Der Hafen von Galle bei der Einfahrt

Malaysia to Sri Lanka – A 1200 Mile Journey

Here we go. Ahead lies our longest journey so far. Onethousand and twohundred nautical miles from Georgetown, Malaysia to Galle, Sri Lanka. Six weeks of sharing our 30-foot Rawson. Six weeks on our Marianne, surrounded by an infinite mass of water and above us the hopefully mostly blue and windy sky.

Phase 1: Get food

Frühstück in Georgetown How much food and drink do two grown sailors need in approximately six weeks time? That question just occurred to me for the first time when I went to get a shopping cart at

the super market. The water calculation is pretty easy: 2 Liters a day per person, multiplied by 50 days. Makes 200 Liters in 10 canisters on deck. But how much do we eat per day? I really couldn’t figure that out so we just went with our gut feeling. If anything, the gut should know.

Off to the fresh fruit and veggie section: this is where we filled our first whole shopping cart. We managed to stack potatoes, onions, garlic, cabbage, bananas, apples, and other healthy stuff into one giant pile of goodness. After consulting the gut feeling just one more time, it turns out we needed two more pineapples. The second shopping cart we packed with canned food and a couple, thoughtfully selected luxury consumables, such as wine and tobacco. Thanks to our economic way of thinking, it took us just about three hours before we were positive that we got the cheapest of everything.

After what felt like a whole nother hour at the check-out, we finally leave the store with big holes in our wallets and a lot of curious glances from other customers. Crazy white people! And of course, due to our huge load, the taxi drivers outside the shop want exorbitant amounts of money to take us to our boat. Whatevs – is what we say, and call up our favorite taxi driver to come pick us up. With shopping bags all over the place, between our feet and on our laps, we finally head towards Marianne.

Phase 2: Sandwich days

The first week of every journey is generally my favorite week. I am excited that we’re going somewhere new and I still know where exactly I put everything in the boat, plus we have delicious sandwiches on a daily bases. We live in self-indulgence and thoroughly enjoy every bite of sausage, fresh salad, tomatoes, and our Sailing Conductors Special Sauce … on big, toasted sandwich bread. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is how the first days pass, along with a little bit of wind that helps us travel 200 miles. But at some point, mold will always appear on our bread … so we’re over the bread.

Phase 3: Veggies for days on end

Vegetable salad
Vegetable salad

The following two weeks, the only thing on our menu was … veggies. As soon as something started to look a little funky, we would simply throw it into our pressure cooker along with coco nut milk, chilli and other spices and combine whatever came out either with spaghetti, potatoes, or rice. Every once in a while we would add some salad, but after about a week we were fed up with eggplants, zucchinis, and cabbage. So of course, as our appetite decreased, so did the wind. The following ten days were pretty calm and had us floating around the Nicobar Islands.

Via our satellite phone we received a message that there had been a Tsunami warning for Sumatra, with the epicenter not too far away from us. This may have explained the rather strange behavior of the water. During calm periods, the water surface usually seems similar to that of a lake, but for a couple of days we had short sequences of small waves that shook our Marianne pretty good. Followed by calm sea again. Whether it really did have something to do with the quake is not clear to us … if you know, drop us a line!

Phase 4: An apple a day

We finally caught one!
We finally caught one!

At some point, every calm period is followed by some wind. From week three, a relatively constant SW wind blows into our sails. The only fresh food that remains is the daily apple which we generally have diced into our morning muesli. You can probably imagine the rejoice on deck when finally, we caught ourselves some tuna! Even though the Indian Ocean is considered to be rich in fish and considering we had our line and hook out all day and night, we only felt the tuna-excitement twice on the entire trip.

Phase 5: Canned food for the win

This is how we roll in weeks four and five. Well, we’re not really rolling, it’s more of a shaking and smashing feeling. As usual, we’re going dead against the wind, and same goes for the waves. When the heeling exceeds a certain point and we constantly have the railings in the water and thus the water in the boat, it’s time to reef the sails. For some parts of the voyage we sail with reefed jib sail and double reefed main sail. But we’re getting there!

Our first bread in the making
Our first bread in the making

During the first weeks of our journey we mainly produced organic waste, like banana peels etc., which can go over board. But now our waste is slowly beginning to fill up with cans, one or two glasses of tomato sauce, and cartons of coconut milk etc.

Just before leaving Malaysia, we bought a pressure cooker, and for the first time in our lives we attempt baking bread, in this bad boy. Not bad. Not bad at all! It’s got a nice crust and the consistency is pretty good as well. Basically the best bread we’ve had on our entire journey so far. Since I am Smutje (cook) and division of labor is very strict on our boat, I’m not the one who has to clean the burnt pot! Brilliant!

Phase 6: Better than Christmas and Easter in one

Our zigzag course is sure to eventually lead us to Sri Lanka
Our zigzag course is sure to eventually lead us to Sri Lanka

What we thought was going to be a quick run to the finish line turned out to be a very long and exhausting final battle against the wind. The wind turned to W or even NWN. For us that means: zigzag it up! Even though our GPS showed us that we had just under a hundred miles to go, it took us an entire week to get there.

But it takes more than that to demotivate us. We dream of pizza, beer, and cigarettes, and keep it going full steam. The creativity in the kitchen got to a low and we just had heated canned food and filled the trash bags up to a critical level. But before unintentionally turning into polluters of the beautiful sea, we arrive! All we have to do now is discuss the usual stuff with port authority, keep it cool, and then just go get our greasy, big pizza and a nice ice-cold beer. We’re here!

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