|This is only the Commander|
Yes It's Team SHAMAL Here Again
As I start this note we are about 60nm south of the Indian Port at Goa – Panaji – where we hope to stop for a night or two before heading out across the Arabian Sea to Muscat – Oman. No we don’t have a visa but have found out through our son ‘The Shore Manager’ that New Zealand is one of only five countries which can gain a visa on arrival. The other four are Finland, Luxembourg, Japan and Singapore. Time will tell. We have used a bit of diesel on the run up the Indian coastline and it would be nice to be able to fill the tanks and jerry cans before we make the crossing of about 975nm. Winds are a little light and variable, but in saying that we have had lovely runs every afternoon when the sea breeze kicks in sometimes well into the night.
We have been cruising anywhere between 5 -20nm off the coast but have seen hardly anything of the mainland due to the haze. You can smell India at times!! The only annoying thing is that we have been inundated with bugs. Flies, mosquitoes and other buglets.
Thursday 18th March.
Oh dear all a little too much for our Sub-Inspector to arrive today. He went home for his afternoon nap and must have fallen into a very deep sleep!! I phoned him and we are to call into his office first thing in the morning. Never mind we had a wander around the town for a bit of a look and had a meal.
Friday 19th March.
Another trip to see our friend the Sub-Inspector. Wonders never cease. All done in under half an hour. No stamps in passports, no money changed hands, no bribes paid, we got to keep our cigs and whisky, and no visit to see SHAMAL. We were cleared in and he asked Alec when do you want to leave so Alec said now, and we were cleared out – ‘No Problem’!! May have taken a day and a half but no hassles so we were very happy.
Goa/Panaji – Impressions – This is a hard one to sum up. The water front of any busy waterway is never the best face of a town/city in this of part of the world, and each time we go ashore here we feel like a disinfectant shower when we return to SHAMAL. The waterways are used for everything! Oh I mean EVERYTHING. Even the poor fish have to jump up for fresh air. I am quite sure we could nearly walk over to town. Our fist trip out in the tender we had only gone fifty metres when clunk, the outboard stopped dead. Alec lifted the motor to find a plastic sack bag around the prop. You could not see it in the murky waters. Last night as I was standing in knee deep water as we were loading the diesel into the tender, things were floating by including flower wreath things. When we got back to SHAMAL the flowers were stuck along the side of her hull plus this brown scum!! Yes, well there just may have been a funeral or two up river!! We both had a scrub out on deck, then showers. Our Murray said he hoped we put Grandma back into the river and advised us not to suck her up in the water-maker intake. Thank you very much Murray, we will NOT be making water while in this Port!! At night on the river the place comes alive with three floating Casinos operating and then seven disco boats, all with flashing lights and the works, which cruise up and down till nearly midnight each with music at full volume and each with different songs and deejays calling out. Good thing we were so tired we just dropped off to sleep. Even though the main commercial port is in the next bay around there are a huge number of ships anchored just outside the bay as this is also India’s largest iron ore port. Barges go up and down the river all the time carrying the ore out to the waiting ships.
OK will sign out for this letter.
Hope all is well with you all
Lots of love from
The Admiral and The Commander