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Maldives Letters

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Maldives Letters

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The first 4 of these newsletters are unique in that they were never actually received.  We sent them out, but for awhile in 2007 our newsletter list-server was having "issues" with the Internet.  Only Ocelot in the Maldives was actually forwarded to our newsletter recipients.

Also, this gets a bit confusing, since we visited the Maldives more than once.  The last 4 letters, beginning with Back to the Maldives, cover our eastbound return passage from the Seychelles to Maldives in September, 2009.

A glorious sunset on a flat sea, en route to Maldives
Glorious sunset on a flat sea. Passage to Gan.

In March, 2007, our westbound passage from Galle, Sri Lanka, to Gan Island in Addu Atoll in the southern Maldives, was mostly on the wind -- one of our few windward passages -- but the conditions were relatively light and therefore quite pleasant, if slow.

The only real excitement was crossing the very busy shipping lanes just south of Sri Lanka.  All of the shipping between the Far East and the Mediterranean / Middle East goes past the bottom of Sri Lanka.  This is part of the marine "highway" that continues through the Straits of Malacca and around Singapore.  In these defined shipping lanes, us sailboats have essentially no right-of-way privileges, but the 3 ships we contacted by VHF radio were happy to alter course to avoid a "close encounter".

Our course was almost due southwest, and the winds were all from the west - stronger and a bit north of west to start, and then going light and moving more in front of us.  Ocelot sails fairly well at 40-45 off the wind but closer than that we usually motor‑sailed, rolling up the jib but leaving the main up as it continued to provide drive as close as 20 to the wind.

The following are our noon positions and statistics for our 2007 westward passage, as we sailed from Galle, Sri Lanka, to Gan Island, Addu Atoll in the Southern Maldives.  Wind speeds and directions are apparent (from our perspective) not true:

March
2007
Latitude East
Longitude
Day's
Run
Miles
to go
Wind
Speed
Wind
Direction
Comments
Tues 27 4 35'N 79 01' 118 483 11-15 45-60 Bit lumpy & close to the wind
Wed 28 3 22'N 77 28' 117 366 6-12 all over Fluky winds but seas down
Thurs 29 2 27'N 76 08' 106 260 6-10 25-100 Spinner Dolphins leaping in the air!
Fri 30 1 06'N 74 50' 111 149 6-9 20-50 Hard on the wind, but light conditions
Sat 31 0 36'S 73 17' 138 11 8-10 45-70 Land HO!

Totals for our passage from Sri Lanka to Gan:  601 nautical miles in 5 days exactly, for an average speed of 5 knots.

In September, 2009 our eastbound passage from the Seychelles to Gan covered 1,090 nautical miles, our 4th longest passage to date.  Although the winds were fresh from the southwest as we left the Seychelles (thus keeping the Somali pirates at bay) they soon went light, requiring a fair amount of motoring.  This passage was slower than we expected, as the SW Monsoon was weakening, but we had the benefit of a lovely, calm sea.

The following are our noon positions and statistics as we sailed east in 2009 from the Seychelles to Gan Island, Addu Atoll, in the Southern Maldives.  Again, wind speeds and directions are apparent not true:

Sept
2009
South
Latitude
East
Longitude
Day's
Run
Miles
to go
Wind
Speed
Wind
Direction
Comments
Sun 20 4 09' 55 54' (12) 1,078 15 60 Nice sailing breeze!
Mon 21 3 06' 57 54' 137 941 6-16 60 Lots of squalls and rain
Tues 22 2 34' 59 43' 114 827 6-10 all over Better weather, sailed much of the day
Wed 23 1 57' 61 32' 117 710 <4 --- Very calm, motor-sailing all day
Thurs 24 1 36' 63 21' 111 599 <7 --- Calm and hot - try the spinnaker
Fri 25 1 21' 65 30' 131 468 7-12 all over Busy sailing, nice day
Sat 26 1 10' 67 36' 128 340 5-10

120

Light winds but sailed much of the day
Sun 27 0 59' 69 51' 136 204 5-12 130 Beautiful day - Sailed all day
Mon 28 0 47' 72 21' 150 54 15-20 155 Land HO!  Anchor in Gan at 9pm

Totals for our eastbound passage from the Seychelles to Gan:  1,090 nautical miles in 202 hours (8.4 days) for an average speed of 5.4 knots and a maximum speed of 12.1 knots.  121 hours motoring, and 114 miles of assist from the current, which was nice.  We've now sailed 3,400 nautical miles since leaving Richards Bay, South Africa.

The newsletters we sent while on passage both east- and westbound are:

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