Cruising the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea


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Oceans and Seas
October 26th 2007
Published: October 30th 2018
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Friday the 26th October and Saturday 27th October were spent exiting the Red Sea through the Strait of Bab el Mandeb (which means Gate of Tears in Arabic) into the Gulf of Aden and cruising with Yemen on our left and Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia to our right on the Horn of Africa. The Bab-el-Mandeb Strait acts as a strategic link between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean via the Red Sea and the Suez Canal which we had just transited. Last year, an estimated 3.3 million barrels of oil passed through the strait per day, out of a world total of about 43 million barrels per day moved by tankers.

The distance across is about 20 miles (30 km) from Ras Menheli in Yemen to Ras Siyyan in Djibouti. The island of Perim divides the strait into two channels, of which the eastern, known as the Bab Iskender (Alexander's Strait), is 3 km wide and 30 mdtres deep, while the western, or Dact-el-Mayun, is about 25 km wide with a depth of 310 metres. Near the coast of Djibouti lies a group of smaller islands known as the "Seven Brothers".

After passing through the strait, we cruised past the island of Socotra (Yemen) and into the Arabian Sea (which is part of the larger Indian Ocean). The days were spent on deck and D attended lectures, while M went to craft and art classes. We spent the rest of the days at sea reading and eating ... and eating some more!

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