Safaga,  Egypt


Red Sea Rising

A Trip to Cairo

Safaga to Port Suez

Safaga, Egypt

Red Sea Rising

To Safaga



Arrival in Djibouti


Boat Cooking

 Bear off!, bear off!

"No speak English"

Arabian Sea



Leg to Djibouti

Laguna Beach


Island of Male

More Sri Lanka


Sandra Dale Cook



August 4, 1999


We (Charlie and I) have been at sea since July 28, when we left Santo for this passage to Caines, Australia.  The passage has been rough.  The winds have seldom dropped below twenty knots and the seas have built to a size sufficient to knock us around a good bit.  The wind is principally behind us and with the speed and strength of the wind, and size of the waves there are times when our auto pilot takes a break and we have to grab the wheel and bring Sea Gem back on course, settle her down and reprogram "Robbie" our Robertson Auto Pilot.  "Robbie" usually holds a course far better than human hands but high winds and following seas are just not his cup of tea. 

We have had the worst weather of this trip on this leg.  Charlie has spent most of the nights in the cockpit for I am chicken when the winds are this strong and it always seems worse at night.  We trade off watches and these have really required close attention to the helm as well as looking out for hazards, such as other boats or ships we might encounter.

This morning I saw a slip of blue sky among the layers of grey.  I was beginning to think the whole universe is grey: the ocean, the sky and the atmosphere. The plus side is that we have been delightfully cool for the whole trip.  Even with the boat closed, as it has to be against the intermittent showers and salt spray, and the occasional wave hitting us broadside and  sloshing into the cockpit, we have stayed cool, dry and comfortable.  Sea Gem is a dry, comfortable boat and nowhere do I more appreciate that than on these long tedious passages. 

We enjoy sharing time alone on the boat.  It simplifies life aboard  but the drawback is the long periods without adequate sleep.  Charlie is  amazing that he can stay awake and alert on an almost endless basis. We try to arrange his sleep time at a time when the weather is at least decent and I feel comfortable alone in the cockpit for enough time for him to get a least a little real rest.  We have used the quarter cabin for sleeping this entire trip. The mattress on our bed in the aft cabin slides to and fro with each rock of the boat.  The most comfortable place on the boat in bumpy weather is the lower berth in the quarter cabin and it has been a  Godsend for this leg.

We have done a lot of reading, for with the weather this rough only basic chores can be done around the boat.  Cooking and serving a meal is a challenge but we have eaten well, both as a diversion and to try to eat everything they will confiscate in Australia.  Australia has the most stringent restrictions of any country but we understand they are trying to preserve their agricultural products from diseases from outside.

They have been successful for the most part due to their extreme diligence.

August 5, 1999 -- The generator went down today.  Charlie did the usual trouble shooting but it will run for only a short time.  The port engine is overheating so we run it only when necessary for maneuvering for dockage.  We have a whole list of things we need to have repaired in Australia and look forward to getting all systems on line again. 

MarinaAugust 6, we arrived in Cairns, we came in through the reef in the early morning hours and made our way to Yorkey's Knob Marina in Half Moon Bay.  Awaiting all the Millennium Odyssey Participants was the beautiful, modern and well-run marina with all the amenities that yachites so covet after rough and wet time at sea.  The bar and restaurant are excellent, the laundry facilities fine and the staff both efficient and friendly.  In  fact I believe that everyone in Australia is friendly.  We have been treated so well everywhere we have traveled.  Friendliness is contagious and it is delightful to enjoy interaction with people from cultures different from our own.

Having Sea Gem repaired in Australia will be a challenge as we will be back in the states when most of the work is done.  It is almost like leaving a beloved family member at the door of the hospital emergency room and saying, "See you later, hope things go well."

Ralph Seed, Manager of The Big Boat Shed, is overseeing the repairs.  We were going to leave the Sea Gem at his location but had some difficulty in lifting her out so the necessary work will be done in the Marina at Yorkey's Knob.  Charlie simplified the list of things to be done and we are keeping our fingers crossed that all goes well in our absence.  Until later ...