Wednesday 10 January, 2007 – 22:36
We have now arrived in Galle in Sri Lanka after one of the best sail ever. The boat has been fantastic – we had our new spinnaker up for over 48 hours – skimming along at 9 to 10 knots in 10 to 12 knots of breeze. In one 24 hour period we did 220 miles. On the last day we had to try and slow the boat down as we would have arrived in the middle of the night and you aren’t allowed to enter the harbour until daylight for security reasons. . The last people to do that at night where the Tamil Tigers, on a suicide raid and they all ended up getting machine gunned by the Sri Lanka navy!!! To discourage Tamil frogmen from sabotaging the naval boats they let off depth charges each night in the harbour.
When we arrived we were met by a Sri Lanka navy patrol boat (a 15ft run about fiberglass boat with a pre 2nd world war machine gun set up on the front of the boat) who escorted us through the entrance to the harbour. Once we were moored up (no 5 star marina this time) we spent most of the day getting clearance from all the different departments – navy, harbour security, customs, port authority and immigration. I’m sure it is designed to employ the maximum number of people who do the minimum amount of work.
Sri Lanka is certainly very poor, not only have they got to cope with a never ending war, but they still haven’t recovered from the Tsunami. Everything is falling down and there seems very little rebuilding as there is no money around, unlike Thailand where there was massive re development. But with all their problems the people are really friendly and we certainly feel very safe here.