Friday, May 15, 2020

Still in Sri Lanka

The view from our stern

There is not much to report here, which is why I haven't done an update in awhile. As for most of the world, the Covid-19 virus has hit the pause button on life for us. 

Sri Lanka put tough curfew measures into place and has been aggressive in its contact tracing and quarantine measures, with promising results. Although the country has been in curfew (lock down) during most of our visit, things are starting to ease.

Perry next to the wall.
Lots of garbage makes its
way into the harbor.

Unfortunately, we have continued to be confined to the Galle port area (it's coming up on two months now). Thanks to the efforts of a kind-hearted and influential Sri Lankan Navy Commodore, we have at least been briefly allowed out two times. This has enabled us to go grocery shopping and run other errands like taking out money, buying cooking gas, and looking for boat parts. We can only do this with a Navy escort and representatives from our local agency (you have to use an agent while you are in Sri Lanka if you are a cruiser). There is a lot of paperwork and manpower involved in these outings. It's a far cry from our usual excursions pre-virus, which involved a lot of walking with oft-whiny kids.

In the forty days before we were allowed outside, we had to have our groceries delivered to the harbor. I will spare you the sordid details, primarily because we are still here for the foreseeable future. Suffice it to say that in any 'crisis' or time of need, you are fortunate to encounter gems like our friend the Commodore. On the flip-side, there will be those that seek to profit from the hardship of others. 

We highly recommend Seafair Grocery for being a life-saver by delivering much-needed food to us and accepting U.S. dollars (as well as putting up with the port bureaucracy). They also have the best selection that we have seen so far (which admittedly isn't saying much from our limited vantage point).

Recently, we have also been allowed to buy baked goods from the local choon paan man. When we hear 'For Elise' playing, Matt sprints to the gate before the bread tuk-tuk moves on. At only 33 cents per loaf, it sure beats heating the boat up by baking our own bread. It's an oppressive 95 degrees in the boat on many days, without firing up the oven.

It is seeming unlikely that we will be able to buy a replacement for our broken sail batten, so it looks like Matt will need to sacrifice his favorite fishing pole spear. Our computer fan will have to wait until deliveries can be made from Colombo. On the plus side, Matt was able to fix the mounts for our grill, which had rusted through and threatened to plop everything into the deep blue at some inopportune moment. A local 'fabrication' place (read: one drill press and lots of hammers) miraculously (and on the first try!) fashioned some stainless steel clamping mounts for us based on a detailed drawing and much gesticulating by Matt and (with only a couple extra mystery parts being manufactured as a result of the communication barrier).

We continue to wait for countries to open up so that we can escape the impending large swells of the southwest monsoon that have the potential to smash our boat into the adjacent concrete wall with great force. 

The following article, although mostly focused on the Caribbean, does a good job explaining the predicament that we and a lot of fellow cruisers find ourselves in. Peace and light to you all.


  1. wow!Thanks for the somber update. Hard to believe it's all happening. We are in North Eastern NC far from the madding crowds, but still ruled by another 'gov'na who wanna b king'...They keep talking about the 'science' and changing the criteria every week. At least we're not in LA or Illinois...yikes. I have my beans doing well, though the robins opened a salad bar and ate most of the lettuce one night. At least the babies are flying and out of the nest so we can use the patio again without fear of upsetting the feeding schedule. Keep writing and fixing stuff, the boys can learn knots and splices...You will break out one day and it will all seem like a bad dream!

    1. Hi Tim--sounds like you're keeping occupied. Cool to see the wildlife thriving, isn't it? Yeah, we are keeping busy too. Keep safe!

  2. We’ve been thinking about you all: hope things are improving..

  3. Thanks for sharing the link to the choon paan Tuk Tuk site. I'm sure that as part of the daily thread of life they become obnoxious, especially at 5 a.m., but it's sure a sweet thing. I miss the milk man, the ice cream trucks, etc. that I grew up with here in the US.

    1. You hear the 'catchy' tune playing from afar (the wind can carry sound unbelievably far). Yes--the ice cream trucks and ICE CREAM!


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