, it crawled so far back in its hole, that we could not get to it. The locals showed C.J. how to spear fish the proper way; they caught several large fish and an octopus. Then they invited us for dinner at their place to eat them. The fish tasted good, but as usual in these islands, they were too spicy-hot. We left Coca Cola Island the next day and we motored for about 4 hours. We arrived at the resort island of Makunudo, it had a very small and fairly deep anchorage, surrounded by a mean looking reef. But the weather was very calm with no current and with some extra precautions we figured that the boat would be safe. We asked permission at the resort to anchor overnight and to sweeten the deal, we made reservations for dinner. Many of the island resorts are very expensive and they cater to exclusive clientele, therefore often, cruising yachts are not welcome. This place was a cheapy with rooms for only US $ 300 per night!


We went snorkeling on the reef around us. It had probably the best coral we’d seen, it made me think of a Japanese rock/bonsai garden. The sad part is, that I lost the underwater housing for my camera, so I have no pictures to show of the underwater world anymore. There were 3 large turtles feeding, they would look at me, and decide that I was harmless and continue to eat. One swam away at a leisurely pace and I swam with it for quite a while. Dinner was US $ 25 per person (in a country where you can get a wonderful meal for US $ 5). But we had some nice drinks with it on the patio overlooking the ocean, where we could also keep an eye on the boat. The island was tiny; it only took maybe 10 minutes to walk around it. It has 30 bungalows, set between tropical trees, each with their own little private beach in front of it. The next morning we wanted to get a very early start, however we had to wait for enough light for the water colors to show. The early morning light did not show the water colors, so you would know where the reef was located. We motored a big part of the day and in the late afternoon we reached the uninhabited island of Varihuraa.The water was here deep, so we had to set anchor too close to the reef for comfort.Kind of scary, but I hopefully had a solution, so we set out a second anchor, with the use of the dingy. A first-time experience for C.J and crew. We explored the island and fantasized how we would survive here, if we were actually stranded. With all the coconuts, crabs
and fish around, we figured that we might keep ourselves alive for a few months….. The coral reef was not that great, but snorkeling here treated us as usually to a large variety of colorful fish and several sting rays and manta rays. Felivaru island was the next place we visited. Actually we never set foot on land. There was a bad smelling fish factory that we had no desire to visit.

Our main reason for coming here was a huge ship wreck lodged on the reef between 2 islands. It sat on the side of the reef, and a large part stuck out above the water. The  wreck  you could just snorkel around. Great snorkeling indeed.

The whole ship was mostly intact, but the part sticking out of the water was just rusted metal. However under water it had become a piece of art. Colorful coral, yellowish flowers and other growth was all over it and tons of fish had made it their habitat. We motored for about 6 hours to the island of Dholhiyadhoo, We had been told that is was a wonderful, uninhabited island, full of crab which you could just pick off the beach. It probably used to be that way, but things change. About 550 construction workers from Bangladesh were very busy converting it into another exclusive resort island. Management showed us the plans for about 200 bungalows, including a presidential suite (for the president’s private use). We were welcome to walk around and observe the construction, but taking pictures was a definite no-no. They were probably afraid to we would carry their secrets with us to the west. No bungalows were finished yet, although we could see the basic construction, work was mostly being done on staff housing in 2 story buildings. Of the western end of the island it was still unspoiled beach and the guys figured that there might still be crab waiting to be caught. Right! What do you expect with 550 Bangladeshis around? So after an unsuccessful hunt, we occupied ourselves with their own construction project: building sand castles, while I was reading a book in the shade.

I looked out the galley porthole and thought just another great sunset. Life couldn't be better than this. It took 8 hours of motoring to get to the truly uninhabited island of Kudanaagoashi.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away for safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream. Discover."

Mark Twain

It was small and heavily forested in the middle, so you could walk across it. But it was great for a beach walk on the wonderful soft white sand. I was finding crabs here, but they were too small to make them worth while cooking, I found gorgeous little pieces of coral, which would make great little Christmas ornament.The next day we barbequed hotdogs on a campfire. A half-moon lit up the beach, making it as clear as day light. It was great for an evening walk, which also brought out lots of the little crabs.
Around these northern islands we saw the locals fishing from cute little sail boats. It also shows that some islands are no more than just a sandbar.
On our last day, we passed the Hide-Away Island. The only place in the Maldives where there is a yacht marina. However we had been told that the president’s son-in-law owned this island and had made it into an exclusive and super-expensive resort. Small yachts are not encouraged to go there. We tried to made radio contact and no one bothered to answer. We decided to continue to Dhidhdhoo, which has a small village of 3500 people. As usual the locals were great. They met us right on arrival. “Yes, we can sell you diesel, yes we have propane and what else can we help you with?”

A boat arrived to fill up our diesel tanks (yes, the new diesel tank is doing just fine).

And then they gave me a ride into their village. We tried to get our propane tank filled here but there was no way to fill our current empty propane tank, so we did have to buy one of theirs, which has a different fitting. But again,   would  find a way to make it fit. They were even able to turn us on to a computer on which we could all check our emails. “Do you get many sail boats here?” we asked. “Well, you are here this year and there was one last year”, was the answer. No wonder so many of the locals came out to see us. It was time to leave the Maldives. The boat and engine got a total check-over, all loose items were tied down, and the dingy was brought back on deck. The boat was surrounded by thousands of fish, which I fed 2 loaves of old moldy bread. Early in the afternoon we were ready to go, compass set at 300 degrees north-west for Oman, our next destination. We passed several more islands, many uninhabited, some with villages, some with resorts. One of the last islands was Uligam where most sail yachts stop and arrange immigration formalities. We had actually been illegal in this country since leaving Male, so we had no desire to stop there as well. The final island we saw was uninhabited and looked very inviting. But no, we could not stop.
Maldives to Oman
On March 28 at 1700 hours (5 pm) we started the next big ocean crossing that will take us across 1235 nautical miles to Oman.Still there was no wind, so we had to motor again. Because there are no more islands, there are no places to stop overnight, and the boat moves 24 hours per day. Again we had to assign watch duties, and off we sailed into the horizon.

Since we are only 3 persons now, it translates into 8 hours each. With everyone’s agreement we divided it into 3 hour stretches twice a day and a 2 hour stretch between midnight and 0600, quite doable. Hours became 1800 (6 pm) to 2100 (9 pm) hours, 0200 (2 am) to 0400 (4 am) and 0900 (9 am) to 1200 (12 noon. Which gave the crewmember time in between to cook lunch and dinner and leaves her about 4 hours to spend as she please, reading, writing, working on her laptop.

Killer Whale trying to catch up with us.

The first 4 days we had to motor most of the time, only occasionally there was a light breeze and we would sail for a bit. The wind started picking up and for the next 5 days we had a nice breeze that occasionally became quite stiff. Great sailing weather! However on April 7 the winds died again and the ocean was perfectly flat. We were still about 200 miles from Oman, we had enough diesel left for about 250 miles, but too close for comfort for the captain. There had been several days that we never saw any other boats and the times that we did, they were usually big freighters or tankers, who can not stop for a little sailboat. But on this day a Pakistani fishing boat passed by. They did not respond to our radio call, so we motored our boat straight to theirs.

They had their long fishing lines floating off their stern. Initially when we saw them only a few guys were on deck, but as we got closer, about 20 of them appeared. They waved us over and appeared quite friendly. They desperately needed fresh water/we showed them our 5 gallon diesel tanks trade for fresh (would have given the fresh water anyway without the trade for diesel).“Whiskey?” (Muslim?? Whiskey?? Hope Allah won't find out about it. ) they asked. Sure enough. We gave them some whiskey, some cigarettes, fresh water, and some Tylenol (Paracetemol); they gave us diesel . When we tried to pay, they refused, they felt that the trade was fair and they gave us a large Tuna fish to boot. We had a delicious dinner that night. Thanks to our Pakistani friends they give  us about 25 gallons of diesel, we could motor again, actually when we got to Oman we still had 35 gallons of diesel left! During the night the winds picked up again and we were able to sail the miles that we were short. C.J. had calculated on the morning of April 6 that I had reached the exact midway point from San Francisco to San Francisco. The crew woke me up and presented me with a memento of this event. I had sailed this boat for 20.000 miles now. The world is 26.000 miles in circumference, but he went quite a bit north and south along the way. Along the way we had quite a few visits of one of my favorite animals again, the dolphins.

A few times they came in huge numbers, at least a hundred and they were just swimming and cavorting around the boat. What a great sight!! One of my dreams came through. One day we had turned off the engine, the ocean was perfectly flat and a group of dolphins came swimming up to the boat. The crew jumped immediately into the water and went swimming with them. I have to omit, it did make me a bit nervous to see them swimming with the dolphins, epically the size of these dolphins!

(There is plenty of dive gear aboard Reflections.)

Yes, that is C J in the middle of the Arabian Sea swimming with dolphins. (Goes to prove, you do not need to be totally sensible to be a crewmember aboard Reflections)

They were a bit shy and they did not come all the way up to us, but swam around us only a few feet away. Obviously they were very curious about us. They are so graceful under water; it was an experience never to be forgotten. This trip was very different from the one sailing from Thailand to the Maldives, except for some of the worries caused by the wind stills this leg was idealistic. The auto pilot would not work so we steer the whole way by hand. I actually liked it, so did the crew.  On the open ocean you have no objects to steer towards. It is amazing how fast you can be going in circles. I trained myself to keep course by various methods: of course there is always the GPS. I would use the windvane only or I would watch the compass closely when the winds were too variable to watch the windvane. Our crossing started with a half moon, and so we had nice moon light all of the nights, making the watches much easier. We saw a few flying fish and occasionally birds. Some had to take a rest from their long flight. Mostly we only saw deep blue/purple water and blue skies with a few clouds.Towards the end of the trip C.J. gave us a sad message. He will leave the boat in Oman. His plan had been to leave from Egypt, but with all the extended stays at beautiful islands in the Maldives that we have had, he is running out of time, and needed to get back to his job.

On April 9th we reached Oman very early in the morning. After 12 days of open ocean it was quite exciting to see land again.
We contacted the port by radio and we were directed to the large harbor, which actually lies 6
miles outside the town of Salalah.
We were very surprised to notice that it was a very modern and large port, with huge freight and container ships, that were being loaded with multiple large cranes.
We were directed to a smaller corner of the harbor, where we awaited hassles with immigration and customs. But nothing could be further from the truth. Two customs officers showed up fairly soon after arrival. Way before we expected them.  They were very friendly and professional, no hint of asking for a bribe, and the formalities were completed in no time. They told us where the Immigration office was, it was actually quite a bit of a walk to get there. When we asked a man for directions, he placed us into his car and took us there. Not just that! He introduced us to the Immigration officers, then waited until we were finished and took us to the harbor police. All that without asking for anything in return. When he left he showed us where the taxis were stationed. Immigration was also very friendly and professional. "How long do you want to stay?" they asked. "Oh, we don't know exactly, maybe a week". "O.K. here is a month visa, and you can go where ever you like". There was our stamp, again no hint of wanting anything from us. Because we are in a restricted area, we have to show the harbor police our passports each time we go in and out, but they also create no hassle at all.
The country is not cheap, as S.E. Asia is and the taxi was US $ 30 to get into town. But we made a deal with the taxi driver. We can hire him each day for US $ 45 to take us anywhere around town all day long. He was very helpful, we'd tell him what we need and he'd take us to the proper store. We found a store that was able to order a new auto pilot for us, we will get it on Sunday, April 15. Hopefully on that day we can get it installed and leave either that day or the next.
It is quite hot and humid here.  Ninety - seven degrees in my aft cabin!
The town is open with large, good roads and nice looking beige and white buildings.
This area is very arid , but the taxi driver told us that the nearby mountains are very green and beautiful. Hopefully we'll have a chance to look around the country a bit, before we move on.
Again the people are amazingly friendly and helpful. Where ever we go, they like to talk to us. But there is no staring and no pushiness. More amazing, because it seems that 90 % of the women are covered from head to toe in a black gown, including their faces. Some local women have their faces uncovered, but they do wear a scarf. We did see however 2 teenage girls, who wore western style clothing and did not even wear scarves.
The female crewmember did wear long pants and short sleeves, but she totally forgot to wear a head scarf. It did not cause any negative reactions. However for the coming days she would wear a hat, so her hair will be covered.
For a while she was alone in the vegetable market. No one hassled, but she did get into a conversation with 2 local men, they also were very pleasant and nice to talk to, she said. Of course, things as usually are unfair to women. Men either wear western style or the local long gown, but the gowns are mostly white or beige. For the women it is mostly hot black. But they do seem to move around freely, it would sure be interesting to talk to them. The men can legally have 4 wives, although it seems that most of them can not afford it. Our taxi driver told us that he can afford only one wife, but he does have 8 children with her! On the way back home we stopped off for a while at the Hilton Hotel. It has its private beach along the ocean, with green, green grass between the palm trees. All around are the Westerners in skimpy bathing suits. Talk about different worlds.

 I will continue the trip into the Red Sea with just the two of us, but we will miss C.J. sorely. His great company, our talks about outdoor adventures and his knowledge of navigation and electronic equipment.

Good luck, C.J., enjoy your further adventures, I know I will see you again! (And I did in Italy in 2009.)
We needed to order a new part for our automatic pilot, which had to come from Dubai and took 5 days.

So the time was spend working on the boat and checking out the town of Salalah.

We had nice local type meals, eaten in appropriate Omani style. We were about 6 miles (10 km) out of the town of Salalah and taxi driver Ahmed became our regular driver. On April 12 it was the last day to have C.J. with us. He had run out of time and he had decided that it was easiest to travel from Oman to Dubai to leave the area from there. But before he left we hired the taxi driver Ahmed to take us on a tour of the area.


Driving through and out of town we saw quite a few camels. Some seemed to be just wandering by themselves and even caused road hazards. A bit out of town was a large herd of camels,

according to Ahmed; they were a local food supply. We drove over hairpin roads through the arid hills; the country reminded me of Arizona. Ahmed showed us the plants from which frankincense is obtained, which apparently has been exported from here since biblical times. The coast line was beautiful with large beaches and of course the gorgeous ocean colors. We ended it with a nice lunch in a beach restaurant, where we were watching the local men smoking their hookah pipes.At the end of the day we dropped C.J. at a hotel in town from where he would continue his travels. It sure was sad to say goodbye to our buddy, it will be quiet on the boat without him. We stayed 3 more days in Salalah, where we made friends with Mike, a British solo sailor. We helped him with some of his boat’s problems; he helped us with some of ours. Mike had just come down the Red Sea and he had had a series of misadventures. His boat engine had broken down and there was either not enough wind to sail or it had come from the total wrong direction. A stretch that should have taken 5 days, took a month and he had started to run very low on food and water. He gave us a bunch of info about the Red Sea, always usable. Of course as always there were some repairs to be done. Mike gave me  his mother's email address in England, I did email her months later and kept in touch for over a year. She never received an email from him. I had warned him about crossing the Arabian Sea at that time of year. Three days after he left Salalah, one of the worst weather in the northern part of the Arabian Sea occurred. He was never heard of again.
Going to shore had become a bit more difficult as our poor little dingy had had it, and the floor had come halfway out. We had run out of the glue to fix it, but luckily  I had  little paddle boats that we can still use to get to shore. Our wind indicator had not been working well and I climbed to the top of the mast to fix it, a place that affords nice views over the surrounding area and the boat itself. On April 15 we received the new part for the auto pilot and I was able to install it without any problems. The diesel tank was filled, we had enough water and there was plenty of food. So at 4:00 pm we continued our trip and sailed off toward Yemen.
The winds were calm, the sea flat and the sun was shining. So we had to motor. Until we would reach the city of Aden in Yemen, we were planning to motor the whole route anyway. This time it was not related to the weather, but to the fact that we would have to travel through an area, where boats occasionally get attacked by pirates, nicknamed: “blood alley”. We had had conflicting advice of how to travel safely through this area. One option was to stay 10 miles off shore and if you were attacked you could radio for help by the Yemen coast guard (big question remains though, how long they would take to reach you). Another problem is that fishing boats in that area set out their nets, which can be as long as 5 miles. We had heard of some boats getting severely damaged that way. The other option is to stay 50 miles off where the pirates can not see you from the shore and the fishing boats don’t go. However it was not advised to go much further, because then you would get near the island of Socotra and the country of Somalia, where apparently the pirates are even worse than those from Yemen. We opted for the 50 mile off-shore route. The first day we were still boating along the coast of Oman, where there were no problems. For safety we ran with no running lights on at night and not even any lights on in the cabins or cockpit that might be visible. This then meant that we had to keep a much sharper look-out, because other boats would not be able to see us. To improve our vision we used night vision goggles, which create an eerie-looking green glow. But it was amazing how well you could see with them. During this trip there was no moon at all, which was welcoming in this case.

However the picture below was taken later with the goggles when there was a full moon. On the second day we reached Yemen territory. In the morning the crewmember was on watch duty. She had scanned the horizon, no boats in sight and she went down below to the bathroom. When she came back up, there was a very fast wooden speedboat with 4 guys inside, about 100 meters (yards) from the starboard side of the boat, aiming full speed for the bow. She screamed for me, ran back up to the helm, turned off the auto pilot and steered the boat 180 degrees away from the speedboat. At this point they were only about 10 meters (30 feet) from the bow. Then finally did they slow down and started gesturing to us.  Then they motored over to the bow and tried to come aboard. I turned the boat hard over to port again.
We had no clue what they were trying to say,  we waved them away. Amazingly enough that is exactly what they did. I felt that they had aimed for the bow, because at that point they could grab our boat easily and jump right on. We were not sure who or what these guys were, pirates or obnoxious opportunistic fishermen. Either way, we were happy not to find out what their intentions were. Needless to say, that after this incident the helm was not left unattended at any time for as long as we were in the pirate zone. No further incidents that day, but the next morning 3 speedboats, each with 4 or 5 guys inside, sped towards our boat. We were both on deck and waved them away. They passed close to the bow and stern, but they made no attempt to stop. It sure made us nervous though. A few hours later, when I was on watch, I saw them again through my binoculars.

They were around a large boat and it seemed that there was another small boat in the water as well. We were too far to be able to see what exactly they were doing, but I took some pictures through the binoculars. We figured that they were not pirates, but probably smugglers and transferring goods between the boats. They were probably searching for the right boat when they passed us. On the third day we truly entered “Blood Alley”. We were on very intense look-outs. There was a distress signal on the radio, followed by repeated messages from a boat, giving their coordinates and claiming that their boat was taking on water and they were going to sink. The message was in heavily accented English. We had read stories of pirates using this tactic to get boats to come to them. Other boats responded to them and advised them to notify the coast guard; no one showed any intention to go find them. I and another boat came on the radio, pretending that they were U.S. Navy. At this time there was no response. Later a U.S. warship send out radio messages, again no response. You kind of worry during those signals, is there really a boat in trouble? Then you should be there to help them. But because they did not respond whenever there was a military radio response, we decided that it was a trap. But before leaving that area we did have an incident.  Amazingly after we entered the worst area, it became much quieter. There were hardly any speed boats at all anymore. But we were traveling in the freighter lane. On one hand this was comforting, if there was a serious problem, you might get help. On the other hand, how well are the freighters are  watching? A few times we had to maneuver to get out of their way. We were still running with no lights on at night, so the watch person continuously had to scan the area. Early in the morning of the 6th day, we reached Aden (in Yemen). We were totally out of the pirate zone now. The entrance to the harbor was well-marked and we had no problems finding a good anchorage.

There were 3 other sail boats anchored nearby. Immigration and customs did not give any problems.

We stayed in Aden for 4 days cleaning, emails, shopping for food, diesel and water and exploring the area a bit. The pier was very nice looking. Apparently in this same place cruise ships stop by quite a bit for just a day. We saw one cruise ship dock there and let out passengers for a bus tour.. They herded their guests (1000 people) into buses and took them on a tour of the area. In the morning a group of school children with their teachers were sitting at the pier.

When I asked what they were doing, the response was: “We are looking at the tourists! "The area is poor, hot and dry, but again the people were very friendly.
I walked the streets by myself and people would start a conversation and offered help whenever they thought I needed it.Some women called me over and let me take pictures of them.I went to a bank to change some money. This particular bank could not do exactly what I needed. A woman, to whom I had talked for a few minutes, thought that I had money problems. She tried very hard to give me money and I had to convince her that I really did not need it. Later I took a local bus to another area and a man sat down next to me. He spoke excellent English and insisted on paying the bus fare for me. When I went shopping for food, it must have been the time of day that the women go shopping. There were a lot of them in the store and probably about 60 % of them were covered head to toe (including face) in black gowns. At the office where we had to buy diesel, I became friendly with one of the women workers there. She was dressed in black as well. I asked her if the material and color was not very hot and that it seemed that the men used a much cooler material and color. She told me that the cloth was light and cool, and let me feel it, it was very thin. Then she said: “The color does not matter, because during the day, when it is hot, we stay inside where it is cool. The men need lighter colors, because they do go out in the hot sun”. Men can have as many as 4 wives in these countries and we found that the birth rate is very high. What a way to make sure, that women stay covered and pregnant in their kitchens!!!
In a store, I was dressed up in Yemeni style; it actually looked very good on me according to my crewmate. .I had stayed on the boat while the crewmember  went shopping for the main food supplies. It was dark by the time she returned and she could not get my attention to come to shore to help her with getting the groceries over to the boat. A man jumped in his boat and went to notify me. This same man then let us tie our boat next to his in order to fill our water tanks and arranged with some friends to help us. It took quite a while to get all of that done and I became quite friendly with them. The people we met there all said they had a lot of respect for the United States. On the morning of the third day we left Aden. The weather was beautiful, seas flat with little wind, so we had to motor.

We did not see dolphins as much as before, but we had a nice visit from 2 killer whales (orcas) who came up right next to the boat to have a closer look at us. We followed the coast west and then we had to turn north into the Red Sea.
North up the Red Sea
The Red Sea is quite infamous with sailors, the winds and waves can be ferocious at times, usually they come from the north (against you) and it can take a long time to get to the Suez Canal. In the southern end is the Strait Bab El Mandel, which is very narrow and a major bottle neck. There is an island in the middle: Perim, where you are absolutely not allowed to stop and the Yemen government prefers that you to pass it on the west side. The strait is also extremely busy with large freighters and therefore it has, what is called, a traffic separation scheme. Boats going north have to stay on the east side; going south they have to stay on the west side. It was dark by the time we reached this area. The winds had become strong from the south and the waves had grown to about 6 to 8 feet (2 to 2.5 meter). With these waves we were limited in the ways we could maneuver. We tried to stay as far right as possible in order to stay out of the freighters ways. But whenever we got closer to Perim, a boat from that direction would start following us. So we ended up having to travel right between the freighters, a very scary experience. I can compare it this way: Imagine that you are traveling in a very small and slow car at 25 miles/hr (40 km per hour) down a 2 lane road. In both lanes are very large trucks driving at 60 miles/hr (100 km per hour) and they do not want to slow down for you. You are also not sure how well they can see you and it is not possible for you to turn to the left or to the right. Twice a large freighter came right on our tail end and we had to notify them by radio to change course. One of them did not answer and we had to fire a flare to get his attention and to get him to go around us. It is not a pretty sight to see such a large freighter so close to your boat in the dark. The biggest problem was that if they had hit us, they would not even notice it! It was a very intense night and neither one of us had had any sleep.The original plan had been to cross west as soon as possible and to sail the African coast along Eritrea and Sudan. However, it was impossible with these freighters, wind and waves to go anywhere but straight north along the Arabian coast. Arabia does not welcome tourists and their harbors are off-limits. By morning the wind was still strong and the seas were still big, but we had passed the bottleneck and we were out of the freighter lane.
We passed the Hanish Island group (Yemen) on our left and we decided to anchor in the lee side of one of the islands. We ended up at Hanish As Sughra Island. Apparently it was a military look-out point and no one was allowed on shore. There was still a strong and gusty wind, but the waves in this location were small. The island was very stark looking; dark rocky hills with very little vegetation, just a few shacks on the shore and on the peaks of the hills.We anchored in a bay, where there were also about 6 fishing boats. The poor fishermen were also not allowed on shore and had to stay in their boats.

A few boats came by and we understood that they lived on islands about 20 ml (30 km) away.They were hiding out from the wind and waves as well, friendly and polite people. One boat had an old man,

who complained about stomach pain and diarrhea. We gave him some medicine and bread and they gave us a fish, which we cooked that night.We ended up staying here for 3 days. The first day we were both exhausted and slept the day away. The next 2 days were spent giving the boat a good cleaning, resting, reading and watching videos (good ones). On the third day all the fishing boats had disappeared and did not come back, so we figured that the sea had improved.On the morning of day 4 there were still strong, gusty winds, but it seemed that there were fewer whitecaps in the distance. We decided to leave as well. Because of the wind and the waves we were still forced to continue north, but slowly during the day everything became calmer. By evening we reached another island group: the Zubayr Islands. By this time the wind was calm and the waves only about 1 – 2 feet (30 cm) high and instead of stopping we decided that it was the right time to head north-west and to try to get to the African side. It caused us to have to cross the freighter lane going south, which created a few tense moments. But we passed it without problems and as we started sailing along the African coast, life again became very nice and peaceful. The moon had come back up and during the night we had visits from hitchhiking birds, who found our boat to be a great resting place.
The weather was gorgeous, although there was very little wind, I was worried about when this was going to end. I suggested that we would use the weather to our best advantage and to keep heading north for as long as it was good. Eritrea and Sudan are both very poor countries with lots of internal problems and we decided to pass them and not to stop there. Sail boats in this area stay in daily touch with each other by radio. Each morning at 0900 the boats call in at the “Red Sea Net” and they inform each other of conditions. From these radio transmissions we found out that conditions further north and closer to shore were quite rough. A lot of boats were hiding out in bays, waiting for the winds and seas to go down. But further off-shore conditions were much better. We had very good boating and we decided to stay 50 miles off-shore.But now a new problem popped up. We had had to motor a lot during the heavy seas and the calms and we were starting to run low in diesel.
We reached the border of Egypt without problems, but unless we would get good winds and we could sail, we would not have enough diesel to make it to Port Ghalib, our next port of call. Via the “Red Sea Net” we heard that 5 boats had been hiding out for several days in a bay by Port Bernice. We were about 70 miles directly east of them, but when we turned the boat, the wind blew from the west. We could finally raise the sails and turn off the engine. Accompanied by dolphins we were blown right into the bay, where we anchored next to the other boats.We had a good night rest, early in the morning the wind was still blowing about 15 knots, and everyone decided to stay another day. The shore was quite barren, a tent and a few shacks nearby and further away there appeared to be a small village.Apparently it was also a military outpost and we were told that no one was allowed on shore. So everyone stayed in their little spaces on their own boats and had frequent conversations with each other by radio. It was a nice relaxing day, a little cleaning, repairing, and reading. I wanted to go snorkeling, but the boat was surrounded by hundreds of jelly fish. They can give a nasty sting, so it did not seem like a good idea.The next morning we woke up at 0530 am. Wind still!! At 0600 all 5 boats had had their coffee and anchors were being pulled. Including ours. We pulled the 200 ft. (60 meter) of anchor that we had put down into the 50 ft (15 meter) deep water, but after half of it was up, it got stuck. O.k. you motor the boat back and forth a bit to get it unstuck. Right? Not in this case, because the anchor chain broke, right at the mid-way point. So my crewmember an experience diver, donned dive gear and wetsuit (to protect herself from the jelly fish) and  went under water. Luckily we had anchor coordinates on the GPS, which helped us to relocate it. The chain was stuck under some rocks and she worked hard to get it unstuck and to move the anchor to a sandy spot from where it would be easy to pull it up. But working this hard she forgot about the time and all of a sudden breathing became hard. Her tank was empty, had no more air. So, much faster than is advisable, she went back up to the surface, where it took her a few minutes to get her breath back. I got the 2nd tank out, and down under she went again, telling herself to be more careful. I had been able to maneuver the boat right above the anchor;  let the remaining chain down with a karabiner and a rope. She connected the 2 pieces of chain and  placed the rope around the anchor. She went up to tell me to start pulling and back down to make sure that the chain would not get stuck again. It came up without any further problems. We were here right next to a gorgeous reef, full of a wide variety of coral; she said she still had time to enjoy the sight of it. Obviously Egypt deserves its name as a major dive destination. At 0830 we were ready to go. We were still concerned about our diesel supply, but other boats had told us, that they would give us some along the way if we needed it. Then on the radio the boat “Joanie D” came on. Their engine was running very rough and blowing lots of smoke. During radio transmissions between the different boat owners it was diagnosed as having a blown head gasket. They were still able to motor, but they were concerned that along the way the engine might quit all together. They were missing an essential tool, that was needed to fix it. "No worries, mate, I had the perfect torque wrench for you". And the "Joanie D" had plenty of diesel for us. So a little way out we got together and exchanged the promised goods. In order to make sure that the “Joanie D” would be safe, we decided to stay together all the way to Port Ghalib.
We arrived at our first Egyptian port of call: Port Ghalib with its brand-new marina at about noon time.About 10 other sail boats were there and everyone was waiting to get checked in by immigration. Some of them had been waiting already since 0600. But the papers for immigration had to be taken to the airport 10 km away, and so the waiting was for all the boats to get in for the day. Two more boats arrived after us and finally at 1700 hours (5 pm) the papers came back and everyone was checked in.
Only then were we allowed to go to the yacht club for a more comfortable tie-on with running water and electricity.
The area was still under construction and nothing was actually finished except for a luxury diving hotel, where we could berth. Lots of large dive boats were parked nearby. The first day after arrival was as usually spent cleaning and fixing things and exploring the possibility for a visit to the Luxor temples and tombs from here. We were not the only ones and so, at 0400 am the next day we found ourselves on a 2-day tour with about 10 other yachties. Because of the attacks on tourist in past years, the Egyptians are very careful to protect their major source of income and bus trips are made in huge convoys under police protection.
It took about 6 hours of driving through hot and dry desert to get to the lush valley of the river Nile, where the town Luxor is located.

The Nile
Occasionally we passed little villages and small towns, where time seemed to have stood still. Many people in Egypt were very poor and their major source of transportation was the donkey.
We arrived in Luxor at about 10 am and right away we started to visit the sites.

The first one to see was the biggest, the 3000 year old Karnak temples.Several people from the other sailboats in Port Ghalib came with us.

We became good friends with the Spanish occupants of the boat "Cormoran".Of course,
a tour in Egypt could not be done without being taken to some "factories",

who then gladly would sell you their product.
Haggling was a way of life in Egypt, and I hoped I  was getting good at it. We stayed in a gorgeous 5 star hotel

right on the banks of the Nile with great swimming pools, and delicious buffet meals served in their restaurant.The Falukas (traditional Nile sailboats)

made for a gorgeous sunset picture.In the evening we were taken back to the Karnak temple by horse and buggy and had a light and sound show at the site, very nicely done.
The next day we were taken to several different sites. We visited the valley of the Queens, a tomb dedicated to a queen, who pretended for 20 years to be male, so she could be a Pharaoh, a position that was restricted to males.
Some of the local tour guides were trying to drum up some business.In the "Valley of the Kings" were the tombs of the great Pharaohs.

The inner walls were all decorated with the well known Egyptian pictures and hierographs, but all the valuables and loose decorations had been moved to the museum in Cairo.
In this valley are 62 tombs, we went inside 3 of them. That was plenty in the desert heat.
Everywhere in Egypt security is tight, but there was time for talks with the female tourists.Included in the tour was a boat trip on the river Nile.where I was requested to take the helm for a while.At 1800 hours (6 pm) the huge convoy worked its way back to Safaga again. On the way the bus had a rest break in the middle of the desert, where I had my picture taken with some Bedoins, a very poor, nomadic people, that are some of the few that can eke a living out of the hot, dry desert.
They were accompanied by their donkeys, goats and camels.

I usually stay far away from any type of tours, but this one was very convenient and very well done. Being with my new friends from the other yachts sure added to the trip. It was midnight before we were back and the next day was spent getting the boat ready in Port Ghalib.We left Port Ghalib on May 8 after filling up our tanks with diesel.
At the moment (May 15) we are going through the Suez Canal. The story of the trip from Port Ghalib to here will have to be placed. This 3rd part of the sail trip sure was interesting. My crewmember said her friend Bob from Utah, who sailed for 7 years, had told me: "Sailing is 98 % boredom and 2 % pure terror". He might be right about the terror part, but so far the boredom has not been a problem for me yet. she said she still enjoy life at sea.

May 30, 2007
Sailing from Egypt to Turkey
4th leg of the trip: Egypt to Turkey.

We left Port Ghalib, Egypt

on May 8 after filling up with diesel and water. The Red Sea has a bad reputation for unexpected storms with high waves, so I wanted to take advantage of any nice weather to get going. The weather was gorgeous, light winds and calm seas, so we had to motor. The Egyptian coast is full of coral reefs that are great for snorkeling and diving and we were planning to stop at some of these sites and check out the underwater world. The area we had selected was designated an underwater park and anchoring is strictly forbidden in order to avoid damage to the coral. But there were supposed to be moorings that we could tie up to. We reached the areas and we searched and searched for the moorings, but if they were there, they were well hidden from us. We never found a single one, so we could not stop and therefore the glories of the underwater world were denied to us. The weather stayed good and we continued into the northern part of the Red Sea, where it splits into 2 sections. The left one is where we had to go and it is quite narrow: it is called the Strait of Gubal. The guidebook told us, that the wind blows hard here most of the time, accompanied by large waves. It advised, that “if the weather is good, go for it.” The weather was good and we went for it. We had selected 2 places where we were going to spend the night for the 3 day trip. The weather stayed great all day and by evening we reached the first overnight spot. The GPS told us that there was a marina and anchoring was strictly prohibited due to oil pipe lines lying on the sea bottom. We tried to contact the marina by radio and we were told that there was no marina and we should anchor. Because the weather was good, we decided that instead of stopping we would just continue and boat through the night. A good thought at the time, but only one hour later the wind picked up and it reached a strength of 25 knots at times with about 1 meter (3 ft) waves. The Strait is only about 6 miles wide and 150 miles long. It ends at the start of the Suez Canal, therefore it is full of large freighters coming and going and again there is a traffic separation scheme. Small boats are advised not to run between the freighters. But running close to shore is not an option as well as it is full with obstacles, oil drills, oil drilling platforms, channel markers, etc. etc.And they are not necessarily lit up at night. So we decided to boat right next to the left traffic channel, where the freighters were heading south (with other words; towards us).With the darkness (no moon) wild weather, freighters and obstacles on our route, needless to say that we both were up all night, keeping a very close look-out. Again the night vision goggles did wonders; at least we could see the freighters coming from about 10 miles away. Long before our radar picked up on them. By morning we reached our 2nd overnight spot. The weather had become nice again and even though we were both very tired, we decided to continue. At 1600 hrs (4:00 pm) we reached the town of Suez, which marks the beginning of the Suez Canal, where we finally could enjoy a well-deserved rest.The next day our boat was measured and all sorts of fees had to be paid in order to be able to go through the Suez Canal. A  Egyptian man would come frequently along side the boat to sell us food items.


I had become sick and he spent the whole day in bed. My crewmember played nurse for a while and gave me some medicine that after a while made I felt a bit better again. On May 13 I felt well enough to continue and the pilot, who was going to guide us through the Suez Canal, arrived.
At 1100 hours (11 am) we entered the Suez Canal. The canal is not wide enough for 2 way freighter traffic, so there are set times for them to move north and other times to move south.
They stayed in so-called waiting areas until it was time to go.Little boats (like us) can go at in between times and we are mostly kept separated from the big freighters, but nevertheless, there were still some that we passed awfully close. It was almost a case of “reach out and touch someone”.The shores were quite barren, although frequently we saw big containers.



also security in Egypt was very tight, and in many places there were military units with big machine guns on the shores.
Midway there were some large lakes that the route goes through. We still had to keep a very close look-out, because even in the lakes were all kinds of obstacles to avoid.But again the weather was nice and we reached the midway town of Ismailiya just before dark.It was a pleasant, good size city of 1,5 million people with a nice marine. Local people were fishingand digging for clams right in the area.
We ended up staying there for 5 days.

As usual boat work had to be done, but we also took a day off and we rode the local bus to crowded and smoggy Cairo (pop. 20 million).

Near Cairo are 9 of the Giza pyramids and a huge sphinx.When you’re in Egypt, you of course have to visit these places. The pyramids were a little distance from each other, separated by sandy desert roads and we hired a horse and carriage to take us around.
We rode through the little town of Giza,where the locals were simply going about their business.

The pyramids were of course very impressive
I even attempted to climb a little way up.
While the locals were smarter and took their siesta in the shade.One of the locals talked me into getting onto a camel.And graciously offered to shoot some great pictures.
After which he then demanded an outrageous amount of money. The fact that police on camel back was nearby probably prevented him from keeping our cameras for ransom.
We paid him what we felt was fair and we continued on.Next we went on to the sphinx. It is huge and beautiful;you could get close, but not right next to it.
Later in the afternoon we returned to Cairo,

where we had another view of the Nile River.
Here we spent several hours in the Egyptian museum where the treasures from the pyramids and tombs are on display. It was truly amazing!
Suez Canal
On May 18 another Suez Canal pilot woke us up at 0600 hr (6 am) and soon we were going down the 2nd section of the Canal.
The day started out with a heavy fog, the pilot had us boat on the left side of the canal, close to shore. It was tricky, because just to our right the big freighters passed on our bow, and on our left were canal markers and fishing boats. We could not see any of them until they were very close.By 10:00 hrs (10 am) it was clear again and we continued without any problems. At 1500 hrs (3 pm) we reached the end of the Suez Canal at Port Said, where we dropped the pilot off.Port Said looked from the canal like a big, busy and fairly nice city,with ferries crossing from one side to the other.
We had been told that in Port Said it could be quite costly to go ashore, as all kinds of people want some “baksheesh” (tips, bribes, a way of life in Egypt), before you can get your exit visa and legally leave the place.


We decided to ignore it all and to just keep going straight ahead into the Mediterranean Sea.
Egypt to IsraelSo we did not get an exit stamp on our Egypt visa, which may cause problems if we return, which is unlikely anytime soon. We went east along the coast, direction Israel


and we arrived in the Israel town of Ashkelon the next day at 1330 hrs (1:30 pm). Apparently there has been fighting in the Gaza desert among the Palestinians, which is only 20 km (15 miles) to the south of this town. By radio we were directed to go a bit past Ashkelon before we could go in. A high speed Israeli naval boat, fully armed, circled our boat, before turning away and telling us: “Welcome to Israel”.Ashkelon was a very western, modern and new town. It had good roads and if it was not for the Hebrew signs, you’d figure that you were in “anyplace U.S.A.”.
It is apparently also a favorite beach town for the Israeli people.
Lots of construction was going on.
We were told that fighting had been going on between 2 Palistinian factions in the Gaza: the Hamas and El Fatah. Even though it was an internal war, just for sport they were also throwing rockets into Israel, some of which landed less than 10 km away from us. So we could frequently hear rocket explosions, but that was all we noticed about the problems.
Being in Israel, you HAVE to visit Jerusalem, the center for 3 of the world religions. New Jerusalem is modern.but old Jerusalem placed us back into medieval times. It was surrounded by a city wall,

on which we walked for half-way around the city.
The buildings were ancient, but it did not seem that anyone lacked having their satellite tv’s.Being on top of the wall gave us good view of an area that was being excavated.And a large graveyard just outside the city walls.

Old Jerusalem was accessed through several large city gates.

And of course the city was full of historical and biblical sites.
For the Christians the Via Dolorosa was an important route as it marked the 14 Stations of the Cross, the route that Jesus was forced to follow while carrying the cross.

Prayer sessions were conducted along this route.We visited his tomb in the middle of a large temple, which was built 300 years after his death.

And of course we had to visit the famous Wailing Wall, which has separate sections for men and women to pray at.As
verywhere else in Israel, security was high.

And we found that America still has

friends in the worldAll kinds of different religious groups were roaming around and having their prayers in various places.The city was full of ancient houses, narrow arched streets and it was quite a pleasure to walk around in.
Of course like any other tourist place, holy or not, it was also full of little tourist shops, with lots of cutesy or religious items, made in China. It also had great spice shops, where I could not resist buying some. I found Jerusalem to be a fascinating ancient old city. We stayed a few more days in Ashkelon, to do some boat work and we had some time to relax and to visit with other yachties.
Israel via Cyprus to Turkey
On May 24 we headed west again. The exit procedure with immigration did not give any problems, but the female officer stayed with us until the boat was pushed off from the dock. The navy boat circled us again on the way out, but we did not get a greeting this time.It took us 1,5 day of motor/sailing right into 15 – 20 knot winds and 1 meter (3 ft. seas) before we reached Cyprus. As we got to the east side of the island, the winds died and the waves became flat. The island is divided into a Turkish northern section and a Greek southern section. The Greeks have never forgiven the Turkish for invading what they considered their island. Any boat visiting northern Cyprus, better not go near southern Cyprus after that. The sailors get arrested and thrown into jail. Northern Cyprus was cheap to visit, but southern Cyprus was expensive. We had contemplated visiting Cyprus, but with all the hassles and expenses we decided to forego it. Especially since the weather had turned so favorable. During the night we boated on the east side of Cyprus and in the morning of May 26 we took a northern heading towards Turkey. The weather gods must have agreed because the wind died completely and the seas were perfectly flat. We had to motor, but it was a real pleasure to be on the water. Most of the trip the weather had been quite warm, since about midway in the Red Sea temperatures had been steadily dropping. There we had to start using sweaters and blankets at night, now we even had to wear a sweater during the day. But after all the heat in the Indian Ocean it was quite welcoming.The next afternoon we reached the Turkey coast. I had boated around here in 2001 and it was still as gorgeous as then. The wind picked up a bit, so we could set out some sail as we headed west. For the first time on our whole trip did we see lots of other pleasure and charter boats around, especially the traditional Turkish gulets.By 2000 hours (8 pm) that night we reached the town of

Fetiye,where we decided to tie up for the night.In the morning we boated 8 hours more to the town of Marmaris, where we arrived on May 28. I was considering leaving his boat here when I go home, so I wanted to evaluate the possibilities. It is a gorgeous area, and a pretty, though very touristy town.The waterfront right by the marina is stock full of restaurants, which are a bit empty this early in the season. Food from most of the northern European countries is available; I have seen tons of Dutch restaurants, although so far I have limited myself to Turkish fare.
Turkey/GreeceThere are 3 marinas right around this area, so I felt I  should have no difficulty leaving his boat.We stayed here for a few days and then we headed for the Greek islands. We reached the first island today on June 1.
All is still well and I am looking forward to visiting many of the Greek islands.

July 14, 2007

May 14
Turkey-Greek Islands-Turkey
The last leg of the trip started in Marmaris, Turkey. It took us through the Greek islands for 6 weeks, before returning to Marmaris, where our boat journey ended.

We left the busy Turkish town of Marmaris on May 31, with the plan to go to Rhodes Island, The wind was fairly strong, but it blew us in the right direction. However when we arrived in Rhodes, the local port was very full and we could not find a suitable place to anchor.
So we decided to turn back north. We ended up finding a very cute, protected little bay at the end of a Turkish peninsula, called Bozuk Buku. Several sailboats were anchored here. We were able to tie up to the dock of one of the taverns with the help of the proprietors.

A cute local girl came by in her boat, trying to charm me into buying her goods. Of course I did.

There is simple in Turkey with restaurants in isolated places. If you eat a meal in their place, you are welcome to spend the night on their property and use their facilities. Fair enough. The meal was good, the people extremely nice and we decided that we liked it here better than in the tourist trap of Rhodes anyway.

Pictures of Ataturk, “father of Turkey” can be seen all over Turkey and one decorated this restaurant.

A full moon shining over “Reflections” made for a great picture.
The next morning the wind was favorable for a heading to the Greek island of Simi,

it was only 12 nautical miles away and we reached it in 2,5 hours. The town of Simi was gorgeous with its pastel colored houses on the hill side and its cute little harbor,

Surrounded by taverns and shops selling real sea sponges.

 I occupied himself with manly matters, such as dealing with immigration issues, filling up the diesel tanks and taking a nap.
Nisiros was the next island we landed. It did not get a lot of tourism. The little village with its cute little white houses was just a little walk from the little harbor, where a few little restaurants served little gyros, the Greek national dish.

It was 8 hours of motoring (no wind) to the island of Astipalaia, where we anchored in a lonely bay. There were just a few houses on the shore and goats with bells around their necks, which succeeded in keeping me awake at night.
We reached the island of Amorgos after a 6 hours trip. A great little port surrounded by square, blindingly white, houses.

Here in the Mediterranean Sea, boats are tied to the pier “Mediterranean style”, which means that you throw a bow anchor into the water, then you back the boat against the pier and tie it by the stern.

It is an efficient method to be able to place many boats in a relatively small area, but it is very difficult to accomplish for boaters, especially if you are not used to it. There was a fairly strong wind, which kept trying to blow us all the way onto the pier and we had to place several fenders to protect the boat. For safety we dropped an extra bow anchor. However, the next morning a strong wind gust turned the boat partially side ways and then blew it hard into the pier. Of course, according to Murphy’s Law, it had to hit on a corner, just where there was no fender and it did cause some damage to the fiberglass of the boat. The original plan had been to spend a day exploring the island, but after this incident Max quickly slapped some putty on the area and he just wanted to leave the place. The harbormaster said the winds are like this every morning!, about half the cruisers left or anchored out.

The next island, Paros, became a base for a longer stay in the islands. It had 2 port towns; Parikia and Naoussa. We decided to stay in Naoussa. It was small, but very pretty with its bright white houses
and extremely cute little fishing harbor,

which was protected by an old fort.

A local man, Yanie,acted as harbormaster, he gave information and assistance to all the visiting boats and he was quite skillful in catching squid.

The village was just adorable with its maze of slated tiny streets and alleys,

nice waterfront,

little stores and outdoor restaurants.

We felt quite safe and secure in the area, especially with geese acting as guards and attacking whoever came near. It was very risky taking pictures of them.

Of course, as usual there were some repairs to be done. Max fixed the damaged stern,

while I did some work on the sails.
We rented a car to explore the island,

The island was quite small; a 50 km (35 miles) ride circumnavigated it.

Many places along the shore had beaches, some were very nice, but many tended to be coarse and rough.

The prettiest village was Lefkes,

where we wandered around the tiny streets with its many little stairways.

In the arid hills were ancient marble quarries. The marble mined from this island is of a very white color and high quality. It was used to carve Venus de Milo and the tomb of Napoleon.

Holland is famous for its windmills, but Greece has them as well.

They were very different from the Dutch ones and I just loved them.

In the town of Parikia one of them even decorated the center of a round-about, although it just happened to be under repair.

In the harbor fishermen were repairing their nets.

On July 2 I went by ferry to Athens
I am off to pick up my daughter, Janelle and Debbie. Janelle loves Reflections, when she was 6 months old, we sailed from San Francisco to Southern California. She does join me whenever she can.

while I stayed in Paros to watch over the boat.

They spent a few days seeing the famous sights in Athens,

such as the Pantheon,

other historical places and the changing of the palace guards, who were assisted by Janelle

A few days later the family arrived in Paros. They had decided not to go sailing this time and the boat was used as a vacation resort.

The weather had been on the cool side when I first arrived. However, right at the time that my daughter arrived, Greece was struck by a severe heat wave with temperatures over 45 C (110 F).

We erected an awning over the boat to keep it cooler. But it sure limited our activities; we ended up sitting around the boat a lot, playing cards, reading, working on the laptop computer and of course we went swimming several times a day.

But in the cooler hours of the evening there was time to go to the restaurants and to go shopping.

Janelle, Debbie and I go out for

dinner together
and to watch a Greek dance performance.

Santorini Island is a must-see place in Greece. We all took a ferry over there.  We did a one day tour, but I stayed for 3 days. The island is amazing; volcanic, long and narrow with extremely steep cliffs. The marked area in the water is the site where a ferry struck a rock not long ago and sank. It is supposed to contain the spilled fuel.

The main town Fira is pretty with beautiful views, but crowded with tourists.

Of course Greek food is offered everywhere.

The crewmember stayed in the gorgeous little village of Oia, overlooking a magnificent bay with a little fishing harbor.
Charter boats gave people a sense of a bygone era.

Janelle, Debbie and dad went to Santorini, I do plan on going back there this coming summer.

After my return  Janelle, Deb and I took a trip to the island

of Mikonos

with its spectacular windmills

and the ruins on nearby Delos island,

I was on Delos Island the summer of 1980,

(I spent three months that year exploring Europe) at that time there was just the four of us, no guards or security. Things have changed; there must have been 300 people the day we were there. The now has a museum and places are not blocked off. Nevertheless, it is a must see island.
where Janelle demonstrated the proper use of ancient toilets.
Whenever he was in port I could not sit still. When there was no work to be done on his own boat, he was helping other cruisers with work on their boats. My beneficiaries wanted to return some favors, so we were invited to the house of Bill and Annie,
Dinner with friends in Paros.

a Scottish/American couple who have lived in Greece for many years.

And we were taken for a nice dinner by a group of young sailors from Denmark.

July 17 Janelle and Debbie had to return to the USA. I brought them back to Athens, and  returned a day later to Paros.

After a few more days in Paros  I felt the heat wave had ended. But now the wind had become very powerful. Apparently these strong north-western winds are so common in the summer that they even have a name: the Meltemi.
Our goal had been to travel east and to visit islands that we had not seen before. The first island was Naxos.

We anchored in the lee of a large sea wall,

but the water was still so turbulent that I did not want to leave my boat alone. So the crewmember explored the town by herself.

In the area where there was no seawall big waves were breaking onto the beach.

Nearby were the ruins of Apollo, “Reflections” is framed by the gate.

It did not matter where we had planned to go the next day, the wind gods determined differently and as a result we could only sail safely to the island of Amorgos. However, we anchored in a different area than the first time, by a very cute little beach town called Ay Annas. Although the bay was deep, it was still blowing quite hard from varying directions. So again I did not want to leave the boat and the crewmember explored the area by herself.

We had set out 2 bow anchors and a stern anchor, but they were not enough to keep the boat from moving. It still managed to make a few complete turns during the night and so in the morning the lines of the anchors had twisted around each other, which gave us a bit of a challenge in raising them.
30 knot winds and 3 meter waves again prevented us from going to our planned islands and we ended up back on the island of Astipalaio. This time we tied on to the pier of the only tavern and the night was finally calm enough to enjoy some uninterrupted sleep.
The weather was much calmer the next day and we had no problems boating to the island of Kos. It was quite a busy and touristy island with a castle right by the water front
and some old ruins with an interesting mosaic floor pattern.
Hippocrates used to teach medicine on this island. I gave the crewmember a copy of the Hippocratic Oath.
(she is a nurse). Kos has a huge and very expensive marina, and we decided that one day/night was enough. TurkeyWe returned to mainland Turkey and we went to the town of Bodrum.

It also has a huge marina
overlooked by a large castle.
A small boat met us to guide us inside and then managed to push us into an impossibly small space between other sailboats. The boat needed some repair work in the top of the mast, from where I shot these 3 pictures.

Bodrum is a touristy town as well. We needed to get checked in by the Turkish Immigration officials, which meant that we had to go to 4 different places, something we had avoided the last time in Turkey.

After 2 nights we continued the trip east. The route ended took us to the previously visited Greek island of Simi, although this time we anchored on the opposite site. We anchored in a nice bay, with 13 other sailboats around us. On the shore were a huge monastery with a beautiful clock tower and a tavern, which relieved me from cooking duty that night.

This ended our cruise through the Greek islands. Overall we found the islands themselves not very pretty, they are often dry, barren and rocky.

However many of the towns and villages are wonderful places to visit with their distinct Greek culture.
On July 13 we returned to Marmaris in Turkey. A light house showed us where to turn.
and a true pirate ship showed us the way in.

And we made it safely to the forest of masts in Marmaris Yacht Marina,
our end goal for this trip. Time to celebrate the grand finale of the great boating trip.

The crewmember would leave his boat here for the rest of this year.
We left Thailand 5 months ago and we covered 6200 Nautical Miles, out of this we boated 3155 NM with just the crewmember and me on board.

Overall it has been a great adventure. We visited many interesting places and cultures, we experienced a few scary moments and overall we had great weather. The crewmember posted: Thank you Max for giving me this great opportunity and making one of my life’s dreams come true. 
Thanks my crewmember for being a wonderful and a friend. Max
I wanted to see some of the interesting places of Turkey, so we rented a car for a few days. First we drove to the ancient city of Efesus, a place mentioned in the bible. In its heyday it was one of the world’s wonders.
The Turks, with the aid of many Western organizations, have done some nice restoration work, especially on the ancient library and the theater.

The Efesus people had an awareness of sanitation issues. The communal toilets had water running below them, which was discharged into the sea far from the town.

On the way north along the Western coast, was an island with an old monastery, where supposedly Mary, mother of Jesus, is buried.
Final place on our Turkish tour was Troy.

The ancient city that was besieged by the Greeks for 10 years, of course only ruins are left now And a really hokey horse replaces the wooden horse the Trojan people were fooled with.

Finally we said our goodbyes, as I drove back to Marmaris and she took a ferry/bus to Istanbul.

She  had a day to roam around this fascinating city. One of the top sights is the Blue Mosque and of course she had to go shopping in the Grand Bazaar.

The following year sailed the Greek Islands again, with an amazing fun loving crew. They always keep me laughing. One of the crew that year, Rachul Hurn wrote and had published an article she wrote about me in Latitude 38. If you would like to read the article, please email me. or go to and put in Max Young

I am pleased that you read my blog. Unlike other blogs I have read from 'skippers looking for crew', I tried to NOT paint a 'rosy picture'. As in life, there are 'ups and downs'. I do not want to have a prospective crewmember come aboard and think that the cruise will be this romantic voyage without any problems, that is just not realist. My dad a commercial fisherman, once said, "Son, the ocean will test you, and if you let it, it will make you a better man". Homer, said, "Character is built on mountain tops, battle field and out to sea", all this comes with a price. In the 23 years and 42,000 sea miles, Reflections has never let me down. I try to keep her in the most perfect condition as I can, when something needs to be replaced I buy new instead of patching it up..... If you do not have a digital camera, I let the crew use mind. Almost all the pictures you see on the blog where taken by the crew, not me.

"I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze that it should be stifled by dry-rot
I would rather be a superb metor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, that a sleepy and permanent planet.
The funcion of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time"
Jack London C J gave me this poem just before he left the boat in Oman. I have it hanging on my wall at home. I have never had an accident, be it motorcycle, car, my airplane, boat, guess in a way I have been very lucky. That is until June 12, 2012. I am sadden Reflections sunk off the coast of Mexico, it has been almost a year. There is not a day/night that goes by that I do not think of her. She was amazing sailboat with a lot of wonderful memories. Sometimes wonder why God let it happen, or if He did; 'it is what it is'.  Reflections was a part of me, a part I will never be able to replace. Life goes on, I will buy another sailboat someday, may return to the South Pacific. But as the saying goes: if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.

Almost everyone that have meet through the web 'looking to crew', have either keep in contact and/or have returned/ have plans to return in the future. If you are interested in joining the crew; would like their email address, I would be happy to provide the them.