Day 98, Year 5: February Letter to Family and Friends
Date: Monday, February 1, 2010
Location: Bolgatty Hotel Anchorage, Cochin (Kochi), India

My, how time flies. I wrote a letter to family and friends on December 1 and planned to do the same on the first day of each month. That didn’t happen in January, so I’m starting again by writing on the 1st of February and am hoping to be able to continue this on the first day of each coming month. We were still in Malaysia when I wrote in December. We left there on December 7th and had a wonderful trip north to Phuket, Thailand. We stopped along the way at places we had not seen last year and really enjoyed our second trip north through the islands of Thailand. We arrived in Phuket on December 14 and spent a month doing more shopping and boat work to get ready for our voyage across the Indian Ocean. We spent Christmas in the very southern most anchorage on the island of Phuket, lovely Nai Harn Bay, with our good friends Robert and Tina of Shirena and Gerry and Donna of Scot Free II. We then moved to Patong Beach for New Years Eve and saw an absolutely incredible fireworks show that went on for hours. Shirena left for Oman, Scot Free II is staying behind for another year, and on January 16 we left Patong Beach in company with Ed and Lynne of Constance headed for India. Eleven days and nine and a half hours later we arrived in Cochin (Kochi), India. Except for our first night out when we got caught in a squall with too much sail up and ran with the 30 knots of wind for more than three hours, the rest of our passage was wonderful. We had to motor way less than we anticipated and really enjoyed the beautiful sailing. We are just beginning to experience the sensory overload that southern India provides. There are just so many people, and the traffic is insane, but the sights and smells of the markets overflowing with beautiful fresh fruit, vegetables, and barrels of spices are just wonderful. It is winter here. The temps are in the mid-80’s and the humidity is not bad. The days are sunny and the people are friendly. We think we are going to enjoy our time in Cochin.

In the December letter, we announced that we had a change of plans. Instead of going through the Red Sea to the Mediterranean we are now on course for heading around South Africa. If we could head directly for South Africa, we could be there in a month. But you can’t do that because of the weather patterns going from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern. We had to leave Thailand in January to get the good winds to take us west. Now we have come 1,500 miles west but we still have to wait until October to head for Richards Bay on the Northeast coast of South Africa, and we will have to wait there until December or January before we can round the Cape of Good Hope and arrive in Cape Town. So this cruising season is all about finding exotic places to sit and wait. We chose southern India as our first stop. We will be here until the end of February when we will head south to the Maldives. By the first of April we will be in the Chagos and we will sit there for two full months. We can’t complain about our destinations. All are supposed to be paradise. So we say, if you have to wait out the weather, then let it be in paradise.

We would love to hear about your most recent adventure, so write when you get a chance. But please remember to delete our message when you hit the reply key and note that we can receive no attachments. We are looking forward to experiencing southern India and will report on that in our March letter. Until then, here’s wishing each of you the very best.

Mark and Judy
S/V Windbird