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The Reality of Galle

By Sue Richards last modified Sep 28, 2008 02:24 PM

Published: 2008-09-28 14:24:19
Countries: Sri Lanka

Haul out in Galle, Sri Lanka.

Further to our report in May entitled Eastwards across the Andaman Sea, we are now in Langkawi, Malaysia having crossed from Sri Lanka in June.

We had a very good crossing in the SW Monsoon. By June we were keen to leave Galle as it is extremely dangerous in the water there for Yachts. Our anchor chain snapped (10mm) and we constantly had to replace parted mooring lines.

Our haul out and haul down with GAC Marine Services turned into a nightmare experience. Our earlier message was positive but GAC shipping have little experience of handling yachts. When the hauling price you have agreed is doubled whilst your yacht is dangling from a crane 20 metres in the air beggars belief! We're still mulling over our $5000 of costs for an operation that cost $300 in Rebak, Langkawi. We took extensive damage both in the water and in the hands of GAC.

Corruption is rife, but there are some genuine officials who do try and help as much as they can. Also, beware of the "Gate Boys", the so called "Galle Yacht Club", who hang around the port gate offering all and sundry to yachties. They are little more than very expensive travel guides and tuck tuck drivers, although a couple have some experience of yachts and try and help. You are their cash cow.

However, security is very good in the hands of the navy, who also provide a diving service directly for $80 - but $600 minimum through the agents!! (including cuts and bribes). Most of the navy guys we met were very friendly and genuine.

But the island is a paradise! Fantastic food and very cheap once away from the agents, the gate boys and the traders of Galle, who double the price of everything for yachties.

There is a very good yacht supplier in "Mike" who seems genuine with reasonable prices. Use him. His shop is close to the harbour.

Two agents offer their services to yachties, GAC and Windsor. We used both in our two stays in Galle and would recommend Windsor. They have been around a long time and know the ropes. It's not their fault the officials are corrupt!

S/Y Sänna 2
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