NO TIME FOR FEAR
We sailed through the Bab Al Mandeb (Gate of Sorrows) at the southern end of the Red Sea, glad to have finally made it out of the Gulf of Aden. No more pirate problems to worry about.
The Bab was 16 miles wide, and we could see Yemen to starboard and Africa to port.
At its widest, the Red Sea is 200 miles wide, and then it cones down to 100 miles wide, and then 50 miles wide until it reaches the Bal al Mandeb where it is 16 miles wide. This geography creates a wind acceleration zone where winds can reach fifty knots in a short period of time.
We sailed through a quiet Bab, and figured we had dodged the Bab bullet. Unfortunately we were mistaken.
As we bobbed along in the Bab, the winds started picking up. 20 knots. 30 knots. 40 knots. 50 knots. Fortunately we were running down wind which kept our apparent wind at about 40 knots up the stern.
By midday, we had a decision to make. We could run down wind in a gale and sandstorm for 36 hours, or we could seek shelter along the western coast of the Red Sea.
Our buddy boat, Balmacara, checked the chart and identified a large headland called Ras Terma in Eritrea, and there was a possibility we could use it as a shelter in the storm.
None of us wanted a 36 hour run downwind in a sand storm, and so we flopped over to a port tack and battled the wind and seas for six hours until we tucked in behind Ras Terma.
We put our anchor down before dark, and we hung on for three days - that’s how long it took for the sand storm to blow itself out.
The reason I tell this story is because I never felt a shred of fear as we sailed in uncharted waters and stormy seas after passing through the Bab. What I felt was irritation and resolve as we bashed our way toward Ras Terma.
I was irritated that I had to deal with those conditions, and I felt resolve because I was going to do whatever it took to get Exit Only and my family to a safe anchorage before the sun set.
As I think about all the storms I have been through on board Exit Only, and all of the mishaps that have happened at sea, fear has never been a part of those experiences.
When I am fully immersed in apparent disaster, I am too busy figuring out how to deal with the adversity, and I never have time for fearful thoughts to enter my mind.
Fear is something that happens to people when they imagine all the things that could go wrong on a voyage around the world. Waterspouts, earthquakes, tsunamis, storms, lightning, rocks and reefs are the stuff fear is made of, and I have seen them all as I circumnavigated Planet Ocean. When you think about everything that can go wrong, fearful thoughts can take over your mind. Fear can immobilize you and stop you in your tracks.
That bad thing about fear is that it causes inertia and keeps you from doing what you want to do and need to do in life.
The good thing about fear is that if you immerse yourself in adventure, when problems happen, you don’t have time for fear. You get on with what needs to be done to deal with the challenges at hand, and when the problems are over, you realize you were never afraid.
Fear is something you do before you have problems.
Irritation, tenacity, and resolve are what you feel when you are up to your eyeballs in adversity, and you have no time for fear.
That’s why I tell new sailors that it’s a mistake to worship at the altar of fear.
Fear is a false god, and tells nothing but lies.
You have one life, and you must live it ignoring the voice of fear.
And when adversity happens, you will do what you have to do, and fear will depart in search of weaker minds.
That’s all I have to say about that.
Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.
Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.
If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.
Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.
Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.
Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.
After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.
Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.