To Kochi Marina

To Kochi International Marina
Lovely to look out this morning and find our new friends – Harbour Patrol sitting quietly. An hour later they went on a tootle about, returning to wave two handed as they anchored in place once more. Not a bad night but both awoke for ‘shifts’ and it was quite hot and stuffy aboard.
A Coast Guard Lady went by as we enjoyed breakfast.
On the other side of the harbour working girls turned a chum.
Bear went ashore to find an ATM and on his return we readied for the two and a bit mile journey to the marina. Not prepared to sit here and wait for Customs and knowing a boat was already at the marina awaiting the very same department, we set off.
Up came the anchor and I idled to allow a working girl to pass by. That done we kept to the right of the channel.
Passing the cement works.......
.......and Costa Venezia. Fincantieri’s Monfalcone shipyard handed this brand spanking girl over only last month. She carries up to 5,260 passengers, is 324 metres in length and 44 metres across the hips. She weighs in at 135,000 tons. Wonder how many toilet rolls she carries ???. I don’t know but I can tell you we met her sister who has just set off on a 109-night world cruise. They are two of seven more on order specifically aimed at the Chinese market.
We turned left past a weedy island having waited for a fisherman to cross in front of us using an elongated ping-pong bat.
We set off on a rising tide so I wasn’t too anxious when we only had 0.8 metres below. Kochi City proper to our right. Call to prayer through insanely big speakers kept us ‘entertained’ for a while.
Right again, the final straight, ahead we could see the marine on the left. On the corner a lovely tree spread far over the water in a majestic pose.
We could see people waving and we understood that they wanted us to go around the first pontoon to the second. Bear had prepared ropes and fenders for a starboard tie and just as I was preparing to enter the slip Nazar (the tuktuk man) leapt from my left and said “this side”. I snarled NO and at that moment it was just as well I still had to dock the Beez or I would have been at his throat and taken out all the journey from Trincomalee on him. Mashed his face to a pulp and not stopped. Mmmm. I looked up to find seven faces and soon we were tied in place. Nighel, the manager had not expected us. Funny I chimed, I emailed some time ago to expect us for a month to which he had replied in welcome. I emailed two days ago but he said it had not arrived. Another head waggling idiot ???? no, just me being tired and ready to settle my feathers. He kindly showed us around, the shower block (unisex and smells like an unclean hamster cage), bin, lobby, his office and pointed toward the hotel where there is a beer bar, restaurant and use of the pool.
Beez Neez in place and ready for some TLC, a good wash and a rest. Bear went to the office with Nighel. A month will cost £130 with an extra £9 for electricity – can’t be bad. Whilst Bear was gone I became a whirling dervish of activity needing to get rid of my temper, bile and nervous energy. I stripped the bed, sorted the washing into three piles and went to look at the domestic washing machine. Too many piles waiting. Back to Beez and soon my big flexi bucket, folding bucket and washing up bowl were full of soaking laundry. Bear came back and set me up with the power washer. Deck done and ready for submarine cover to go up. Bear did the shore power on went the air con, yay – forty four degrees on the deck. As I was rinsing the girls back end a lovely, young Customs chap appeared in jeans and trainers. He gave us three sets of forms to fill in, I selotaped the sat phone to the office wall and he made a lips shut as he let us off with bonding the booze cupboard. Lovely chap came from the north, a Sikh who cannot grow a beard much to his dads chagrin. He asked us to pop over to his office on Monday. No problems, no hassle and as he left he said “cannot understand about all our silly paperwork, everything having to be done in a nonsense order”. I shrugged and reminded him it was the British who taught them admin......... 
Bear went off with above mentioned tuktuk man who offered to take him to buy SIM cards locally. After a heavenly cup of tea I got back to rinsing laundry and Bear stuck his head in the back lazarette for a probe and wiggle - Eureka, he found the problem that had beset the autopilot – a broken bolt meaning the quadrant with the autopilot and rudder reference had come loose on the rudder stock – in plain English, it couldn’t do its job. By late afternoon the Beez looked like Mrs Woo’s laundry and we were ready for the pool.
Through our reception, across a beautifully kept garden, through the hotel reception and into a hot pool, wonderful for me but not quite so refreshing for Bear. We had a great soak a few lengths and long showers in the nearby ablution block (much nicer than the one at the marina). I decided we should eat at the restaurant as a treat for getting here, ten minutes to serving time at seven, nothing for it but to try a local beer. To the left of the pool is an abundance of pinky-purple blossom on a large tree (Lagerstroemia speciosa (giant crepe-myrtle, Queen's crepe-myrtle or Pride of India)).
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Bear sipped a Kingfisher, I made shandy from Kingfisher Storm and looking up wowed the wood ceiling. Eat all you can eat buffet next door. Soup, six different mains, two rice, salads and side bits followed by brownie or bread and butter pudding and ice cream. Seven pounds each. Back at the marina the security guard bade us ‘goodnight’ and shone his torch at the girl to help. How sweet. Too tired to watch anything we crashed and burned. Relieved as much as anything to be settled. Well, until Wednesday when we fly to Delhi to begin our road trip......  
                    UNWINDING TIME