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How to get Socotra: 4 days on a cement boat

"And then came the boat, it wasn’t exactly pristine, in fact it was downright shoddy. A run-down wooden Yemeni fishing boat semi-converted to carry 8,000 bags of cement to Socotra, Yemen. It barely looked sea-worthy. I would be lying if I wasn’t concerned that it could even make the 50 hour journey but at this stage I was so happy that all the paperwork had been processed I jumped on in a hurry."

 
The well-known blogger and traveler unsuccessfully attempting to reach Socotra

197 countries in the world, it’s taken me 10 years to reach 195. Aside from a year teaching English in Chiang Mai, Thailand and a year in Sydney, Australia during my only ‘real’ job, I’ve been on the road, averaging over 2 weeks per country. But I’ve been stuck on 195/197 for 6 months now, and it’s breaking my heart. So what are my last 2 countries? Yemen and Norway. Admittedly, people are often surprised why Norway is still left, but that’s strategic. Ever since I reached 150 countries, I’ve planned to ‘save’ Norway for my last country. It’ll be a huge party, a big celebration and it’s close to the UK and Ireland so my mum, sister, friends etc can come and celebrate with me. I can’t exactly invite them all to Yemen to pop Champagne, now can I?! So that leaves me with Yemen. Good old Yemen. I’ve been trying to visit Yemen for more than 6 months now, and it’s been quite the adventure.

 
The first sailors of the season

Socotra became popular for sailors going in the direction of the Red Sea. Three sailing boats came to Socotra at the same time.

 
Last boat on Socotra

60-foot catamaran with a Russian-Ukrainian crew came to Socotra. They were the first who visited Socotra in the season the south-east monsoon, which still strong now.

 
More Sailors on Socotra

Two more sailing boats have visited Socotra on their way to the Red Sea. German catamaran and Irish yacht spent on Socotra for about a week. It was a pleasure to meet interesting people, some of them live aboard for more than 10 years.