The Great Southern Route : 2013 - 2014
CAPTAIN’S LOG MIDDLE EAST 288 | GSR to notice an enormous increase in the volume of large shipping traffic as all the vessels are funneled towards the Straits of Hormuz. The Straits of Hormuz are very busy, as this is the only entry/ exit to the region. The area is highly monitored and care must be taken not to enter Iranian territorial waters without permission. Be aware you’re likely to encounter a tidal stream of several knots during the transit of the Straits. The Gulf has eight countries that border its shores; Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran. There are wonderful cruising opportunities in most of these countries, too many to cover in depth here, the region is a vast array of new cultures and sights. There are numerous commercial ports and also a large number of offshore oilfields with loading facilities in the Gulf. Large oil tankers and other general shipping necessary to service the needs of the eight bordering countries, combined with overall fairly shallow water, reefs and restricted areas mean you could expect navigation to be a daunting prospect. For most part however, the navigation aids are fully operational and traffic zones well respected due to the heavy concentration of professional shipping. The area, while busy, is clear and easy to navigate. after exiting the Red Sea. Good quality and reasonably priced fuel is available here and a 15 minute car ride into town from the large commercial port will allow you to reprovision at one of the well-stocked supermarkets. Customs and Immigration procedures are very straight forward with Omani officials. Salalah to Sri Lanka (the typical cruising route) is a distance of approximately 1700 miles. A detour to visit the United Arab Emirates and specifically Dubai will add an additional 1200 miles to the journey. This detour enables you to cruise the Oman Coast, visiting the wonderful capital of Muscat, cruise the fiord-like bays of the Mussandam Peninsula with its multitude of isolated, protected anchorages and abundance of marine wildlife and then enjoy the sights of the vibrant city of Dubai. On the outward leg towards Sri Lanka, the route runs parallel to the Indian coast. You can select a number of cities such as Mumbai or Goa to experience the delights of India, or head down to the Maldives. You can actually clear in and out at Uligan (Uligamu) on the northeastern-most atoll of the Maldives which saves traveling the extra 400 miles to Male if time or distance is an issue for you. When approaching the Arabian Gulf, it’s hard not DUBAI is the modern vibrant city on everyone’s lips, but not necessarily on their cruising plan. If you’re planning your upcoming travels, perhaps it’s time you should consider whether it should be on yours. The Gulf region is a treasure trove of beautiful anchorages, spectacular beaches, cities with amazing cultural diversity and historical significance, natural attractions and of course its famed, iconic city of Dubai. In reality it’s an easy detour from the more traditional routes and its private yachting facilities are growing at a rate hard to rival. The voyage from Europe to Australasia offers the opportunity to visit many different countries on three continents of the world. The commonly used and most direct path passes through the southern end of the Red Sea and makes a course for Sri Lanka. The best time to undertake passages in this region is October to April due to the predominantly calm conditions, but in the gulf region you may still encounter a local wind known as the ‘Shamaal’. These winds can blow up to 35 knots for several days and create three or four metre seas. Salalah at the western end of Oman is a port frequently visited for supplies and fuel CAPTAIN’S LOG MIDDLE EAST By Captain Mark Hol Arabian Nights The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa, offering a huge area to experience rich and varying culture, from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf.
2010 - 2011