TRIP FROM GALLE TO DJIBOUTI
Dear family and friends, another quick update from somewhere in the Arabian sea. This is our 9th day at sea with only 4 to go until we reach Djibouti. The first 1100 miles we sailed solo until meeting up with our delegated group at a secret rendezvous. It was very comforting to be traveling in company with our group of four boats.
The idea is safety in numbers but if we should come up against pirates they may see it as four times the booty!!! If all the pirates looked like Johnny Depp they could come on board and “shiver me timbers” anytime.
I thought it was going to be very tedious but we have had some interesting moments. One night we came to a grinding halt when we got caught up in a fishing net which was on the surface and unmarked. Somebody had to volunteer to dive on the boat and free us from the net and we made a unanimous decision and sent Richard. He cut us loose surprisingly in lightning speed and was back on board in a flash. Fortunately there was no damage done to the boat and only a little hole in the fishing net. Yesterday one of our travel companions Christof Rassy, (boat builder and owner of Halberg Rassy yachts) thought he had a rope around his prop so Rich dived on his boat. There was no rope but a large cluster of barnacles which he was able to chisel off and Christof was most grateful. Richard was pleased it was a dive in daylight.
We continuously have our fishing lines out. Richard hooked a huge yellow fin tuna and wrestled with it for an hour before getting it up to the back of the boat. Just as he was ready to gaff it the line broke and there went dinner, and one of Peters favorite lures. Rich also hooked a 2 metre marlin . Had he landed it, it would have been just for the Kodak moment but it wasn’t meant to be. He did however catch two beautiful dolphin fish also known as mahi mahi so he redeemed himself. They came at a good time as we are getting low on supplies. I still had a chunk of meat in the freezer which we bought as Australian rib eye. It was more like Tibetan yak! We’re down to picking the weevil out of the rice, cutting the mould off the cheese, scooping the solid bits off the milk and plucking the maggots from the salt beef but we are still well fed. If we get desperate there is always our emergency grab bag “which contains barley sugar and beef jerky. I made a caramelised upside down apple and peach pie which was pretty impressive for this stage of the trip. Actually it wasn’t meant to be an upside down pie but I dropped it and by the time I put it back together it looked like one. The crew enjoyed it and were none the wiser.
We have seen a bit of marine life. A pilot whale came alongside the boat. We then saw a large pod of them and have spotted them on a few occasions but not at close quarters as the first one.
Whilst on the subject of marine life, let me backtrack to the Maldives. What a piece of paradise that was. The diving was fantastic as was the snorkeling. I have never seen such a variety of fish and colour. Richard and Peter saw a sting ray about three metres across. We saw turtles and I saw a seahorse which was a pretty special sighting. We were anchored off one of the many beautiful resorts and the locals told us where to find some wrecks. I don’t like diving on wrecks so once again the boys went. Peter wasn’t expecting the wreck to be a yacht. Somehow you don’t associate the two so he didn’t enjoy that dive.
We have enjoyed having Richard and his girlfriend Kristen on board. They leave us in D jibouti . We then have new crew arriving—our friend Ken and his mate Derek. They are both experienced sailors which Pete will appreciate as the next leg up the Red sea is not an easy ride. It will also be good for him to share the load when something goes wrong as it often does. If its not the water maker which Peter has virtually rebuilt, it’s the generator or the compressor isn’t working or the fresh water pump has stopped pumping or the radar is on the blink or the steering feels dodgy, the sat phone which is supposed to give us world coverage doesn’t, which means we cant always receive or send e mails and as for the air conditioner, well lets not go there. We may get another replacement when we get to Crete so that should be handy just in time for winter! That hasn’t worked since we left Darwin There is always something and it gets pretty stressful at times .Having said all that I really shouldn’t complain. We get daily reports from the groups ahead of us. One boat had a major fire in their engine room and were unfortunate enough to have a second fire a few days later. The wife and two very young children went onto another boat in their group. Then there is Gypsy Moth who haven’t had a single hot meal or drink since leaving The Maldives 2 weeks ago as their oven broke down
We will be in Crete in April. Emily would have come to the end of the skiing season in Verbier and is wanting to join up with us again which will be great as we have about six months in the Med before heading home. We will be flying home for a visit sometime in April or early May to touch base with family and friends. The next Blue Water Rally starts again in October. We haven’t decided whether or not to join it on the return trip, choose to come back witha different rally or (now that we’re seasoned sailors) come back under our own steam. For the time being we will keep our options open
Backtracking once again, we enjoyed Thailand. New crew members were Cynthia and her daughter Kylie We went on a trip to northern Thailand up to Chang Mai and Chang Rai where we went white water rafting, elephant trekking, ,visiting remote villages and staying in rattan huts.
Whilst in Thailand we met up with our friends Terry and Jan from “Ridge Didge” who also have a Lightwave yacht. We spent new years eve with them on Krabi and the following day we spent together. They came aboard Innforapenny and had dinner with us and of course a few bevies. We look forward to meeting up with you both in Australia in a few months time.
Kylie left us 5th Jan and Cynthia came with us to Sri Lanka .A beautiful country but still showing very obvious signs of the tsunami .To get to the P.O you have to step over great slabs of fallen concrete and there are still many broken up bits of boats inland . There was an attack on the navy harbour a few weeks before we were due to arrive. The Tamil Tigers intention was to blow up the naval ships but were intercepted and they were all shot and I believe some navy personnel were also killed. Needless to say, security was high. We were escorted in to the harbour by the navy with a machine gun poised at the reqdy. The gun looked like it was from WW1. I’d be worried if they were protecting my country. We went on a tour of the country. We went on a safari and saw wild elephants but not the elusive leopards. The people are very friendly and were pleased to have our custom. It is a very poor country and tourism has dropped off since the Tsunami and of course the war in the north of the Country isn’t enticing the tourists. Their main industry is sapphires and many other precious stones, timber, rubber, and of course tea and tourism. We went to a tea plantation and a tour through the tea plant which was very interesting Unfortunately it was a public holiday so we didn’t see any tea pickers. Last we heard they were going on strike for higher wages i.e they wanted their daily pay to go up to $3.00 .It must be backbreaking work as the plantations are on almost vertical slopes- mile upon mile of them. Whilst we were on our jaunt Richard and Kristen arrived and organized their own entertainment. They also went on a safari and were lucky enough to see a leopard. They have it on video camera otherwise I would have put it on the blog.
Cynthia was going to go home from Sri Lanka but decided to stay on to Djibouti where she will fly to Dubai and meet up with one of her friends who is living there. She jumped ship in Sri Lanka and is traveling with our friends David and Jenny from Älexes”.
Well that’s enough of all my ramblings for this chapter. You’re probably all asleep by now anyway. I hope to catch up with you when we come home in April. IUntil then bye for now love from Penny xxx P.S, I was only joking about cutting the mould off the cheese!