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Galle Update - May 2009

By Sue Richards last modified May 29, 2009 03:36 PM

Published: 2009-05-29 15:36:57
Countries: Sri Lanka

Being regular readers of Noonsite, we wanted to share our recent experiences of Galle to update some information which we had gathered from Noonsite before our departure.

The proposed new berths inside Galle Harbour for June are still nothing more than an idea. There is definitely interest in attracting more yachts to Galle, and we were told the location of the marina is right inside the Navy Harbour close to the port wall that runs alongside the main road. But there is no activity underway at all to translate this into reality.

Moorings at present are very basic. As you enter there is a basic plastic floating pontoon, but this is positioned where it attracts most of the swell from the harbour entrance. We opted for further in against the concrete pier - and yes, the previous information about the surge under the pier is absolutely true. We were only there for 2 days so took the risk and with about 8 fenders along our beam and re-adjustment of warps at all tide heights we managed ok. Be warned though that it is very difficult to get back on board at low tide due to the pier height!

We used GAC as our agent and overall found them extremely helpful. We also met the infamous Mike who was very helpful with delivery of water to the boat and last minute supplies.

Galle itself is was an interesting experience - expect to be constantly "pestered" and understand that not much happens in town so word soon gets around and everyone and their dog (of which there are hundreds) will somehow seem to know you and your entire life history within a few hours of landing.

The pirate reports - we did get chased by 2 boats but believe that this was down to boredom and high spirits of the fishermen, though still a nerve-wracking experience. Watch out for the fishing vessels offshore. We were forced to make a late afternoon departure, and had a fairly fraught evening picking our way through fishing vessels. The typical fishing routine is to string nets from the "mother" ship. Fishing vessels are not always well lit, nor are the marker buoys at the end of the nets so it makes for tense night sailing particularly with so many boats out. One vessel was persistently flashing us as the sun was setting. No matter what direction we headed they seemed to be indicating a "no-go". Worried we would snag their fishing net, we eventually came close enough to receive their message. The calls came..."You want fish?", "You have beer?", "You have cigarettes?".

Fishing takes place from about 20k offshore and we were still seeing boats 50-60k away and there are lots of them. So if possible, make for an early departure and ensure you are well off shore before night fall.

Hope this helps for future Galle visitors.

Helen & Bryan Sell - SY Aroha

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