The Next passage was by far the most exciting trip we had done this year. For the trip we only had 4 people onboard. We stretched our time in the Seychelles towards the end of the season, just as the trade winds were about to die and turn NW. With a bit of creativity we managed to load an extra 350L of diesel to the 1000L we usually carry on the boat, anticipating some light wind patches in some not so friendly areas of ocean. As you may know, the Somalian Coastline is well known world wide for its piracy activity. Although piracy has officially been declared over since the start of the year, we were still taking precautions and staying wide off the coastline. We spent the whole trip checking in daily with the sea and piracy patrol stations, to make sure they knew where we were incase something happened.
Meg’s friend is also an officer in the Navy so he had his Warships keeping an eye on EVE and shadowing us as we sailed her to Djibouti. The whole trip felt extremely safe. Steve also had a few radio calls with the Piracy patrol planes flying over head as we passed through the Gulf of Aden .
What was a ‘dreaded’ passage turned out to be a lovely cruise. We finished the voyage with a few days of spinnaker flying, running along the narrow shipping lane, down the golf of Aden. Constantly being monitored by war ships and planes until we reach Djibouti.
** DJIBOUTI - 10 days **
10 Days in Djibouti felt like a lifetime ! But in a good way. We crammed about a months worth of site seeing and culture into a week. The Chaos of bargaining 24/7, the constant local conversations in 5 different languages, intertwining all 5 in the same sentence. Meeting new people and getting the boat ready to set sail again, all at the same time.
Once we were settled into the anchorage, just south of the main port, we jumped into a 4x4 and went sight seeing for the day. We made our way up into the mountain range towards the volcanos and the continental plate, which was very much active. The landscape was covered with hardened lava rock, and absolutely NO vegetation or life was seen. A completely bare black terrain surrounded us. The only living things on the horizon were a couple of goats, which were owned by the local residents of the area… but even they would soon perish alongside the empty space and be thrown into our lunch for that afternoon.
ONE OF THE LOCALS-
Our Agent , Ahassan decided he wanted to take us across the bay to his home village and show us around for the day. Early one morning we sailed across and dropped anchor just off the reef leading into the small fishing dock . When we got to shore, we got shown around the local village and introduced to the locals. We also got taken to meet the Saltan as it was a particularly special day for the village. They had guests from overseas (us) , and it was a celebration day of the Sultan’s reign as the leader of their community. They don’t get many tourists, so for us to come and meet him was a huge moment for both us and their local community. We felt very blessed and privileged to have this opportunity… None of it would have happened if it wasn’t for Ahassan, so we thank him very much for that and consider him a true friend.
The next morning we went and had breakfast at the local cafe which was an old shack. The ‘chef’ was cooking with an old gas portable stove and chopping boards that were so worn, they took on the shape of a banana. As there is next to no vegetation in the area, the locals really rely on meat as their primary food source. So animals, especially Goats, are treated like kings… The more goats you own, the wealthier you are. They roam freely in and around their homes, some are considered friends as for others that are considered as food. It was amazing eating such fresh meat and every meal we ate was delicious, full of spices and flavour.
After eating, Steve went and paid a visit to the local barbers. They gave him a nice fresh cut before heading back home to Australia !
BACK TO THE BOAT!
There was an overwhelming sense of stillness and peace when we left Djibouti in the distance and headed for the Red Sea. It felt nice to crawl back into our offshore bubble after all the noise. But a truly amazing experience full of beautiful people. Africa was by far the highlight of the whole year for us !