Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Join Date: May 2006
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Which route would you choose - Red Sea or Cape?
As you can see below this posting, we are now in Australia and come Aprilish we will be heading north and west around Oz. Fundamentally we have two choices and I think I have to make a decision in the next several months so I can get charts, guides, etc. To get to the Atlantic we can either go the more common route through the Red Sea and the Med or the pre-Suez route around South Africa. I can see advantages and disadvantages to both directions so it is not a clear choice:
Red Sea Advantages - more interesting places to visit in SE Asia, Sri Lanka and India on the way;
- gives access to Med and all the potential that provides
- shorter passages for sure
- better weather/wind conditions likely (less wind/warmer)
Red Sea Disadvantages - pirates and not funny ones who look like Johnny Depp
- because of when you can make the passage comfortably from India to the Red Sea this route would take an extra year without having to rush like crazy (this is not necessarily a disadvantage but we are thinking we would like to not have the extra year
South Africa Advantages - no pirates
- I volunteered in Lesotho and this would give me a chance to visit friends there cheaply
- South Africa is a fascinating, if somewhat dangerous, place to visit
- it is further but in term of times more direct. You could leave Brisbane in April and be in the SE Caribbean by Feb/Mar, 2013 just because the passage seasons line up better
South Africa Disadvantages - you can get some of the worst weather in the world around what used to be called the Cape of Storms. There is a pretty good understanding of how to transit the coast of SA from port-to-port as the frontal systems move through; apparently the worst part may be between Mauritius and Durban because of the distance you can't position yourself between storms.
- it is a long way in general and in particular from Cape Town to the Caribbean - something like 5500 miles with the possibility of stopping only three times and none of the stops (except maybe NE Brazil) being all that interesting.
About the pirates, skip the suggestions about having bigger guns than they do, that is just silly. They are skilled professionals in piratry. Also, I know that most cruisers do this route in convoys and that the naval forces in the area keep an eye for the convoys.
What would you pick? And why? Am I missing anything in my deliberations?
BTW, just bought the Indian Ocean cruising guide - can use it to go either way.
In South Africa doing lots of boat stuff. Departure north from Cape Town around December 15th. Arrival in the Caribbean around the beginning of February, after 5300 miles or so.