28 March 2008

2008-Mar-28 Noon Position

Offshore Yemen Coast
Gulf of Aden
Indian Ocean

  • 126 nm last 24 hours
  • 17 nm to Aden
  • 257 nm from Al Mukalla
  • Winds SE 15-20 knots
  • Seas 5-6 feet SE
Last 24 hours we have been blasting along with out best 24-hour run in a very long time. The winds have held and we have been in a downwind run with winds up to 20 knots at times. The main is out to starboard and the jib is poled out to port.

S/V Shiaraz still behind us about 12 miles after our separation the previous night due to weather. They are slowly closing the gap.

Sailing the Yemen Coast we are a bit paranoid of any traffic that is not a ship, especially when they are getting close to us. Last night around 9pm a small boat (less then 50 meters) was closing on us. I was getting a bit concerned as this was the first small boat I have seen on this coast that was heading right for us. After they got within 1/4 mile from us I grabbed the VHF and was about to call out to the boat when we were called by a coalition warship. We answered back. It turned out that the small boat behind us was the coalition warship. They had several questions to ask us that was suspiciously the same 10 questions we asked of boats when conducting law enforcement in the Coast Guard. Turns out it was the boys in blue on a 110 foot U.S. Coast Guard Patrol boat patrolling the Yemen/Somalia border looking for suspicious boats.

First question they asked us was "Have you seen any pirates?" I told them no, and thought they were about to pirate us. Not sure what they were doing so far from home. They cannot give us many details over the VHF radio. But I would imagine that they were one of the 110ft patrol boats that were sent to the Persian Gulf as part of the war.

I told them I had retired from the Guard in 2005 and we all had a good chuckle meeting so far from home. We are very relieved to see that the U.S. Coast Guard is out here to prevent piracy along with the U.S. Navy.

Plans are to pull into Aden late this afternoon and drop anchor for several days.
More in 24,
Tom and Amy

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