Saturday, March 12, 2011

Farewell dinner

Since four of the five American boats left in Cochin would soon be departing to sail down to Male, Maldives to transport our yachts to Turkey, we thought it would be nice to have a farewell dinner together with all the Americans.  S/V ESTRELLITA will soon be the only American yacht left in Cochin.  They will return to Thailand and spend another year in SE Asia.  The rest of us are shipping to the Mediterranean.

We took the ferry to Ernakulan and hailed 4 tuk-tuks for the ride to The Grand Hotel on MG Road.   We have been told that every city in India has an MG Road.  Obviously, it must stand for Mahatma Ghandi.  This would be like every city in America having an MLK road or street or boulevard; obviously, named in honor of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The 4 tuk-tuks considered this to be a race.  These tuk-tuks are adventurous enough when they are driving "normally."  Racing is downright scarey.  But nothing any of us could say would slow them down.  Ours was the last to arrive at the hotel.  But the others cheated because they came in the rear entrance; whereas, we arrived at the proper front entrance.

Dinner was good, as usual.  (Mushroom masala and nan again for me; going to miss that dish -- and mundane grilled tiger prawns and french fries for Bill).  Visiting with everyone was fun.  We will miss Bill and Amy.  I know they will enjoy traveling SE Asia later this year and will meet a whole new set of cruisers as the next year's group arrive in the fall.  They will have some adventures going the South African route next year, more than likely.  I don't see the Somali pirate situation improving over the next year to the point that they would feel comfortable sailing across the northern Indian Ocean next season.  So South African it will be for them.   Maybe we will meet up again in the Caribbean in a few years.

In the group photo from left to right:  Jaime and dad Chay from S/V ESPRIT,  Ruth and Randal from M/V DORA MAC,  Bill and Judy from S/V BeBe, Amy and Bill from S/V ESTRELLITA, Linda and Michael from S/V B'SHERET, and Jaime's mom Katie from S/V ESPRIT.

Everyone in the photo above transported their yachts to Marmaris to avoid piracy except for Amy and Bill on S/V ESTRELLITA.  Bill really wanted to circumnavigate on his own keel.  So they turned around to Phuket, spent a full year in SE Asia, personally replaced the chainplates on their boat as a safety precaution for the notoriously rough southern Indian Ocean, and then sailed the South Africa route.

The highlight of the evening was when someone said he thought that Ronald Reagan would go down in history as being the best president ever in the USA.  Ruth is a die-hard Democrat; and, as such, does not have a high opinion of ANY Republican president -- and most definitely does not think highly of Ronald Reagan.  The look on her face when he said that was hysterical.  Can't remember laughing so hard over a facial expression.   Of course, the person who said that then elaborated why he believes this.  And she could not argue with any of his reasons because he worked in government through several presidents and knew al lot of the inside doings; whereas, Ruth knew nothing about any of it.  Right or wrong doesn't matter.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion when it comes to politics and government.  It was the look on her face that was so very funny.  Bill tried to get her to duplicate that expression for the camera, but she couldn't do it twice.

A British sailor flew to the new Karpaz Gate Marina that is being built in Northern Cyprus -- the one where we have been provided a free berth for one year beginning in May 2011.  This marina is supposed to be completed by May 2011.  He also plans to berth there and wanted to see first-hand how it was progressing.  Here are a couple of photos taken earlier this week.  I seriously doubt this marina will be completed by May.  But maybe it will be close enough to completion by the time we arrive in late August.  As long as there is electricity and water, a secure dock and transportation to markets, then we will be happy there.

I have scheduled this to post on March 12 -- the day that we should arrive in Male.  I did not want to publish that we were at sea, just being extra cautious what with all the increased piracy in the general area.  Will update again soon after our arrival in Male.

Happy  Birthday to our son Aaron, born this day 36 years ago in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  But really a true Texan through and through because he was conceived in Texas and returned there when he was 7 months old and has lived in Texas ever since.

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