Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
**Today’s blog has absolutely nothing to do with Yosemite.**
Friends of that big hunk of granite,
We have successfully tippee-toed past the land of the most unorganized groups of humans and their domicile called Somalia. As we now sail north on the Red Sea towards Jordan, we encountered no hostile punks, known as pirates. Look at a map of the middle east and find the Red Sea. At the southern end is the Gulf of Aden. You can see the narrow straight that pinches the flow. Here’s the deal. Due to the threat of piracy several national have formed a multinational naval force that creates a safe corridor for oil tankers and cruise ships alike. Spain, Japan, Russia the US and several others take shifts in stationing military vessels at 50-mile spacing. Each commercial ship is in direct contact with a naval liaison. Our captain provides his position every 4 hours and gets updates on any threats from the little boats the bad guys have. On our ship there are 10 extra security personnel (from India) who are providing 24 hour a day surveillance. They watch the horizon for any unusual activity heading our way. If anything is suspect (a small boat with 4 swashbuckling men wearing eye patches and murmuring “Arrrr”), the captain then radios the military. A helicopter is only 15-minutes away and comes to the ship to inspect the situation. If heat is needed, the naval ship can be sent over to whack them. The cruise ship has no weapons. The logic is that if we had guns a real lead slinging battle could erupt that might harm the 700 passengers on board. Another issue is that in each port that the ship enters it would get harangued if we had guns. A cruise ship has not yet been hijacked. The punks go after oil tankers that are manned by a small crew that hides in a secure room. Add to the fact that the cruise ship can move at 21 knots and the banditos only have small craft that cannot catch up. Also, the ship presents about a 30-foot smooth wall that would be tough to get up. Finally, the modus operandi for the thieves is to approach from the rear of a tanker and go up the stern. Our ship creates a heck of a wake that the little boats have mega trouble staying afloat in. Anyway, Ranger Rick is safe and out of harm’s way.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Slip sliding away, slip sliding away. You know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip sliding away.” – Simon and Garfunkel
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com