04 March 2008

2008-Mar-04 Noon Position

Indian Ocean

  • 20 nm since 8am
  • 1235 nm to Oman
  • 20 nm from Maldives
  • Winds SE 10 knots
  • Seas 1 foot S
Oman Or Bust! We left Uligamu Island this morning at 8am in a downpour. Steve and I checked out with customs and immigration yesterday afternoon after going ashore and walking around until we found their offices. The ladies stayed aboard getting meals ready for this next leg to Oman. Checking out was a breeze, only 4 dollars. Its a bit strange, but the Maldive's use the U.S. dollar along with their own currency.

Along with the many papers that are involved with clearing out of a country, countries out here all want the signature of the captain and a stamp from an "official" boat stamp. We had heard about this in Malaysia and had one made for 3 bucks. It just has Sandpiper's name along with our USCG document number on it. I think that the officials out here must think that our home countries issue these stamps. To them, it is very important to have one since there are many papers to stamp. I asked what would happen if we did not have a stamp and was told that we would have to leave thumb prints next to our signature.

After getting all our paperwork squared away we found a very small store that we were able to get eggs and oranges. That's all they really had. Uligamu Island is quite small, barely above sea level, and surrounded by a white sand beach. There is no runway, so the only way to get there is by boat.

There are 562 people that live there and most have houses are built out of coral and cement. They get all their water by catching rain water off their roofs. The United Nations several years ago funded the installation of the first hybrid electrical power system in the Maldives on Uligamu. The U.N. contracted an American company that installed 20 large wind generators that provide power to the island when it is windy. When there is no wind, a large array of solar panels make power during daylight hours. When the wind generators and solar panels are not making enough juice, the island's diesel power generator kicks in.

We have a long ways to go and we are hoping for steady winds to get us to Oman. But today the winds are light. SV Shiraz is off our stern at 2 miles.

More in 24 hours,
Tom and Amy

Note From Ron: Uligamu Island is also known as Uligan. Here are some photos.

No comments: