Boy Scouts on Shawara Island. From left Kevin, James, Aden, Thomas, Nick

Sailing With Captain Dave, 2003

   This was the second year the Boy Scouts sailed on the good ship Iduna III with Captain Dave Arnell, her owner , and a great supporter of local scouting. The plan was the same as last year, spend 4 or 5 days sailing to Shawara Island, camping on the island and sailing back. The ship’s company was Cap’n Dave Arnell, myself, Nick and Thomas Downs, James Hardaway, Kevin Prince and Aden Adonis.  Here is a day by day chronicle of what happened.


  This was to be our departure day but with war looming the coast guard asked Dave to delay till Wed AM. We arrived at Iduna around 5 PM with all our gear, boxes of food, frozen meat, veggies etc. Everyone helped stow things away. Dave arrived around 6, looked things over, made sure the water tanks were full, the fridge was working, fuel topped up, batteries charged, GPS and satnav working, etc etc. The lads found bunks and stowed their gear,  plus helped out on deck . I worked mainly in the galley, helping the boys get  dinner started. We were still tied to the dock at the Marriott hotel but we made dinner anyway, spaghetti, and the lads cleaned up. Dave said he would eat at home and be back at 5 AM. We went to bed early.


Iduna at her mooring, an all steel ketch (two masted sailboat) , 53 feet long, 26 tons


   Dave was as good as his word, 5AM came and we started getting things going. Dave started the diesel, made a few final checks and we backed away from the dock. Winds were easterly and our destination was southeast, so it looked like we would be motoring the first part of the journey ( sailboats can sail at right angles to the wind and down wind , but not dead up wind). Motoring out of the harbor we stopped at the Police Barge, a floating police office that keeps an eye on vessels coming and going to Doha. They waved us on and we continued down the shipping channel, a dredged channel marked with bouys the big ships use. Waves started to pick up here as we got out into the open sea.

      The boys took turns at the helm, maintaining a SE course throughout the morning, the day was hazy with 2-3 foot waves. We started to pick up a long period roll as we got offshore , these guys always make me sick so I took another seasick pill. Iduna plowed on thru lunch, none of us were very hungry. The wind shifted a bit and we put up the sails, leaving the motor on gave us a speed of 5 or 6 knots. This reduced the motion a little, which was welcome. By early afternoon I was feeling pretty sick , so I went down below, climbed in my bunk and shut my eyes. Motion sickness happens when the inner ear “feels” that you are in motion, but your eyes disagree, causing a conflict of sensory inputs. Drugs suppress the conflict for most people. Closing your eyes shuts off one source of conflicting information, that’s all that works for me. So I napped, feeling rather useless, and let the boys and Dave sail the boat.  Dave showed the lads how to use the radar, they learned to  spot ships in the distance then go below and spot them on the radar. They saw several freighters and a warship or two.


A view from the deck, Nick steering, James smiling, Thomas clowning.


Cap’n Dave and Nick discuss navigation

Younger scouts enjoy Gameboy and a snack on the rear deck. Out of sight of land at this point.

  Around sundown I crawled  out of bed, threw up violently in the sink, staggered up on deck to try to be of use. Dave had the satnav going, the island was 2 or 3 hours away, visible on the digital display; I felt lucky to be in the skilled hands of Cap’n Dave and the scouts. I was the only one disabled by seasickness. The moon was coming out, wind continued from the east as we motor-sailed along. Someone made some soup, several of the lads had a cup.  I was unable to help since less than a minute spent down below with my eyes open caused me to retch. Later  I helped a bit with dishes, throwing up every few minutes in the sink. This is not as bad as it sounds, after a few times you don’t throw up much.

   Around 7 PM we spotted the low dark island and the smaller rock pile near it  with a flashing warning light. The depth sounder was acting up , sometimes reading zero, but we lowered sail and Dave motored in slowly into a small cove on the SW side of the island. We anchored in 3 meters water, stopped the engine and went to bed, Dave staying up a while to watch if the anchor drags, always a mariners nightmare. He set an alarm on the depth sounder to squawk if the depth goes below 2, meaning we’re drifting into shore.

The motion subsided in the protection of the island and we went to bed. Around 2 AM the alarm went off and the boat thumped several times on coral, the wind had changed and weather-vaned us around into shallow water. Dave started the engine and motored us out to deeper water where we re-anchored.


   Up at dawn, eager to explore. The lads made instant hash browns and boiled eggs, I had a bit of banana bread from home. Dave lowered the small dingy (row boat) from the back of Iduna, lowered the swim ladder and tried to climb in. Dave’s a big guy, the dingy was skittish as a colt and into the drink he went. He got back on board and we sorted out the oars, and with the second try Dave rowed two small lads the 100 yards or so to shore. The two oldest scouts, Nick and James, then took over and rowed everyone else. We pulled up on the beach, glad to be on land again.


Rowing to shore at Shawara Island.

Coming to shore

Iduna at anchor, first day

  The day was clear and beautiful, the beach was clean , the water a bit cool but pleasant.  The island was, as usual, completely deserted. We strolled down to some fisherman’s shacks we’d visited before. Our favorite we called the “sugar shack” , the lads moved some stuff in and tidied it up a bit. This shack had some carpet on the raised floor, good wind protection, fire pit, one hole privy  and water tanks in back, all you would need. Luxury compared to a tent. The lads made several more dingy trips to Iduna to bring sleeping bags, food etc to the shack. They found and fixed  an old broken broom, set up a clothes line, hunted for wood. We took a stroll to the east end of the little hour glass shaped island, walking along the north shore where the prevailing wind batters it with waves. Good beach combing here, it gets very few visitors. Found lots of wood, some shells. Here and there patches of black tar are seen, remnants of crude oil spilled in the late ‘80s during the Iran Iraq war. (By the way we had no idea a new war had just started.)