To Kochi - Days 3 & 4

To Kochi – Day Three – Released and Day Four
 
 
 
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Saturday the 30th of March. Both wide awake by first light, Bear made us a cup of tea. I took this picture a couple of minutes after six and we were utterly alone.
 
 
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Six sixteen and the sun was just about pop out. Bear gathered his snorkel kit and was soon under for a recon, tailing a safety line tied to Beez. A few minutes later, he bobbed up, I need the dive kit, this will take about half an hour, net around rudder and prop, as he tied a wad of net to the stern platform.
 
 
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I helped Bear into the dive kit, passed him the very sharp knife fit for purpose, thrilled there are no baddies to worry about on the predator front and watched as he disappeared once more, by now ten past seven. I have never prayed so fast in my life and kept it up the entire time he was below, me watching the bubbles as they regularly appeared against the side of Beez. At seven forty I was relieved to hear that all the net had been removed and was asked to turn the rudder all they way to the right on the sound of three taps. That done and thereby releasing a final stubborn twist of rope. Helping Bear aboard he showered and turned the key, Beez purred to life. Thank the Lord.
 
 
Bear and net
 
Bear posed with his loot, put it in a black sack and just before he went to raise the anchor a fisherman stopped to ask if we were OK. Thanking him we said we were just about to leave, he asked if we wanted to buy a fish, we declined and on homeward he went.
 
 
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The kink in our course shows where we had anchored for the night. I took us out to ten miles off and slowly the current against us picked up. Average speed about two point seven knots.
 
 
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Very amusing, in many ways, that smaller chums passed between us and the land. This little lady is called OEL Hind, but my enthusiasm for finding out about her vital statistics and all was simply not upon me. We did look on the chartplotter and found that she was heading for Colombo doing 12.4 knots. A small fishing boat approached and all I could think was YUK and needless to say the nerves jittered a bit.
 
 
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Three in the afternoon and something a little different to watch out for, a lighthouse some way offshore – yellow arrow, in reality...........
 
 
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 ..............a solo guardian.
 
 
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Away to our left a true giant (three hundred metres in length) but what with the morning worries, the current and the guilt we both felt at actually thinking our sailing life had become as running up Everest with a camel in each hand. That flash disappeared as soon as we had ‘confessed’ to each other and resolve back in place, time to plan. One blessing of having such a long coastline with an excellent internet signal was being able to send emails to Mark (our engineer in Pangkor), Raymarine in Mumbai (in case we need ‘stuff’), Des for advice on how late can we leave it before arriving at the Mozambique Channel and more importantly, to be able to read all the comforting messages from so many on FB. Really gave us strength – Thank You All xx xx.
 
 
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Bit of chumville (and fishermen) at the bottom corner of the island but still a very long way before we actually leave the coastline and head out toward India.
 
 
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At six o’clock under a pretty sky, I asked for every available nav light to go on – nerves ready to jingle a bit.......
 
 
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Meanwhile, back in the cockpit ‘himself’ really looks as if he is smiling in his sleep. And why not. Up at the crack of sparrows, cut away net, rescued Beez and been a real stoic. We managed just fifty nine point four miles in this twenty four hour period.
 
 
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Sunday the 31st of March. We have been really fluid with our shift system – anything from two, three or four hours but tending to do shorter ones in the dark as it does tax the eyes. Well, I was due on at nine, tipped out of bed and ran headlong up the stairs as not to be late. “What are you doing up so early ??? But, but, it’s nine o’clock. No, it’s eight. What......... my watch can only be changed when it syncs with my laptop, there are no ‘things’ to fiddle with so why did it jump forward an hour ??? anyhoo, I didn’t see the point of trying to nod off only to wake feeling awful so I stayed with Bear. I was on the wheel and in the pancake flat sea Bear topped up with diesel.
 
 
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I really did enjoy this chum, but She was called Anton, Anton Schepers in fact. Not a massive girl at 164 metres in length, hips 22 metres and draught of six metres. Due in to LKCMB on the morrow. Managing to do 11.8 knots but making quite a splash at the nose end in waves growing in the ‘against’ factor. So much so, that our mileages were a sorry sight. Both sails were up to try to help a tiny amount.
Between 22:00 and 02:00 this morning we managed 8.9 miles.
02:00 to 06:00 was 9.1.
06:00 to 10:00 was a massive 13.2
10:00 to 14:00 was a huge 13.4 but so very uncomfortable
14:00 to 16:45 was 9.4 and we had both had enough for one day. Sea getting rougher, progress dismal and worsening.
 
 
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The wind was now in the twenties and the waves were really steeping up. As the wind was blowing in Beez face we were lolling and bucking, no good taking a picture as too difficult to catch a wave in action, hand steer and keep pecker up.......... Enough suddenly became enough. I bore right and for the first time on this journey took off like a rocket. 6.2 knots, leaning one way, and heading straight for a conveniently placed bay ahead – bonus an anchor sign. Nuts to the authorities, I was on watch and I took the decision. Bear had no argument either.
 
 
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To the left (out of picture) is where we settled, not truly protected but the wind was at least halved. Didn’t manage a dramatic wave hitting the headland but heard and saw many. At a twenty to five the anchor was barely set before a local and his sidekick were trying to sell us lobster. Perish the thought of all that prep work. A stiff sherbet was to hand as soon as the logbook was done and I won at backgammon. Nilewelli Bay is home to a small fleet of medium sized working girls – many did not go out. I counted fourteen resting in bed and three who went at slow speed and not too far out – no small boats at all ventured out. Simple supper, two episodes of NCIS LA and we both crashed. Good call to stop. Why, thank you skipper. We have been going for three days, completed 226.8 miles (about a third of our journey) and managed an average of just over three knots. Our five day journey is now looking like eight.
 
 
 
ALL IN ALL A MIXED OL’ BUSINESS WITH MASSIVE RELIEF
                     GOOD TO HAVE AN IMPROMPTU BREAK