Monday, January 24, 2011

Another short day tour around Galle

The repaired mainsail arrived and we hauled it up on Sunday morning.  We (and all our neighbors, I'm sure) were very glad to have the sail furled back into the mast and stop all that clanging and banging.  The furling unit inside the mast always makes a lot of noise as the boat rolls with the water movement; nothing we can do to stop that.  The furled sail is the only thing that will keep it quiet.  The sail loft did a very good job with the repair.  Total cost to restitch one blown seam and replace leach tape was $175 -- $100 for the repair and $75 for transportation, including the required bribes paid to the Customs official for taking the sail out of the port and again when returning the sail back into the port.  

 We had been captive on the boat for 2 days waiting for this sail to be returned.  Now that the sail was back we could get off the boat again.  We called Marlan, the local "go to man" and told him we wanted a tuk-tuk to take us to lunch somewhere and then just drive around for a few hours.

The tuk-tuk driver took us back to the same beach we had visited earlier in the week.  Pretty scenery even if the food was only mediocre.    Bill had grilled jumbo prawns and I chose grilled tuna that turned out to be topped with a creamy sauce.  The prawns were too buttery and overcooked, and the tuna also was overcooked,  way too dry and full of bones.  This did not compare to the great lunch we had enjoyed by the seaside in the old Dutch fort.   Soon we were off on a long ride eastward from Galle along the shore main road.  We stopped at a sea turtle hatchery farm but decided to skip it because the entrance fee was higher than we were willing to pay to see more turtles.   I don't remember seeing any turtles since we entered the Pacific Ocean, and certainly none yet since entering the Indian Ocean.  But we saw plenty of them in the Caribbean so it is not the novelty to us that it might be to some tourists.  Alongside the road was an elephant, just to remind us that we are in Asia. 

Just as we were about to tell the driver to turn around and head back, he did exactly that and then pulled over to an area where men fish each day in the surf.  This was a lovely small seaside park.  I thought by now we had seen every manner of fishing known to man, but I was wrong.  These men don short loin cloth garments and wade into the surf; climb poles and fish with tiny bamboo poles and very tiny fish hooks.  Very picturesque but I am not so sure about how productive this manner of fishing is.  The men blamed the wind for causing them to not catch any fish.  I am just not so sure how many fish are feeding as the surf crashes in towards the beach.  After about 10 minutes they climbed down and came back ashore, asking for payment for their efforts.  Bill gave them 300 rupiah; they wanted 500.  Bill told them that if they wanted 500 then they should have said so before they tried to fish.  After all, we had not asked them to go try to fish; they had volunteered.

Nearby there was a spot where a lot of people were playing in the water.  These were the only people we had seen in the water during our long ride along the shore.  I could understand why, because the surf really does come crashing in and swimming would be dangerous.  The water is quite deep right up to the beach.   I asked the driver why the people were in the water here and he pointed out that there were large flat rocks about 100 meters offshore that created sort of a pool of seawater.  The people could not be washed out to sea from this pool area.  He said this spot gets very crowded on Sunday mornings as the Sri Lankan people come to bathe in the sea.
The next stop on our return route to Galle was a Spice and Herb Garden.   This was an ultra nice facility; the nicest structure and grounds that we have seen since arriving in Sri Lanka.   A river ran alongside the garden and it was beautiful setting.  Our guide had been studying to be an herbalist and was soon to graduate.  The Spice and Herb Garden  specializes in Ayurveda, a/k/a Ayurvedic medicine.  
I realize many people believe in this stuff, and I do grant that some of it does work.  But it was all I could do to keep my mouth shut when this guy was telling me that rubbing a mixture of clove oil, lemon and other spices onto my scalp each day would prevent Alzheimers.  Or that rubbing my face with sandalwood cream and sandalwood oil each day would prevent wrinkles.  Or that by taking 2 spoonfuls daily of a clove oil mixture would cause me to lose 5 kilo of weight in one month.  If these natural products did all these claims, this place would be a multi-billion dollar industry.  The guide offered us massages with the natural products for a modest fee.  We declined.  With all the skin allergies I have, the last think I would want is to have any of these natural products rubbed into my skin.  

This was not a productive day for our tuk-tuk driver.  We understand how this works.  The driver receives a commission based on what the customer buys or spends at each shop or tourist stop.  We did not buy any spices or herbs and did not have massages, so no commission to the driver.  We later made sure that he was paid appropriately for his time.

We had done enough sight-seeing for the afternoon.  We visited an ATM and stopped at Mike's Yacht Service Center -- which turned out to be his home as well as his shop.  We arranged for cases of Cokes, Diet Cokes and many other items to be delivered to our boat on Thursday afternoon.   Might as well have the heavy items delivered right to the dock.  Mike even handles fresh produce but who knows what the quality will be.  I ordered a kilo of potatoes, a kilo of onions, 500 grams of green beans and a kilo of tomatoes -- half red and half green.  Plus one small bunch of lemon bananas.  I also ordered a couple kilo of frozen boneless chicken breast and ham deli meat for sandwiches.  Hope there is room in the freezer for it.  I like this delivery service!

Back at the concrete dock they were wrapping up the movie filming set.  All week a German production company has been filming a movie using a boat going in and out of the harbor daily.  It is a period piece set prior to WWI.  Based on the costumes it appears to be much, much earlier than WWI to me.  They had converted and dirtied a fiberglass schooner to look like an older ship.  Those masts might look like wood, but they are really aluminum painted dark brown.  This boat cleaned up quite nicely after the movie crew departed.   The funny thing is that this boat arrived in Sri Lanka the same day we did.  In fact, this boat cut closely directly across our path (how rude!!) when we were sailing the last day towards Galle.

Galle is very much a commercial harbor.  Parked up on top of the concrete wharf where we are currently Med-moored are 3 commercial ships from Houston.  What a coincidence for us to run into boats from our hometown more than halfway round the world.  These 3 boats are owned by Global Geophysical Services, and I swear they look exactly like the one that was moored in Serangan when we were in Bali in September 2009.  These are the GLOBAL MIRAGE, the GLOBAL VISION and the GLOBAL QUEST.  I don't remember the name of the one that was in Bali but I think it was the GLOBAL MIRAGE.

As always, you can click on any photo to see a larger image.

This morning a ton of water was delivered to our boat.  We certainly cannot operate our watermaker in this filthy water, so we opted to purchase water.  It was delivered in a truck and pumped into our tank.   We stopped them at 700 liters and tried to get them to give the rest to our neighbor on the port side, but that was not allowed.  This afternoon a truck delivered diesel.  After our last passage experience, we want to always be certain that we are fully loaded with diesel each time we set out to sea.  We burned about 600 liters of diesel during that last problem-riddled passage.  Cochin is less than 500 miles and fuel can be purchased there, but we still want to be totally loaded with diesel before leaving Sri Lanka. Bill is gone now to visit the Harbor Master and confirm that we will be allowed to remain on this dock until at least Thursday afternoon.  Most of the Bluewater Rally boats left early Saturday morning and we have heard that the Harbor Master now wants all boats off this concrete dock so he can use it for a large commercial ship.   If we must move off this dock, that will change our plans for the week.

If our boat is allowed to remain where we are currently docked, then we will take the early train to Colombo tomorrow morning to visit friends Andy & Melissa of S/V SPECTACLE.   They have a condo in Colombo and are here for a few months while leaving their boat in Bali.  We last saw Andy & Melissa in New Zealand.  After visiting with them for a couple of days, we will return Thursday morning, receive our provisioning delivery on Thursday afternoon and clear out.  Hopes are to depart Sri Lanka either Friday or Saturday and head to Cochin, India.  It is getting late and we want to be into the Red Sea by the end of February.  If the Harbor Master says we must move off this concrete dock, then we cannot go to Colombo.  If he says we must move, I cannot imagine where they will move us to.  All the spaces on the crappy flimsy blue plastic floating docks are full, with more boats arriving daily.

Here is a photo of our newest neighbor on the starboard side.  As I said, this is a commercial port.


1 comment:

  1. What great pictures! How awesome it must be to see an elephant on the side of the road, as if it were a dog or something. Such magnificent creatures. The fishermen pics are great as well. We've never seen that kind of fishing!


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