Feb 4 - Galle, Sri Lanka

We departed our comfortable anchorage at 0630 and checked in with (Galle) Port Control immediately, as the authorities want to know what boats are around and where they are. It's a good thing we did as the Sri Lankan Coast Guard came zooming up to us (in their high speed RIB) shortly afterwards and asked who we were. No worries. There was essentially no wind, but lots of current, so the Perkins took us the entire 14 nm to Galle Harbor. Port Control instructed us to drop anchor near the breakwater (huh?) and await the Navy. We managed to find what we thought was a breakwater (check the charts...no breakwater is delineated), and anchored at 1000. By 1400 I was getting a bit concerned, as the afternoon sea breeze had picked up and we had thought the inner harbor (where we were to anchor) was closed at night. Nope, they've changed all that, and boat traffic is allowed entry (with proper clearance) at any time, day or night. The Navy officials showed up at 1530, checked our paperwork, and directed us to up-anchor and go into the inner harbor where we were to anchor, med-moor style, next to Mr John. Again, wind and current were from the stern, and I had to judge where and when to drop the anchor, spin the boat around, have Sue keep dropping enough chain to, hopefully, keep us off the floating pontoon dock if a storm surge or really strong winds came in, and thankfully with Stuart (sv Imagine) taking our two stern lines to John (sv Mr John) to tie us up astern, and shoving the boat around where needed, I maneuvered the boat around enough to not be court-martialled by the two Navy officials who stayed aboard thru out all this monitoring of our efforts, and finally settled in with about 300' of chain off the bow and two large stern lines to the floating pontoon astern, with about 3' between us and Mr John. Hmmm. Things are tight here. At that point, the procession began, with our Yacht Agent (Windsor Reef), Immigration, Customs and Port Control all taking turns being ferried back and forth to us by Stuart (thanks, bro). By 1730 the entire process was over - yea!...except, our Passports still needed to be stamped by Immigration in their office and our Yacht Agent told us he'd bring them back "later...." He was as good as his word, and, once again, Stuart ferried me a couple of minutes to the pier where the agent handed off our passports and Port Security Admittance paperwork (for those following us: the latter documents must be carried with you at all times you leave the port area in order to get back in the guarded entrance). Done! We're cleared in and ready to party...right...more like ready to get a good night's sleep. We had Happy Hour aboard Infini and Sheila surprised me with a beautiful hand painted 1st Place Fishing Tournement Award (this was for bagging that 4' wahoo; the other boats got a 3" and 5" flying fish respectively); what a great way to catch up with friends!

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