Gladlee of Guernsey
An article for Yachting World magazine in 250 words.
YEMEN................................................................by Nigel Morley and Julie Smart
Most yachts’ experience of Yemen is confined to a call at either Aden or Al Mukalla on passage to or from the Red Sea. Aden has come sadly down in the world, and it is hard to imagine now that it was once a major bunkering and duty-free port. Years of Marxist economics and civil war have left their mark, and there is not much there now to attract the casual visitor. Other deterrents are a notoriously oily anchorage and the increasing nuisance factor of Somali refugees on the streets. Nevertheless Aden still has reasonably good and cheap food shopping, including the excellent market in Crater and small “supermarkets” stocking a range of imported goods (no duty-free, though). The local people are friendly, too: one senses a certain nostalgia for the old days of British rule!
Al Mukalla, 300 miles eastwards, feels more like the real Yemen. The waterfront has striking examples of traditional architecture and several fine mosques, all set against volcanic ridges rising steeply behind the town. Here there are no supermarkets and an altogether less cosmopolitan atmosphere, but scouring dozens of small shops in search of what you want can be fun, fish is plentiful and cheap, and Iskander, the local “fixer”, has developed a good feel for what cruising yachts need by way of supplies and services.
Visas are not normally required at either port, nor for stops elsewhere along the south coast, though yachts should have written clearance from either Aden or Al Mukalla in case they are checked by local officials.