Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Diving British Loyalty

28th We reconnoitered the Island of Mulikolhu and found a couple entrances to go through the coral reef with jetski and rescue boat. Having a secured entrance we returned to IE and prepared for a dive at the British Loyalty wreck.

British Loyalty part of railing and a Feather star

C/E Andrei giving the "OK" in the engine room

One propeller blade

Corals

Not taking too much time we loaded our gear onto the Gulf Craft dive boat and headed for the dive site. The guide did not come with diving gear and only pointed out a floating water bottle and told us that there is where the wreck is and follow an N-S course for viewing and do a swim through the wreck.

Current crew of BL, Vermilion rock cod

More railing

Nemo found, Maldives anemonefish

Nemo's cousin found too, Clark's anemonefish

Andreas gives the thumbs up at the end of the dive

Lead by Willy we did all this and saw an ample amount of fish but in my opinion it was not really the best Maldives could offer. The visibility was probably not the best as it was close to dusk. I was still happy to make out the thick riveted hull plating and railings plus other parts such as the propeller and rudder stock, a good dive.

M/t British Loyalty
Photo Courtesy of Library of Contemporary History, Stuttgart

M/t British Loyalty was torpedoed during WWII twice but still did not sink. Eventually she was scuttled to her current location by the British for target practice. For those more interested in the history of m/t British Loyalty can click here.

»»  read more

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Exploring Addoo atoll

On 27th we got a local guide onboard to reconnoiter the local Islands for possible beach parties and barbecues. The locally called “Bushy Island” up north proved very difficult to approach and so we settled on the Mulikolhu Island in the south of the atoll that had recently hosted one of the “Survivor” series seasons with Icey teaching the urbanites how to open coconuts and to catch fish.

Addoo beaches

Our local man "Icey"

Same afternoon I lent from Icey and Matty a pair of scooters and headed with Jessie North to explore the northwestern side of the atoll. First I had to stop and change some dollars to local currency for any expenses. It did not take long to discover the scooters needed more fuel so we stopped on Maradhoo Island on a prominent fuel station to fill our vehicles. At same time I discovered Jessie was on a scooter saddle for her first time of her life but she handled it pretty well.

Riding past trees planted by the English


From Maradhoo we continued onwards and passed the commercial port.  I could see ships anchored to offload oil for the local power station and refrigerator ships to load some tuna that seemed to be the common term for “fish”. Then there was some local shipyards that were repairing dhonis and Gulf Crafts, all vey small and compact operations.

Jessie on her "hog"

We passed the power station with its gorgeous trees planted by the Brits on the way on Maradhoo Island and went along to Hithadhoo Island by the western seaside to Koattey were there was supposed to be ancient ruins of a Fort.

Maldivian jungle

We looked for the ruins as far as we could go by road and reached the sea. We parked our scooters and took a swim in the Indian Ocean with the northern swell pushing us back onshore. I cautioned Jessie to stay close to shore as the local currents might be treacherous. The swim was refreshing but the beach really rocky with dead corals so it was not a nice place to walk on.

The northwestern swamplike inner side of the Addoo atoll

After drying ourselves we took a shore path resembling more of a trial track and eventually met a party of local Maldivians and after querying for the Fort they told us the ruins were long gone during their grand father’s time, oh well, so much for the guide books advice.

Coconut juice break

The inside of Koattey

As we were motoring up and down every treaded path we could find with Jessie we stumbled upon a local man who was cutting down coconuts. After some initial sign language he opened a coconut each and we whetted our whistles with the tender sweet juice. After emptying the shell he cut it half so we could get at the meat. I rewarded the man with 50 US cents in local currency for his efforts. He did not show any emotion if it was insufficient or not so I reckon he was happy. After this it was getting dark and we started back south as Avnish had set a dinner date with me.

Hithadhoo

This time we motored straight through the Hithadhoo center main road and saw the various businesses lining the streets along the residential houses. Many were built by coral bricks, i.e. pieces cut out of the surrounding coral reefs.  On the way we passed many dissecting roads that showed us the sun as it was descending lower and lower. So when it was really nearing the horizon we made it through the brush and stopped to admire the sunset. After this I got a call from Avnish enquiring of our whereabouts so we jumped on our scooters and headed for the Maradhoo Island for the “Citybend” restaurant.

Almost sunset again

At “Citybend” we met Avnish and Nina and had a delicious dinner with local curries and other delicacies. Anyway after dinner, we got on our scooters and drove them back to the Icey’s resort on Gan Island. 


»»  read more

Monday, 27 December 2010

Voyage Goa - Addoo atoll, Maldives

Upon signing on the Indian Empress on the 20th I was put through the motions of the shipboard management system as stipulated by the ISM code. Familiarization, safety, security and so on was being explained by Chief Officer Tsvetan and 2nd Officer Emil on separate occasions. Then Tsvetan went on vacation and was replaced by C/O Bruno on the same day.

Paco of Kundalini Airport

Kundalini Airport and the funny fake Baba also turned up

On the 22nd we went to Anjuna to listen to Kundalini Airport, as I had so many times before, to do some crew bonding with IE and Kalizma crew. I had to cut the evening short for watch duty.

The IE and Kalizma girls

On 23rd we had a small get together on Kalizma and crew got to know each other and after this IE departed same night towards Maldives. Chief Stewardess Nina was sad as she had to leave Richard’s cooking behind her.

Xmas Eve at sea

On 24th we had Xmas Eve onboard with no special ceremony onboard except a few sundowners at the sundeck with the sun going down in the West.

Xmas sunset on Indian Ocean

25th was the Christmas lunch with all crew and Santa Claus giving presents to all crew as we had a “Secret Santa” system with each crew contributing to a secretly allotted name a gift of minimum 2000 Rs. Bruno was acting as Santa and was a big success, the temperature in the mess room rose to a staggering 27˚C with all the fun.



On the 26th we passed the Equator and were subsequently boarded by Neptune and his minions to examine the Scallywags and to introduce them into the Solemn Secrets of the Deep. The event was immemorial with many crews recording the event on camera and video. Afterwards all participants were duly certified to enter the southern hemisphere.

Sharp lookout whilst maneuvering into the atoll

Shangri-La resort on Addoo atoll

Sunset over Addoo atoll

Same evening we arrived Addoo atoll and anchored in front of Gan Island. After arrival procedures had been completed I went ashore with Captain Avnish and had dinner with agent Icey and Matty in a local restaurant. The fish curry was just delicious and it is big word from me as I have never been a great fan of fish curry.

Arabian Sea and Laccadive Sea, Maldives, Addoo (Addu) Atoll) (SuDoc D 5.356:63202/996)

»»  read more

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy and Prosperous New Year

I want to thank all readers for having the energy and interest of reading my posts yet again for another year. Recalling my school years I actually hated writing essays not because of the writing but because of the teacher who was always bitching about my bad grammar. Well, I suppose he was only doing his job and I was doing rebellion. As I recall my shortest essay was quarter of a page once. For this reason I got special tutoring and must say it was much nicer to sit with a young lady and discuss writing...

Remember the Elves are watching your every move, so be nice ;)

Anyway, I hope my scribblings are doing some purpose and filling your possible question marks or giving you hints of something to do or see. At this time I am now in the Maldives on m/y Indian Empress and will give you the news when I'll get the time, meanwhile, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and in a few days also hope that you will have a Happy and Prosperous New Year to come.

Merry Xmas video
»»  read more

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Captain's blog December 2010

This blog is the last as the Captain of Kalizma because I’m being transferred to the Owner’s bigger yacht, m/y Indian Empress, as Captain/ Chief Officer but I will be coming to check in on Kalizma at regular intervals.

m/y Indian Empress

After spending 2.5 yrs on her she has taken a chunk of my life with her troubles keeping her fit and trim for the Owner and guests. This is not only by my own effort but also with the good team effort of my Indian crew that is now left to be guided by my 2nd in command, Surender Saini, that has now gotten the MCA certification to this. My best congratulations for his future success in managing Kalizma with all her faults and on the other hand, her charms. In the end it is the crew that makes the spirit on the yacht.

Bottle mountain at Kingfisher village

As for the December month it went fairly uneventfully. On the 2nd I went with Saini to visit the Kingfisher village that was erected for the film festival. We were quite surprised as the beer was sold practically for nothing and the bartenders were handing over beer as fast as they could. The mountains of empty cans and bottles told the story of demand. We also found out this was the last night for the village until the next festival. People were having a good time with the local orchestra playing Konkani songs interspersed with Hindi popular songs. Me and Saini enjoyed us thoroughly until the venue was closed.

With Saini at boatshow checking the wares

On the 6th I visited the Goa boatshow, a really small event that mostly peddled boats for unsuspecting buyers. As an example I could mention the Seadoo jetski that looked fine and dandy but if you are gullible enough to buy for an arm and a leg you would discover at the first malfunction that the closest service center is outside of India. The next step to import spares and get somebody to service your jetski (properly) would cost you another appendix. Incredible India.

14th we did a seatrial to see how the old lady is performing, despite many barnacles being scraped off her hull and new ones growing up we got her up to 8.5kts with economic rpm's.

Aguada lighthouse and jail from sea

On the 16th was another Goa boatshow opening and I went to see the setup. On the arrival was abig banner announcing the show open at 10 am same day and I was there about 3 pm but then the guard told us to be back next day as the show had not opened yet (!?). We told we were here to visit our associate Mr. Alan Koh from International paints so the guard relented and let us through. Soon enough we found Alan and changed some news with him as well as with some people Saini knew from before. As Alan’s host was being busy elsewhere I ended taking him out for dinner to Candolim. We had a nice dinner at Joe Joe’s corner and we also discovered the restaurant had changed Owner’s. The food was still delicious and in fact the beer was now cheaper.

Full moon taken through binoculars

19th December was my birthday and the day Indian Empress arrived Goa and I had orders to sign on her. The crew gave me a Titan wrist watch as a present with the cake but I did not make it to Indian Empress as they were too busy with officials. I went onboard her the 20th and time will tell if this was a birthday gift or not, for sure, I’m going to be busier now…

»»  read more

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Captain's Blog November 2010

The year is fast coming to an end and looking back at the month gone by I don't see too much being done but we've been at it every day, working to get Kalizma shipshape for Christmas and New Year.

m/y Kalizma

1st to 15th it was frequently still raining so our varnish jobs were hampered by that somewhat. Luckily it rained mostly in evenings and night time.

2nd Saini left for Mumbai to arrange his visa in order to fly to UK for doing his MCA Chief Officers ticket.

Mapusa Market

6th - 7th was Diwali weekend but the weather was not in favor at all for us. Thunderstorms and passing showers made the festival very gloomy. On the other hand in Mumbai I got call from Saini and it sounded like on a warfront by the sound of all firecrackers going off. At least some people were enjoying it to the max.

Ruins St. Augustine & Augustine

12th I visited Mapusa market to see what the hype was about. It was large and lot of tourists were there and hawkers were selling same wares as on the beaches. Maybe the pricing was somewhat cheaper. In terms of food stuffs we thought the assortment was a bit on the poor side and very basic compared to the market in Panaji that we normally use for provisioning.

Ruins of St. Augustine

13th I went with Augustine to inspect a yard for possible small boat monsoon storage in Old Goa. Nice clean place but in the end it was ascertained that Linse could not be accommodated there.

After this we made a short detour to check out the ruins of St. Augustine cathedral. Building was originally started by twelve St. Augustinian friars in 1572 and completed only in 1602. Today only the 46m tall bell tower remains standing as the St. Augustine order was ousted from Goa in 1835. The site is very impressive and tells the magnitude of the church and actually a pity that it was let to fall asunder by itself due to neglect in 1842. In 1931 the facade and part of the tower collapsed.

Boat yard in Velha Goa

18th I came down with a severe case of Delhi Belly and was bedridden for a day. It passed with help of Thai herbal medicines.

22nd I had lunch at Infantaria, great bakery but the food was bland. I had pasta and it arrived soggy and over cooked.

24th I got Asen back after her fracture incident in Mumbai. Her foot was now fully healed after 6 weeks recuperation. She is now like a Duracell bunny, full of energy to resume duties.

View at Mayonna Creek bar & restaurant

26th I had lunch at Mayonna Creek bar & restaurant on Baga beach. The restaurant is actually along a small creek and has a nice setting to it. Food was also not bad although I think I ordered a wrong dish that I thought tasted horrible in my mouth.

30th we got a quick visit from the Owner. Just a couple of hours of enjoyment but at least he got to see his yacht before rushing onto more pressing matters.

»»  read more