N Red Sea to Sri Lanka

Choosing the time for this passage presents a major dilemma, as the cyclone free months of July and August also have the highest frequency of gales. In fact the frequency of gales in July just to the east of Socotra is similar to that off Cape Horn in summer. As passages across the Arabian Sea can be extremely rough at the height of the SW monsoon, only September offers the prospect of a reasonably comfortable voyage. The transition periods between the two monsoons cannot be recommended either because of the risk of cyclones, although an April passage has a good chance of fair winds and a lower risk factor.

The course from either Djibouti or Aden passes well to the north of Socotra to avoid the strong west-setting current along the African coast in the

Directions are very similar to those for route IN33 and a course for Malé, the capital and port of entry for the Maldives, should only be set after having passed well to the north of Socotra. The low lying Maldives should be approached with extreme caution because of the strong current that sets on to the islands during the SW monsoon. It is indeed crucial that WPIN344 is reached in the morning so that the remaining distance to Malé can be covered during daylight hours.

From WP IN342 north of Socotra, the route leads to WP IN343, north of Ari Atoll. To reach the cap

Gulf of Aden. From WP IN331 south of the Musha Islands in the Gulf of Tadjoura, a course can be set for WP IN333 north of Socotra. Boats leaving from Aden take their departure from WP IN332 and use the same intermediate WP IN333 north of Socotra. Sri Lanka can be reached through either the Nine or Eight Degree Channels, which are separated by Minicoy Island. Whichever channel is used it should be approached with caution, especially at night or in the thick weather which is sometimes associated with the SW monsoon.

Landfall will be made at WP IN336, just outside Galle Harbour, from where Western Channel leads to the small port in the NE part of the bay. Boats are usually met by a local agent whose services are necessary to complete entry formalities.

ital Male, the route continues east to pass north of Toddu Atoll. At WP IN344, it turns SE towards WP IN345 at the entrance into Wadu Channel. This leads to Male, which is reached through Male Passage. In good light it may be possible to reach Male by entering North Male Atoll through one of its western passes. The Port Authority should be contacted on VHF channel 16 on arrival. As Male is the only official port of entry, boats are not allowed to stop anywhere before having cleared in there.

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