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I’m not afraid of snakes...I respect them. In the same way, I’m not afraid of the ocean, but I respect it. When you respect something that is potentially dangerous, you increase the odds of survival if problems happen.

At the Siam Snake Show in Phuket, Thailand, I watched a snake handler place his index finger into the mouth of a non-venomous snake. He didn’t get bitten and the snake didn’t seem to mind.

I mustered my courage and placed my index finger in the same snake’s mouth. I must admit, putting a finger in the snake’s mouth took me far outside my comfort zone.

Later in the show, the snake handler kissed a lethal King Cobra. This was definitely a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not experience.

Not in a thousand years would I have ever expected to see anyone kiss a King Cobra.

To me it seemed impossibly dangerous and foolish, but to the cobra handler, it was all in a days work.

Kissing cobra
Kissing cobra

Now if I had asked the Cobra Kisser to sail my yacht across the Indian Ocean, he probably would have said, “No way mate. It’s simply too dangerous to sail in a small boat across such a big ocean. I’ll stay here at the snake farm where I have financial security and I know that I’ll be safe.”

People who kiss cobras don’t know anything about sailing across oceans, and to them sailing the seven seas seems far too dangerous.

Kissing cobras and sailing across oceans are both exercises in risk management.

If you manage risk properly, usually you don’t get hurt.

If you don’t take risks seriously, you put yourself in harms way and problems occur.

Although they say everyone has a price, no amount of money could induce me to kiss a King Cobra.

Sailing across the Indian Ocean is a completely different matter.

You don’t need to pay me anything to sail the seven seas; I will do it for free once I have done my risk management.

Risk management is mostly common sense.

Take storms for an example. Only a fool totally ignores the weather and sails directly into the jaws of a tropical cyclone.

Cyclones don’t just appear out of the blue. They take time to form, and after they form, they send warning signals to tell you they are there.

A cyclone creates large ocean swells that travel hundreds of miles in every direction.

If you experience a large ocean swell that is not explained by prevailing wind and weather conditions, you know that there is a big storm in the direction from which the swells originate.

The cyclone is sending a warning for five hundred miles in all directions, and if you pay attention to the warning, you will stay out of harms way.

That’s the way mariners have avoided tropical cyclones for the past five hundred years. That’s how they did risk management before they had satellite photos and weather fax.

We use a lot of technology to do our risk management. Before we make an ocean passage, we check out weather satellite photos of the region where we are heading.

If the satellite photo shows bad weather, we don’t go.

For the Indian Ocean we go to the internet at and we look at the infrared satellite photos of the Indian Ocean.

Web sites also show wind speed and direction, significant wave height, and weather maps.

We don’t rely on a single source of weather information because they may get it wrong. We always consult multiple sources to make sure we are on the right track.

Once we head offshore, we contact other boats by high frequency radio to see what the weather is in their area.

We also listen to Richard who runs the Southeast Asia Maritime Mobile Net at 0800 at 14323Mhz. Every morning Richard gives the weather for all of Southeast Asia and the North and South Indian Oceans, all the way to the Red Sea.

He gives us real time information on the weather in our location so that we know what to expect, and he warns us that we need to head in a different direction when bad weather is ahead.

Once a day, Richard sends us an email giving the significant weather in the Indian Ocean. He has grouped all of the boats heading across the Indian Ocean into what he calls, “The Red Sea Gang”, and he supplies everyone with weather by email all the way up the Red Sea.

Here in Thailand and Northern Malaysia, there are about a thousand cruising yachts.

Several hundred of them will cross the Indian Ocean as soon as Richard gives the green light.

When the green light comes on, there will be a mass exodus. Some yachts will do the southern route to South Africa, and others will do the northern route up the Red Sea and into the Mediterranean.

No matter which direction they head, all of them will tell you that they would rather sail across the Indian Ocean than kiss a cobra any day.

They understand the risks, they manage the risks, and they are willing to do whatever it takes and live with the consequences. That’s as it should be. After all, they are living their dreams.

Dr. Dave

Captain Dave - David J. Abbott M.D.





Exit Only

See what it's like for a family to sail around the world on a small catamaran

Captain Save Our Souls

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.

Red Sea Blues

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.

Red Sea Chronicles Trailer

If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 1 - When Flying Fish Attack

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.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 2 - Pirate Alley

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.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 3 - Aden, Yemen

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.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 4- Gate of Sorrows and Sandstorms

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.

Patreon - Maxing Out

Captain Dave and his family spent eleven years sailing around the world on their Privilege 39 catamaran, Exit Only. During the trip, the crew shot 200 hours of video with professional cameras to show people what it's like to sail on a small boat around the world.

The Red Sea Chronicles is a one hour and twenty-two minute feature film showing their adventures as Exit Only sails through Pirate Alley in the Gulf of Aden and up the Red Sea. The professional footage documents their experiences in Oman, Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt, and the Suez Canal. It chronicles the rigors of traveling in a remote section of the world rarely visited by cruisers. Exit Only dodges Yemeni pirates, fights a gale and sand storms in the Bab al Mandeb at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The crew explores deserted islands on the western shores of the Red Sea, and learns to check the cruising guides for land mines before venturing ashore.

The Red Sea Chronicles also has outstanding Special Features including an Instructional Video on Storm Management that tells sailors how to deal with storms at sea.

And don't forget the two Music Videos: "The Red Sea Blues", and "Captain - Save Our Souls".

The Red Sea Chronicles is a first class adventure that stokes the sailing dreams of both experienced and wannabe sailors alike.

Red Sea Chronicles

Save A Tree Bookstore

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.