Too Many Drummers.com
Journal 1 - The Land Downunder
Journal 2 - Indonesia
Journal 3 - Singapore & Malaysia
Journal 4 - Thailand 1
Journal 5 - Thailand 2
Journal 6 - Indian Ocean
Journal 7 - Red Sea
Journal 8 - Egypt
Journal 9 - Suez to Israel to Petra
Journal 10 - Turkey
Journal 11 - Greece & Italy
Journal 12 -
Balearics, Gibraltar, Canaries
Journal 13 -
Canaries to Cape Verde to Atlantic
Journal 14 - Barbados to
Journal 15 - Trinidad
Journal 16 - Bahamas DC-3 Plane Wreck
Journal 17 - 34 Things I've Learned in 33,000 Miles
We crossed the Indian Ocean! - Five words (and an exclamation point) bringing joy to our captain’s heart and hope to his crew’s stomachs.
Ocean crossings are generally less about courage than they are about dogged persistence and sheer hard-headedness. The 1500 mile passage from Phuket, Thailand to the Maldives took 11 days. Aside from some seasickness (for crew members who shall remain unnamed) on day 3, it was a smooth ride.
Our biggest concern was debris. The tsunami swept all sorts of debris into the ocean for current and wind to carry further offshore. We threaded our way through hundreds of logs, branches, and trees during the day. At night we slowed down so if we did hit something it wouldn’t do major damage.
In the Maldives we anchored off a small village called Uligamu. It felt awesome to return to some classic “white sandy beach” cruising. The water visibility was at least 50 feet, which made snorkeling and scraping the bottom of the boat equally enjoyable. The water teemed with all kinds of marine life, from manta rays to lobsters.
A squadron of squid under our boat inspired Dad to buy a special squid fishing lure. He caught at least 20 of them, in episodes like this:
Dad: “I see one! Come on, come on (jiggling lure)……”
Sarah: “How shall I cook it?”
Me: “Let it live! What has it done to you?”
Dad: “Almost………come on…..(more lure jiggling)….”
Sarah: “Here’s a recipe for squid cake….(flipping through gross cookbook)”
Me: “What is wrong with you people? Let it live to squid another day!”
Dad: “GOT HIM! (pull in line)
Squid: “Pfffffffffffffffffffffft!!!!!!!!!! (spraying ink at Dad)”
Sarah: “Hmm……squid omelette, squid ice cream, squid enchiladas…..(still flipping) ”
Me: “Get him, squid! Aim for his eyes!”
Dad: “David, get me a bag!”
Me: “No way, squid killer!”
Squid: “Pfffffffffffffffft!!!!!!!! (spraying ink all over side of boat)
Sarah: “….squid pancakes, squid a l’orange, squid pro quo…….
Dad: “David, NOW! (gestures angrily with squid lure, as if I might be next)”
Me: “OK (a grumbling but guilty player in this little drama)”
Squid: “Pft. (out of ammo)”
I am a fishing hypocrite of the worst order. I have eaten meat without hesitation in some of the finest fast food restaurants around the world, yet find it difficult to participate in the actual killing of an animal (Except flies and mosquitos. If they land on me they choose death. I have a swatter next to me as I type this.).
It’s getting better. In the past, every time Dad put out a fishing line I mounted a “When will this carnage cease?” campaign of guilt. Now when Sarah and Dad catch a fish I just pull out the video camera and shoot the evidence. Sometimes I even cast a line or two myself. (The turning point was when I started paying my own bills. Now that I know what it is to pay 4 dollars for a box of cereal, I am all for living off the bounty of the sea. Mmmm, squid
The Maldivian people are very polite and hospitable. Uligamu is a natural stopping point for cruisers crossing the Indian Ocean and we arrived during busy season. The locals sell fuel, water, and basic provisions to the passing yachts in exchange for US dollars. They had all the bases covered, except (as we learned in a moment of near panic) Diet Coke, which needed to be special ordered to be delivered on the next supply boat. One cell phone call later and disaster was narrowly averted.
Speaking of which, it was surreal to watch villagers on an island of 300 people stroll down dusty roads talking on their cell phones. I can deal with the satellite dishes on top of every other building….it makes sense to have a phone booth…….I can even understand government officials having DSL internet….but cell phones? Is there no escape?
Cruising has changed a lot in the past 10 years. When we sailed through the South Pacific, you still needed a degree in advanced calculus to coordinate mail packages from Kentucky with your sailing schedule. Now you just turn on the laptop computer, tune the radio, and hit “send”. Or you can use the internet café in the corner of the pasture if you’re willing to wait for the goat to finish checking his email. He’s a slow typer ….
Uligamu was a wonderful stop. The people were generous and the water was gorgeous. It’s on my official “Must Go Back To Someday With My Own Boat” list. We were sorry to leave the Maldives so soon, but we have to keep moving with the sailing seasons to make it up the Red Sea before the winds change.
It took us 10 days to sail 1200 miles to Salalah, Oman.
You know, it sounds too simple and easy to say it like that ….. Let’s try it a different way: We valiantly fought the elements through 1200 miles of gut-busting, boat-bashing ocean madness. Along the way we saw the brightest bioluminescent (glow in the dark) algae we have ever seen. Dad cranked up the throttles to full and swerved in giant “S” shapes to buffet the algae into a glowing wake of neon flames.
At 3 am that night, I went outside on my watch and heard giant “slap!” sounds from 30 feet to our starboard (right side). In the darkness I couldn’t make out the source of the noise but could clearly see what appeared to be a torpedo zooming straight towards the boat (OK, I haven’t actually seen a torpedo, but I’ve seen enough movies to know what they look like and that you should always turn towards them so you collide before the warhead arms at which point they’ll fall harmlessly away as a piece of crumpled metal). The torpedo glow disappeared under our boat only to zip out again in the direction it came. The form in the water grew clearer……..
Dolphins! The pod of dolphins swam back and forth in the phosphorescence, leaving trails of torpedo bubbles under our boat for the next ten minutes. Very cool.
So….after 10 days of adventure we arrived in Salalah, Oman.
Oman reminds me a lot of Saudi Arabia. Salalah is a grooving desert town, full of life and Lebanese bakeries. Should have some desert adventures to talk about next time….