Getting to know Goa
Soniya and Shammi - our friends in Panaji
Slowly, slowly we are making progress on arranging berthing for the monsoon but it looks as if we'll be at anchor for another week or so. Soniya and Shammi have been wonderful in helping us, organising the necessary permits as well as materials for installing a pontoon to tie up to. A small problem emerged when we discovered that the depths we need for mooring are further from the shore than expected. We are now having to get a timber walkway built out into the river (and approval for this from the Captain of Ports!). The pontoon building has begun and we hope to get it installed shortly...
Pontoon assembly - experience with Lego essential
The weather has been hot and humid so we've not had the energy for a lot of sight-seeing. So far the highlight has been a trip to a spice plantation. The tour was really well organised and we learned a lot about what part of the plant the different spices come from, how they are processed and so on. We were advised on how to use various spices for medicinal purposes and treated to various concoctions including the local spirit, feni, made from cashew nut apples. Goa is a major producer of cashew nuts so they have no shortage of the basic ingredient.
Peppercorns - black, white or red, the colour depends on the drying
Cashews - separating the nut from the fruit
Would anyone like a shower?
What the UN does with its hard earned funds!
Most days we go ashore, cross the river by ferry and do a bit of exploring if not helping organise the pontoon development. Bit by bit we are getting to know Panaji and find suppliers for various things we need. We've just engaged a local tailor to make us a tarpaulin to cover the boat when we're away. We're also planning to buy an air-conditioning unit to run over the summer in an effort to keep the mildew at bay.
The ferry across the River Mandovi is free
At lunchtime we usually retreat to the aptly-named Vasco da Gama club, which is a large and airy bar-cum-restaurant. The owner, Ernesto, is very welcoming and it serves well as a meeting point for the rally yachts.
Who says scaffold uprights should be plumb? After all, it's only eight storeys
The anchorage is quite peaceful, apart from the sound of barges going up the river and coming back with loads of iron ore. Another distraction is the tripper boats that cruise up and down in the evening playing loud music (just like in parts of the Med). We joined a lunchtime cruise up the Mandovi river today and had a great time enjoying the scenery and eating good food, despite the inevitable music!
River scenes between Panaji and Old Goa