Sunday, 13 February 2011

Voyage Mumbai - Colombo - Galle

Our cruise to Lakshadweep had been foiled by the sudden appearance of Somali pirates in our intended cruising area so we did not leave as planned. We sat for another 2 days and had a hectic time preparing backup cruises for Sri Lanka and up the West Coast of the subcontinent to Diu Island, Gujarat.

Dolphin Rock in Mumbai

Then the orders came to sail for Sri Lanka.

We quickly got our agent mobilized, port clearance and last minute shopping and so we departed for Colombo at midnight 8th. We were in a hurry and burned fuel to the tune of 20 knots, our three 6270 kW main engines were guzzling up diesel hundreds of tons every day. By the time we reached Gulf of Mannar we got bad weather blowing from the NE. The center engine started taking in water through the exhaust so we had to stop it but as we were almost there it did little difference to our ETA.

Another old Colombo Port visitor

Eventually we made arrival Colombo on the 12th at 3am. We tied up near the northern entrance and were still rocking of the swell outside of the port. The port of Colombo is growing massively, huge land filling project is underway to enlarge the container terminal outside of the old harbor. This could not be seen in April 2010 when I stopped there to refuel Kalizma. The Sri Lankan industry must be booming after the Tamil Tiger problem has been gotten rid of.

M/y Indian Empress in Galle

We got guests onboard from the airport and continued our voyage at 5am towards Galle where we arrived at noon. Galle had remained the same from my last visit there in 2008. The port had restored some yacht pontoons and moorings that had been demolished by the 2006 tsunami but otherwise everything looked more or less the same. Even the pilot cum Port Captain was the same. The publicans were also the same, scores of people asking for booze and cigarettes left and right.

Another Galle visitor, perhaps for whalewatching...

Luckily we got Avnish doing the Purser bit as I always have a problem of telling people politely they got enough, now scram. Once the formalities are cleared we get some expat bum named Geoffrey seeking entry onboard on the excuse that he has a friend of a friend who knows the guests onboard, yeah sure I also use this excuse when I want to go meet unknown rich people, works every time. Only God knows how he managed to get into an ISPS controlled port.

The LTTE gunship cum trawler

The forward mounted 50 cal machine gun

There also was an impounded ex. LTTE gunship tied up in the port, an old fishing trawler equipped with 50cal machine guns mounted forward and aft. I could imagine the Somali's could put it to great use being the scourge of the Indian Ocean.

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