Sunday, March 1, 2009

Holy Cow

1 March 2009 – Sailing from Havelock #7 to Port Blair.

I’ve had two amazing days so I think I’ll carry on to the Maldives.

This morning on our 7am snorkel, Alyssa and I saw about six rays (we don’t know if they’re manta rays or sting rays, but they’re giant and scary) sitting clustered together on the ocean floor beneath us. We got up our courage to approach the gazillion dollar yacht luxury liner yacht named Maverick from the Marshall Islands. We could make out in the distance that two men were standing outside near the rear of the gigantic three story yacht. Upon our arrival, they invited us aboard, but we politely insisted on staying in the water. We waded throughout our thirty-minute conversation with Jervis, a nice 60ish man from the UK, and Jim, a 50ish man from Florida. Alyssa and I were giggling swimmers with snorkel masks on our heads explaining that we’re sailing to Madagascar on a boat full of strangers. Jervis is on holiday, a guest of the yacht owner, and Jim is the dive master hired to teach Jervis to dive. Jim gently told us not to panic, but to notice the giant fish circling us. “He’s a Jack and he won’t hurt you but he’s curious and will swim very close.” Well Jack is gigantic and at a glance, to me, looks like a freaking shark, especially the way he was circling us. After our chat, we were swimming back to Millennium when I noticed Jack was tailing her! It was adorable to see Jack trailing The Little Mermaid, but it wasn’t so funny when Jack turned his attention on me. It scared me to death. I was terribly relieved to finally climb aboard Millennium and observe him from the safety of our boat. I desperately wanted Nat to see him, but with Alyssa and me out of the water, Jack immediately disappeared. So, in a rare moment of bravery, I jumped back into the water and waited patiently in order to lure Jack back. Yep, I allowed myself to be bait for a shark-looking-giant-fish, just so Nat can see him. Sure enough, Jack returned to peruse my wading body and Nat enjoyed him as much as we’d hoped. Jack became our buddy and stayed with us the rest of the day.

We only had a few hours to spend at Havelock 7 so we dinghied to the beach for more chai teas and samosas. As planned, Alyssa and I traded two of John’s paperbacks for a very raggedy copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns and an even more raggedy copy Holy Cow.

Tonight Alyssa and I completed an excel worksheet to calculate the distance & time from Andamans to Maldives to Chagos to Seychelles to Madagascar. We want to make the sea passages in record time, but have been averaging 4 knots in the windless seas. Our worksheet reflected columns ranging from 3 knots to 6 knots, arriving at total sea passage time range of 23 to 45 days. Alyssa said hopefully, “go ahead and add a column for 7 knots per hour.” “Yeah,” I said, “maybe there will be a storm and we’ll have really strong winds.” We were mesmerized by the 7 knot scenario which arrived at only twenty days. Alyssa then said very seriously, “okay, put in a hundred knots just to see.” I entered a hundred knots and we stared with incredulity at the prospect of getting to Madagascar in less than a day. If only…In the next moment I managed to state coherently before the convulsive laughter hit, “You know, there is a way we could do that. It’s called air travel.”

posted by not ali