The Alba Chronicles
Neville Howarth
Sat 18 Mar 2017 02:35



07:02.63N 073:16.02E


So far we've done 420 miles with 21 miles to go. We did 140 miles in the last 24 hours.  We have blue skies and no wind.  We’re motoring with glassy calm seas.  Our ETA is 10:30.  Here's what we did yesterday and overnight.


17 March 2017   Sri Lanka to Uligama, Maldives (Day 3)

When I dragged myself out of bed at 07:00 this morning, we had no wind at all and we were gliding through a glassy calm sea, which continued all day.  I spent the morning reading up on the history and geography of the Maldives - there are thousands of small islands and reefs scattered through the twenty or so major atolls. 


We’re only planning to stay in the Maldives for 60 days, so we need to prioritise where we stop.  There’s also about 500 miles of sailing between Uligama in the north to Gan in the south, so that’s going to take up some of our time – probably 20 out of our 60 days will be spent sailing between anchorages.  If we stop in each anchorage for 2 days then we can only visit 20 anchorages...


By noon, the sun was beating down and there was no sign of any wind, so we went into full “tramp” mode; rolled away the main sail; and then put up the boom awning and uber-scoop.  It was much cooler in the cockpit and aft cabin.


Glenys has been having a nightmare with the fresh food that she bought in Sri Lanka.  After only one day, she noticed a nasty “rotting cabbage” smell and found that the cabbage bought from the fresh market was starting to go.  Dodgy leaves were removed and the cabbage is in the fridge. Bread has gone mouldy in three days,  bananas have ripened quickly and grown mould, an avocado went off and she had to throw away three mouldy tangerines.  Goodness knows why stuff has gone off so quickly.


During the afternoon, Glenys noticed a brown object in the water - we first thought it was a piece of flotsam.  We spotted another object a minutes later, so went over to investigate and found that they were juvenile turtles.  They had lots of green seaweed on their backs, so they look like they spend a lot of time floating on the surface. It was almost like they were sleeping because when we came close they slowly roused themselves and swam away – they also seemed to have difficulty submerging – very odd.


We had a nice encounter with a pod of a dozen Short Fin Pilot Whales.  They were slowly making their way south-west, but allowed us to get within 50 metres.  I have lots of photographs of grey fins barely sticking out of the water – they aren’t the most energetic creatures that we’ve seen.


The lack of wind continued into the evening, so we slowly motored towards our destination – at sunset, we had 85 miles to go.  The night was more of the same –  motoring and motoring.  At least we had a beautiful starry sky, even better than last night.