To Kochi - Day 5

To Kochi - Day 5
Monday the 1st of April – Day Five. We woke at the crack of sparrows after quite a restful night, Bear made us a cup of tea but the mood aboard was fairly muted. This is day five at sea, two nights at anchor, we had barely made it to the first corner (south east) of Sri Lanka, not half way with three hundred and eighty miles to go. Enough, get on with it. We left our nest at Nilewelli at six twenty. Thirty miles to Galle then we can bear away from the coast and out to sea. Out came some genoa, partly to help in the bit of breeze and partly to help be seen.
Sad to say my heart sinks when I see a fisherman.
Looking behind the sun was trying to put his hat on. The sea was much calmer than yesterday and now we only have seven knots against us, current not too bad.
The chaps waved as they raced by trying to be the first in with their catch.
I was pleased to see these two were simply chatting – to each other.
This one came roaring up behind us shouting “Stop, Stop”, heart sink. When you hear a shout your first thought is peril ahead – their net, another ones net, lobster pots......., we couldn’t see any gear from their boat and kept going. They took pictures, one was cleaning his teeth, one was scratching his overhanging belly, all leering. My jangling nerves had had enough and in went an emergency cigarette – now known as doing a Keef. Morale now was at an all time low. In the past one of us may be down over a challenge and the other would do the cheering up. Today we were both very flat.
We began to see a different shape, fishing boats that were skinny, outrigged, manned by six or seven crew and fast through the water.
A very different breed, keen to do their job, waving in a friendly fashion but leaving us alone.
One at full tilt.
It took a while to put two and two together. The lookouts, sitting up on the cross tree were searching for gangs of seabirds and racing to them, probably been doing the same thing for hundreds of years but now managing to get to the fishing ground marked by the birds so much faster.
Many times we saw most of the crew take turns to jump in making the biggest splash they could. The net would circle away from the back of the boat and whichever way it flowed the jumpers would try to scare the fish toward the net rather than the fish be able to turn and escape. Lots of laughter and good cheer came from these boats and dare I say, we began to enjoy them. Helpful messages came from Anthony (Wild Fox), useful emails from Mark (electrician) who had copied in Will (Raymarine) and messages of comfort via FB. Such a joy having the internet and such a change for us.
It seemed to take all day but finally we began to close on Galle and a mini chumville.
Quarter past four and we could see Galle Fort.
Ahead of us was an anchored chum and I used her as a point to steer toward – actually giving me a resting phase, I could sit and steer with my feet.
Other parked girls to our right.
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The anchored chum I had used as a target for over three hours turned out to Be Allcargo Leela -  a twenty year old local from Colombo.
Finally, we began to bear away from the Sri Lankan coast.
Half past three - Allcargo Leela was now behind us.
An hour later and huge relief settled aboard Beez Neez, a long way to go but so long as we average over 2.6 knots we have enough diesel.
I so hate the rare times Bear is down - I was delighted to see a much cherished first smile of the day.
Bone tired, my skipper slept deeply.
I had lots of company and only one single-hander acted like a knob. He thought to cross in front of me, decided it would be more fun to try to scare the Missy by passing a few inches off the stern platform. The snarl on my face soon changed his smirk and off he zoomed. Secretly I do admire the skill with which they throw these little craft about but if one stood before me just now................... We very much do flexi-shifts rather than than our former, strict four hour watches. Daytime I’m happy to do four, five or six but at night it ranges from two, three or occasional four. Bear came on just before sunset.
I thought I was in for a green flash.
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Things began well.
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No, nothing, just lights out. A peaceful shift, no one about so for once, a little reading.
I came on to a lighter mood mongst the crew but an irritation. This is what I have to stare at (and Bear) in our hours of darkness watches. I feel the need to write to Raymarine and to also say I miss my tape measure (I used to use it a lot – put a cross where I wanted it and a tape measure and other end of the line cross, really useful for seeing how far something was away from you or plotting a course that you wanted to be a certain distance off a coast etc.). Our old chartplotter had a night setting, a dull blue, this ‘modern and upgraded’ version thinks it better not to consider full time sailors......... This is the screen set at its dullest but so difficult to see any small light to the left of centre. I find I have to kneel up, head over the pram hood to hide the chartplotter from view. Plan – to find a piece of see-through Perspex in blue. Mmmm we’ll see, but this is the last journey to put up with this white glow. Moan over, three hour shift over, time to lay down for a few hours.