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Against All Odds: Resilience and Resourcefulness at Sea

We had just left the perplexing labyrinth of the Suez Canal behind us, and the vast expanse of the Red Sea stretched out ahead, a new chapter in our adventure. With hearts filled with hope, we set our course towards Sudan, dreaming of replenishing our dwindling reserves of diesel, water, and food.

That first night out of the Suez was like a scene straight out of a sailor’s nightmare. Shrouded in a darkness so thick it felt tangible, we were sailing blind. The sky offered no comfort – no moon, no stars – just an oppressive blanket of black. Our radar, usually our trusty guide, was useless, leaving us to fend off unseen dangers lurking in the watery abyss.

Our most chilling moment came unannounced. A hulking, abandoned oil and gas station loomed out of nowhere, its presence a silent threat in the night. Unlit and unnoticed by our maps, it was a ghost ship on a collision course. By a whisker, we veered away, hearts pounding, grateful for the narrow escape.

The rest of that night was a tense vigil. We took turns at the helm, while the other kept a watchful eye from the bow, our only aid a powerful flashlight piercing the dark. Every shadow, every ripple was a potential hazard, and we adjusted our course accordingly. Sleep was a luxury we couldn’t afford – survival was our only focus.

Dawn’s light brought little relief. Our maps, usually a trusted companion, were suddenly unreliable. Landmarks and hazards that should have been there weren’t, and new ones appeared without warning. We were sailing through a sea of uncertainty, guided only by our wits and the immediate reality around us.

Finally, after days of high-alert sailing, we reached the shores of Sudan. Anchored in the middle of the port, we were instructed to remain on our vessel – a directive we were all too happy to follow after the nerve-wracking journey. That night, under the Sudanese sky, we found a moment of peace. Our impromptu BBQ, with the fresh catch of the day, was a feast for weary souls. For the first time in what felt like an eternity, we slept soundly, rocked gently by the calm sea.

The new day, however, didn’t bring good news. Our local agent, ferried to our boat, dropped a bombshell – everything had to be paid for in cash, a commodity we were desperately short of. Our pleas to use a credit card were met with laughter; in Sudan, cash was king.

In a moment of clarity, I asked about Western Union. To our surprise, the agent agreed, but the lack of internet connectivity threw us another curveball. In desperation, I reached out to Mike in Dubai using a phone that was meant for emergencies only. If anyone could pull off this financial miracle, it was him.

True to his nature, Mike delivered. He overcame barriers that seemed insurmountable, sending us the much-needed funds despite the strained diplomatic relations between the UAE and Sudan. His message was a beacon of hope in our storm.

The agent returned, his boat brimming with diesel, fresh water, and supplies.

Our spirits soared – we were back in the game. As we prepared to set sail, the agent’s parting words – a caution about the treacherous waters between Yemen and Somalia – lingered in the air. But that’s a story for another day.

In those challenging moments in Sudan, the power of friendship and human connection shone brightly. Mike’s intervention was more than just help; it was a testament to the incredible things we can achieve together. As we left the Sudanese waters, the lesson was clear: in the vastness of the sea, as in life, we are stronger together.