Sunday, May 03, 2009

May 3, 2009 - Chagos Crawl, Day 1

Rarely have we been so glad to leave a place as we were to leave Galle Harbor. Between officials trying to extort bribes, the constant shadow of touts every time we left the gates, and the vendors in the vegetable market quadrupling their prices as soon as they saw the color of our skin, we couldn't wait to leave Sri Lanka behind. So we were all smiles as we set out into a headwind to begin the passage to Chagos.

The wind is still blowing out of the southwest, so we've decided to give the Maldives a skip. We just can't get there from here. Instead we are taking the great circle route to Chagos, an archipelago of uninhabited islands south of the Maldives. While the wind blows out of the southwest, we are sailing upwind, but our course over ground is more southeast than south. Once we hit the doldrums around the equator, we will motor south until we pick up the southeast trades, which should blow us the rest of the way to Chagos. That's the plan anyway. Sri Lanka to Chagos is 833 miles in a straight line. We are expecting to travel up to 1300 miles to get there. It will be a long haul, but we're hoping for a good trip. Other than some squally weather last night, the first day of this passage has been good sailing.

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