Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cochin, India

The passage from Sri Lanka to India

This is a Tuk Tuk. 125 cc engine with 3 wheels.

Ferry/fishing boat

Ferry terminal; 8 cents for a ride!

Fishing village in the harbor

Aspen in the marina

Customs in India with some very old papers!

Sailors filling out form after form at customs and immigration

Chinese fishing nets - Cochin, India harbor

Where the convent/orphanage is located

Maria at the convent/orphanage with sister Emily

Talking on the cell phone at the convent/orphanage

Cochin town

S/Y Aspen – February 1, 2011 – Log #63
Position: 09 degrees 58’ N 076 degrees 15’ E (UTC +5.5 Hours)

Ok, you are probably tired of hearing this but we had another horrendous passage. This time it was from Sri Lanka to India. Aspen was surfing along at over 8 knots with 40 knots of wind pushing her toward the subcontinent. Wow, we were flying for 2 days until we got into shelter behind India. Other Rally boats lost sails overboard, torn sails, rigging failures and huge water into the boats.

Arriving in India we were able to gather together at the only marina in India! It is at the Bolgatty Palace, built in the 1700's by the Dutch and later used by the British when they owned India. Today it is a hotel adjacent to the city of Kochi on the southwest coast of India. The local tour boats cruise by the marina and we are constantly waving as the locals snap our pictures.

The Indian curry food here is really good! Just don't drink the water!! A couple of dollars buys you an entire meal that is really tasty.

Captain Steve runs through the streets early in the morning to avoid the masses of people, buses and took tuk tuks that ply the town. People greet him with strange looks, probably because they are not used to seeing a white guy running for pleasure he believes. Even the many dogs seem startled as he runs by.

Maria had a massage at the Palace. She said it was interesting because she was lying on a huge, solid, highly polished mahogany table as they poured oil over her. The oil made the table very slippery and she felt like a billiard ball being pushed all around the wooden table as she was massaged. That is an Indian oil massage!

The grocery shopping is very limited here with virtually no western things to buy. There are fruits and vegetables of course but not much else. Coca Cola is not available, just Pepsi, because it seems that Coca Cola was rumored to give some people headaches so they banned the drink!

Of course we had an adventure in Kochi town. Since 1952 Maria's mother has been helping a nun in India by sending clothes and some money to help her with a small convent/orphanage. We learned that the convent/orphanage was located in a town called Kochi - the same place we are! Well, we spent several hours riding around the dusty dirty streets of this old town in tuk tuks, spending upwards of 75 cents doing so (transportation is very cheap!). Finally we stumbled upon the convent/orphanage. Talking our way inside Maria sat beside a nun but not the nun that her mother had been helping for all these years. That nun was out of town!! The sister called the wayward nun and Maria talked with her on the cell phone. Oh well, at least we found the convent/orphanage!

The sails we have ahead of us will be a challenge. The Somalian pirates have expanded their target area eastward, nearly to India now. Yesterday the Indian Navy sunk one of the pirate mother ships. They are saying to the pirates that they will not survive if they come this way. We just hope the US warships will take the same attitude when defending us as we depart India! Then there is Egypt with the revolution there. Transiting the Suez Canal in Egyptian waters will be another interesting adventure. So stay tuned.

Sail on sail on Aspen…

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