February 23, 2000

 We float through the cobalt blue Arabian Sea day after day.  The weather has been benign and the winds light.  We rendezvoused with our friends on Pimalo, Que Sera, Sera, Prince Karl, as we all waited for Stampede to catch us.  Stu and Julie on Stampede had to make all the preparations for Joe to fly home after he was released from the hospital.  Sean Williams left Male' to fly to London to meet his father, Jamaica Tom.  Stu and Julie are doing this leg without crew.  After they caught up with us, we progressed toward longitude 055 East where we  bunch closer together and report our positions twice a day to the web site of the Millennium Odyssey as well as to the French Navy.

 It is easy to become complacent when the sailing is so easy.  Days go by that you do not see another boat, another light or  an airplane.  Then when on a night watch you make your three hundred sixty degree check there is a huge freighter coming up fast from astern.  Do not panic, watch and see if you can determine his course.  After a few moments you think he is on the same course you are.  You try to raise him on the radio, no response.  The next step is to become more visible.  Turn on the deck flood lights, shine lights on the sails and call again on the radio.  By that time the adrenaline is flowing and you are changing course taking sails down and starting both engines.  We never received an acknowledgment on the radio.

I told Charlie if he would just say,  "Ya, Ya," and let me know he heard me that would help.  Charlie said he probably did not have the faintest idea what I was saying, perhaps thinking I wanted to see if they had two cases of Coca Cola and one case of Sprite.  I wonder?  In this part of the world I have to wonder if they do not respond to a female voice on the radio.

 Because of the light winds we have had to do a lot more motoring than planned.  We are doing fine but several of the other boats do not have enough fuel to reach Djibouti.  They cannot risk getting close without adequate fuel for the last part of the journey is through waters not only with pirates but also adverse winds and currents.  We have heard from some of the other boats that were on a different course and they stopped into a port in Oman for fuel and supplies.  Oman is not on our itinerary, nothing has been pre-arranged for us there and we hate to stop where we have to go through all the clearances just to get fuel but we must stay with our group and that is what we will do.  We have offered to give fuel to the ones that need it but we would not have enough to supply everyone.  The entrance to Salahlah is straight forward with no grave obstacles and going there will keep us even further off the coast of Socotra that is the real trouble spot.  It is nice to again be in company with some other boats and look out at night and see their lights on the horizon. 

 Yesterday we stopped Sea Gem and went swimming  in  calm, incredibly clear water.  It cooled us off and gave us a break.  It is always a thrill  to plunge into the middle of an ocean where the sky melts into the blue of the sea with nothing in-between.  The water is so clear you feel you are looking into infinity and so clean it does not sting your eyes.  You have to stretch to have experiences like this and some would not find it worth the effort.  Maybe you have to be a little crazy to think this is a good thing.  I let you be the judge of that.  Until later . . . from Sea Gem.