Colombo, Sri Lanka
Several short updates for you. First, we visited Sri Lanka last year and participated in a full-day city tour. It was here we were exposed to heavily armed guards at every turn and made to feel more like trespassers instead of tourists. We were very uncomfortable and had no desire to revisit any of the sites. Accordingly, we passed this year and instead, spent the day on the ship with the exception of a short visit to the souvenir kiosks which were set up on the pier. As we exited the ship, we were met by Monica, a 40-year-old elephant, and a group of dancers & rhythmists – very nice touch! We were docked this year at the container port because an Iranian military ship was occupying our berth at the passenger terminal – I don’t know the circumstances so I can’t make accurate comment, but we seemed to make the best of it, and tours were leaving & returning on schedule. According to passengers who were here last year and went on tours again, Colombo has cleaned up considerably and the presence of guards moderated. Folks seemed to have a good time and there were no incidents, with the exception of one man who fell on some steps and cut his face.
While in port and in preparation for crossing the Indian Ocean, our ship was shrouded with razor wire – several hundred feet of it! The Captain indicated the threat of a pirate attack was low, but nevertheless wanted to take precaution. In addition to razor wire, we picked up additional security guards in Sri Lanka who will be on a rotating 24-hour watch - we have 4 LRAD’s (Long Range Acoustic Devices) rigged, manned, & ready for immediate use - we have ‘charged’ water hoses ready for use on both sides of the Lower Promenade Deck - and the Captain also said we’ll be reporting regularly to the UKMTO in Dubai…UKMTO is the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Organization who coordinate all of the coalition warships in the area assigned to anti-piracy operations. Apparently, we are being tracked on radar during our entire 3-day transit of the area. We had a drill earlier this morning – once the alarm sounded, everyone had to vacate their staterooms and other public areas visible from the sea and sit on stairwells and in hallways, both of which are protected with steel. The Captain also practiced some evasive moves with the ship itself…nothing extreme because it was a drill, but you could definitely feel the ship heaving. All went well, & normal activity resumed after 20 minutes.
If you’d like photos from our visit here last March, or additional commentary, please CLICK HERE:
We’re now on our way to Victoria, Seychelles - approximately 1,700 miles southwest, scheduled to arrive Thursday morning. Pre-arrival lectures on this destination have been very interesting – looking forward to our first visit! We have a full-day tour booked.
Update on our ‘Rummy’ games: Cheryl – 24, Bob – 21. We haven’t been playing as frequently, nor have I been sleeping on the couch as much J