Departure Cape Guardafui, at the top right hand corner of Africa, aka the Horn. This was our last fix from the land before setting off into the Indian Ocean. If bound for the East it was then a 1300 mile run to Minicoy in the Eight degree channel, north of the Maldives. On the way we passed the island of Socotra, going northabout in the South West monsoon, southabout at other times. Whichever way we went we kept well clear of the island because there was a caution on the Admiralty charts that the natives were cannibals. Bound for Australia there was a 4500 mile run to the next land - Rottnest Island off Fremantle.

Sometimes, when homeward bound from the East, if the South West monsoon was a bad one we used to go via the One and a half degree channel to the south of the Maldives so that we could better ventilate the cargo in the quieter weather. We then approached Guardafui from a more southerly direction, and had to keep a sharp eye out for the False Cape (Ras Hafun) which lay about a hundred miles south of the real one. In earlier days ships had come to grief on an unfriendly shore by hauling round for the Red Sea too early after mistaking it for the true Cape.


[Back to Index]                  [ Next]