Redwings Round the World
Indian Ocean - Phuket to Maldives
24 January to 2 February, 1998
24 January, Boat Lagoon to 70 nm East of Phuket, Thailand / 24 hr run 145 nm
Note: 24 hr run is from 0800 current day to 0800 on the next day - i.e to 0800 on 25th
Aaron - We awoke at 0700 (two hours before normal wakey time for the Boat Lagoon bonded crew of Redwings - none of those disgusting early morning eager beavers on this boat) to catch the 0800 high tide and make our escape. Raffi, Chris, and Stacy of Malkat Singapore came to wish us off as we filled the water tanks piled the last of our junk on the dock onto the boat. We made it out on schedule with the crews of Runaway and Sara Jane (two of about five New England-based cruisers on the same circuit as us) shouting good luck as we entered the channel.
Our departure on this day almost ended right there. This morning's high tide was the lowest tide of the month at just 2.4 meters. Redwings draws 1.8 meters and we normally go out on tides of about 3 meters. Sure enough, five minuets into the two mile twisty turny channel, we struck mud and we stuck mud. As I watched Kerry and Laura, who were standing on the deck, lurch forward as we dug in, I figured we'd be there till the next tide. Luck was with us however, and we were able to quickly back out, get more in the middle of the channel, and we made it out with out even touching bottom again.
I must say there is not much to say. The best word I can use to describe today is "pleasant" and I for one don't really regard such a word as descriptive. The skies were blue, the wind was blowing 10 - 15 out of the North East, and we just took our fat old time getting the boat ready for sailing. In fact, we left our new bimini (a cover which shades the whole boat) up until the afternoon to avoid the noon day sun. We can't sail with it up so we just motored. We figured we'd have plenty of sailing and once we take the bimini down and stow it, its gone for the remainder of the passage.
With the hottest part of the day past, we put away the bimini and hoisted the main at 1500. We enjoyed beautiful sailing for several hours,but by 1800 the wind had dropped to two knots so we fired up the "donk" and motored again. On the evening radio net, we identified at least four boats within 100 miles of us pursuing similar coursed to the Maldives, Sri Lanka, or India so we are in contactable company if there are any problems. We've also been getting pretty consistent weather updates from the boats ahead of us which has been helpful - it looks like there is wind all the way.... and sure enough the wind filled in at 2300 and we were sailing again.
25 January, mid-day position: 7 deg 9 min N, 95 deg 47 min E / 24 hr run 160 nm
Aaron - At 0200, just as I was finishing my watch, I heard the sharp, confident, and rhythmic "whoosh, whoosh, whoosh" breathing sound of an approaching pod of dolphins. Sure enough, I could see three phosphorescence-enhanced comets streaking for the boat and then watched as they wheeled, ran, and returned to play in the wake our our bow. Lets hope this is a sign of good luck!
So far our "luck" has been very good and nothing too major has malfunctioned. In fact, rather than luck, we are just more ready and we hopefully are now on a more "normal" maintenance track. There have been a couple of casualties though. The shaft lock seems to have been trashed on the pin end - I did hear a crunch once when I recently put the engine in gear - the pin must not have been fully retracted and or the new cable not adjusted properly. We easily jury rigged it and can probably fix it permanently in Male (the capital of the Maldives which is where we are heading). The wimpy little jam cleat on the boom vang also finally bent beyond usability (its been going for awhile). Not a big deal as we can tie it off elsewhere.
Today is my day to cook and if there is one thing I can cook, its fish, so I put the lines out at 0800. I was able to stock up on the gold and green rubber squid lures that had been so productive on the trip down from Hong Kong and was pretty confident in success. Sure enough, by 1200 we had two small tuna aboard and enjoyed a very late (hey I needed that 1100-1400 nap) lunch of Tuna Jardiniere. The cats were reminded of the only big plus of cruising for them: fresh fish, and feasted on scraps.
Otherwise, just another "pleasant" day of sailing downwind in 10-15 knots. Lots of reading, sleeping, and general relaxing. Bit of mild queasiness here and there, but no firm (or not so firm) evidence from either human or feline crew members.
26 January, mid-day position : 6 deg 44 min N, 93 deg 10 min E / 24 hr run 175 nm
Aaron - Just after midnight, the wind dropped to about 10 true. With large following seas still rolling through, and increasing current as we approached the northern approaches to the Straits of Malacca and the Nicobar Islands, the boat was pitching and rolling uncomfortably and the sails thrashing given the loss of wind pressure. Kerry and I were on watch and we decided to furl the poled out genoa and start the engine. Colleen and Laura then came on watch and brought the boat past the Nicobar Islands and out into the Indian Ocean proper where the trade winds truly kicked in and the chop lessened.
Now we are really moving - 7 to 9 knots over the ground, broad reaching in 15 to 25 with positive current. But what would I know about what happened today? I lay down at 1100 after my morning watch and slept till 1700!! My first real sleep of the trip. The boat has settled in, there is nothing for us to hit, there seems to be limited traffic, and I finally felt I could let down my guard.
Kerry cooked a great lunch of pasta salad turned pasta pepper dish (I ate mine at 1700) and a mixed omelet / potato goulash (what it lacked in presentation it made up for in taste and heartiness) which was consumed at 1800. I am starting to pattern my life after that of the cats: large intermittent feedings breaking up long periods of sleep during the day, with activity peaking during the night when its cool.
Colleen - Aaron finally off to bed asked me to finish this by mentioning the phenomenon of flying fish we are experiencing here in the Indian Ocean. Flying fish are constantly leaping out of the sea. Occasionally they land on the boat, and this seems to be the only distraction so far capable of extracting the cats from their "lair" in the cockpit cubby hole. The first fish landed right in the cockpit. Sybil went after it with a vengeance, gobbling up every bit slowly from head to tail. Basil had to follow and show his machoness (even though he's not really as fond of raw fish as Sybil). By the third fish, the cockpit was getting pretty smelly, and we decided to give a thorough washing down. No More Fish! But not to be... A half hour later while Kerry was showering on deck, we were attacked with four at once. Kerry and I scampered around the deck trying to throw them back in the ocean before the cats claimed them (Basil growls if anyone approaches what he believes his catch). While poor Kerry was struggling to keep her balance on the ever tilting deck while holding up a towel around her and throwing a squirming fish into the ocean another one jumped right out of the ocean and landed smack into her.
27 January, mid-day position: 6 deg 53 N, 90 deg 13 min E / 24 hr run 160 nm
Kerry - Aaron and I are just beginning our 8:00 pm to 2:00 am watch. Though I am sitting directly below two severely swinging hammocks of fruit and vegetables, as well as a bunch of green bananas tied up with a sail-tie, it seems just a little bit calmer than it did all day. Laura and Colleen seem to have been sea-sick for most of the day - Aaron never gets sea-sick, and I feel fine though haven't been able to get much sleep as a result of the constant rolling and pitching. I take back the calmer seas - half of the galley seems to have come alive with all sorts of noises from flying objects within the last minute. Colleen was feeling so poorly that she even voted to desert a game of Hearts which Aaron and I finally agreed to play. I have never been a big card player, and especially not after my recent introduction to Hearts wherein I lost about 13 straight games - being the proud owner of the Queen of Spades each and every time.
Laura survived her first galley day with a pasta tuna dish for lunch. She and Aaron caught two tunas in the morning. Though we wanted to throw one back, it was such a long struggle to get the second one in, Aaron thought it would die anyway if we did release it. Basil and Sybil had their share of the fish. Casting aside their scraps given to them by Aaron, I caught Basil just in time as he was trying to make off with one of our filets hanging out of his mouth. After the big tuna session, I tried to rig up a make shift system to cool our drinks (given the recent refrigerator happenings and the fact that the last of the ice took leave as of yesterday morning). I attached a small cooler to the starboard side of the boat and filled it with ocean water, hoping that the temperature was cooler than the air temperature. Unfortunately, it didn't really help, though Aaron thinks that psychologically maybe it does.
We were able to communicate with Malkat Singapore tonight at our 1700 check-in. They are all set to leave within the next "36 hours" - a song we know too well. Ironically, both Colleen and I had dreams last night/this morning featuring Raffi, captain of Malkat Singapore. Colleen was imagining that we were on the radio with them, and Raffi told us that they weren't going to be able to leave for over a month. Worse than that, he was angry with Stacy because she had decided to stay on at the Boat Lagoon as a carpenter's apprentice, claiming she had only two nickels left to her name. My interpretation - a classic case of transference, despite the fact that we were able to leave the Boat Lagoon and none of us remained there as full-time employees - Colleen may still be in shock that we are actually gone.
My dream was that we were all in an area that was about to encounter a natural disaster and had to evacuate. In the end, Colleen, Raffi and I chartered a small plane, despite the protests from the rental agent that none of us really knew how to fly it. We got off the ground, but then started spiraling down to the ground. I woke myself up before hitting the ground - which was probably a translation of my being flung all over the cabin while trying to sleep. And of course, the basic deep-seeded Boat Lagoon fears inherent in all our dreams and still playing themselves out.
Laura continued with the tuna theme for dinner - after a long, hard discussion with each crew member about what each of us wanted. Though Colleen is already tiring of tuna, we had to use it. We enjoyed fresh tuna fish sandwiches, carrots, and steamed green beans. Colleen rotates back in tomorrow, and vows no more tuna.
28 January, mid-day position : 6 deg 37 min N, 87 deg 39 min E / 24 hr run 160 nm
Laura - Day began at 2 a.m., as usual these days, with night watch. Colleen, Aaron and I spent an hour or so reefing the main sail and fiddling with the genoa in an effort to make the sailing smoother. The wind had died some, as it usually does in the night and we were rolling quite uncomfortably. But, our efforts were in vain. In the middle of reefing, right when we all had our hands tied, Basil got a flying fish and stood poised with the poor fishy in his mouth on the edge of the hatch to the aft cabin. He was all set to jump down onto Aaron and Colleen's bed for a nice feast. Aaron dropped what he was doing and grabbed the fish from Basil's mouth. Basil looked quite put out, but didn't growl this time.
Colleen and I alternated napping in the main cabin because we were both pretty wiped out. When she woke me up at 5 a.m., I could have sworn she said "Would you like some chicken." It didn't occur to me right off that we had no chicken on board so I was about to politely decline, but then I decided to say "What?" She came back with "Do you feel like switching?" Yes, my turn on deck.
I have to say that despite the sleep deprivation factor, night watch can be quite nice. All the stars are out and the wind is cool. There is all kinds of time to contemplate things like massive underwater mountain range beneath us, how delicious some cookies n' cream ice cream might taste and, of course as a solitary figure must do when faced with a vast night sky, the significance of my puny existence. And then the sun finally comes up and I get a little tweaked out that I'm sitting in the middle of the ocean, but at that point, I'm quite ready for my morning on-deck shower so that distracts me.
On this particular morning, Colleen and I needed to fill the water jugs since we had been making water all night. When Aaron woke up at 8, we also brought the main sheet back up and set the sails wing-and-wing for the day. We picked up good speed and moved right along at 8 knots or more. In the meantime, a jug of water left propped up in the sink spilled all over the galley, making a complete mess. Colleen, who was faced with galley duty, was not happy. Perhaps in an effort to block out that reality, she fell asleep in the main cabin until 1:00 or so in the afternoon. Aaron wasn't feeling all that well. I could tell because he had his nose buried in a beat up copy of People Magazine, which featured Leonardo Di Caprio on the cover. His book on engine repair lay neglected. Kerry and I passed the morning with several rounds of backgammon. I know she won more games than I, but I can't recall exactly how many. She is still the champ, but I think I'm making progress.
Overcoming galley obstacles, Colleen whipped up vegetables, hummus, toast and fruit for a tasty lunch. After that it was games of hearts all afternoon. We have decided to make it a series until we arrive in the Maldives. We have also taken bets on arrival time. I bet 6 a.m. on Tuesday. I can't recall the other bets at the moment.
The evening wound down with a few exercises on the deck and black bean soup for dinner. Then it was back to bed at 8 p.m. for me for another night of wild rocking and rolling with the spinnaker pole crashing around over my head.
I guess I'm sort of getting into the rhythm of things. I seem to be over the mild sea sickness that I felt whenever I went below deck during the the third and fourth days. I'm glad for that. It wasn't too pleasant. I still feel a bit too cooped up and stir crazy, but there is nothing like lack of sleep to take the edge off that. Still, I try not to count the days to when I will be able to get off the boat and go for a nice long walk.
29 January, mid-day position : 6 deg 16 min N, 84 deg 57 min E / 24 hr run 165 nm
Aaron - Hey... what happened on this day? We are ready to publish and its a big blank. Well, reconstructing from the log, not much. It looks like a typical Indian Ocean crossing day. Wind averaged 15 to 20 out of the Northeast with a moderate 5-10 foot swell and 1-2 knots of west-flowing current - sunny skies - perfect. We averaged about 6.5 knots over the ground, saw the first ships since passing the Nicobars (expect more traffic as we approach Sri Lanka), caught two bonito which ended up as bonito chowder (ok the curdled look due to the accidental boiling was not appealing, but I thought it tasted good). That's it.....
30 January, mid-day position : 5 deg 55 min N, 82 deg 14 min E / 24 hr run 205 nm
Kerry - Today began with quite a pleasant surprise. As last night was so unbelievably rocky, I attempted to sleep in the main cabin after my watch, but with little success. In the early morning, I finally fell into a deep sleep with a cool breeze coming into the main cabin and less turbulent sleeping conditions. Just as quickly, I awoke to a splash of something all over my arm and two wide-open eyes in mine. Laura claims that we encountered one large wave, propelling her from one side of the main cabin to another while she was trying to prepare her cereal with the now half empty milk container. If you can remember the show "When the Grinch Stole Christmas", Laura looked like the dog the Grinch tried to convert into a reindeer to help with his plotting, when the dog was sitting atop the sleigh, rather than charging forward with it, until the Grinch turned around and found him neglecting his duties. And yes, I suppose I looked like the Grinch when I opened my eyes after the wave of milk. However, it was the least of my worries since I faced my day of doom, my second day of galley duty.
(Pardon me if I, Laura, interject. I have to say that Kerry is quite lucky that I possess some degree of natural grace. I had bowl full of Cream of Wheat, just the powder, no water yet mind you, in one hand and the milk in the other. I flew across the cabin and landed on Kerry without spilling much of either, although I did slop a bit of milk. As soon as Kerry opened her eyes, I apologized as best I could, given that I was lying face down with my hands full. She just said "I know.")
I tried my best to make fried rice with our remaining vegetables, pineapple and cashews - but not only did I make way to much, it wasn't quite like what we had just enjoyed night after night in Thailand. After that three hour debacle, I needed a well-deserved rest which I thought I would take for a bit on the port side of the boat , lying down between the coach house and the lifelines - wedged in so that I couldn't roll anywhere, I was out of the sun enjoying the shade of the sails (on a port-tack) and the teak provided a nice, hard surface for my back to take a rest. Only about 15 minutes later when I was entering my next stage of deep sleep, a large wave rushed over the port-side of the boat and over me, filling my open mouth with Indian Ocean water and providing my second rude awakening of the day. Colleen and Laura found great pleasure at the sight of my drenched and disheveled appearance as I struggled to pull myself up by the railing.
The rest of the day was much the same, though we did have some excitement around 6:00 pm when winds starting gust towards 30 knots, and we put in a reef and gibed the genoa. As Aaron and I assumed our watch at 8:00, Laura and Colleen both tried to sleep in the main cabin since the other two cabins felt too rocky. We were busy with boats for the majority of our watch, however none were very threatening. Nonetheless, Colleen and Laura purportedly encountered a very threatening boat which chased us for a while. Bear in mind that they also thought we were being chased by a floating palm tree today, until they realized that they weren't seeing lights, just reflections of the sun surrounding it in the water - and that during Colleen's day watch today (day 8) she announced an hour into it," Oh! Is is my watch right now?" It is their story though, so I'll let them tell it. I just thought it fair to provide a little background into the psyche of the two telling it.
Colleen - Well, all the excitement we've been lacking finally came to roost. Less than one day out of Galle (a major trans-Indian Ocean port on the West coast Sri Lanka) and just 30 miles off the southern tip of Sri Lanka, we were funneling by with all the merging traffic from Asia and the Red Sea origination. The winds seemed to pick up as well to add to the atmosphere of drama, gusting as high as 33 knots. Around sunset, we decided to reef the main. While doing so, it was clear we were on collision paths with two cargo vessels. We had to contact them on the radio to confirm they were aware of our presence and would take evasive action. Hardly, the scene I like to leave ahead of trying to get sleep for my 2:00am watch. Frankly, I was a wreck. Ever since my tango with a tanker on the trip up from Singapore to Hong Kong, I've dreaded shipping encounters. I barely got any sleep, I pitched and rolled along with the heavy knocking on the boat from the winds, imagining near collisions above. The sounds of deck chatter concerning approaching ships always takes on an exaggerated horror when overheard from down below.
I rose at 2:00am for my watch with Laura, steeling for the worst. To our surprise, Redwings had been going so fast in the high winds - up to 11 knots- that we moved through the shipping zone twice as fast as we had projected. We were out of the channel by our watch. Thinking we had escaped, Laura and I relaxed, only to find we'd entered "the fishing boat zone" (da-da da-da da-da da-da) surrounding Galle. We dodged fishing boats all night (in truth not as scary because they can't run you down). Our high achievement was recognizing the light formation on a boat and correctly identifying it as a "vessel not under command". Then, the vessel called us on the radio to confirm we would avoid collision and we answered back, rather proud of ourselves.
A few hours later, one boat we were tracking began to display curious behavior. After passing us to port, it slowed down by our port aft quarter, and we could hear an engine coming towards us. We saw their light suddenly turned around and facing in our direction, with the engine noise slowly getting louder and louder. Our concern was heightened. Suddenly, they flashed an enormous spotlight beam on us. After a minute or so of this, Laura and I exclaimed "Oh Shit!" in unison, and she called for Aaron to get out of bed quick. He wasn't much help initially, claiming to be blind without a contact lens. Eventually he made it to the VHF and tried to hail the vessel. (We figured female voices on the radio would be bad news if the party proved questionable). No answer. Laura and I held our breath on deck. I ran and put a baseball hat on as to appear like a man. Poor Laura (already wearing a baseball hat) nearly jibed the boat in her distraction. Very slowly the boat seemed to drift away and stop following us. A very large sigh of relief followed...
Aaron - Oh yeah, whoa baby - 204 miles in one day!!! An effective straight-line average speed over the ground (SOG) of 8.5 knots. At one point, SOG registered 11.1 - I think that is a new record!! We have just been whipped around the southern corner of Sri Lanka with a fair 2-4 knots of current and a helpful 25-30 knot breeze. Plowing ahead wing on wing with a double reefed main and poled out half rolled up 130% genoa. Maldives here we come!!!
31 January, mid-day position : 5 deg 27 min N, 78 deg 50 min E / 24 hr run 184 nm
Colleen- We have now endured a campaign of terror only rivaled by the Stalinist internal party aggressions of the '30s. Its called "Tuna Torture" (coined by Laura Longsworth). Aaron as the "ever keen" fisherman, insists that we eat tuna at every meal. He can't comprehend that tuna for two meals a day, 10 days running would turn off even the most ardent fish fans. It wouldn't be so bad if someone on the boat actually knew how to prepare tuna with out overcooking (no names given, many guilty).Tuna is a rich fish, and we seem to get human foot sized pieces at each meal. I can't take it anymore, and am just shy of cutting the lines... I personally refuse to cook it on my galley days, but others, are weaker...
So, as day six -Aaron's galley day- we suffered on through more tuna. Tuna aside, I'm finally starting to relax into the trip. The crazy sleep schedule, and virtual lack of exercise, had taken its toll. I was waking up with headaches midway into the trip. On day six I realized I haven't had any caffeine at all since before we left Phuket. After preparing my first coffee of the trip, the headache began to subside. Upside was to follow...
The (mostly) gentle roll of the seas is almost soothing, and we seem to waste away the afternoons reading in the cockpit, watching whoever's on galley duty suffer, and softly thanking god its not us. Kerry has now compliantly agreed to join us for late afternoon Hearts games. She was put off initially having broken the world's record by consecutively losing 14 games (and "winning" the queen of spades each time) in a row the first evening she played. Admittedly, a tough start for anyone.
Laura and I have now probably gotten over our itchy boat fever. We both had trouble adjusting to the extremely different pace of life on these long passages. Probably no coincidence that we share the wretched 2:00am to 8:00am night watch...
Kerry - I enjoy Hearts all the more with each round that I am able to develop and implement a striking strategy to stuff any other member of the Redwings Crew with the deadly card, the Queen of Spades. During our four rounds today, I only got stuck with the Queen once which was quite refreshing. I am still trailing far behind everyone else, but not for long. Today has been so enjoyable because we have maintained great speed, 7-10 knots, with calmer waters and because of that, I am in the running to win the bet about our arrival time in Male. Laura, Colleen and I did have a confusing hour or so when we tried to gybe and the genoa got stuck around the roller furler. So, after sorting that out, it took a couple of frenzied moments for me trying to steer without being able to see a thing since the bimini was up (shaded canopy that extends out from the dodger, canopy extending from the coach house) until Colleen took it down and about another hour of steering to get us back on track and safely on course with the auto-pilot again. Once set, we were back on our rhumb line to Male - 260 degrees.
1 February, mid-day position : 4 deg 52 min N, 78 deg 55 min E / 24 hr run 180 nm
Laura - We are making tracks! Last I checked we had about 170 miles to Male. It is now the morning of Day ? Last night on night watch was a weird one. Clouds kept rolling across and lightning was in the distance to the north and east. The wind kept shifting around. I kept trying to apply my new weather knowledge (gleaned from reading a great weather book) and I finally decided we were in for it so Colleen and I got out the foul weather gear and closed all the hatches. A few eerie clouds rolled over and the wind picked up. A couple hours later, as we sat under the stars, Kerry came out of her cabin and said she was very hot and could she please open the hatch. The best part of the night was the dolphins. They came popping by and their path was streaked with phosphorescence making them look like shooting stars or sparklers from the fourth of July.
Yes, as Colleen said, I have largely gotten over my boat fever. I do little exercises every day on the coachhouse roof. Plus, I have learned that merely walking around and sometimes even sitting or sleeping, is such a balancing act on a constantly rolling vessel that I feel like I get exercise. And I read. And I snooze. Then there is hearts and my ongoing backgammon tournament with Kerry. It's all quite distracting. I think the real reason time has flown though, is the lack of sleep. I'm just constantly on the edge of being really exhausted and that dulls my energy. I am still looking forward to reaching Male. I want to be able to yell "LAND HO!" like they did in the old days of sailing. I also have this urge to attend a massive buffet breakfast with fresh grapefruit and some yogurt and a blueberry muffin and ice cream.
Most of the day passed as usual. We took naps, read books, played backgammon and in the afternoon had the daily round of hearts. We actually wrapped up our Hearts Tournament and plan to start another soon. Everyone is probably wondering who won. That is a logical question. Not to brag, but okay...I did, not that I play to win. Really, I play just for fun! I don't feel that vindictive satisfaction that some others seem to when they lay down the Queen of Spades for some poor victim with a lousy hand. Still, winning the Hearts Tournament is big excitement out here on the Indian Ocean. It carries a certain amount of local prestige (very local, as in the Redwings community). Too bad we weren't playing for anything.
Along about mid-day, we had a bit of excitement. The VHF came alive and someone with a distinctly New England accent said he was trying to reach the sailing yacht ahead of him. We looked behind us and off in the distance was a monstrous bobbing thing that looked like a small car ferry. So, we responded. The boat captain said he had been heading for Oman when they lost their stabilizer and decided to divert to the Maldives. But, he didn't have any charts. He wanted to know if he could follow us or get the GPS waypoints to enter Male harbor.
The captain said the boat, called Christine, is a 74-meter power boat. He had led a "hostile takeover" of Christine in the Philippines to repossess it from a Japanese owner who didn't make payments. He was now taking Christine to Ft. Lauderdale for a refit. A Repo Man of the high seas. Pretty wild. Aaron gave Christine's captain the GPS information since he was quite a bit faster than we would be. The captain, in turn, invited us all out to dinner by way of thanks. Really, we are more curious to get on board Christine and see what she is like. I suspect she has a karaoke lounge and mirrors on the ceiling!
The rest of the day went along and in the evening Aaron made eggs and potatoes for supper. The sea had been getting a bit rougher and were eating, when suddenly --- BAM. We were knocked sideways a by a surprise wave. Suddenly, the sea was big. We had 20-25-foot waves building up behind us. We chucked the dishes in the sink and began to hand-steer the boat as the big waves chased us down. None of us had ever sailed in waves so big and I admit I was quite nervous until I got a bit used to it. The waves really looked BIG. Redwings handled the seas pretty well and after a bit we brought in the genoa and reefed the main sail as the wind gusted to 33 knots. It was a long, rolly night.
2 February, West Male Anchorage, Male, Maldives
Laura - Somehow the watch schedule got skewed. I woke up at 4 a.m. to find Kerry had just gone to bed and Aaron was up by himself eating Snickers bars and listening to Led Zeppelin by himself with the auto-pilot on. We were soon in sight of the lights of Male. Aaron slept for a while and I stayed up (and changed the music to Bruce Springstein). I kept plotting our position on the chart and when we got pretty close, I woke Aaron up again. The sugar must have run out of his blood because he was confused, but soon got it together. As it got light out, at about 8 a.m. on our clocks, which were still set on Thai time, we woke Colleen and the three of us took the boat the rest of the way into Male, a big blob of coral in the middle of the Indian Ocean. As we passed the the island on which the airport sits, I looked up. A big jetliner was on final approach to the runway and we were about a half mile directly off the end of the runway. I'd guess that plane passed overhead at no more then a few hundred feet above the 60-foot mast. We got a darn good look at the underbelly.
We were motoring by then and running the water maker. We rounded the south side of Male, a small city of 50,000 people with low buildings that are the highest points for perhaps thousands of miles. The harbor is deep in most spots, but there is a shallow shelf of 16 meters where a few yachts had dropped their hooks. Christine was also nearby. We joined them and cleaned up the boat and made some breakfast.
The police and customs didn't entirely clear us in until about 9 p.m so we were stuck on the boat all day. That turned out to be okay. We did a big clean up and then I had a cranky meltdown from exhaustion and stared at the wall of the forward cabin for a few hours until it was time to eat dinner. Then, we all went to our respective beds and slept like the dead for 12 hours.
Aaron - We made it!! 1,500 miles in 9 days - an average of 167 miles per day and an average speed of 7 knots. We continue to hit the weather right and confirm that Redwings is fast downwind. Other boats (many of them bigger) have been bragging about making the trip in 10 to 12 days and about fast 9 to 10 day trips to Sri Lanka....
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