Today, Friday, the 31st of March is a day at sea for us, enroute from the Maldives to Oman. After Salalah, Oman, we cross the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea on our way to Safaga, Egypt, and the Valley of Kings. Along the way, we pass the Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Yemen and Somalia. I left out Djibouti. Does this geography lesson ring any bells yet?
Today, the ship’s crew will entertain us with a “Safe Haven” drill. When the appropriate alarm sounds, we are to proceed in an orderly fashion to our designated Safe Haven. Ours is the deck five lobby outside the jewelry shop. Once there, they will close the water tight doors and we are to sit on the floor in case the Captain needs to make evasive maneuvers. We will also have armed security personnel on deck; they don’t have automatic weapons but they do have self-loading rifles. There will be razor wire and warning signs in Somali in strategic locations. And finally, we will travel in a convoy, with a multi-national naval escort, which I am given to understand we probably won’t even see.
All of this is intended to ward off any threats without incident, to make us and you more comfortable, and generally enhance our cruising experience. There are no recent encounters, no specific threats, and no relevant intelligence reports. Forewarned is forearmed.
Some people seem to think this is exciting; something to tell the grandkids. I would rather talk about Komodo dragons, Bali elephants, ethnic dancers, coral reefs and why erstwhile Somali fishermen find this necessary.