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Persian Gulf - A Sailor’s Guide


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Now that the Yanks and other NATO folks have ignominiously fled Afghanistan, the Middle East is, or will be very soon, safe once again for Western dude travellers (women beware, however - that’ll take another biblical type of era to change).

So, I bring you Sailor’s Cruising Guide to the Persian Gulf [link]  Great cruising info in the next cruising hotspot, former terror hotspot, that you just won’t find elsewhere!  (Leave the mutaween to port, and all will be well.)

Dare, dream, discover - the hardest part is casting off the lines from the dock!   

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"hotspot" is the right word.  Even if the various regional conflicts subside (big IF) and the Somalis find some sport other than kidnapping yachtspeople and the animosity towards countries associated with endless meddling subsides (big IF) and ancient religious divisions heal (big IF0 and the endemic misogyny disappears (big IF) ... the problem remains that the area is so damn hot.

There are glorious buildings and gorgeous coral reefs, but the sun is so fierce that you find yourself wanting to lie on a glowing barbecue to cool down.

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Just now, TwoLegged said:

"hotspot" is the right word.  Even if the various regional conflicts subside (big IF) and the Somalis find some sport other than kidnapping yachtspeople and the animosity towards countries associated with endless meddling subsides (big IF) and ancient religious divisions heal (big IF0 and the endemic misogyny disappears (big IF) ... the problem remains that the area is so damn hot.

There are glorious buildings and gorgeous coral reefs, but the sun is so fierce that you find yourself wanting to lie on a glowing barbecue to cool down.

I suspect that the satire in the link I posted won’t resonant with the youngins who’ve (unfortunately) never read “classic” crusty cruising authors like Eric Hiccup, er, Hiscock...being raised, nautically speaking, on a diet of bland YouTube pablum like Delos, La Vag, etc. where there’s little left to the imagination.  Alas. 

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53 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

I suspect that the satire in the link I posted won’t resonant with the youngins who’ve (unfortunately) never read “classic” crusty cruising authors like Eric Hiccup, er, Hiscock...being raised, nautically speaking, on a diet of bland YouTube pablum like Delos, La Vag, etc. where there’s little left to the imagination.  Alas. 

Oops!   I didn't read the linked article before replying, so I entirely missed the fact that it was satire. 

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PG isn't such a bad spot in the NE monsoon - you  get ice on the puddles up at Bandar Mashur.

But during the  the SW monsoon its an absolute shithole with 110% humidity.

At Kharg the expat pilots actually had a sailing club.

We were one of the very first tankers to load at Jebbel Dahna (sp) in the UAE in '64. Picked up an anglo pilot about 20 miles off shore. He was pilot and loading master. The only other people we saw were a boat full of line handlers - two anchors frd, lines to two buoys aft and pick up a hose from the sea bed.  Bugger all to see landwards but one shed and sand - lots of sand. Seems the oil field was about 20 miles inland ... the american drillers etc were living under canvas.

 

They say it is different now. Oh well, nostalgia just isn't what it used to be.

 

If you want to see what it was like in the really old days hunt out Alan Villiers' - you know - the Mayflower fellow  -  book 'Sons of Sindbad' https://pauladrianraymond.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/the-last-days-of-arab-sail/ 

The Red Sea and East Africa were my most fondly remembered places - there was and maybe still is an Arab Town in Mombasa in the 60's and a few dhows were still turning up in the NE monsoon -- waiting in the stream for months -- and then heading home to Arabia in the SW monsoon.

 

ships015.jpg

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Only been to the PG once, back somewhere around mid-late 2000 on a tanker.  What I remember, other than it being so godawful hot that cleaning tanks was akin to being steamed alive (it was so hot near the top of the tanks that you literally (literally literally, not figuratively literally) couldn’t breathe without the risk of searing your lungs), was the absolutely non-stop traffic on channel 16.  It was all either fake…one guy claiming to be the “guided missile bunker barge Monica Lewinsky” (it was 2000 and that was still fresh) kept calling over and over… or all insults.  If there was even a second of dead air someone would chime in with a “Filipino Monkey!”  God forbid you actually had to call someone, which in the days before AIS was a lengthy process describing the type, location, course and speed and hoping someone was paying attention (usually not).

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1 hour ago, Diarmuid said:

The boat boys are awfully persistent.

 

Very bad behaviour.  They are only a few armed boardings short of being as nasty as US coastguards checking that flares are up-to-date.

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1 hour ago, TwoLegged said:

Very bad behaviour.  They are only a few armed boardings short of being as nasty as US coastguards checking that flares are up-to-date.

Fun thought experiment: What d'ya think would happen if Iranian warships entered Long Island Sound, or motored up the San Pedro Channel? :o:lol: Think they'd receive an escort?

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Ok, it seems that a few people here thought that I was serious about cruising the Persian Gulf. Then Cisco above did take it seriously, as he’s actually “cruised” there, so to speak.  And referenced a book I’ve never heard of, Alan Villier’s ‘Sons of Sinbad’ - I looked it up - it’s described as “an account of sailing with the Arabs in their dhows, in the Red Sea, around the coasts of Arabia, and to Zanzibar and Tanganyika; pearling in the Persian Gulf; and the life of the shipmasters, the mariners, and merchants of Kuwait.” Published in 1940, looks like a cool read. (As is ‘The Sinbad Voyage’, by Tim Severin, which is a sort of re-creation of the fabled voyage of Sinbad, along part of the route of the old time Arab traders, from Oman to Hong Kong, in a giant, period-type, hand-built, ingeniously lashed-together-hull dhow. The account of the building and launch of the dhow is fascinating.)

So, on that first serious theme, sailing the Persian Gulf (maybe it’ll be possible one day...)


And for those of you whose attention span is a bit shorter, there’s this (more along the lines of the spoof article I posted originally).  :-)  

NSFT [Not Safe For Taliban] viewing

 

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1 hour ago, Diarmuid said:

Fun thought experiment: What d'ya think would happen if Iranian warships entered Long Island Sound, or motored up the San Pedro Channel? :o:lol: Think they'd receive an escort?

You'd have to make Long Island or Catalina a foreign country first and share control over the entrances. 

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12 minutes ago, Elegua said:
1 hour ago, Diarmuid said:

Fun thought experiment: What d'ya think would happen if Iranian warships entered Long Island Sound, or motored up the San Pedro Channel? :o:lol: Think they'd receive an escort?

You'd have to make Long Island or Catalina a foreign country first and share control over the entrances. 

But Long island is a foreign country

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Used to sail in the Persian, Gulf.. Well a small offshoot of it, there were at least half a dozen sailing clubs I know of, mostly Inhabited by Expats. 3 in Saudi, 1 Bahrain, the others in the Emirates. Mostly dinghy and small boat sailing.

 If you're sensible you're not going to commit to having a big boat down there, when anytime there could be a revolution / invasion / the locals kick you out at no notice and you have to leave everything.

I would never by a house in Dubai.. That at some point could come to a sticky end you just need one rabid fundamentalist shooting up one of those housing estates in the sea and your property becomes unsellable..

As for the sailing very good, if you capsize it's like falling into a bath of hot water.. The circling dolphins were nice.. The circling locals on jet skis weren't, often used to sail to keep the sail between myself and the sun though... 

Oh and don't sail between the princesses palace and the gun boat... The gun boat will open fire..

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14 hours ago, Diarmuid said:

Fun thought experiment: What d'ya think would happen if Iranian warships entered Long Island Sound, or motored up the San Pedro Channel? :o:lol: Think they'd receive an escort?

I am sure they would get escorted somewhere, like back out to sea. It would be the equivalent of a US Navy ship cruising into the harbor at Bandar Abbas unannounced looking for a slip :rolleyes:

We could recreate the situation over there if both Mexico and the USA claimed the entire Gulf of Mexico as territorial waters and took turns harassing and detaining ships that looked like they were going to the other country.

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1 hour ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I am sure they would get escorted somewhere, like back out to sea. It would be the equivalent of a US Navy ship cruising into the harbor at Bandar Abbas unannounced looking for a slip :rolleyes:

We could recreate the situation over there if both Mexico and the USA claimed the entire Gulf of Mexico as territorial waters and took turns harassing and detaining ships that looked like they were going to the other country.

Needs a third element, tho -- like some space aliens with a death laser who unilaterally declare the overlapping territorial waters between two sovereign nations or spanned by one nation to be international rights-of-way, by the legal theory of force majeure. Singapore Straits and Turkey's Black Sea channels being other examples.

While the St Lawrence Seaway, for instance, emphatically is not;) US meets Canada without a hair's breadth between.

Then you have the 2/20/200 mile definitions of 'territorial waters' or 'exclusive economic zones'  to contend with -- some of these agreed by international consensus, others utter fiat and w/out legal basis.

I'm pretty mellow with the idea that natural passages between two or more international bodies of water ought to held as rights-of-way to all comers. But the rule must be applied consistently. The Persian Gulf entry is deffo a case of special pleading.

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IIRC, it is 3 miles for territory and 200 miles for economics. A Russian sub can sit 3.1 miles off the beach, but they'll be in big trouble if we catch them fishing closer than 200.1 miles.

There is also the right of innocent passage, if for some reason there was a third country, like say Wisconsin becomes a country, the USA ans Canada are not supposed to blockade ships going up the Saint Lawrence to Wisconsinlandia. The gal from the Perfect Storm book once got fined IIRC for going through Canadian waters, which is allowed, but not with fishing gear out, which is not allowed.

 

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22 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

IIRC, it is 3 miles for territory and 200 miles for economics. A Russian sub can sit 3.1 miles off the beach, but they'll be in big trouble if we catch them fishing closer than 200.1 miles.

These sort of quirks produce weird anomalies for the Muricans and Ruskies as they squander vast piles of money to harass and threaten each other.

  • Sit 4 miles off your enemy's coast, and keep your weapons targeted on ships or shore = OK
  • Sit 4 miles off your enemy's coast, and keep your nuclear missiles ready to blow up the planet = OK
  • But get your fishing rod out = by god we'll get you, you economic criminal.

Such complexities all helps to create extra employment for the massively subsidised military classes.

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10 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

FYI - pretty much all countries do this. Google "Cod War" ;)

No it is definitely not.  Very few countries have a big enough navy to wander around the globe harassing others.

The Cod War was possible only because the UK still had a medium-sized navy, as it slowly scaled down from its former role as global naval bully.

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It hasn't been 3 miles for a long time

Territorial sea, as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,[2] is a belt of coastal waters extending at most 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) from the baseline (usually the mean low-water mark) of a coastal state. The territorial sea is regarded as the sovereign territory of the state, although foreign ships (military and civilian) are allowed innocent passage through it, or transit passage for straits; this sovereignty also extends to the airspace over and seabed below. Adjustment of these boundaries is called, in international law, maritime delimitation.

A state's territorial sea extends up to 12 nmi (22 km; 14 mi) from its baseline. If this would overlap with another state's territorial sea, the border is taken as the median point between the states' baselines, unless the states in question agree otherwise. A state can also choose to claim a smaller territorial sea.

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The Voyage of the Mir-El-Lah tells you all about it. Pre-Iranian revolution though so a bit dated for cruising beta. A good yarn and worth a read for anyone who wants to know what the area was like before it went tits up.  Lorenzo Ricciardi bought a dhow and took it down the Arabian Gulf to Dar es Salaam and across to the Seychelles before wrecking it in the Comoro Islands.

20210902_181548a.jpg

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2 hours ago, going said:

The Voyage of the Mir-El-Lah tells you all about it. Pre-Iranian revolution though so a bit dated for cruising beta. A good yarn and worth a read for anyone who wants to know what the area was like before it went tits up.  Lorenzo Ricciardi bought a dhow and took it down the Arabian Gulf to Dar es Salaam and across to the Seychelles before wrecking it in the Comoro Islands.

20210902_181548a.jpg

Ok, that is pretty bad ass, along the lines of the Kraken Cup, but  more so...

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Know some folks in the Maldives who took on armed guards just after leaving (a vessel met them offshore with the 2 guys + guns) for the Red Sea route.

If the place you are planning to cruise requires machine guns, you should re-think your travel plans.

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20 minutes ago, Zonker said:

Know some folks in the Maldives who took on armed guards just after leaving (a vessel met them offshore with the 2 guys + guns) for the Red Sea route.

If the place you are planning to cruise requires machine guns, you should re-think your travel plans.

So Texas is out?

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5 hours ago, going said:

The Voyage of the Mir-El-Lah tells you all about it. Pre-Iranian revolution though so a bit dated for cruising beta. A good yarn and worth a read for anyone who wants to know what the area was like before it went tits up.  Lorenzo Ricciardi bought a dhow and took it down the Arabian Gulf to Dar es Salaam and across to the Seychelles before wrecking it in the Comoro Islands.

20210902_181548a.jpg

Yeah I have a copy of that book. IIRC he wrote another one as well but I'm a hell of a long way from my library ATM. Re-reading Hal Roth's 'Always a Distant Anchorage' ATM though as I picked up a decent hard back copy with DJ while in Sydney.

I've not lost anything on the entire African continent that needs me to go sailing there to find.

FKT

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2 hours ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Yeah I have a copy of that book. IIRC he wrote another one as well but I'm a hell of a long way from my library ATM. Re-reading Hal Roth's 'Always a Distant Anchorage' ATM though as I picked up a decent hard back copy with DJ while in Sydney.

Zonker’s mention above of the Red Sea made me think of that very Hal Roth book - in it he describes their passage up the Red Sea, a very challenging sail, from many perspectives (strong headwinds, coral, extreme heat, shipping, etc., and they certainly had to be careful to steer clear of Saudi waters. - but no piracy, and it’s beautiful, if austere, desert country.  That was in the ‘80s, before things really went to hell there re: piracy, etc.  
 

(I have great memories of living in Israel for a summer in high school, and also staying with Palestinian friends there, and later travelling in North Africa.  I recall going to a Palestinian wedding, where machine guns [with blanks, presumably...] were fired into the air as noisemakers for the celebration...I remember thinking, “wow, this is an really different place from where I live...”)

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Probably not Blanks, In Saudi they had a wedding area near one of the Expat compounds, what goes up comes down.. A round went right through a table in the Compound cafe area.. (We were 170 miles from Israel at that time).. The compound got the wedding area moved to further out in the desert..

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5 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Zonker’s mention above of the Red Sea made me think of that very Hal Roth book - in it he describes their passage up the Red Sea, a very challenging sail, from many perspectives (strong headwinds, coral, extreme heat, shipping, etc., and they certainly had to be careful to steer clear of Saudi waters. - but no piracy, and it’s beautiful, if austere, desert country.  That was in the ‘80s, before things really went to hell there re: piracy, etc.

Tilman did the trip up the Red Sea in MISCHIEF way back in the day. They were heading for the Crozets but an inexperienced helmsman managed to lose it and a wave took their dinghy and a few other bits off the boat after leaving South Africa. So - since they couldn't land they decided to sail up the east coast of Africa and home via Suez and the Med.

I must re-read that one when I get home.

Not an area I have the slightest interest in sailing, myself. Anywhere you need guns to go is a place I don't need to bother with. I've owned & used firearms all my life, know what they can do, no desire to be on the receiving end and ditto for the giving side.

FKT

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1 hour ago, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Tilman did the trip up the Red Sea in MISCHIEF way back in the day. They were heading for the Crozets but an inexperienced helmsman managed to lose it and a wave took their dinghy and a few other bits off the boat after leaving South Africa. So - since they couldn't land they decided to sail up the east coast of Africa and home via Suez and the Med.

I must re-read that one when I get home.

Not an area I have the slightest interest in sailing, myself. Anywhere you need guns to go is a place I don't need to bother with. I've owned & used firearms all my life, know what they can do, no desire to be on the receiving end and ditto for the giving side.

FKT

I’ve a lot of interest in sailing  there - but as in the old days, when it was relatively benign, not nowadays.  (Perhaps things will settle down there somewhat in the years to come - doubtful.). As in Zonker’s recounting, incredible that someone would take the risk of hiring armed guards on a sailboat to come aboard for the passage up the Red Sea.

Wonder if anyone is still transiting the Red Sea lately, say, the last 5-ish years?  I don’t read the sailing mags so don’t know of any recent accounts.

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19 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

IIRC, it is 3 miles for territory and 200 miles for economics. A Russian sub can sit 3.1 miles off the beach, but they'll be in big trouble if we catch them fishing closer than 200.1 miles.

There is also the right of innocent passage, if for some reason there was a third country, like say Wisconsin becomes a country, the USA ans Canada are not supposed to blockade ships going up the Saint Lawrence to Wisconsinlandia. The gal from the Perfect Storm book once got fined IIRC for going through Canadian waters, which is allowed, but not with fishing gear out, which is not allowed.

 

I’m not qualified to give advice on maritime law, so if someone here is please correct.

I’m pretty sure The St Lawrence River and the Welland Canal would be deemed inland waters and thus not subject to innocent passage

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Just now, Kris Cringle said:

Jud, just go to Youtube and search Sailing Red Sea. What is a 'sailing mag'? 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sailing+red+sea

Ha!  Thanks, Tom.  Funny - after I typed that, I was like “mag”, do those even exist anymore?

Just had a very quick scan of the search results.  Amazing to me that people are sailing there nowadays.  But maybe it’s further south near Eritrea/Djibouti/Somalia that’s dodgy/risky and most everyone is sailing “in” the Red Sea and not transiting it.  Will have a closer look.

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Just now, KC375 said:

I’m not qualified to give advice on maritime law, so if someone here is please correct.

I’m pretty sure The St Lawrence River and the Welland Canal would be deemed inland waters and thus not subject to innocent passage

“Territorial seas” is 12 miles under UNCLOS.

The five zones, defined (from territorial, closest in, to high seas, farthest out):

https://www.marineinsight.com/maritime-law/5-terms-every-mariner-should-know-under-unclos/

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38 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

“Territorial seas” is 12 miles under UNCLOS.

The five zones, defined (from territorial, closest in, to high seas, farthest out):

https://www.marineinsight.com/maritime-law/5-terms-every-mariner-should-know-under-unclos/

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a nation's internal waters include waters on the side of the baseline of a nation's territorial waters that is facing toward the land, except in archipelagic states.[1] It includes waterways such as rivers and canals, and sometimes the water within small bays.

In inland waters, sovereignty of the state is equal to that which it exercises on the mainland. The coastal state is free to make laws relating to its internal waters, regulate any use, and use any resource. In the absence of agreements to the contrary, foreign vessels have no right of passage within internal waters, and this lack of right to innocent passage is the key difference between internal waters and territorial waters.

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Just now, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Ha!  Thanks, Tom.  Funny - after I typed that, I was like “mag”, do those even exist anymore?

Just had a very quick scan of the search results.  Amazing to me that people are sailing there nowadays.  But maybe it’s further south near Eritrea/Djibouti/Somalia that’s dodgy/risky and most everyone is sailing “in” the Red Sea and not transiting it.  Will have a closer look.

Eye opening - poked around a bit more on YouTube - I had no idea that anyone was cruising the Red Sea these days (thought that the threat of piracy literally kept all pleasure boats away.  Apparently not.

These folks hired armed guards (perhaps from one of the floating armouries, private businesses that have sprung up in various places in the world that anchor their floating munitions and soldiers barracks outside the 12 mile territorial waters of a country, where national jurisdiction doesn’t apply).
 

Beware obnoxious music: 

 

Others are simply chancing it?  


Anyway, I’d have never known folks are still sailing the Red Sea.  Can the Persian Gulf be far behind? (Yes :-) )

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15 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Ok, you’re right - we do need an admiralty lawyer! :-)

just wait until the discussion about which category the NPW passage falls, and whether there is a right of innocent passage there. Even the US government seems to be ambivalent about the answer to that question - it is a tug of war between various interests and like most laws it is written ambiguously enough that it can be interpreted in different ways by different lawyers and lobbyists.

 

9 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Anyway, I’d have never known folks are still sailing the Red Sea.  Can the Persian Gulf be far behind? (Yes :-) )

there are cruisers literally everywhere you can imagine. Leaving the well-trodden path and going where most others do not, is definitely a significant objective for a large subculture of cruisers. French cruisers were particularly prime advocates for this back in our day.  We had a good friend who was 'detained' by 'local government forces' (in Yemen).  They wanted money (a 'fine' rather than 'ransom' because they were 'government') to release him.  The French military (who are good at this sort of thing) sent in a commando team who 'secured his release and escorted him out of the country' without any publicity or bloodshed.

Personally I was very happy to go to remote unpopulated un-trodden places, but drew the line at places populated with unpredictable thugs with guns  (and yes, I can seen a bit of the irony of an American saying that :) ).  But we knew well cruisers who considered that just as much excitement and adventure as cape horn, and who certainly had well developed cultural skills for dealing with those sorts of places..

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1 hour ago, KC375 said:

I’m not qualified to give advice on maritime law, so if someone here is please correct.

I’m pretty sure The St Lawrence River and the Welland Canal would be deemed inland waters and thus not subject to innocent passage

They are now because they don't go to a third country. In my example Wisconsin is a country.

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There are certainly people that chance the horn of Africa every year, but the vast majority of circumnavigators are going via S.Africa these days.

Huh. Just checked the 2020 and 2021 piracy maps. NOTHING reported in 2020 and 1 incident this year.

"Sitrep: 14.01.2021: 0849 UTC: Posn: 12:06.1N – 044:26.5E, Gulf of Aden. While underway, a bulk carrier noticed a skiff approaching. Alarm sounded and all crew mustered. At a distance of 0.2nm weapons and ladders were noticed in the skiff. The onboard armed team fired warning shots, resulting in the skiff aborting and moving away."

Either the Somalia pirates are laying low, due to ongoing military operations and cargo ships all carrying guys with guns to shoot at them... or they all migrated to the Gulf of Guinea. (Where serious shit is going down)

image.png.8bf8f1bdea498e4ed81f8b82107fbb9d.png

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On 9/1/2021 at 1:13 PM, Cisco said:

 

We were one of the very first tankers to load at Jebbel Dahna (sp) in the UAE in '64.

 

 

ah, but then you might have met up with an old uncle's nephew godson who was working on the good ship Martha ? sparks and slightly dyslexic but ever so good on  growing roses ... or was that after your time ?

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1 hour ago, Zonker said:

Either the Somalia pirates are laying low, due to ongoing military operations and cargo ships all carrying guys with guns to shoot at them... or they all migrated to the Gulf of Guinea. (Where serious shit is going down)

It's handy that the rhumb line from North Atlantic to the Cape of Storms takes you well clear of the pirates in the Gulf of Guinea.  But it's sad too, because there is a lot of crinkly coast there which might make good cruising grounds ... and where yachties from wealthier nations might learn a lot about that part of Africa was well-fooked by colonists.

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We did Namibia - St. Helena (don't miss it) - Ascension I - Suriname.  About 7 days / 4-5 days  / 18 days passages. Other friends stopped at Cape Verde on way to Europe. The piracy situation existed there in 2016 when we passed through. Very pleasant sailing after the first few days from Namibia (bloody cold ocean). Light winds almost the whole time. Really happy to have a boat that would just glide along in 8 knots of wind.

image.png.eb7ceb96c5e7aa1f3948166b9f9b6355.png

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3 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

They are now because they don't go to a third country. In my example Wisconsin is a country.

Can you site a source for that.

Take the Welland Canal - originates and ends within Canada and never leaves Canada.

I don't think Having another country at the end of a river or canal stopes them being inland waters but I'm happy to be educated.

So how about the Hudson, the Mississipi, the Ohio...clearly navigate From Canada to third countries using those rivers...are they internal to the US or subject to innocent passage?

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I was about the Persian Gulf for a bit on boats, can't think of a worse place to take a cruising boat.  If the many shallows, obstructing oil infrastructure and a confusion of exclusion areas and overlapping gunboat bureaucracy don't get you, then the unlit fishing boats and unlit fishing gear and semi competent marine traffic and petty tinpot officialdom will.  The water is nice and warm, but is so salty it feel like it's burning your eyes right out of their sockets.  Plan on needing aircon 24 hours a day for 10 and a half months of the year.

If you feel you really have to tick that box, fly to Dubai, hire a jetski or canoe for an hour, go for a cruise on a Dhow, get photographed with a camel, whatever, then just get the hell out of there.  The only good thing about the Gulf is the plane out.   It's a shame, I've read some accounts of it before oil, it must have been an enchanting place.  The marine wildlife could be quite spectacular, for such an otherwise bleak place, and the weather events and lightning storms could be the greatest show on earth.

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14 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

 I recall going to a Palestinian wedding, where machine guns [with blanks, presumably...] were fired into the air

https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-06-20/partying-lebanon-means-shooting-guns-air-even-though-it-kills-people

Not blanks in Lebanon either. Or LA

https://www.newsweek.com/celebratory-gunfire-new-years-eve-los-angeles-410598

 

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I went Skiing in Dubai.  What's to get excited about a huge shopping mall in the desert? 

Actually, I did enjoy spending some time being waaaaay out in the desert. It felt like being at sea. 

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Just now, Elegua said:

I went Skiing in Dubai.  What's to get excited about a huge shopping mall in the desert? 

Actually, I did enjoy spending some time being waaaaay out in the desert. It felt like being at sea. 

Yes - I went to Douz, Tunisia, right on the edge of the northern edge Sahara (after plans for trans-Sahara trip didn’t come together, sadly), and just stood there and stared out across the sea of sand dunes stretching on and on and on...

(As a kid I remember staring at the pages in our home atlas book - a map of Saudi Arabia in it showed a vast inland sea of sand, labeled as “Rub' al Khali (Empty Quarter)”...and thinking, “that’s a huge desert...one day...” :-) )

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17 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

, labeled as “Rub' al Khali (Empty Quarter)”...and thinking, “that’s a huge desert...one day...” :-) )

When I was in the Gulf I bought this book:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabian_Sands

It describers a Westerner's journeys across the "empty quarter" in the late 1940s.  This was before the oil boom.  An interesting look into the very recent past.   I recommend you take a look.  The grandparents of the unimaginably wealthy sheiks of today were desert nomads with nothing and always close to starving to death or dying of dehydration.  

 

 

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On 9/1/2021 at 4:50 PM, Diarmuid said:

Fun thought experiment: What d'ya think would happen if Iranian warships entered Long Island Sound, or motored up the San Pedro Channel? :o:lol: Think they'd receive an escort?

Stranger than fiction...

 

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56 minutes ago, Bugsy said:

When I was in the Gulf I bought this book:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabian_Sands

It describers a Westerner's journeys across the "empty quarter" in the late 1940s.  This was before the oil boom.  An interesting look into the very recent past.   I recommend you take a look.  The grandparents of the unimaginably wealthy sheiks of today were desert nomads with nothing and always close to starving to death or dying of dehydration.  

 

 

Thanks for this.  I think what motivated me to start this thread was simply being absorbed by the recent Afghanistan crisis as it involved over the past several weeks...trying to wrap my mind around the “thinking” of many in that part of the world, which got me to thinking about the Islamic part of the world (other than Indonesia) and the prospects for travel there in the future.  (The Persian Gulf, of course, is far outside the realm of the near possible, of course - but it’s fun to speculate/imagine the future if its ever becomes less volatile politically).

Thanks for the book reference- really looks interesting -will check it out.

Another voyage that was long on my mind in this cultural region of the world was tagging along on a camel caravan, the risala, to bring camels to Cairo, which I think is the largest camel market in the world (many caravans still come from all over, many on foot, to the camel market there).  Just gotta convince someone that your recitation of the shahada is authentic, so that they trust that you’re one of them...but that’s a topic for another thread :-)

The risala: https://www.nytimes.com/1989/12/18/world/imbaba-journal-camels-and-men-all-is-changing-and-unchanged.html

EFB048FB-6999-4AAA-AA33-D8E4216309F8.png

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2 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

(As a kid I remember staring at the pages in our home atlas book - a map of Saudi Arabia in it showed a vast inland sea of sand, labeled as “Rub' al Khali (Empty Quarter)”...and thinking, “that’s a huge desert...one day...” :-) )

Find yourself a copy of Wilfred Thesiger's book 'Arabian Sands' I think the title is. And all Thesiger's other books. The Marsh Arabs is another one. Gavin Maxwell wrote a complementary book to the Marsh Arabs.

Thesiger wrote about that area back in the 50's. A very good writer and a very hard man.

FKT

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On 9/3/2021 at 7:56 AM, estarzinger said:

 Leaving the well-trodden path and going where most others do not, is definitely a significant objective for a large subculture of cruisers.

Absolutely.  I see that the RCCPF publishes an (old) cruising guide to West Africa, which covers Senegal (common destination with the French), Guinea and Guinea-Bissau —but omits Mauritania, whose Banc d’Arguin National Park is one of the greatest places in the world for flamingos and other wild migratory birds, and nearby is the ghost town, La Guera, relic of the Western/Spanish Sahara...it’s just a matter of cruising there :-)....But it’s not really on “the way” to anywhere :-)

 

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On 9/3/2021 at 3:52 PM, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

a vast inland sea of sand, 

It is a forgotten part of his history, but Larry Pardey when he was young (in 1967 I think), did a crazy 'sand sailing' race across (1700 miles) the desert. They were sort of like ice boats, but extremely crude construction.  Larry actually did quite well because they apparently broke all the time and he was one of the better boat builders in the race.

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4 hours ago, estarzinger said:

It is a forgotten part of his history, but Larry Pardey when he was young (in 1967 I think), did a crazy 'sand sailing' race across (1700 miles) the desert. They were sort of like ice boats, but extremely crude construction.  Larry actually did quite well because they apparently broke all the time and he was one of the better boat builders in the race.

Not that I didn’t believe you, but I googled this for more info - and his wiki page says he and his crew were awarded the Mauritanian Legion of Honor for their sail across the Sahara. Very cool!

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On 9/3/2021 at 4:17 PM, Bugsy said:

When I was in the Gulf I bought this book:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabian_Sands

On 9/3/2021 at 6:42 PM, Fah Kiew Tu said:

Find yourself a copy of Wilfred Thesiger's book 'Arabian Sands' I

 

How coincidental that two people, living on almost exactly opposite sides of the earth, can recommend the same somewhat obscure book written over 60 years ago!

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3 hours ago, Bugsy said:

How coincidental that two people, living on almost exactly opposite sides of the earth, can recommend the same somewhat obscure book written over 60 years ago!

Just goes to show what a well-read bunch hang out on CA.

IMO 'The Marsh Arabs' is an even better book and some of the photos are absolutely stunning. Between us my GF and I have all of Thesiger's books.

FKT

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On 9/3/2021 at 9:36 AM, Zonker said:

There are certainly people that chance the horn of Africa every year, but the vast majority of circumnavigators are going via S.Africa these days.

Huh. Just checked the 2020 and 2021 piracy maps. NOTHING reported in 2020 and 1 incident this year.

"Sitrep: 14.01.2021: 0849 UTC: Posn: 12:06.1N – 044:26.5E, Gulf of Aden. While underway, a bulk carrier noticed a skiff approaching. Alarm sounded and all crew mustered. At a distance of 0.2nm weapons and ladders were noticed in the skiff. The onboard armed team fired warning shots, resulting in the skiff aborting and moving away."

Either the Somalia pirates are laying low, due to ongoing military operations and cargo ships all carrying guys with guns to shoot at them... or they all migrated to the Gulf of Guinea. (Where serious shit is going down)

image.png.8bf8f1bdea498e4ed81f8b82107fbb9d.png

See:

Pirates are Running Wild off West Africa’s Coast 

 

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