Pipistrelle sails from Sri Lanka to The Maldives
The passage south from Trincomalee along the east coast of Sri Lanka is best undertaken with northerly winds, as a northerly flowing current of up to 2.2 knots was running when we left on 28th February. No such luck – yes, we had the adverse current, but no, we did not have northerly winds! The breeze we did have was light, and came from the south east!!!
Consequently our first 24 hour run was the sum total of SEVENTY-FOUR miles.
Once we had rounded the south of the island and were heading west, we had up to 5 knots of current with us, and this eased to 2 knots for the remainder of the passage to Uligan, the northern Maldives. But the light winds continued with no more than 13kn for the entire trip. We poled out, poled in, tried twin headsails, and reefed the main to prevent flogging (therefore noise!). Alas, the iron headsail came into its own for SIXTY-THREE long hours. No need to gloat any more about our 2 hours of motoring on the previous passage.
Compensations were hooking a reasonable sized mahi mahi, our first in a long while. Though electric storms were about, and the sky looked threatening at times, it only rained for about 30 minutes during whole trip.
Finally we anchored off the small island of Uligan at 8.30 am on Saturday, 7th March, 7 days and just short of 700 nm after leaving Trinco.
A further noteworthy Pipistrelle statistic – during this passage we overtook our total 2014 mileage of 1,200nm!
How beautiful this is with its lovely sheltered anchorage. Here a panoramic view looking aft from Pipistrelle.
Asad, our agent duly arrived by launch accompanied by officials to enable us to clear in, including Customs and Immigration. The Health man was absent – he was off sick! We were bowled over by our welcome which was refreshingly friendly and all formalities were completed without fuss. Assad even brought us a gift – a freezing cold tub of ice cream!