April 10, 2011 - Piracy from the eyes of a cruising kid - Caroline's story
We have been through a few really tough times in our sailing voyage, but the first 3 months of 2011 have been the
toughest. Since the beginning of our journey almost three years ago we have been talking about how far
off the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden seemed, but it came so fast all of a sudden. I was surprised
when everyone in the anchorage in the beautiful islands of the Maldives were talking and were worried about the pirates.
All along I thought that we would have a safe passage to Oman and then we would worry about Pirate Ally (Gulf of Aden),
but some things happen that you don’t expect.
While we were in the Maldives we did some really enjoyable activities. We had a lot of fun with the other boats in
the anchorage, like Anima, Pegasus, Laroobaa, Saildance, La Palapa and many more. Once my dad and I went
for a dive with Joanne from the boat Miss Jody. The Maldives have amazing dives and snorkels.
When we were down about 30 feet in the water I saw a huge clam that was at least three feet long, it was so beautiful
with all of the different colors, and whenever you would get close to the clam it would close. We also
saw some remarkable looking fish of all shapes, sizes and colors. That dive was only my third dive and
it was awesome!
all the excitement I had in the Maldives. On our boat we have a big, strong pole that goes out from the
side of the mast; it is called a whisker pole. At the end of the pole we would run a halyard and attach
a bar to hold onto and swing out into the water. My dad, Mom and our crew Mike even did the swing.
It is so much fun and whenever we are in an anchorage we try to put it up if the water is nice and there are no jellyfish
We had a lot of fun
but there were some seriously important problems to work out also. The pirate situation was the worst this
year than ever before. Almost all the routes we considered, the pirates had attacked. We
were in a sticky situation to pick the best route. There were many options like going to Alaska, going back to Thailand or
go along the Indian coast north to Pakistan and then over to Oman. For a few days Mom and Dad were thinking
that we may just go around South Africa. I really didn’t care for that idea because I have been waiting to go to the
Med for the whole entire trip. We finally decided to take the longer route to Oman. We
had to go all the way up to India and for the whole passage we had to hug the coast. Mom and Dad chose
that particular route because they thought it was the safest. I think that they were correct.
On our way
to Oman one pretty crazy thing happened. It was on our third day and a fishing boat came right at us going
full speed. At first there were only four people then all of a sudden three more people came up from the
bottom of the boat. It was scary and exciting at the same time. At that time we were
sailing with Laroobaa and Saildance. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t see very much because mom made me go
down below to stay safe, in case we were being attacked.
Our normal watches that we took in the Pacific were much easier than the watches
that we took on our way to Oman. In the Pacific we were allowed to read and we didn’t’ have
to keep our eyes on the horizon for the whole three hours. Sailing in the Indian Ocean the watches were
hard because we had to look out of the horizon the whole time looking for little boats that could be pirates.
Also, it was also hard to sail so close to other boats because we had to keep close to them for our convoy.
Watches usually are boring but these were exciting and stressful for everyone.
On our way to Oman we had to stop in India for a night because we desperately
needed fuel. I tried to get together with my friends on Miss. Tippy and Sol Maria but we weren’t
aloud to get off the boat because we didn’t have a visa. It was definitely a bummer because I hardly
ever meet many girls and when we weren’t able to get together I was a little sad and disappointed. India
was so smoggy but at night it was all lit up and loud.
6 long days later, when we got to Muscat, Oman we went to a place called Wahiba Sands. When we
were there we picked up another crew, Kieran. The family off of Laroobaa, and our crew Mike and Kieran
went with us to Wahiba Sands. We went dune bashing in a jeep. It was so much fun.
We also went sand surfing on snow boards. Most of the hills were large however a few were smaller. It
was so cool. We even went for a little camel ride, which wasn’t very long but it definitely made
me sore afterwards. Even the little palm thatch cabins that we slept in were very nice. I
definitely recommend going to Wahiba Sands.
When Dad left Oman to sail Imagine to Egypt, my mom, brothers and I stayed in Muscat. I was sad
and excited because I had no idea what we were going to do and where we were going to stay while we were there.
Mom had looked at the apartment that we were staying in but us kids had no idea what it was going to be like in Oman.
It turned out that we had a lot of fun. We even were able to go ice skating, twice.
Even though the rink was smaller than the ones in the United States it was still big enough to have an wonderful time.
On the first time there were only two other people there. One of them was a really good skater and
the other one was a lady in a full burka. It looked like it was her first time on the ice.
It was a little funny watching her.
We also went to a children’s museum. It had a little bit of science which Mom was happy
about. We had to put manikin’s organs back in their original places. My brothers
were very happy to find out that their hands are lethal weapon. Noah was even stronger than Grant and that
was a surprise. We also did a ton of different puzzles. I mostly did them because my
brothers thought that they were too hard and I had a goal to figure all of them out. I thought that
the museum was cool and lots of fun.
wasn’t all fun and games while we were in Muscat. We had to do school every morning and Mom was on
the internet and the phone all the time talking to the Embassies in many different countries, some military people, all sorts
of security companies and all the concerned friends and family back United States. I was very worried
about Dad when he was out at sea and whenever we would hear from him it would make me it would make my day. We
even had to go to the embassy to get more pages for our passports. We did manage to have fun even with
everything going on.
A few months later now and the pirate situation are behind us. We flew
from Muscat to Egypt to meet up with Dad and Mike. Kieran left Imagine in Aden because he had to get back
to work in the USA. Our flight to Egypt was very long. We had to get up to catch our flight at 2:00 am,
all because people said that we had to be there three hours before our flight left. All was good when we
met up with Dad and went out to celebrate with a nice big pizza from Pizza Hut. Now, that’s the end
of our little, big adventure. Now we are back to what we believe is “normal” cruising.
Having an amazing time traveling around the wonderful places we are visiting and right now that is Egypt.