Tuatara

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
19 July 2013 | Papeete
19 June 2013 | Nuka Hiva
02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
29 May 2013 | Pacific Ocean
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

The Madives

04 February 2010 | Uligamu
Jean
4th February 2010

Every morning at first light we put out our fishing line, we don't have it out at night because of the hassle of dealing with a fish at night with only one person up. Well we haven't caught a fish for so long that I think we should leave the line out 24 hours and we might eventually catch a fish!

Everyone said .."you'll catch plenty of fish once you are past the Andaman Islands." I think that is one of those urban myths or rather cruising myths. The only consolation is that most cruisers in this area are having our luck with fishing none. We must have nearly caught a big one yesterday as one line came in last night with lure and wire trace missing, the swivel snapped in half. We were so close to having fish instead of sausages for dinner and we didn't even notice the line twanging. On that sad note back to first light this morning.

As I was sending the lure streaming out on another fishing mission a pink shimmer on the horizon gave notice of the sun rising. A golden pink sun rose slowly dripping the last blue waves until it sat like a luscious peach waiting for someone to sink their teeth into its juicy flesh. Last night a gold moon played peek- a- boo with the clouds as it made its way into the sky. I was fortunate to be on watch for both events , I never tire of watching the sun or moon make their entry into our part of the world.

We left Sri Lanka Wednesday,27th January, after a last visit to the dentist for Alan, the incumbent President had been re-elected, mooring lines untied, we motored out of Galle harbor past the Fort making for Uligamu in the northern Maldives. We hooked into the west going current and with a strong wind coming out of the gap between India and Sri Lanka, the Gulf of Mannar, we soon covered the 415 miles to Uligamu. A clear sky and bright moon allowed us to enter the anchorage at 4am, gliding up quietly behind the outer yachts, we anchored with a quiet splash and were sound asleep by just before 5am.

The polite officials arrived at 9.30 just as I was getting back on board after my first swim in the clear blue water. I had to rush below and put on some respectable clothes, the rules are quite strict in the Maldives an Islamic country. The Immigration officer left a list of dos and don'ts. The main thing is for women to cover up when going ashore, long pants and long sleeves. Much stricter than Indonesia and Malaysia. It was just easier not to go ashore, swimming off the boat in the hot sun was more inviting. The locals are not allowed to come along side in their boats but it is okay for us to go to their fishing boats if we wanted fish. Now this is a good rule, no more black marks on our hull, we have enough already. We arrived too late for a trip to visit a couple of other islands, we didn't mind as we were ready to relax and enjoy the clear water around our boat.

Uligamu is a small island in Northern Maldives, probably the most northern island. It is a small low sandy island with only 450 people, the only thing growing were coconut palms along the fringing beaches. Most yachts sailing west call in there for a break and to enjoy the clear blue water, snorkeling and diving. Once cleared in and anchored yachts are not permitted to cruise anywhere else in the atoll. One yacht was quoted $US550 for a cruising permit for the Maldives. All they wanted to do was go 30 miles across the atoll to get a crew member to the nearest airport for a flight down to Male, they needed the expensive cruising permit. It was cheaper but only just for the crew to get a ferry to the airport. The people on Uligamu were very hospitable and we attended an enjoyable dinner cooked by the women and served by the men.

The highlight for Alan was swimming with the huge manta rays which visited the anchorage every day. They spent hours feeding, swimming up and down the bay, their wing tips breaking the water giving snorkelers advance warning of their presence. We estimated the biggest manta ray to be about 3 metres across, wing tip to wing tip. When this big fella swam towards Alan he did some quick back peddling to get out of its way.

At Uligamu we met up with Largo Star and Silver Fern, our kiwi buddies, as arranged. They had both bypassed Sri Lanka opting to spend the time enjoying the snorkeling and socializing of the Uligamu anchorage. As with all stops some of the time is spent on boat projects. We had filthy ropes from our Galle mooring to clean, Bryce came and helped Alan bleed the hydraulics so all the oil could get around our new springs. Alan had put the new springs in, in Galle and the steering had behaved well to the Maldives but there was obviously some air in the system stopping all the oil being replaced. Between the boat jobs, swimming etc there was time for socializing and the ongoing discussions about the whys and wherefores and pros and cons of the next leg of our journey. We left Maldives 2 days ago with Silver Fern, a day after Largo Star, some of the steps of the next few weeks undecided but what is decided that we would keep in contact twice daily on the SSB and meet up in our next destination in about 10 days. The question is who will catch the first fish, 2 days in we are still waiting.
Comments
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