Mike and Sarah Mason, an Australian couple, who turned their passion to sailing and their Local boating trips into a worldwide travelling experience. At the age of 59, they took the decision to retire, pack up and get on their S/V Soul boat and go on a long boating trip all around the world. They hit Port Ghalib’s coast 2 days ago. We met them and asked them for an interview to elaborate a bit on their travelling adventure.
“Me and Mike were married a very long time. I am a teacher and he’s an engineer. We raised a family of 3 kids and through the years we didn’t do our dream sailing adventure yet before getting too old. Two years ago we put all our positions into a storage shit and we said goodbye to our family and friends and off we went.” Sarah said. “ I have sailed all my life as a hobby. Me and Sarah met through boating. I have sailed race yachts all my life so it was a dream I had since I was a child. I used to read books about sailing when I was a child that raised my passion to boating. We’ve worked all our lives to save up money to live our dream and here now we’re living it, to sail around the world.” Mike said.
Books is a good enthuses to raise up your passion to sailing and to increase one’s awareness to the details of sailing through other’s former written experiences . “ the French sailor, Eric Tabarly, who was one of the first very competitive single headed racers, inspired me through reading his books, to become a worldwide sailor.” Mike confirmed.
“We started from the Australian coast and headed to Indonesia for 3 months and then for Malaysia, Thailand, India directly to the Red Sea in 2 weeks to the African lands. We visited Massawa city in Eretria and Sudan and now in Port Ghalib where it will be our first stop in Egypt.” Mike detailed his past 2 years of sailing until this moment. “ Tomorrow we will have a tour in Luxor and Aswan in the Nile and we have 1 Month along the Egyptian coast where we will do some diving and see some new more places and then through the Suez canal to the Mediterranean sea.” Mike added. “ The privilege of having your own boat, that we can explore very distant islands and faraway places that unless you have your own boat it’s impossible for any other to see.” He continued.
Through travelling, you visit new cities and meet new cultures, for every sailor there is a different opinion and different vision for these places. “ In Indonesia, we went through very remote places where people have nothing, where we gave them some old sails supplies so that they can use them for example for roofing or sailing and also we gave them some school books and pencils as a give back to the society” Sarah said. “ Malaysia is not good as Indonesia for sailing. Massawa is a very poor place where they still suffer from the years of war. Sudan is recovering from the wars too.” Mike said. As travelers still often hunt for those “wow-moments” and must-see attractions. “We arrived here in Port Ghalib. This is like “Wow”, the buildings and the shops , that was very sophisticated compared with the other cities we’ve been to.” Sarah added.
To every traveler, there is a favorite destination, a place or an experience that he passed all through his trip. “ the best travelling experience for me was in Komodo islands in Indonesia, we met some old friends there and we hit some beautiful snorkeling spots there.” Sarah confirmed. “ Special moments are created when you are happy and surrounded by the good company” Mike added.
Sarah and Mike are like every traveler has a wish bucket list of places they want to visit. “ Malta and Turkey is on the top of my wish list and also Cyprus in Greece that will be our first stop in the Mediterranean.” Sarah wished. “ I don’t have a wish list as I am looking forward to everywhere. I hate cold places and the Red Sea was very fantastic and we really enjoyed being here.” Mike said. “What makes the Red Sea special, that the water is so clear and clean. Unfortunately, in Asia, the water pollution is terrible. Plastic is everywhere in the water.” Mike affirmed. “ Here, in Port Ghalib, I see good rubbish bins everywhere and good recycling bins, the water is amazing and clear.” Mike added. “ To anchor here, in the desert beside the sea, that makes the place different than any other place in the world.” He confirmed.
Travel means adventure, and it has a lot of positive things from which you can gain. Travel creates meaningful relationships and gives you a perspective. Sailing is not only a fun activity to do with your friends and family on holiday, but it is also a great way to get fit and toned up. “ Meeting new friends is one of the best things about travelling and sailing that we meet other sailors on our way and going to different countries.” Mike approved. “ Sailing is such a transit lifestyle, you can have fun for 1 to 3 months and then disappear. You make good friends and you know that at some point you’ll be apart, and then may be in one year you can meet them in another country in the other side of the world.” Sarah affirmed.
Definitely, travelling is like any other activity, has its pros and cons. Journeys has some crucial disadvantages. “I got very homesick, because am very close to my mother who is elderly now and I grief for the fact that I cannot spend some more time with her and also, probably, I haven’t let go of my New Zealand lifestyle.” Sarah said in sorrow. “I don’t have a problem about travelling, I have some guilts because my mother is also elderly, but we are fortunate to leave our boat and go back for 2 or 3 months and then we continue our tour as we’ve done already before in Asia.” Mike affirmed. “ In Europe, its very expensive to go and leave your boat. If I will leave it I can leave it here in Port Ghalib because I think it’s a good place and the people are very nice and the place is secured and there is an airport near.” Mike confirmed.
It’s always a good idea for a sailor to offer some boating safety tips before departures, to help others to become a good boaters. “ you have to be very over prepared, and do some researches about the places you’r heading to and had some spare parts for your boats.” Sarah offered. “ if you have a dream, don’t leave it too long. For sailing, you have to be strong, fit and healthy” Mike tipped.
Port Ghalib’s International Marina has always been a crowning feature of the south Red Sea sailing community. It has a stunning secured and over prepared harbor master. It is upheld to the international standards by UK based marina company “Camper and Nicholson”, who have acted as the marina's operator consultants since 1999. “ for us this was very easy to come here, in Port Ghalib . A lot of countries we passed through asked for applying for a visa and a lot of paper work to do, for example in India and Indonesia, it was very complicated . You have regulations but people were very helpful. The customs and the emigration were also very helpful.” Mike highlighted. “We recommend Port Ghalib to other boats. What a place to come to for sailing, diving and snorkeling. All facilities are available. Even, you don’t have to get into the water, you can get on one of the submarine trips. There’s something, here, for everyone.” Sarah also highlighted. “ the underwater life, here, is amazing. Although the traffic in the Red Sea is very high, but yet, you have a healthy waterway.” Mike confirmed.
Sailing community gathers all the sailing boaters around the world, sharing information between each other. “ the sailing community is very small and we are very connected. If one knows that Port Ghalib is a good place to come, he will share it with others. At that moment, there is probably 18 boats coming the Red Sea and we recommended for them to come to Port Ghalib. And today there is a boat leaving India and it will be here in 1 Month a time and in a couple of days, 2 another boats are leaving, we told them that its very nice people and place and its easy to get fuel and water, here, in Port Ghalib “ Mike affirmed. “There is around 2000 boats sailing around the world. And we are all connected. We have a Facebook page called (Red Sea passage) for those who are coming to the Red Sea.” Mike added. “Last 10 years, there was around 50 boats coming to the Red Sea yearly. This year will be 20-25 boats maximum because people are concerned and afraid of what’s happening down the Gulf of Aden in Yemen and the security situation there.” Mike added. “ here, the marina is going well, also the Port. The customs made us feel welcomed.” Mike highlighted. “ The shop guys are not too pushy. They want to run their own business of course, but we haven’t been hassled of this. “ Sarah said.