This is a ‘Through The Porthole’ profile of a solo sailor, Ian of ‘Rhumb Do’. Since the age of 16 Ian’s wanderlust has seen him in over 80 countries, and the lust to wander continues. He is the rally’s only solo sailor.
Collisions, fishing nets, narrow escapes, exhaustion, arguments and tantrums. And that was just the first day! Sailing in convoy with fourteen other boats through the most dangerous waters in the world is enough to turn any sane man into a quivering wreck, excuse the pun. For some of us more conscientious sailors the Pirate Alley convoy was a living hell!
Pirate Alley. Two words that strike fear into the armchair sailor, apprehension into those who actually sail it, and have the effect of filling my pants out of shear fear when that phrase is uttered. In this preamble I attempt to put some of these thoughts into context.
I am the first Englishman to dance with Yemeni fishermen. Actually I think the accolade I was awarded by the coastguard who gave me this video clip was that I was the first foreigner to lead a troupe of Yemeni fishermen in dance. Ever. Don’t worry I’m not being serious, even though the coast guard was. I was quite touched that one of the coastguard-policemen came looking for me to lead me up to Colonel Mohamed’s office to watch this clip. All ten policemen were huddled round a TV with a camera plugged in to it, watching this clip! The actual event was a leaving ceremony put on by Colonel Mohamed of Aden for the Vasco Da Gama rally and the fishermen were breaking out some traditional dance routines to a live band. I have to say they were excellent and the music was pretty cool too. Check out the video clip.
Come with me to Crazy Place, a place like nothing you have ever witnessed before. Crazy Place is the name given to the qat market, the covered area where the locals come to buy their drug. It is an insane place. It is Crazy Place.
The last update we gave you had us stuck in an anchorage waiting for southerlies to blow through whilst we repaired the damage on a rudder on a boat that had hit coral. Phew! Now that the winds have blown through and returned to the usual northerlies we may resume our progress southwards. This is something that we discuss on The Net.
The Net is a kind of interactive VHF radio show held on a certain channel every morning. This is a recording of one such show where we discuss our tactics for entering Sudan and Eritrea. You’ll also hear some positive words from Anthony of ‘Divanty’. Definitely worth a listen…