Crossing Pirate Waters

Crossing Pirate Waters

Join Glen and Julie as they extend their voyage to “…let things cool down before sailing through the Mideast,” which allows them to live in New Zealand and participate in every sailor’s dream: the America’s Cup. But there is no turning back once they leave the wonders of the Pacific for the Indian Ocean and find themselves in the grip of natural and political forces beyond their control. Crossing Pirate Waters, written with candor and wry humor, come aboard and experience the uncertainties of what is at times, all-too-authentic experiences far from the islands of cruising romance and margaritas.

Projected publication date: Summer 2019

An excerpt from the continuing adventures in the sequel: Crossing Pirate Waters

Attention all ships, attention all ships, piracy attempt on a southbound cargo vessel Latitude 03 15, Longitude 100 23. All ships enforce anti-piracy measures transiting the Malacca Straits,” boomed over the distress channel of our marine radio.

“Glen did you hear that?” as I plotted our present coordinates. “That’s only two miles from our present position!” My voice raised an octave. “What should we do?” I rummaged in a drawer for our pepper spray. Glen raised his eyebrows at my anti-piracy measure: a six-inch can that was rusty from salt air. Who knew if it would even work…

The Strait of Malacca was a natural haven for seafaring bandits. Just a slim highway of water, the eastern shoreline of the Straits belongs to Malaysia, the other to Indonesia. Their coastlines offered a maze of dense, jungle inlets and coves that favored pirates’ small, maneuverable vessels over slow, hulking ships. The narrow route ran 550 miles, roughly the distance between San Francisco and Las Vegas. Envision a bottleneck carrying one-half of the globe’s shipping trade with over 50,000 ships per year transporting everything from computers to much of the world’s oil supply. Piracy in the Straits of Malacca is an age-old tradition. Eighteenth and nineteenth century European spice traders lived in terror of Malacca Strait pirates who killed all aboard for the valuable cargo and ship, all staged from the same shores we were passing.

Just like in the bodice ripping pirate movies, stealing cargo and ships was a quick route to riches. The risk to the pirates was minimal, and piracy was even culturally admired in the ports that harbored them. The pirate friendly terrain in the strait wreaked havoc on my ability to sleep as we made our way from Singapore to Thailand.

In Singapore Glen and I had attended an anti-piracy briefing designed for people like me, who dreaded the thought of meeting face to face with real-life pirates. The slide show turned it into a numbers game with data on ships taken and valuation of cargos heisted so far that year—statistics that made me wonder why the Indonesian and Malaysian militaries were not on top of the situation. Notably, the briefing lacked advice on how to fend off the bandits or avoid abduction. The expert’s parting words were, “Personnel are rarely recovered. Remember that the objective is a big payday. Crews are not important.” In other words, the pirates may not attack us for just being Americans—they really wanted our boat, electronics and valuables such as night-vision goggles and cash. My mind shifted to the small 9mm handgun we had hidden under the floorboards in the galley. If that was our ace-in-the hole against pirates, we were in trouble.