On his last day before departing from Sudan Rob was looking around the dock, it was easy to spot the difference between the local boats and the bright flashy boats of the western sailors. He thought it might be a good idea if he adopted a little local camoflage. At a local shop he bought several small cans of some of the worst coloured emulsion paint he had ever seen and some brushes and rollers and also some brown fabric dye and stowed them in the cabin.
A few hours south of the port he pulled into a small bay and anchored. First task was to scunch his white sails into a large plastic bag and mix up several tubs of brown dye in seawater. It would not be quite tie and dye but the effect should make them look like old weather-beaten sails at a distance. Next was to get messy with the paint, Random patches of different colours here and there over the hull, mimicking the old peeling paint work of local boats. He also remembered the dazzle camoflage that they had used in the second world war to break up a ships shape and appearance at a distance. It was worth a try. If any pirates did spot him he hoped they would ignore him if he looked like a poor local.
The next part of the plan was to sail by night as much as possible, during the day he would stay close inshore and keep a good lookout and then haul to and lower sails if he saw any suspicious boats heading his way. That might slow him down but it was preferable to being captured and held hostage for a ransom that there was nobody to pay. It was really a game of cat and mouse, with him as the mouse.
As he moved down the Somali coast he spotted suspicious motor boats heading out from the beach into the shipping lanes on several occasions. These chaps were not fishing, no nets, large searchlights on the bow and the occasional glint of gunmetal and machetes as the crews moved round. He was able to cover more miles at night further out at sea and the noisy motors on the pirate boats gave him good warning of their approach and a chance to change course.
One night however he almost ran into an barely lit boat floating in the darkness. He heard them before he saw them, the sound of a spanner vainly hitting a broken motor and what he assumed was cursing. As silently as he could he changed tack to veer away from them but not before someone spotted him. Wild shouts went up from the drifting boat and then the muzzle flashes of automatic weapons. Rob dived for the deck and sailed away as fast as he could. As the sun rose he noticed that there was a line of bullet holes leading diagonally down across his mainsail and continuing the line holes in the cabin and the cockpit combing only inches away from where he had been.
That was too close for comfort. It was time to head away from this pirate coast and strike out into the Indian Ocean. He was close to the Equator now and the Seychelles would be the best place to call in to replenish food and water. They were about 700 Nautical Miles away, with good winds he could average 10 knots for at least 20 hours each day, that would get him there in four days, with luck and fair winds. He set a course of 114 degrees and went below to grab a bite to eat and a couple of cans of beer.