THE RED TIDE OF MALPELO ISLAND
As we sailed by Malpelo Island, we noted that the water was discolored red.
At first I freaked out because I was concerned we might be heading for an uncharted reef that could wreck Exit Only.
Anytime you are near a place like Malpelo Island, you don’t know whether the surveys of the surrounding waters are accurate.
Some surveys were done before the advent of GPS, and the location of rocks and reefs can be off by miles. The locations of the reefs may have been determined by celestial methods - taking sights of the sun and stars.
When we sail offshore and pass by an oceanic pinnacle or a remote island, I don’t trust the charts. Sometimes they are wrong, and sometimes there is a change in the seabed from underwater volcanoes.
When the water changes color, we slow down or stop the boat until we are 100 percent sure what’s happening.
We spotted the discolored water at least 100 meters in front of us, and we immediately slowed down. The change in water color could be an offshore reef.
We checked our depth sounder and discovered we were in water hundreds of feet deep. We slowly moved forward into the discolored water watching the depth sounder, and we posted someone on the bow of Exit Only checking for rocks and shoals.
The discolored water went on for several miles, and we realized that we had sailed into a massive patch of red tide. We were in dinoflagellate land, and there was no danger of striking a reef.
I was happy we didn’t run up on a reef, but I was disappointed we passed through the red tide during daylight hours.
If we had sailed through after dark, Exit Only would have been immersed in a sea of bioluminescence. There would have been flashing blue lights as far as our eyes could see.
I have to confess that sometimes bioluminescence freaks me out.
When I am sailing 1000 miles from land, and the water lights up with bioluminescence, I wonder what is creating those large spots of light blue color in the water.
I understand the blue lights trailing in our wake behind our stern. It’s the massive flashes of light to port and starboard that give me pause for thought. Could it be caused by a giant squid that is going to reach up on board Exit Only, grab me, pull me into the water and have me for dinner.
Yep. That sounds a bit silly. But those are huge blue lights, and something is making them flash beside the boat. It’s the middle of the night, and my tired mind conjures up the worst possible monster that could be creating those lights.
Anyway, I survived the red tide of Malpelo Island without hitting rocks or reefs. Furthermore, the bioluminescent monsters in my tired mind never consumed anything but my time.
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.