Day 91, Year 5: Passage to Cochin, Day Ten
Date: Monday, January 25, 2010
Weather: Clear, Sunny Day; Winds NE 16-22
Latitude: 06 degrees 47.500 minutes N
Longitude: 078 degrees 15.779 minutes E
Miles Traveled to Date: 1,231

The Gulf of Mannar is not one I had ever heard of, but it is one that I won’t forget. By midnight tonight we will be fifty miles directly south of the tip of India and on our way out of the Gulf of Mannar, but until then we must endure what she has to throw our way. At 3 pm yesterday we were motoring because Sri Lanka was blanketing the wind. By 4 pm we had 12 knots of wind and we turned slightly NW to take advantage of the winds and turned off the motor. By midnight we were motoring on flat, glassy seas and were able to get back to our course, and then by 2 am the winds and seas started building, so off went the motor and sailing we were. And we have been on quite a ride since then. The six to nine foot waves come directly at our beam, raising our starboard side leaning us to port, sliding under the boat, and then tossing us back again. This happens every three to five seconds, so it’s a bit like riding a bucking bronco. When Mark got up this morning, he said he felt like he had been in a Mix Master But we feel very lucky that it is not rougher. Boats transiting the Gulf of Mannar during the past week have reported 25-30 knot winds and very rough seas with squalls. I think we hit it just at the right time. The GRIB files are showing 15 knots of wind, which means you can get up to 20, and that is what we have. And Freebird, who is about 24 hours behind us reported sailing through hundreds of fishing boats on the east side of Sri Lanka. Somehow we missed that treat as well. So far the decisions we have made jointly with Constance for this passage have been good ones, so we hope the good continues until we reach Cochin.

Tonight we will reach Cape Comorin on the southern tip of India, and then head out to the NW until we are about 25 miles offshore. We will parallel the coast up to Cochin. We could motor sail right next to the land, but then we would more than likely have to motor and contend with fishermen stopping us asking for things. We contacted a boat named Hafskip in Cochin and the captain, Joost, said he took the close-to-shore route. But we think we would rather put on the extra miles and go offshore. Right now it looks like we will be in Cochin mid-day Thursday. It’s been a good passage but it will feel good to be an anchor once again.