21 February 2013 | Bay of Bengal
Michael and Jackie
Leaving India is almost as hard as arriving. I don't mean in the sentimental sense, although we were sure sad to leave the Andamans, but in the technical sense. First you proceed to the Harbour Master, and painstakingly copy out the details of all the anchorages you have been to, on to a special form, twice. This form is then cut in two, lengthways so that you have a copy and they have a copy. Then this information is used to calculate how much you should pay for your stay. A careful application of Adam Smith's Division of Labour is applied to this process. Each aspect of it has been defined, and has become the responsibility of a named individual. There is the man with the steel ruler whose job it is to tear the form neatly down the middle, there are the 3 or 4 female clerks who draw up the bill, check the bill, collect the money, write out the receipt. Each process carefully recorded in the hard back books, tied with ribbons which abound the office. Computers are less obvious. We did though spot one. This computer picks up emails from ships. Each email is dutifully recorded in a hard back book bound with ribbons. The whole process took about an hour and a half, and the cost to us was about Â£12, 1080.13 rupees. Unfortunately, however, the Harbour Master was out we had to wait another hour so that he could personally sign the clearance form. Everything is carried out meticulously and politely. People come and go. They stop in the office to perhaps read the paper, chat with friends. Live moves at a slow pace here. After the Harbour Master we taxied to customs, who fortunately were in, and got another clearance paper to take to immigration. Immigration then come to the dingy wharf to do the final clearance. Presumably to make sure that we really are going.
Luckily this gave us time for a superb Indian meal, tandoori prawns and mutton rogan josh washed down with some Kingfisher beer. We also stocked up on some samosas from a street seller to fuel the night watches. Perhaps a rather risky strategy. And so a final goodbye. Our taxi skirted the wandering cows, narrowly avoiding numerous disastrous collisions with tuk tuk drivers, and brought us back to the wharf. Maybe it's the horn that is sacred here not the cows. We never saw an accident but the amount of horns blaring was amazing.
So we have now left the beautiful Andamans for the 3 day journey back to Phuket and then on to Langkawi. So far all is good, lightish winds just off the aft are driving us along, and we are hoping that we can avoid forecast bad weather for the weekend