Monthly Archives: January 2016

Phuket to Sri Lanka day 4

Position at 10.00 Sunday 31th January
0758.789N
08854.623E
24 hour run from 10.00 30th to 10.00 31st 159 miles average 6.62 kph 465 miles to go

This is our fifth day at sea and still hanging on for dear life, literally. When I’m down below I have to swing from hand hold to hand hold to save me from falling across the boat because Camomile is heeling into a beam reach which she enjoys. I have a galley strap to stop me falling when I’m cooking which brings a whole new meaning to ‘tied to the kitchen sink’! It’s hot down below with all the hatches shut although the little one in the forward heads (bathroom) is open because it’s on the port side and doesn’t get splashed, just the odd trickle off the coach roof. At least the deck is nice and clean. We’re being very careful wearing life jackets when we’re on watch on deck. We also wear Raymarine life tags, which set off an alarm if one of us goes overboard while the other one is sleeping. We take it in turns to sleep and always have someone on watch although there’s only been one container ship on the horizon in the last 24 hours. Also no squalls for 24 hours and nothing showing on the gribs, although that doesn’t mean anything because the gribs aren’t always right. Harry the Hydrovane is steering us beautifully.
Food isn’t very inventive at the moment, we had a ‘slop dinner’ last night which was a bit of pasta with a boli sauce tipped over it. Might break out a homemade frozen dinner from the lovely Sailors shop in Langkawi this evening, beef Rendang I think. Yum yum.
You can see by our stats that we are making good headway. Our speed hasn’t gone below 6kts in the last 24 hours except when a freak wave hits us (bigger than the rest) and there’s quite a few of those. The waves were about 1 1/2 to 2 metres tall yesterday, which sounds big but they don’t break over us but lift us up and go under us. They’ve calmed down a bit today but we’ve also still got at least a knot of current helping us along.
On the net last night Nicone is still behind us to the south, Inspiration Lady is about 140 miles behind us and Tintin is only 35 miles to the north of us but slightly in front so looks like they will be buying the ice creams when we get in.
On my 18.00 log reading I discovered our longitude was 090 degrees east. Longitude are the long lines that go down the globe north to south. The Greenwich meridian line is 0 degrees. The 090 degree west was the Galapagos, one of our favourite spots around the world. 180 degrees was Fiji; another gem among our world travels. Now 090 degrees east is passed which means we are three quarters of the way around the world, although not three quarters of the way home because we’ve got to go to the Caribbean and back yet; but we are on our way home.
Another milestone passed last night was the half way point, it’s always better counting down; the second half always seems to go faster.
BTW I can’t see facebook. The website has an email address (it’s very obscure you won’t guess it) which I send an email to. It gets automatically posted on the website, which is linked to facebook. Our son sends us notes of messages, thank you for all your good wishes. I’ll answer them when we get to port. I’d love to hear from any one if you fancy dropping me an email. Our email address at sea is mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (but take out the spaces I’ve put in to stop spam)
I like to end on a funny note. I came up on deck yesterday and noticed Bill had tied the new ensign (flag) up. When asked why his reply was ‘Lizzy was tickling Harry on the chin’! Mad as a box of frogs, that’s all I need a skipper going senile!!

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Phuket to Sri Lanka day 3

Position at 10.00 Saturday 30th January
0744.841N
09132.362E
24 hour run from 10.00 29th to 10.00 30th 144 miles
617 miles to go

Who asked for more wind? It certainly wasn’t me!
We continued to sail gently and slowly through the Sombrero channel yesterday in between the Nicobar islands, the squalls have cleared for now. Once through the islands we changed course for Trincomalee harbour, Sri Lanka. The GPS read 725 miles to the next waypoint. Grooooan, deep joy.
We were doing a good speed because there was a strong current pushing us along the channel but once through our speed dropped again because the islands were taking our wind. The engine went back on for an hour at 16.30 to get us clear of the islands. The day continued as we gradually got back into the routine of passage making. I ran my usual net, I do love to chatter to people. Nicone are a little bit behind us now, not sure how that happened, I must have taken a wrong reading yesterday. Tintin are about 50 miles north of us on almost on the same longitude and have also passed through the Nicobars today. Inspiration Lady are about 130 miles behind us still motor sailing as they didn’t get the nice sail at the beginning to give them the ‘push’ we had. Rise and Shine also checked in and will be leaving Phuket tomorrow.
Bill had a shock in the dark last night, a flying fish flew through the opening in the cockpit cover and landed on his foot shedding it’s scales everywhere, poor thing. It made him jump out of his skin, which I found very amusing. I handed him a plate and he lifted it up and threw it back in the sea then had to get in the shower and wash the smelly scales off his feet.
After Bill had gone to bed I noticed we had more wind. Without the moon (which doesn’t come out until about 11pm at the moment)it’s difficult to see any thing so I put the radar back on. To my horror there was a huge squall rapidly approaching us and the wind was building fast. I got Bill back out of bed because we had full sails up but it was too late to reef down as the wind got stronger. I watched the wind increase to 18 then 20 then 28kts with a full main and both the gennys flying this wasn’t good. Bill changed course to run with it as we started getting lashed with rain. The waves were surging and pushing us along at 7.5 to 8kts; too fast for Camomile. Bill managed to winch the gennys in but there wasn’t anything we could do with the main. Fortunately after about half an hour it started to subside and we gradually came back on course and then the rain stopped and the wind dropped again, phew. Once the moon came out it was possible to see the dark clouds but fortunately they stayed away from us.
I came back on watch at 4.00 Bill had the boat sailing along nicely with the gennies still reefed in. During the night the north east monsoon had started to blow and we were getting a steady 15kts of wind on the starboard beam, where it should be, but we still had a full main up. By 7.00 when Bill got up the wind had increased to 18kts and a full main was too much for the Hydrovane to trim. Camomile is easy to reef with her single line reefing (in the right conditions) and within 15 minutes we had 2 reefs in the main with both the gennies flying on the port side. As we came back on course Camomile picked up her skirts and flew, she loves it, so does Bill; I’m not so sure.

Heeling into the wind

Heeling into the wind

We are so out of practise, we haven’t sailed like this since 2013 across the Gulf of Carpentaria in Australia and this is supposed to be the easy passage of the Indian ocean. Bill says I’m fussing 18 to 20kts on the beam is a lovely sail. As I write this I have to keep clinging to the chart table because we are also getting bounced around by the waves hitting our starboard beam. Every 20th one or so is bigger than the rest so all the hatches are now closed to prevent any water getting in. We’ll pass the half way point this evening. All is well on board.

Phuket to Sri Lanka day 2

Position at 10.00 Friday 29th January
0736.851N
09354.623E
24 hour run from 10.00 28th to 10.00 29th 129 miles
758 miles to go

At 11.30 we turned the engine on and took the twizzle down. The wind had been gradually dropping over night and our speed had dropped to 3 – 3.5kts occasionally dipping to 2.7kts when we hit one of the ‘washing machine’ patches. The constant drone of the engine destroys the serene feeling of being at sea – and it’s boring!
As the sun started to dip below the horizon it was replaced with our old adversary – squalls. The radar was on and we tried changing course to avoid them but inevitably we got a soaking. Fortunately the lightening stayed beyond the horizon. The net was difficult last night with squalls overhead it was difficult to hear the transmissions. Nicone had been motoring for longer than us and had pulled ahead but to the south, Tintin have taken the northern route and were about 5o miles away, Inspiration Lady left harbour first thing and had spent the day motor sailing but with a 24 hour gap they won’t catch up with us until we get to Trinco.

Nicobar islands in the distance

Nicobar islands in the distance

 

Just after sunrise I noticed some islands coming into view on our port bow. They are the Nicobar islands that belong to Indonesia and are off limits to yachts, unfortunately, so we can’t stop for a few nights rest but have to keep going.
While Bill was sleeping this morning I watched the wind start to build again from the ENE, where it’s supposed to come from, and by 10.30 we had the main up as well as the twizzle sailing along at 5.5 to 6.5kts; that’s more like it.

 

 

Dolphins!

Dolphins!

more Dolphins

more Dolphins

 

 

There was a real treat this morning. Just after we’d finished messing about with the sails a pod of dolphins came to play. There were about 6 to 8 of them dancing and darting in and out of our bow wave for about 10 minutes. I sat on my new dolphin seat that Bill made me watching the delightful creatures; always beautiful to see.

First day at Sea

Motoring passed Tintin as we leave.

Motoring passed Tintin as we leave.

Position at 10.00 Thursday 28th January
0744.802N
09602.833E
24 hour run from 10.00 27th to 10.00 28th 116 miles
880 miles to go

We got off to a flying start yesterday morning just before 7am. The Finnish boat Nicone left just before us and Tintin left about an hour later. Sadly Inspiration Lady didn’t leave with us because Gary had a little medical problem and they decided it would be better dealt with at anchor and not at sea.

 

The twin headsails flying

The twin headsails flying

 

 

Bill put the twizzle up and we were flying along at 6 or 7kts. We lost sight of Thailand quite quickly. With the twizzle flying we managed to overtake Nicone but they stayed within our sight all day. All the work Bill had put in on the Hydrovane has paid off, new bearings, new shaft (the old one had been bent 3 times in storms) and a new sail.

 

 

 

'Lizzy' and 'Harry' working well

‘Lizzy’ and ‘Harry’ working well

 

Harry looks very smart and was steering the boat well, he also matches our smart new ensign that Bill had for Christmas, thank you Thomas. (picture later)
We’ve come across a completely random phenomenon. Looking ahead we can see what looks like standing waves which, when you are in the midst of, throws the boat around like you’re in a washing machine. Then within 5 or 10 minutes it’s gone again. Been through about a dozen of these patches now. Haven’t seen anything like it before.
I managed to cook pork chops, mashed potatoes, carrots, broccoli (that’s the last of that)and gravy. Bit adventurous but the chops needed eating and, so they didn’t disappear over the side of the plate, I put them in a bowl.
I did the net after dinner and Nicone and Tintin checked in to report they were both sailing well. Inspiration Lady checked in from anchor and thankfully Gary feels much better and they plan to leave in the morning. We also had Rise and Shine and Always Saturday check in although they haven’t left yet either. Everyone welcome. 4036 at 13.00 utc or 20.00 Thailand time.
During the night the wind started dropping, as was forecast, and our speed dropped to 3 to 5 kts. The moon came up about 22.00 which lit our path. Bill did the night watch using his nice new head torch, thank you James.
I was back on watch at 6.00 this morning and saw an amazing sunrise, one of the privileges of sailing our oceans. Sailing slowly today with the twizzle rig at about 4 to 5kts All’s well on board.

Beautiful sunrise.

Beautiful sunrise.

We’re off!

The anchorage at Nai Harn with Inspiration Lady in the foreground to the right. All ready for the off.

The anchorage at Nai Harn with Inspiration Lady in the foreground to the right. All ready for the off.

Ok folks just to let everyone know we are off first thing in the morning. When you guys in the UK are tucking down into bed we’ll be lifting the anchor for our passage to Sri Lanka.
We’ve had our last lunch ashore and decided on our route with Inspiration Lady and Tintin. Everything is stowed and the dinghy is wrapped up.
The weather still looks a bit iffy but the wind is dropping here. We may have 24 or 36 hours motoring but once passed the Andaman islands it looks like the wind settles into a nice gentle pattern – lets hope so. If we wait any longer we won’t have any wind at all.
I have emailed this update to the website so hopefully if it’s worked we will try and post updates along the way but don’t worry if you don’t hear from us. So it’s goodbye Malaysia with your wonderful people, we will miss you.
Goodbye Thailand although there are too many tourists here these days to enjoy it. Looking forward to Sri Lanka.
Bill and Sue

Ready for the off

Camomile after her final lift a few weeks ago ready for the Indian ocean

Camomile after her final lift a few weeks ago ready for the Indian ocean

We’ve been preparing Camomile for this trip for almost a year now starting on 1st February last year when Camomile was lifted at Rebak for her major refit. Now after the rudder bearings were completely overhauled, her steering completely overhauled, a complete new paint job, new teak woodwork, new propshaft, new main sail and genoa, new sprayhood and bimini, as well as engine serviced, and numerous other jobs she’s finally ready to leave. Are we ready? I think so, every single nook and cranny has been filled with food and alcohol and I did a huge load of washing today. We’ve checked out of Thailand and are sitting in Nai Harn bay ready to head out sometime in the next week bound for Sri Lanka and the Indian ocean. The passage to Sri Lanka is a little over 1000 miles and will probably take about 7 or 8 days. No facebook but don’t worry about us. Will try to send messages this way which will pass through to facebook but we won’t receive any replies until we get to Sri Lanka.

 

During this year we hope to spend February in Sri Lanka, we have a 30 day visa.

March we’ll sail to the Maldives which is about 700 miles so that will probably take about 5 to 6 days. We will apply for a 60 day cruising permit there which will take us to the second week in May.

Next stop will be BIOT Chagos about 300 miles from the bottom of the Maldives so just a couple of days to get there.  Chagos is a British Indian Ocean territory leased to the Americans. The permits are quite hard to obtain (we haven’t got ours yet) but it’s supposed to be beautiful so hopefully all the paperwork will be worth it.  The permit will be for 28 days but we’ll be watching for a weather window and may leave before the permit expires.

The next destination will be Mahe in the Seychelles, another 1000 miles, 7 or 8 days again. Depending on the weather we should be arriving there sometime towards the end of June spending the rest of June and July there. In August we’ll have a mosey around the island groups to the west of Mahe and hopefully spend a week or so in the Comores.

September we’ll cross to Madagascar and some time in October to South Africa but it all gets a bit hazy that far away.

That’s the plan – written in the sand at low tide but hopefully it will come to fruition.

So we now we wait for a weather window.

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