Sri Lanka unexpected bonus.

Thu 20 Sep 2007 04:25

We arrived in Galle Harbour at 2100hrs which is not usually much of an issue,

As the Penguin crew know by now that we don’t slow down to achieve our arrivals

At first light, we usually just try to sail faster and arrive for a gin and tonic at sun

Down. I put all the Blame for the G&T habit on Penguin down to Ian Mansfield,

Of course Niamh has taken over now as Ian’s protégé.  I digress, but one has

To share the responsibilities for these Rituals amongst all who have created them.

 Back to Galle Harbour at 2100hrs, Oh by the way on the sail in along the coast all the

Local fishing boats were driving full speed straight at us, at the time we had Penguin

Fully powered up doing 7 to 8 knots as a result we where converging very quickly.

 The reason for their desperate charge at us was not to board us but to trade their fish

And coconut for beer. The transfer over  between vessels after the deal was complete

Proved to be fun.  We knew we were in for a good time in Sri Lanka . The local

People where fun if not a little desperate. And finally to Galle Harbour,  Sri Lanka has

Still got a Terrorist problem and two weeks before our arrival their had been a bomb at The main airport in Colombo. Galle Harbour is the Naval base for the south area.

As a result it is fully patrolled with boats lights and machine guns, the Pilot book states

That a morning arrival is necessary. After 8 days beating to windward the prospect of

Sitting out at sea for another 12 hours did not appeal very much.  I had spotted a little

Semi protected anchorage on the side of the bay and not to close to the harbour to get

The Navy boys to twitche with their triggers. So it was with a little apprehension that

Penguin was guided to the side of the bay the search light from the Navy base shinning

At us to check out who we were. It seems that nobody ever wants to communicate with

A Yacht on channel 16 in these foreign ports. It would appear that we did not arouse

To much suspicion and the guns remained silent as penguins anchor finally touched down

In the sand.  The sun was well down but  G&T and Rum came out to celebrate our arrival. After a lovely peaceful nights sleep the following morning we had to get into the

Harbour and also make contact with the local agents who Handle all dealings with Port,

Immigration, Customs ect for you. So after spending an hour circling outside the entrance

Off the harbour we were finally boarded by the local officials then allowed to enter the

Harbour. The harbour was the complete opposite to our smart marina experiences this was a commercial harbour mainly used for unloading cement and by the local the fishing fleet  Their had also recently been a ship wreck outside the harbour wall a large barge

Carrying a dredging crane on its way to the Suez Canal was being pounded to bits by the

Swell against the rocks as a result their was a fair amount of oil and debris about, once

Tied up we had the pleasure of loud explosive depth charges being set off at night to keep

Any sabotage divers away, we also had the Navy boys wandering around fully armed. A Can or two of beer was needed to make each of the officials happy for our papers to be


 As hard as we had tried Ailes had not been convinced that sailing was the best form of

Transport, and as soon as she reached dry land  made haste to get her flight booked back

To Thailand. The following day she was gone, back to normal terra ferrma. She had spent

The last eight day`s beating to windward even on the Fastnet Race they only make you do

That for 2or 3 days. So it would appear that we failed to convert her to the joys of Sailing

   Sri Lanka was going to be our only taste of the Indian sub-continent we were not to be

Disappointed in any way. The people where very friendly great characters some of the girl’s so beautiful with lovely skin and fasces, the men might have been hansom but you

Would have to read Niamh Diary for an opinion on that. After the usual couple of days

Working on the boat getting things sorted out we took up our local Minders/agent offer

To go on a tour around part of the Country to see the sights, Temples, Tea plantations,

Ancient Civilisation’s City, The temples for one Far out did anything we had seen in

Thailand or Bali so the time was very rewarding. So after all that spiel here’s the pictures.


The Sacred Shrine containing the Buda’s tooth Temple in Kandy.

Five hundred year old inner temple Kandy.

Inside Cave Temple.

Mary Poppins at work, Seems as if everyone in the world likes to have a picture taken.

 Wild Moongoose

1300 year old wall paintings of concubines in the ancient city ruins Cigerrea


Queen for a Day.

Happy out Elephants from a sanctuary out for the day.

Buying Cashew Nuts from roadside vendors a picture of beauty.

So their it is Sri Lanka what an amazing place, But so sad that they struggle to get by, also the only country that we have visited  that still has large areas of coast still devastated by the Tsunami large

Numbers of  buildings destroyed by the wave. Our Mr Fixit Marlyn home was badly damaged and he still had no electric,  He was lucky that all 4 of his kids survived as they had all been smashed into and been separated most of the kids only found after they were identified at the hospital. So the Quick pull in to

Restock and take a quick look see turned into a very rewarding stay.  But Three years is no time at all

In the scheme of things and Another of Niamh`s  friends Dr De was meeting us in Seychelles on the 3rd

September so their was no time to dawdle. Onwards The Maldives awaits, That’s another story so BFN.