Day 147, Year 5: A Lucky Ride

Day 147, Year 5: A Lucky Ride
Date: Monday, March 22, 2010
Weather: Beautiful, Sunny, HOT Day with Scattered Clouds
Location: Gan Island, Addu Atoll, Maldives

What a wonderful world! This morning Ed and Lynne of Constance and Mark and I went to shore at 10 am to walk to the next island of Feydoo. No, we cannot walk on water. There is a causeway connecting the islands, so off we went. We got halfway across the causeway when a white van with an aeronautics logo on the side stopped. The driver was Lal from Sri Lanka who is here working here at the airport. He told us to jump in and he would take us where we needed to go. We needed to go to the ATM on the third island of Maradhoo and then back to Feydoo, the second island, to check out the grocery stores and buy a SIM card for the modem that we hope to use to connect us to the internet. Ed was looking for capacitors for his ailing generator. Lal looked at the blown capacitor that Ed brought with him and then the search began. He knew of one place, but he stopped guys on motorbikes along the way showing them the blown capacitor and asking where one could be bought. We went to one store after another and actually found almost matching capacitors. We would never have been able to do this without the help of Lal, so getting a ride from him was lucky indeed. Ed had thought he was going to have to order from Germany, but maybe not. Ed bought one capacitor here and one capacitor there and by noon when everything closes for two hours, we were back on Gan Island with three new capacitors. We said our thanks and farewells to Lal and headed back to our boats to have lunch and get ready for another trip ashore in the afternoon.

At 2 pm we walked across the causeway and up the road along the water on Feydoo. I had called our agent, Mas-ood Saeed, and he had given me directions to a place where we could buy the right kind of SIM card for our computer modem and directions to his office which just happened to be right above the SIM card store. Mark spent way over an hour in the Waytania shop trying to get a SIM card to work in our modem while Ed, Lynne and I went upstairs to gather information from Mas-ood. We found out that fuel here is going to cost almost as much as in India due to a recent increase, but at least we can get fuel and propane cooking gas. So much for traveling 700 miles to get cheaper fuel. It doesn’t exist. Mark had not had good luck in the Waytania shop as the young man could not get our modem working on his computer, but he bought a SIM card for the modem anyway so he could try it on our computer. We made arrangements for the refrigeration guy to come tomorrow and to have the propane tanks picked up to be filled. We will get fuel the next day. We left Masood’s office and walked to the Two Plus One grocery store. It was small but well stocked and I was able to buy canned whole tomatoes, canned mangoes, and order some fresh veggies to be brought to Gan from Male. Male is the center of government in the Maldives and the place to which everything is shipped from the outside world. From there, things are then sent out to the various islands. The owner of Two Plus One just happens to be in Male right now and will bring the veggies back with him. Lucky for us. On the way back to Gan, we stopped at a new store called 3. We wondered if that is a play on Two Plus One, but whatever, we found this store to cater to the tastes of ‘outsiders’. They have lots of things, and even though the prices seem a bit high, we bought a few things there as well.

Mark has spent his whole evening trying to get wifi going one way or another, but so far nothing is working. We have multiple options, so we will report on what works and what doesn’t in tomorrow’s log.

100322 Day 147 Maldives–Tour of Feydoo

Day 146, Year 5: Arrival in Addu Atoll

Day 146, Year 5: Arrival in Addu Atoll
Date: Sunday, March 21, 2010
Weather: Beautiful, Sunny, HOT Day; No Wind
Location: Gan Island, Addu Atoll, Maldives
Latitude: 00 degrees 41.157 minutes SOUTH
Longitude: 073 degrees 08.635 minutes E

Passage Statistics:
496 Miles in 101 Hours
41 Hours Sailing
60 Hours Motoring
Fuel Usage~30 US gallons or 114 liters

3:48 am Crossed the Equator
2:00 pm Anchored Off Gan Island
2:45 pm Coast Guard Boat Brought Officials to Windbird
3:30 pm Coast Guard Boat Left After Checking Us In
4:15 pm Went to Shore to Explore
5:30 pm Back on Windbird

We are south of the equator once again. It will take a bit to get used to writing our latitude with an S instead of an N. We ended up motoring all night and all day today, but we got here safe and sound and had no trouble checking-in. The officials got very concerned when they saw our paperwork that showed we had checked out of Uligan, but when we told them we went to the high seas and then had some mechanical issues that need to be dealt with, they made some phone calls, nodded their heads, and then finished the process. They simply put our last port of call as “high seas” not another port in the Maldives. They were very helpful and efficient and on and off the boat very quickly. And we were very grateful that they let us stay here. Our “mechanical problem” didn’t really happen on the passage, but we used our freezer compressor as the issue and that worked. We have little hope that anything can be done, but there is a man here that is supposed to be a very good refrigeration guy. We will ask him to check out the compressor and see what he thinks. Constance needs to get a capacitor for their gen-set, so that is their “mechanical problem.” So now we will be able to fill our fuel tanks and load up with fresh fruit and veggies before heading off to Chagos. It will take us at least three days to reach Chagos from here and we want to be there no later than April 1, so we will probably spend a week here and then head out.

This is not the idyllic anchorage. There’s no white sand beach, no swaying palm trees, and no pristine water. Instead we are anchored in front of a causeway that connects two islands and watch trucks, cars, and motorbikes crossing. It is a very small anchorage and we are crowded with three sailboats and two tour boats at anchor. Single Malt, a boat we know from the Sail Indonesia Rally two years ago, was here when we arrived. Edi and Eli are also headed to Chagos. So they are one side of us and Constance is on the other. As the tide comes in, it brings LOTS of seaweed and other organic matter with it, so it is not inviting to jump in. But there is supposed to be really nice snorkeling in the pass just yards away, so hopefully we will get in some good snorkeling and enjoy walking or biking the chain of islands connected with causeways. We understand that we might be able to rent bikes at the Equator Village, the resort here, and that would be great fun.

When we went ashore, we went looking for a SIM card for our modem that would allow us to have internet on the boat. We found a little store that sells SIM cards, but they were not familiar with our type of modem. We bought the card which works in our cell phone, but we need to search further to find a way to get internet on the boat. We know it is possible, but we just need to find the right person to help us. So that will be tomorrow’s search.

100321 Day 146 Maldives–Passage to Gan