|Tug of war in the Andaman Islands|
After leaving Thailand we started in the Andaman Islands, governed by India and still following English traditions of the 1960's. You can not be in a rush here, the sooner you except this the more you will enjoy it. This is an island group incorporated with the Nicobar Islands. The Nicobar's are still off limits to any outsiders (including local Indians), the indigenous population roam the islands, defending them proudly and attacking any one that comes too close with bow and arrows. There are also islands within the Andaman group that are off limits, this is truly an outpost, sitting alone in the Bay of Bengal.
From here we were blown into the harbour at Galle in Sri Lanka. The unplanned stops are often the best and we had a great stay in Sri Lanka and managed to avoid the Tamal Tiger bomb blasts as we toured inland over Independence Weekend. This is a beautiful lush fertile country, but inland it is being torn apart by the fighting and on the coast they are still desperately trying to recover from the immense damage done in the 2005 Tsunami. They have a long road to recovery, unifying and rebuilding their country.
|Colourful women of Eritrea|
Next we moved along to Yemen and the southern Red Sea countries. This was a journey that took us back in time to the civilisations that were the founders of mankind. In Yemen, Eritrea and Sudan, time has stood still - they are truly amazing places and can not be compared to anything we have seen before. They take your breath away, and have left us with such deep lasting memories, they are a world apart and very special places. They are all so dreadfully poor, but they are survivors, they have been their since time began and life goes on regardless.
|The men of Yemen|
And then we were in the Med, what an enormous relief and a huge sense of achievement. Greek Cyprus was a breath of fresh air after months in strict Muslim countries, it was great to feel normal again. It is a lovely island, lacking unfortunately in safe harbours so our time there was limited. Then we were just 180miles away from Turkey, we arrived 25 June and have enjoyed every day since cruising the magical southern coastline and a few of the Greek Dodecanese Islands.
IN A NUTSHELL -
Countries visited - 13
Nautical miles travelled - 6743 of which 3263 were offshore
Nights at sea - 33
Nights tied up in Marinas or town quays - 90
Different Anchorages visited - 93 (several nights at some and also returns to some)
Nights spent off the boat touring - 13
Strongest winds - 38knots at anchor in Ras Banas, Egypt
Most miles covered in a day - 165m enroute to Oman from the Maldives
Fastest speed - 8.6knots, ironically on our last day cruising coming towards Marmaris!
Sleepless nights - 2 at sea Andamans to Sri Lanka with squalls, 1 in Greece and 3 in Turkey with thunderstorms late in the season and boats around us dragging
Rainy days - 1 (while on land travel to Asmara!). This should be rainy hours of which there are about 5 hours. A couple during squalls Andamans - Sri Lanka, 1 hour upon arrival in Maldives, and a couple of hours in recent weeks at night in Turkey
Cloudy days - 3 in Massawa while passing through the convergence zone, 1 in Turkey mid October
Sunny days - Every other day and long may it continue, currently 10.30am at 26c in Marmaris!!!!!
How much did it cost - When we were planning on going cruising it was so hard to find out how much people were spending, as I was told by one long term cruiser you will spend what you can afford which is very true. During these 51 weeks we spent an average of just under NZ$600 per week. This includes everything except for the cosmetic work we had done in Thailand (new galley bench, sail cover, fibreglass repairs to hull). I have also included all the food and alcohol provisions purchased in Langkawi before our departure from there