Taking a beating…

the morning brings along much better weather but the seas remain rough with waves of about 3 meters. So we get to enjoy the first half of the day before we are met with yet more winds and rain in the second half.

The famous one-and-half degree channel (making reference to its Northern position of the equator) is one of the toughest channels in the Maldives and even under normal conditions demands the respect of fishermen due to strong currents. Without much anticipation (and of course always waiting for night time) winds increase from 15 knots to storm strength. Before we can reef our sails we are back to 40-50 knot gusts. This is all the sails can take and the main sail is finally giving up, ripping exactly where we tried to repair it back in the Seychelles.  We ride out the storm and by 3am things calm down a little allowing for some sleep for 2 of us.

what’s she worth?

After more inspections, lost of opinions about the value of the yacht and more paperwork, we are allowed to leave at 16:30, about 24 hours after our arrival.

After about an hour we exit the Atoll and feel confident that we will have a safe night of sailing. We are excited to be celebrating the Equator crossing later this evening, however once again someone has different plans for us…

It starts with lightning on the horizon and quickly develops into a full storm. Winds increase with heavy gusts well above 45 knots. Waves increase to 3-4 meters and rather than enjoying a glass of Champagne, we struggle to take down the sails and maintain the boat in the waves. The already old mainsail is taking a beating and we know that it is just a matter of time that it rips. So close to home, yet we feel like we have to earn the last few hundred miles…

welcome to Maldives!

At midnight we calculate our remaining distance at exactly 100nm, so we continue to remain confident that we will arrive later today. Dolphins join us in the morning to accompany us for a little while, almost like wanting to escort us into Maldivian Waters.

It is time to prepare for our arrival and get the required documents ready, as well as the yellow ‘quarantine’ flag.

But of course our arrival is being made a little more difficult due to gusty string winds, very heavy rain showers and limited visibility.

Our first communication with the coast guard is a nice sign of civilization but to our surprise they advise us that the entry into the Atoll is much further North than what we had anticipated, so a change of course is being done. Sure enough we have to find out that something was lost in communication and we have to return to our initial coordinates, which adds another hour to the long awaited arrival. Due to the very heavy storms, the coats guard arranged for a local boat to assist us with the entry into the atoll.

At 1520 hours, we have arrived! According to our instruments we can report the following:

Distance covered: 1066 nm

166 hours of travel time

average speed: 6.4 knots

max speed: 11.7 knots

As I live in the Maldives and am lucky enough to know a few people the arrival process is being assisted by several people and a colleague of mine has flown from Male to Gan to ensure a smooth arrival.

Carl unfortunately decided that this was the end of his journey and wishes to return to Germany for some very well deserved rest and recuperation. What was amazing is that after 6 days of being very seasick, he recovered almost immediately after setting foot on dry land.

The next hours is all about waiting for customs officers, immigration and other officials. Since we are actually importing the catamaran, the procedures are a bit more lengthy than one would expect. Among other things the value of the boat must be estimated as the government wants their 25% share of the value of the boat as import duty, a very heft check I am still dreading to write!

In the evening we have our first meal on dry land in over a week and despite rain, we enjoy the excursion away from the water.

every little push helps

Wind increase, waves are pushing us and we move along at up to 10 knots. Was it not for the rain and our patient, this would be a great day of sailing!

These conditions change  our calculations and we may reach Gan already tomorrow afternoon. Of course an arrival during daylight would be much preferred vs. trying to find our way at night, especially since the charts are rather limited in detail.

connected to the world. even though for just a moment

The phone is back! From midnight to 2am we have some very limited reception and are able to send off a short message that we are okay. I am sure the message came as a big relief to those who expected daily updates, but after a short while the signal fades again…

After several days feeling very bad, Carl seems to show some small signs of improvement, maybe it is the knowledge that we are getting closer to the southern islands of the Maldives…? 350nm to go until the Southern port of Gan.

every 2 hours we checked the engines (many times it was more than just checking...)

every 2 hours we checked the engines (many times it was more than just checking…)