Maldives to Djibouti, 1897 Nm (we arrived on day 15)

Sans Peur
Grete & Fred Vithen
Fri 25 Feb 2022 12:32

Djibouti at anchor  11 36 12N 43 07 78E

Today is day six at sea, on our crossing from Uligan in the Maldives to Dibjouti.

We left 8th of Februari together with five other boats, six boats left to continue the maldivian Savaadheeththa Yacht Rally, going South.

In Uligan we were 19 boats all together, so we were 12 leaving and the rest we do not know anything about.

We have had good winds until yesterday evening. The wind dropped and we have been motoring since then. The wind is predicted to be back again tomorrow. Right now the wind is increasing, so maybe we will be able to sail again later today/evening.

We are in SMS contact with two boats, Sea You and Morgane, both from 🇫🇷.

They are 24 hours in front of us!! Light boats, light sails… not like us!!

We are sailing north of the island Soqutra (Yemen) about 80 NM from the island. There is a civil war going on there, with other countries involved, so it is a high risk zone according to UKMTO. We hope to get safe into the shipping corridor and then follow it further into the Gulf of Aden.

The commercial shipping lane is devided with a 2 NM ”canal” and that is where all pleasure boats are allowed to sail.

Our consern is now wheater to sail with the AIS and running lights on or of? That is to be the area outside Soqutra? 

UKMTO is United Kingdom Marine Trade Operation.

We have sent a SMS to UKMTO with the question but no answer yet.

We choose to have it on.

In the ”canal” it is mandatory to have AIS on, othervise we will be considered pirate ship.

 We have met three carco ships, NO AIS on?? 

Today is day 9 and we still have AIS and running lights on. The last two days have been very uncomfortable sailing but with good speed. During this night the wind dropped again, that means now Mr Perkins is working. The sea is like a mirror. It is full moon now and this night was spetacular, the moon light and this calm Indian Ocean, very special.

We are now north of Soqutra and tomorrow we will enter the shipping lane. Already now we meet a lot of cargo ships.

773 NM to go! 

By the way, we caught a ”three dinner” Spanish Makril, delicious!!

One day we had a fantastic dolphin show. A school of very happy dolphins jumping, very high up in the air, so close to the boat that they almost splashed on us. So wonderful to see these beautiful creaters performing. They looked so happy and so did we.

Day 11  (1.337 NM)

This night we entered the shipping lane and The Gulf of Aden. Feels good to be here in the middle, with ships going up and down all the time.

It is amazing how many ships are trafficing these waters. Only very very few have their AIS on?

A japanese airplane cirkled us and asked for the name of the boat. Othervise nobody have contacted us. The VHF is silent, just a message every day, that we have to report if we see something stranges or if we need help. Good to know!

We are now 24 hours from Djibouti! The Gulf is like a mirror, again no wind! 

This long crossing will be our last. We have had quite a lot of these crossing lately and we really feel it’s enough. When we started our circumnavigation, we did’nt mind all these long crossings. We were eager to move on to new places and adventures, but now we are on our way ”home”, which will be the Med, there it’s small distances with maximum a night sail.

Feels perfect for us.  

Today, our last day, hopefully, suddenly all ships appear on our AIS. It seems that we have left a high risk pirate zone, according to our plotter. 

We just got a SMS from Sea You, they are safe anchored in Djibouti! Morgane is 12 NM just in front of us.

During this last night, suddenly we have a ”dot” without light on, on our radar following us, comming closer and closer from behind and then go up on starboard side. Fred turned of all lights and the AIS. Fred wake me up and ask me to be ”very much” watching. It’s scarring. We see the movement on ad of on the radar, in the end it disappear from the radar and daylight is comming through. 

Scarriy we were out of the ”secure” canal. But our turkish friends, Candiba, met at sunset three boats aprocching them, in the ”secure” canal. Candiba turned around and no lights and AIS, full speed. They managed to stay safe.

22th of Februari

At 10.45 lokal time we anchored in Dijubouti, finally a safe habour. 

Incredible nice feeling to be safe after 14 days at sea.