Thirteen hundred miles hand-steered and no foresail, just two of the challenges we faced when completing our fifteen hundred mile trip from the Maldives to Malaysia. A complete account with observations, events, our turtle rescue and some great HD video clips including the one of Liz helming in a Force 6. Not to be missed!
The moment we stepped ashore on Sadla Island our senses were on fire. Like something out of a Jules Verne novel this volcanic island was teeming with wildlife. These pictures are some of my favourite nature shots, especially the sunset ones. Make the most of these pics because from here on it the rally starts getting tough. The smiles will be replaced by grimaces as the fleet prepares itself for 700 miles of hell!
The fact we were kicked off Mersa Dudo was a blessing in disguise for Sadla Island is an absolute gem. In fact those who had managed to get ashore on the first night waxed lyrical about its wonders on the evening net. Tony of ‘Full Flight’ and I arranged to go ashore early next morning as he had discovered nesting turtles on the eastern shore.
We’d spent the last week holed up in Luli and although good deeds were done it was time to get the hell out of Dodge and go discover some Sudanese nature. What better place than Marob?
I won’t bore you with the sail to this wonderful marsa but the log book does mention that we caught a 3kg tuna, saw lots of dolphins and sighted a strange, unidentifiable flashing object. One night sail later and we were quickly approaching a very tricky entrance to Marob via many hidden reefs. No wonder this coast is littered with wrecks.
Once again, the sweet farmer’s daughter comes running down to us and apologises that dinner will not be ready for a while as she is milking the cow and off she runs. Though we don’t hear said cow, as we play our game of Rumicub, we are surrounded by bleating goats, hooting owls, braying donkeys, jumping fish and crowing cockerels – life on this island is actually quite noisy!
It does, thank Neptune, and when we reach Gocek, we anchor up some 50 yards from the pontoon and board “Tinker”, a dinghy that has seen better days. Why is it though, that when men get into a dinghy or a canoe, they feel as though they have to paddle like the clappers to reach their destination? Everything on water is a race, I call it the “Columbus Effect”.
till, we spotted a turtle whilst running goosewing (Esper was running goosewing, not the turtle), this time with the main, jib and mizzen, hitting up to 8kn speed over ground. By the time we’d reached Kadirga Br., the last corner before Marmaris, we were a sweating, sunburnt and tired mess. We’d travelled over 50 miles today and still managed to get to Marmaris in time to drop anchor, have a refreshing swim, shower, get ashore and have a silly evening with our friends Benn and Becks.
We sailed into heavy wind and seas and as we rounded the headland spotted a turtle swimming along our starboard side. It was about 2ft and seemed to be happily swimming along next to us for a while. It put a smile on my face to see one of these gorgeous creatures in its natural habitat.
… since we were running with the wind we thought we’d have a bit of fun and pole out the jib to fly goosewing. The last time I’d done this was whilst crossing the Atlantic, and we had a Yachtmaster and first mate to do the complicated bit of setting the sail, but not ones to give up on a challenge we literally stood on foredeck, TomCunliffe’s ‘The Complete Yachtmaster’ in one hand, and a pole in the other!
We had a gentle sail, beam reach, to Kazıklı. This place, as Jamie promised me, was a picturesque, mostly unspoilt, little piece of paradise. We took a long walk around the shore and saw a small turtle in a stream and lots of very pretty views.