Alan and Jean sharing our cruising news with friends, family.

20 July 2015 | Rabi Island Fiji
29 June 2015 | Suva Fiji
18 December 2013 | Auckland
05 December 2013 | Auckland
27 October 2013 | Vavau Tonga
12 September 2013 | Samoa
24 July 2013 | Moorea, Tahiti
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19 June 2013 | Nuka Hiva
02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
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24 May 2013 | Eastern Pacific Ocean
19 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
16 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
13 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
06 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
08 April 2013 | Shelter Bay marina, Colon.
28 March 2013 | Belize
27 March 2013 | Belize
03 March 2013 | Panamarina, Panama

Galle arrival

15 January 2010 | Bay of Bengal
Sri Lanka landfall. 17th January , 2010 Whew what a busy time we had during the last day of our sail to Galle. We had been doing our calculations and thought we would be arriving in the middle of the night. The wind had been light all trip then just after dinner on the 14th the wind started to build a little. The dilemma was then, do we slow down or carry on and see how many miles to go in the morning. We chose to do the latter, a good choice as it turned out.

In the late afternoon we also started to see ships, checking Maxsea we found we were by the east bound shipping lane. Along the bottom of Sri Lanka there are designated shipping lanes with a wide separation zone between the two. Our course took us into that zone which we sailed in all night. The ships ran along parallel to us all night. Our new AIS unit showed us all the ships near us so navigating through the night was quite straight forward. The AIS unit makes spotting ships more relaxing and interesting. The AIS gives information on each ship on screen, such as length, speed, bearing, destination, and most importantly the collision potential. The little triangles turn from yellow to red when collision potential becomes high. As we crossed the East bound lane to get closer to the coast more of the triangles turned red. But it was daylight by then and the two ships we had to wait for were easy to see.

During my first watch I began to smell something different, land, I could smell land. The huge land masses of India and Sri Lanka making their presence known. By 3am in the morning the wind built quickly to about 18 knots. I had to get Alan up and we reefed the main. Only one double reefed mainsail up and we still doing 7 to 8 knots. He had just got back to bed and the wind died again for about 10 mins. I felt sorry I had woken him as I could have managed the wind for that short time. Then the wind returned, we had 20 to 25 knots for the rest of the night and we picked up a favourable 3 knot current. Arrival in Galle just after dark became a maybe. By 6am the computer was on constantly so we could check on the shipping, no moon and sun rise not until 7am made for a very dark morning. A few more red triangles, most of those passing only a couple of miles away.

Friday is Alan's day to run the IO net on the SSB, there are so many yachts on passage now that it took him an hour to get through them all. He missed the dolphins leaping through the waves past our stern. They were enjoying themselves too much to stop for a visit. While he was on the radio I did a few calculations now Galle was a definite 7pm arrival but if we put up the stay sail a pre sunset arrival would be more than possible. He came off the radio complaining about having no breakfast. By the time we got the stay sail out and put it up he was starving! A good time to remind him that if we had a furling stay sail it would have meant I could have done it by myself an hour or so ago! Late breakfast over, dodged couple of ships, tidied up, sitting back having another cup of tea and Alan remembered today there was to be an eclipse of the sun easily seen off the coast of Sri Lanka. Looking through several pairs of sun glasses we could see the eclipse had just started. Alan ducked down below and got the sextant. We haven't had the sextant out for navigation but it was easy on the eyes using it to watch the eclipse. By the time the sun was half hidden we could see land through the thick haze and local fishing boats were coming out for a nights fishing. As the sun came into full view we passed our last ship and were sailing within sight of golden beaches, palm trees and houses. The small swell was spraying up along the coastal rocks, we hoped it wasn't running into the anchorage at Galle. We needed to run the water maker and a little engine power would help keep us to a pre sunset arrival. The current and wind had gradually dropped as we closed on the coast. Just as Alan was to start the water maker a naval gun boat roared up and skidded to a halt a few metres from us. With the crew taking photos of us with their phones and the captain only wanting to know what country we were from we knew this was just a friendly visit. Although at one stage I did worry that he was trying to get gunboat and all on board us. The captain was steering with one hand and holding a loud hailer with the other, the crew were taking photos, I am not sure anyone was looking at their course. They took photos of us so I felt I could take one of them, I am not always sure if photos of boats bristling with guns, albeit covered guns, is a safe thing to do. With a cheery "Welcome to Sri Lanka" they roared off.

Next visitors were colourful narrow fishing boats, one out rigger to keep them stable, full of smiling welcoming Sri Lankans. "Welcome to Sri Lanka, where you came from, any cigarettes?" " No cigarettes, we don't smoke, very bad for you" we then pat our chests and cough, this has been our standard reply to fishermen in Indonesia, Malaysia and now here in Sri Lanka. It may look a bit silly but it works.

"You have food?" The reply to that is a small shake of the head and pretend we don't understand. Giving stuff away makes it hard for yachts in the future as the fishermen then expect it which could lead to difficulties when they are refused. I have read of yachts feeling intimidated by these fishermen but we only found them cheerful and accepting of our refusals. I did soften and throw a packet of biscuits to one boat and that allowed me to take photos which of course they all loved and played up to the camera. These guys thought I was on my own as Alan was down below shutting down the watermaker, there was a big cheer when he came up on deck to say hello. Each boat that came along side left with a cheery wave and "Welcome to Sri Lanka" from the crew.

The sun was just disappearing as we motored into Galle harbor. The inner harbor usually shuts at 5pm but a yacht just in front of us was being allowed in at 5.30 so the navy were still out when we arrived and they agreed to take us in too. Two came on board, one to do paper work and one to show us the way in. Alan has just produced passports copies of crew list, ships papers etc etc when it was time to tie up. I was rushing around getting lines, fenders, undoing the bolt and rope tying down the anchor while they had the master occupied with the paper work. The naval officer in the cockpit with me asked me how old I was. Not sure if because I was impressing him with my "agility"??? Or he just thought I should be home like his mother looking after the family!!!

Dinner didn't get eaten until quite late as we then had our agent visit and fill in the paper work for the raft of officials to visit us in the morning. Aruna and Vishna gave us instructions as what alcohol to declare and what not to. "Put away the bottles of wine, box wine is okay to declare as they don't like that". They insisted on only putting 8 cartons of beer on the form. The next day we realized 8 was the magic number, any more and it would have given customs an excuse to actually look at our supplies and find something "extra" that they may like for themselves. We eventually got to bed and had a great sleep, no more night time bombing in the harbor to deter Tamil divers. The Tamils war is over much to the relief of the Sri Lankan people and visiting yachties looking for a good nights sleep.
Vessel Name: Tuatara
Vessel Make/Model: Alan Wright 51
Hailing Port: Opua NZ
Crew: Alan and Jean Ward

Sailing in the Pacific

Who: Alan and Jean Ward
Port: Opua NZ