Oman to Egypt – Days 5 & 6

We have a confession to make. As you all know, when we crossed the Pacific Ocean on our 21 day passage from San Diego to Nuka Hiva, the blog postings were in real time. We didn’t want anyone to worry about us, so we seriously downplayed how miserable we were during that passage. Now that the blogs are no longer in real time, we feel no need to underreport. By the time an entry gets posted about ugly seas, we are already safely in a port, so no one needs to worry.

A secondary reason we downplayed our misery on that first passage was because we were novice blue water travelers, and we didn’t want to sound whiny. We figured that the passage was typical seas and we should get used to it. We figured that once we were a little “saltier”, we would look back on the passage conditions and laugh at what babies we were.

Yesterday, the wind picked up to 20 to 36 knots and shifted to the port aft quarter (left back corner). The waves picked up to 6 to 10 feet with the occasional 13 footer. The waves were hitting us on the side, the big nasty rollers that we often complained about in the South Pacific. Of course, given the direction of the waves, there was also some corkscrew action going on, meaning that the boat was moving both side to side and forward and back all at once, which really makes you not feel good. On top of that, whenever the wind comes from that direction, we get no ventilation downstairs. Downstairs became unbearably hot, stuffy and smelly. It was exactly like being back in the South Pacific again. That is exactly how the seas were almost every day that we were on passage in that part of the world.

So, now, having crossed two major oceans, the dreaded Malacca Straits and the even more dreaded Gulf of Aden, we think we are “salty” enough to re-evaluate the South Pacific sea conditions through more experienced eyes. And we have to say,

it really was pretty bad. After only about 12 hours of such conditions yesterday, we kept looking at each other and asking “How did we possibly endure this for 21 days straight?” So far, the South Pacific has been our favorite place in the world in terms of landfalls, least favorite in terms of sea conditions. We look forward to going back someday, but dread the thought of those invariably rough passages again.

The good news is that the South Pacific-like conditions lasted a little less than 24 hours, and today the wind moved back to the nose. As soon as it did, the ventilation downstairs returned, which we were thankful for. The wind is not as strong now, and the seas are mildly uncomfortable.

In other good news, we are pleased to report that we had a record 24 hour run yesterday, doing 189 miles, thanks to that crazy current. Yesterday morning Eric made clear SSB contact with two of the boats in the net. The same two boats that we have been connecting to already, but the first time it was a good, clear connection. Today he was able to connect with a third boat, as well. The moon has become a sliver, setting early in the night, so the nights are still dark, but cloudy, so few stars are visible.

In bad news, the monkey guy is back on the radio, continuing to torment us. The other night, he played a clip of a woman having an orgasm over and over and over and over again. This just gives you a hint at the shenanigans the guy pulls. We can’t believe no one has hunted him down yet. We figure he has to be on a freighter that makes runs from Singapore to the Med and back.

And a blog question:

Q. What was health care like in the rest of the countries you visited?

A. In India, like Indonesia, there is not enough health care available in the rural areas. In urban areas, quality of care varies vastly. There is first world quality private care available that attracts many medical tourists, but most of the care is not up to first world standards. Few Indians can afford the first world doctors.

Maldives has a clinic of some sort on every inhabited island and a hospital in each atoll group. Health care is reported as being acceptable and affordable.

Oman has completely free health care, with clinics in small towns and villages and big hospitals in the cities. We are told it is not exceptionally good quality care, but it is consistently getting better. 35 years ago they had virtually no health care available at all in the country, so the fact that there are facilities and medical staff to service the whole country is a huge step forward deserving kudos. [98-99]

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