With the recent capture and murder of the crew of s/v QUEST (4 Americans aboard), the expanding range of the Somali pirates into the Indian Ocean, and the increasing instability of the Middle East, we think that the best course of action is for us to choose a different direction to point the bow of sv LINDA. The only other reasonable choice for us is to round the Cape of Good Hope around South Africa, head across the Southern Atlantic Ocean to Brazil, and then go through the Panama Canal to Mexico.
This change definitely has implications for our travel plans. Since the best travel time in the Southern Indian Ocean is in the Southern Ocean summer, we will begin heading back south towards Singapore in April/May. We will do some minor repairs and major provisioning and then head back south through Indonesia in July with the intention of reaching Jakarta, Indonesia, in the August time frame. Turning west we will sail the thousands of miles across the Southern Indian Ocean to Mauritius Island with possible stops at Rodriguez Island, Cocos Keeling Islands, and possibly Christmas Island. Hopefully, that will position us for the eleven hundred miles passage to South Africa sometime in mid-November. Working our way southwest to Cape Town against the southeast Agulhas Current will be our biggest weather challenge, but, hopefully, we will be in Cape Town by early December such that we can make a quick trip home for Christmas.
It will be a short trip home as we need to get back in order to leave South Africa by mid-February. The trip diagonally across the South Atlantic Ocean is 5,000 miles with stops at St. Helena (Napoleon's island of imprisonment), and then, with a little luck, after 30 to 40 days at sea we should arrive in Brazil. From there the trip is only a few thousand miles through the Panama Canal and up the west coast of Central America to San Carlos, Mexico.
We feel that, given the world's situation, this is the only reasonable decision we could make. This decision results in the addition of many miles to our voyage but will actually get us back to the US a bit sooner and, most importantly, will minimize the risk of being captured, or even killed, by pirates. When we look at the decision in this light, it is not a difficult decision to make.
From the Crew of s/v LINDA (Currently touring Laos), Steve & Linda
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