Sailing to Qatar

by Ollie

Lahinch, 13 oct. 2013

Having only been back a few days from a week long holiday in Portugal (more on that to follow), work is calling again.
Tomorrow I'll be flying out to Holland where the boat is waiting for me. On Tuesday we will be sailing out of the port of Moerdijk to Doha in Qatar.
A trip that is promising to be a bit of an adventure!

Now when I say sailing, most of you are probably imagining a tall clipper with a sleek and elegant hull, rigged with big masts and sails.
I'm afraid I have to disappoint you though. The ship I will be sailing on is a small and sturdy tugboat. Not very elegant but very seaworthy.
And even though there is a distinct lack of sails, and engines are used for propulsion, we still call traveling across the globe by ship, sailing. Driving is done with cars and motor cycles. Just so we're clear on that.

The voyage will take about 5 weeks and will start a good bit inland, about 5 hours sailing from the port to sea. Once we pass the piers of Maas Entrance at the Hook of Holland we will set a course southwest to Dover Strait and into the English Channel. Off Brest, in Brittany, we will steer further south across the Bay of Biscay towards Cape Finistere, in the northwestern tip of Spain. From there we will follow the coast of Portugal towards the Strait of Gibraltar.
This leg of the journey is notorious for its rubbish weather this time of year. The photo at the top of the post is one I took years ago when we got caught in a gale off the coast of Portugal. We were sailing in convoy with the ship in the photo. Hopefully the weather will be kind on us this time though.
Apologies for the bad quality of the photo. It was taken on a film camera and later scanned. I know what you're thinking, a film camera, he must be ancient. 
You know what, you're dead right. I bought that camera off some Roman centurion in Gaul.
I actually turned 37 today.

Back to the sea voyage, from Gibraltar we will probably have a bit smoother sailing across the Mediterranean Sea. On our way to the Suez Canal we will stop in Malta for fuel and provisions and possibly a stretch of the legs.
From Suez we will head south across the Red Sea towards warmer climes and the pirate infested waters off the Horn of Africa. 
That's the dodgy part of the voyage.
However, when we leave the Gulf of Aden behind us we will sail into the somewhat friendlier waters of the Persian Gulf where we will be decidedly close to Iran and probably the largest concentration of US warships anywhere on the planet. Not a bother on us there so.
If all goes well we should reach Doha after about 5 weeks, where I will take the plane home again for some well deserved leave.

Five weeks of plotting courses and listening to the shipping forecasts. Five weeks of spotting marine wildlife along the way. Five weeks of steering clear of bad weather and dodging pirates. Five weeks of hopefully basking in the sun during the day and being amazed by the starry sky at night.
During the voyage I will try to update you on our progress with stories and photographs.

Roll on Doha!!

1 comment:

  1. I wil follow the updates have a good trip en dat de piraten jullie met rust laten