Monday, April 4, 2011

Goodbye Male! Well ---- within a week or 2 -- maybe

Hello again from Male where we are getting closer to the date when our transport ship should arrive (sometime this upcoming week).  This past week we’ve taken advantage of light winds and have begun prepping S/V BeBe for shipping. 

We have made a few trips over to Male.  Last Monday the women from 5 yachts got together for a Ladies Day Out.  Which meant we walked all over the island of Male for several hours and then ate lunch.  We walked from one end of the island to the other, from one side to the other.  There are many ultra-narrow alleyways that are considered streets, but far too narrow for even the most compact automobile.  Perfect for the thousands of motorcycles on this island.  

On one street I noticed a shuttered business.  The signs looked new, but the business was closed.    The name of this shuttered business was "G-Spot" -- which I thought was a very unusual name for a shop in a Muslim country.  Could they have meant something else?  In the window and on the entry door were posted signs that explained why the business was closed.  Guess someone did not think this business was appropriate for a Muslim country after all.

We visited the library and the national museum to see an art exhibit of paintings by a Maldivian woman.  We were surprised at her subject for this collection.  It seemed dark and violent, and several paintings depicted women overpowering men in one manner or another -- such as an obviously female bent knee crushing down upon an obviously male head.  Seemed very controversial for this Muslim nation to allow for a public exhibition.  The one unique trademark for this artist is that she uses coffee in her paintings.   We also visited the clearance agent's office because 1 boat needed additional paperwork completed.  The agent recommended a place for lunch and we followed his recommendation and visited The Food Bank.  This restaurant was nice, somewhat expensive; and the food was nothing to brag about.  I had a seafood salad which turned out to be a small serving of chopped octopus with 2 tiny shrimp, stirred into a sweet spicy sauce and served on a single leaf of lettuce.  Not the best lunch I have eaten but also not the worst.

Another day Bill and I went into Male for a lunch of pizza.  He ordered a Coke and I ordered a Fanta.  There is a Coca-Cola bottling plant on one of the atolls here in the Maldives.  Some of the cruisers have toured the factory -- just to have something to occupy their time.  When our drinks were delivered to the table, Bill and I took one look at the 2 cans and then looked at one another with smiles.  Makes perfect sense though.  All that old equipment worked fine; might as well sell it off somewhere.  And that somewhere turns out to be the Maldives.  When was the last time you saw some of these?

Last Friday evening the anchorage had a dinghy raft-up.  We hadn't done this since July 4, 2008, in Moorea.  It was fun and the foods were yummy and varied.  For those not familiar with a dinghy raft-up, it is exactly what it sounds like.  A group of dinghies go to a designated spot.  One sets an anchor and the rest tie off onto the anchored dinghy, all tightly together.  Then dishes of food are passed from one dinghy to another, round and round, and a good time is had by all.  Each boat brings enough food to share with all present, and each boat brings their own beverages.  Funny thing is that only the 7 American boats in the anchorage participated in this raft-up.  Present were crews from ESPRIT, PASSAGE, RENEGADE, B'SHERET, HEARTSONG, VOYAGER and us.  None of the Brits joined us, nor did the one Swedish yacht who will be transporting.  Maybe they did not understand the concept, although I don't see how any boat could make it this far around the world and not be familiar with a dinghy raft-up.  At any rate, we all enjoyed visiting and chatting while consuming copious amounts of food and drink.  We did this in an area at the northern end of the anchorage but well away from the resort on the tiny island up there.  We all know that we are not allowed into "their" waters.  This was the first time Bill and I had been over there, and it was a lovely shallow area.

It is boring sitting here but at least we are sitting in beautiful surroundings.  People on a few of the boats waiting for transport have been spending their time snorkeling and diving.  This is a divers paradise!  We are told that snorkeling is not worth bothering to do.  Near the surface there is nothing much to see.  And the currents can be dangerous; so if one snorkels, one should hold onto the dinghy painter so as not to be swept out to sea or out into the middle of this huge atoll.  But down deep there is lots of live colorful corals, plenty of varied fish and every type marine life conceivable.   Chay, Katie and Jaimie on ESPRIT have made a number of dives, including night dives.  They said the highlights were a sea turtle right up close and personal, several large eels, a huge puffer fish, and a lion fish, as well as a school of long, needle nosed fish.  

As the days wind down to the transport ship arriving we will continue to get BeBe ready for shipping and the expected 45 knots of wind, green water over the bow of the ship, and sand storms in the Red Sea.  We are taking everything off the deck, pickling the water maker, removing screens, and a myriad of other things to ensure that BeBe arrives in Turkey in good shape. 

The load master will arrive in Male in a few days and we hope to meet with him well before the transport ship finally arrives.  We need to clarify whether he wants us to remove our triadic stay or not.  Amels have lifting points and can be lifted from the top, rather than lifting with straps beneath the hull as is normally required with most yachts.  If the load master is familiar with Amel design and is comfortable with lifting from the lifting points on the side at deck level, then we will not have to remove the triadic stay (piece of wire rigging that runs between the rear mizzen mast and the main mast).  If the load master is not experienced with Amel design, then he will want us to remove the triadic stay.  Removing this stay is not a simple process and Bill hopes to avoid having to do this.  We have talked with one Amel owner who has shipped his yacht 5 times and has always used the lifting points for this process.  So we know it works well as long as the load master is experienced with this technique.

One of our frustrations has been trying to make travel arrangements without a specific date – we can’t make plane or tour reservations until we have a firm load date for BeBe and we won’t have that until the transport ship gets here!  Fortunately, Emirates Airlines has been very accommodating and flexible.   Linda and Michael on B'SHERET negotiated a very reasonable fare of $600 each, Male-Dubai-Istanbul. on Emirates Airlines for all people who are transporting yachts via SevenStar.   As soon as each boat receives its loading time schedule, they should immediately go to the local Emirates office and purchase tickets.  Emirates will allow one change at no charge in case the loading does not go as scheduled.  It is really nice to be dealing with a small local office in a situation like this.  And, thanks to Linda and Michael for negotiating such a great rate!

My boat shipping preparation project for today is to defrost the freezer.  We have finally emptied the freezer.  All those great steaks purchased in Singapore have been consumed, along with a number of bottles from our stash of wine.  Bill has a project above deck.  At least the wind is blowing nicely today to keep us cool as we do these projects.  The past week has been windless and extremely hot and humid.  Today is gorgeous!

1 comment:

  1. Love the G-spot sign and I bet they will be both with things they gonna love! =) Sorry you had to eat all that steak and drink all that wine ... the things you have to do to prepare. Best wishes guys!


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