Posted by: catamarantwooceans | January 20, 2013

Sailing from Sri Lanka to Cochin

15.1.13 – Tuesday – If going into Sri Lanka from the procedural aspect was easy, going out was a bit slow. For some reason we could not leave until 1400. As I looked at the forecast chart I understood that we might have a bit of rough weather. The Mannar strait between Sri Lanka and India is a sort of funnel, or Venturi pipe, through which the north-easterlies are accelerated, reaching high velocities. Some bloggers recorded 40 knots on their passage.

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What you can see here are wind of about 23 knots from 95 degrees to our course, which on calm sea will give good speed. The thing is they cause waves, which change the picture drastically. Experience tells us that in reality the wind can attain speeds greater by a factor of 10 knots above the forecast. Anyway, this should be limited just to the straits and any rough weather will not last more than 24 hours.

As we went out the wind was westerly at less than 10 and we had to motor-sail.

16.1.13 – At 0030 during Sven’s watch, I was awakened by a change in the boat’s movement; rushing to the cockpit I found Sven battling the sails, trying to arrange them for the northeasterly that blew all of a sudden. Very quickly we had to reef the main and a bit later, when my turn at the helm came – to first reef of the jib. The wind blew 25 knots and the sea began to build.

At 0800 we discovered that a bolt holding the starboard Targa support became loose and fell to the bottom of the aft beam; I ‘ll only be able to retrieve it when we are at anchor in calm waters. I tightened the port one and strengthened the Targa to the boat’s structure with a rope. We then proceeded cautiously with third reef in the main and second in the jib, still going at around 7 knots.

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The wind became even stronger, gusting to 32 knots at times. The boat handled the weather beautifully, going up and down waves that were 3 meters high; think about a one story house and you get the idea. A few of those banged against the topsides and broke into the cockpit filling it up with seawater.

While all this was going on we had to keep a sharp lookout for ships going the same way, to the southern tip of India. A few came close and one that seemed to be too close made me call them up on V.H.F to make sure they saw us. OOCL BRITAIN was going at 21 knots while we operated in a survival mode. They did turn 8 degrees to make sure separation was adequate.

Around 2000, when we were some 20 miles from that tip, the wind moderated and we could breath easier – but not for long! As we sailed into the lee of the land a vista of lights appeared before us – small fishing boats. They covered vast areas and we had to be very careful not to hit one.

17.1.13 – Thursday – found us mostly motoring on flat seas following the low shoreline. In the evening I prepared pizza for       dinner; as I was standing in the galley with my back to the oven, a cracking sound was suddenly heard. The glass outer pane of the oven exploded into tiny little pieces. The pizza was still on but here’s another thing to fix.

18.1.13 – Friday – ETA for the Cochin channel was 0300 so we arranged the watches to be three hours starting at 2100. When I came to the cockpit at midnight, Sven told me gladly that his was the best watch ever, so peaceful and quiet. It took less than 15 minutes for fishing boats to start appearing out of the darkness with no lights at all, some shining big searchlights that blinded me for a few seconds.

At 0300 we reached the channel and called Port Control for permission to enter; this was given an hour later. We followed the channel, a bit confused because of big structures on our port that did not appear on the charts and finally dropped anchor near the Taj hotel at 0500. Some whiskey was poured to celebrate the end of the voyage and to quench the adrenalin fires. 

At 0830 we started the Via Dolorosa of Indian bureaucracy that ended only at 1440. I filled, signed and stamped so many forms I lost count of. Immigrations had lunch just as we showed up and when they finally started working it took mote than half an hour to stamp our two passports. Imagine the line in the airport and compare…The last straw was receiving permission from the harbor master to go to Kondo Syokai boatyard, where I planned to leave the boat for two months. The paper was on the chief foreman’s table but he was out. An other clerk who was present, after telling me to "wait calmly" phoned the man, who after about 30 minutes sent someone to hand it over.

A man named Nazar, who is mentioned on http://www.noonsite.com , attached himself to us; he is an auto Rickshaw driver and a facilitator of shore arrangements, same as our Sri Lankan Marlin.

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It the afternoon we went to the yard to see the place "Two Oceans" will be stored. Not very elegant, perhaps, but hopefully safe, with John Crabbtree, who runs the boatyard keeping an eye on her.

Dinner at the Seagull restaurant was excellent and in such big quantity that I had the part I did not eat packed and brought it to the yard’s guard, old man Amshaker.

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19.1.13 – Saturday – We arranged with Nazar to take us for a sightseeing trip of the town. The highlight from my point of view were the shore fishing contraptions that were lowered into the channel manually, assisted by heavy stones as balance.

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This was quit a job and the catch was not very big but they were at it continuously so they probably earned enough to make it worth their while.

In the afternoon, after John and his men finished installing the logs that will protect the boat from the concrete dock, we motored to it and secured "Two Oceans" for the next two months. The dock area is terribly shallow; I think she will touch bottom at low water. John assures me that it is very soft mud and that there should be no problems. I decided to take his word for it.

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So ends this portion of the trip; Sven is flying out tomorrow, he was great fun to be with. I’ll go home a day later and come back in late March or the beginning of April and continue the voyage.

Until then – Adios from Miki on Two Oceans.

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Responses

  1. Hi barzam .
    I’m now updated…
    I feel As if I’m there with you guys, and enjoy
    Every added part.
    Don’t stop,
    Kim

  2. Hi Miki, So pleased to hear that you are safe. We’ve been following you progress and watching the weather. Really enjoy the story of your travels. Ian and Jam


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