Saturday, 7 March 2015

Sri Lankan Smiles

Our first day in port and right on 18:00hrs we received a call on the VHF radio from our agent Ravi ... "can you please come to the dock, Immigration would like to visit your boat".  Of course we could, and I was at the dock in our dinghy just a few minutes later.

Two very well presented Immigration officers stepped aboard and off we went.  A fast dingy ride and a visit to Crystal Blues was our pleasure.

Since the civil war ended, cruising boats are a new thing here. Understandably, the government teams have little experience dealing with the sailing / cruising community.

To their absolute credit, officers Ruwandike and Nadeera were both courteous and obliging.  They clearly wanted to understand the new people and vessels they were now dealing with.  They looked over the entire boat, asked a lot of questions and we were very pleased to have them on board.

An Emergency Dive

On our second day in port I (foolishly) managed to drop our hand held VHF radio into the the water, right at the wharf.  There is a first time for everything ...

So we contacted Trincomalee Port Control by VHF and requested permission to move Crystal Blues into the dock.  Permission granted, we raised anchor and set up fenders and boards ready to come alongside the concrete wharf.  Once berthed I donned wetsuit, mask, fins, gloves and regulator and disappeared over the stern, using the hooka breathing system installed on Crystal Blues.

What a trial - very limited visibility in 5 meters of water, and bottom silt that was easily disturbed to close down visibility in the area completely.  It took 15 minutes and a number of dives, but eventually I found the radio.  I surfaced a very happy sailor, and the local harbour police were on hand to assist.  We are grateful for their co-operation.  More Sri Lankan smiles, we are pleased to say.

Most importantly, the radio that spent 2 hours on the bottom is still working perfectly - Icom waterproof is really waterproof.

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