We students were not, however, alone. Besides our amazing crew on the RV Thuwal, two more boats full of supervisors, researchers, captains, and deckhands also came along to complete our regatta. With a speedo-ed captain, pink-clad professor, wiggly-eared greekman, Billy the Boss, Abdullah The-Ever-Happy, Ghazi The Strong, and so many other able-bodied men, we had set ourselves up for success. The 1500km journey to the Yemeni border seemed like it would be a walk in the park. We would dive for corals, grab for sediments, spear for fish and accomplish countless other tasks that would no doubt prove beneficial to our, the Kingdom's, the Region's, and the World's understanding of the Red Sea.
There was only one issue. Refueling. and the Coastguard. and radios that didn't work. and power steering that failed. and anchors that dragged. and reefs that weren't charted. and AC that broke. and knifes that sliced hands.
But we lived. and we'll know better next time.