Fishing boats, commercial ships, cruising yachts and tourists have been kidnapped and killed for years by Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group operating out of Sulu province, Philippines. The group has stretched its tentacles as far as east Sabah on the island of Borneo which has become known as a no-go area for many sailors.
On an overcast and mildly blustery New Year’s morning there were tears on the pontoon as Antony and Davina of s/y ‘Divanty’ left for the Maldives. Not including Lo of ‘Mistral’, who leads another Vasco Da Gama rally back up the Red Sea, this now leaves just Roam II and Esper from the original gang of adventurers who left Turkey in November 2009.
It is a strange feeling and a little sad too, what with spending the last few months having a giggle with the Divanty crew, but we’re happy that they’ve slipped their lines with some favourable winds and are heading somewhere new and exciting.
Good luck, Ants and Div.
In this week’s podcast we return to the Vasco Da Gama rally where we finally leave the coast of Oman and head into the Arabian Sea. Next stop: Mumbai!
You can hear the sense of relief as we leave the convoy, but Dan on Still Dreaming, our ever hard-working net controller, spots something mysterious in the sky, and reports on further piracy attacks.
Just before we left India Liz and I were interviewed by MarineBiz TV, a global television channel which has been putting together a series of programmes called ‘Sailor’s Diary’. In it each member of the Vasco Da Gama Rally was interviewed and asked about their backgrounds, experience and life at sea. We’ve managed to get hold of a copy and reproduce it here. Do please let us know if television really does put on 10lbs because I’m sure I look slimmer than I feel 😉
On the 24th March this year we published on followtheboat.com a transcript of the communication between a NATO warship and a vessel that was being boarded by pirates. It makes for harrowing reading. In this podcast we capture the warship relaying the unfortunate news to a neighbouring Omani warship. We also catch the Net, which is the rally’s daily VHF forum, and listen to the implications of this attack.
The next part of our Pirate Alley excursion is quite unbelievable as we encounter three major problems within the same night! We’ve split the podcasts up and in the next couple of episodes we have a collision, more fishing net problems and you’ll also hear how one boat starts taking in water. Today’s episode, however, deals with the minor issue of a boat breaking down in the middle of nowhere!