Day 122, Year 6 Atlantic Passage, Day 18-In Tribute to Quest
Date: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 (1730 UTC)
Weather: Beautiful, Sunny Day; ENE 18-22 Knots
Air Temperature: 80 degrees F
Latitude: 05 27.632 N
Longitude: 039 42.920 W
Miles Traveled: 2528
Miles to Go: 1379
Location: Passage from St. Helena to Caribbean (Grenada)

When we sent last night’s log, the emails started coming in telling us that Jean and Scott Adam of Marina Del Ray in California, along with their two crew members Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle from Seattle, had been shot and killed. We were shocked and saddened. What a tragedy. We didn’t know Jean and Scott well, but we had visited on each other’s boats and had attended a couple of social gatherings in American Samoa together. But with world cruisers, once you have met you are life long friends. It might be a year or two or three or more before you see each other again, but when you pull into an anchorage where there is a boat you have met previously, you feel like you are reunited with good friends. So I know, that like us, all of the world cruisers who came in contact with Jean and Scott are mourning their senseless death. We mourn with our fellow cruisers and our hearts go out to Jean and Scott’s families and friends and to those of the other two crew members who were also killed.

With Jean and Scot Adam of Quest

In November of 2009 when we returned to Malaysia, we had made a decision to change our planned route around to go around South Africa to instead go through the Red Sea. While we were home in the summer and fall of 2009, seeing those grandbabies precipitated the change in direction. If we went through the Red Sea we could have been in Turkey by May or June of 2010, almost a year ago, and would have been within easy reach of flying to see family again. We knew going around South Africa meant more than a year and a half without traveling home and that just seemed too long. So we bought all the cruising guides for the Red Sea and the Med and started the serious planning. We knew crossing the Gulf of Aden was going to terribly dangerous but all of our friends were going that way and we had all planned to travel in convoys and hoped that there was safety in numbers. Then we got an email from Tom Hastings, Tom Hastings, Captain of the US Coast Guard in the Maritime Liason Office in Bahrain. His one question stopped us in our tracks and changed our minds. “Who are you going to designate to negotiate on your behalf if you are taken by pirates?” We couldn’t possibly ask one of our children or one of our brothers or sisters to do this. So we sold the cruising books to friends, bought new books for the trip through the Indian Ocean and around South Africa, found new friends headed that way, and here we are. It has been fourteen months since we made that decision and it will be two more months before we see those grandbabies, but we are certainly glad we made the decision to take the longer route. Most of our good friends did make it successfully through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea and for that we are most grateful. There are still good friends that will have to make this decision, and in light of this most recent tragic hijacking, I sincerely hope they will take the southern route. Good friends, Jean-Pierre and Colette of Safina, made the decision to go to Japan and take the Great Circle route back to the West Coast of the US. They are from Montreal, so they will have to go back through the Panama Canal to get home. That is also a long route, but a much safer one in today’s world.

We continue to move along at a fast pace although the ride is getting increasingly rowdier. The seas are about three meters and they toss us around a bit, but we are fine except for a couple of potted plants that spilled all over the cockpit last night. This morning we put a double reef in the headsail, and we are still averaging 6.5 knots. As the day progressed, we started getting a positive current, almost a knot. Nine days to go.

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