Day 153, Year 5: Ready to Head to Chagos
Date: Sunday, March 28, 2010
Weather: Partly Cloudy, No Wind but Rolling Wave
Location: Gan Island, Addu Atoll, Maldives
To me, getting ready to head to Chagos feels a little bit like preparing to drop off the face of the earth for a bit. We are making our last contacts with kids, buying enough food and fuel to last for the next few months, and topping up the propane cooking gas tanks. When I say that there is nothing in Chagos other than coconut trees, bilimbi trees (more about those in a later log), and fish in the water, I really mean it. Except, of course, on the island of Diego Garcia where there is a US military base that is strictly off limits. There will be twenty some cruising boats with permits to anchor in Peros Banhos and Salomon Islands, but other cruisers on boats are the only people we will see until the BIOT boat comes through to check our permits or to invite us aboard their boat for a barbeque dinner. You have to be prepared to be totally self-sufficient. We think we are, but we’ll not really know until we get there and see how it goes.
The really, really good news of the day was that we finally were able to connect with our daughter Heather, her husband Jed, and boys Sam and Jonah very early this morning. For whatever reason, we can only make successful Skype calls in the morning hours. So we got up at 4 am to try and catch Sam and Jonah before their bedtime. We got to also see Jed’s parents, Marti and Donald. They had all been to the National Zoo during the day but still had enough energy for the call. We got to see Jonah stand up all by himself for a few seconds and got to see him happy and giggling. He’s grown up so much since we last saw him in early October. Sam told us about some of the animals he saw at the zoo and gave us the greatest joy by just letting us watch him and Jonah play. On Wednesday we had a great call with Justin, Jo, and Ziggy and now we’ve had our call with Heather, Jed, Sam, and Jonah. It could be months (South Africa in October) before we get to see them via Skype again. In the meantime, email and phone calls will just have to do, but we are already missing seeing them.
Filling our propane tank through the drip method did actually work. Both of our 20-pound tanks are now full. We have a huge stalk of green bananas hanging from the arch on the back of the boat and all the food storage areas are absolutely full. Mark and Ed spent the morning going to the island of Hithadhoo to check out, so look out Chagos, here we come.
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