Indian Ocean, Langkawi to Maldives, March 2009
Drake enjoying his favorite beverage "Blue Sky" water.
Leaving Langkawi, Malaysia to cross the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, is the end of a great chapter for s/v Blue Sky. There were many friends we have traveled with for more than a year and a half, meeting most in Darwin, Australia, where we had gathered for the Sail Indonesia Yacht Rally.  We were very fortunate to meet so many other boats with children ranging from 5-13.  Cruising with children we experience unique challanges that only others in the same position can understand.  Having such a great network of people we were able to offer each other support and are forever indebted to their generous acceptance and friendship.
Our final days in Langkawi found us at the Dr. Chew Dental clinic for a cleaning, then the fresh fruit and veg market to load up the boat.  Above Jack Fruit for sale, quite hardy for a long passage, however, not user friendly.  Phoebe and Drake sort out our bag of onions and stow them in a basket between newspaper
Sophie s/v Sunburn, Namara and Arran s/v Glayva, Finn s/v Sunburn, Drake, Dare s/v Gwendolyn, Phoebe and Tatyana s/v Gwendolyn.
One of our many farewell dinners was at LBC, where the ferry would take us when we stayed in Rebak.  On the left Gwen, s/v Gwendolyn and Carolyn s/v Lady Guinevere, who are staying in Rebak met us for dinner and drinks.  Rachel s/v Glayva and Di s/v Sunburn joined in the fun. 
Saying good-bye to s/v Indigo, Adrienne, Arlee, Bella and Uli.
The long awaited day finally arrived.  Phoebe and Drake's friends all came to help spend the last Malaysian Ringit at the local store, buying large lollipop's.  After tossing us our lines the crew of s/v Sunburn dinghied out to escort us through the channel.  It was a teary send off. 

We decided to anchor off Koh Lipe Thailand, without checking in for a night.  The water is clear and our prop and bottom needed a good scrub.  Plus we still had some Thai Baht left so had to have one last green curry and Singa.

From Koh Lipe we set a course for Sri Lanka, this is the safest route to travel, as the shipping lanes from the Red Sea to Singapore run through this area.  This course kept us well north of these busy lanes, seeing up to 30 containers/tankers just south of us everyday.  One came a little too close for our comfort, well out of the shipping lanes.  The nearest we got to Sri Lanka was 200 miles.  Hindsight, we should have stopped.  Little did we know we would not have much wind for our crossing and almost ran out of diesel.   In order to enter the harbor you have to pay $200.00, which seemed steep, just to re-load on fuel.
The Lollipop Guild, Finn, Namara, Sophie, Phoebe, Drake and Arran.
Our send off; Rachel, s/v Glayva, Di, s/v Sunburn, Rachel's husband Mark and Di's husband Brendan.  In the dinghy, the workers from Telaga Marina.
Brendan, Di, Finn and Sophie
Phoebe snorkels in Koh Lipe.
Jim and Drake pointing out that we are not allowed to stop at the Nicobars, just behind them.
On two occassions we were approached by Sri Lankan fishing boats.  They were just curious and wanted to say hello.  I had some extra fruit aboard, so we put it in a plastic bag with a pack of cigarettes and tossed it to them.  They were very thankful, and one returned the favor with two lovely fish for dinner. 
I do not know what is worse, being in bad weather or being becalmed?  Blue Sky needs at least 15 knots to get her moving at a comfortable pace.  We experienced 10 knots, so our speed averaged 1.5-2.5 knots.  The record for low mileage in a 24 hour period was 48 nautical miles, at this rate it would have take us over a month, our record high is 170nm.  The moral of the crew is different, the children don't notice and did great.  The captain and first mate are tired, short tempered and frustrated.  Our tanks carry 1000 litres/300 gallons of diesel and we came very close to using it all on this 1600 + mile passage. At one point Jim was so bored and fed up that we put the dinghy in the water and he towed us!  It did not work to well, but at least we know we can tow Blue Sky if we ever needed to.
Every night we were treated to some of the most spectacular  sunsets. 
A photo of our wake , you can see no wind ripples and how blue the water is.
Drake and Phoebe enjoy sitting on the bow sprit watching the dolphins swim in our wake.  (Actually we had no wake as there was no wind, so they just swam under the boat.)  They greeted us every day and lifted our spirits.  We passed the time playing Monopoly, Cheese, Backgammon and Gin Rummy.  Jim enjoyed a mid Indian Ocean swim to cut a net off our prop, he and Drake proudly show it off, thankfully there was no damage.  It was the quickest swim on record, as he did not want to be bait.  Finally on the 15th day, Land Ho, Addu Atoll in the Maldives.  To the left is an ariel view, we are anchored in the small lagoon on the bottom left of the photo, near the airport.  It is a lovely lagoon, 5 meters deep, as opposed to 30 meters outside, with turtles and rays swimming around the boat. 

Customs, Immigration and Quarantine came out to the boat, to check us into the country.  They were very friendly and after filling in several pages we were officialally cleared in!  We were given a 30 day visa on arrival, the first fifteen days are free and after that we are expected to pay $5.00 a day for the boat.  The total cost for us to stay should be around $50.00, which includes two bicycles. 
The clear water of the Atoll affords some of the best diving and snokeling.  As the island is Muslim the only place to get a beer is at the Equatorial Hotel, afive minute walk.  It is nice to relax there after a hard day swimming & meeting tourists from all over the world.  The food here is very good and it ranges between $8-15 for a meal out.  That's for all of us, including ice cream!The cost is low as  they do not serve alcohol.
The view from Blue Sky is the causeway between two islands.  Cars, bicycles, trucks and scooters ride along it everyday.  One day we rode the bicycles to the top of the Atoll, crossing five bridges.  The current flows strong under the bridges and is a playground for local boys, who jump in and drift back to shore.  Of course Phoebe and Drake had to have a go.  They were very interested in watching Phoebe as few girls participate in this activity.  One thing we have noticeds on this island is there are no dogs, stray or domestic.  Everywhere else we have been you get packs of them roaming the streets scavaging for food scraps.  It is nice not to have to worry about being chased by one.
Addu Atoll has been a lovely stop for us.  The "chinese whispers" around Malaysia before we left said that it was expensive and not worth the stop.  Thankfully, we have learned never to listen to these and to find out the truth on our own.  

When was the last time you had a soda with a lid like the one on the left?  The facinating thing is this can was filled in 2008.  The other sodas on the island has the pop top we are used to. 
A squid swims under Blue Sky
If you would like to see our track from Malaysia to the Maldives click on this link. It is time for us to check out and head to Salomon Island in the Chagos Archipelago, an uninhabited island.   Located within the British Indian Ocean Territory, you must obtain a permit before going there.  There will be 20 other boats anchored in this remote location this year.  We have heard it described as "Adult Summer Camp."  To follow our latest track please click on this link.  The begining of June we will head for the Seychelles, so we won't be able to update this website until then. 

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