Posted by: catamarantwooceans | April 4, 2013

Back in Cochin

28.3.13 – Thursday – Back on the boat! Gili and I flew in and reached the boat around 3 pm. John and Fumio, the dock owner and his wife, came by. They briefed us about places to shop for provisions and the operation of the yard’s water system. They have wells on the grounds and a pump is utilized to bring the water up from 25 feet below the surface. An inverted plastic bottle is used as an expansion tank and one needs to let air bubbles out and let some dirt flow out before clean water come. There is no pipe leading to the dock and you have to use jerry-cans; not very convenient.

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John, who used to be a Medical Doctor before settling in India to build yachts, doubts the suitability of the well water for drinking; he suggests boiling it. I drank them after filtering and may use bleach to purify it. 

It turned out that Easter is upon us and many businesses as well as the various offices of the authorities only open on Monday. The holiday also meant that alcohol, which is sold in special government shops, was rationed. We could only buy 6 bottles of beer each. We need a lot of beer because one cannot buy beer in the Maldives, except in resorts which charge inflated prices.

29.3.13 – Good Friday – For us – a working day. Gili took care of cleaning house while I went with Nazar for fuel. The man brought his own jerry-cans and with the help of his son lugged 220 liters of diesel fuel to the boat. He charges 5 rupees per liter, which to me seems very reasonable. He will arrange for drinking water; it comes in 20 liters bottles which cost 60 rupees each. This will only happen tomorrow because the drinking water Walla is a Christian and does not work today.  Nazar is a great help; he knows Cochin as the back of his hand and will help with any need that you have, checking in and out as well as shopping.

The freezer was playing tricks, showing the blinking red light indicating low voltage and shutting itself down even when the actual voltage was 12.2 v. I fiddled with the wiring and then changed the fuse which solved the problem. The fridge is still in-operative. No technician will be available before Tuesday; we’ll try and find one in Male, in the Maldives.

Cleaning the boat required a lot of water and at on point we ran out. I started lugging 25 liters jerry-cans and found it to be too tiring; I started filling them less than the full capacity which was much easier even though I carried two at a time, heavier than a single full one.

After filling the first 50 liters, water stopped flowing. It turned out that the pump sucked some dirt from the bottom of the tank which blocked the pipe. This was quickly rectified and we were back to normal.

A shopping trip with Nazar ended our working day. He came up with information that the authorities will be working on Saturday so tomorrow we hope to do the checkout procedure, finish our shopping and hopefully sail away on Sunday.

30.3.13 – Saturday – Nazar came at 0915 and we Tuk Tuked to the Harbor Master office. In the true spirit of Indian bureaucracy, filling a small form stating that the HM has nothing against us leaving, subject to the agreement of customs and Immigrations took about 30 minutes.

Next we went to Customs which are traditionally more difficult than the other functionaries. An officer came and started looking for our file among piles of folders.

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I was very much surprised when it showed up. Then there was another form to fill and after gathering all the papers the officer said he would go to "section 2" to finish the job. "It will only take half an hour". The whole procedure took 75 minutes but at the end we had our all important "Port Clearance" and rushed on to Immigrations.

Going out of India in an airport is easy; not so in a port. Five people were involved in checking, stamping and signing our passports and when after 30 minutes, when we were finished and on our way to the "English Supermarket" named "Gourmet", Nazar phone rang; Immigrations asked that we come back, they forgot to copy our visas.

"Gourmet" had all the items we were looking for and then it was time for another go at the Wine Shop. Holidays make the Indian people thirsty and there were horrendous lines in all the liquor places.

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We waited patiently and got our beer case and Rum. Back to the boat for a quick lunch and then Nazar appeared with our ten 20 liters water bottles. We finished filling up and drove 12 km to visit John and Fumio on their island. John has his boat building facility on the island and three steel monohulls were in various stages of construction.

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Back to the dock I asked Nazar how much I owed him for the ride but he was too tired and hungry to even think about it. We agreed that he would come the next day with some more water bottles. He also found an electrician who agreed to come the next day at nine o’clock and look at my fridge. The man is invaluable!

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31.3.13 – Sunday – Nazar brought the water and the tanks were filled. I decided to use the good water of the port tank but the pump did not work. I checked the electrical supply and it was good. This is a new pump I bought in Phuket! Now the electrician visit became even more important but the man did not show up and was not answering his phone. Decision: we have a full operating tank (250 liters) of well water and 45 liters of good drinking water in plastic containers; we’ll sail to the Maldives and fix the pump there.

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