« Final Approach - update at 1000hrs GMT on 17th | Main | Final Approach - update at 0400hrs GMT on 18th »

March 17, 2007

Final Approach - update at 2000hrs GMT on 17th

LOCATION: Arabian Sea Crossing
Day: 46
Longitude: N:11°49.038'
Latitude: E: 043°31.539'
Heading: 260°M
Wind: NW, Force: 3
Miles total Mumbai - Djibouti: 1,896
Miles from Mumbai: 1,868
Miles to Djibouti: 28

We now have 28 miles to go, with just 19 miles to the safety of the lee side of the 'Isles Moucha'. But we have a problem - the forecast has proved deadly accurate.

Less than an hour ago the wind started freshening considerably from the northwest. As I write this the sea is starting to boil all around us and the wind is beginning to whine. We are making around 2 knots which is the good news, but we are incrementally losing ground south in order to keep the boat moving forward: the more we bring her nose into the wind to avoid losing ground south, the slower we go, and the more chance there is of losing ground south etc, etc - it's a downward spiral basically. The only thing we can do is to keep her moving forward at 260 degrees, and hope that we can make the shelter of the Moucha Isles before we are taken south of the point of no return; a collection of reef systems to the east of Djibouti that would be impossible to pedal our way back around into a wind like this. And after that there's nothing between us and the Somali coast.

I don't think Sher truly realises the gravity of the situation, possibly because he's never been faced with being exposed onto a weather shore - a mariners worst nightmare. But perhaps ignorance is bliss at this point. He was so elated a few hours ago when the voyage seemed in the bag, and now the tables have been turned he still seems a little unfazed by it all, regardless of my being pretty stressed out right now. As long has he pedals like hell it doesn't matter.

All will be revealed in this little drama in the next 9 hours. Will update in 6.


Posted on March 17, 2007 9:30 PM