On the 21st we sailed up to Huvadhoo atoll, the world’s largest. Discovery had been in this exact same spot 10 years ago when Gavin was the skipper and I was excited to ply some of the surf he’d scored.
I feel like I’ve been chewing on cotton. My lips are cracked and my hips are sore and I look again to the east, hoping again for the grayness of dawn to arrive. We have no food and our only jug of water has been contaminated with ocean and sand. I am huddled down with 7 other people in a bed made of two nylon paragliders. The fabric becomes an alarm clock every time we are blasted by wind or when one of us struggles to find a new spot on their body to relieve from the hard sand. If I had a watch I’d check it for the thousandth time. The blanket of night refuses to lift. I try not to think about water and cuss silently to myself for orchestrating this mess. My body begs for sleep but my mind stammers off again, reconstructing how ended up here.
I try not to get too excited about any of the locations on our itinerary. Most of them are places I haven’t been to in the past, just like our guests. But I’ve found if you allow yourself to romanticize and dream too much, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Readers might recall this was the case with Myanmar, where the guidebooks and the crazy costs to get there conspired into hype which got the better of me (see “Long Days in a Strange Land“). So as we sailed, well motored west from Myanmar across the Bay of Bengal to the Andaman Islands I left the guidebooks on their shelves, and kept my mind buried in the engine rooms, which needed attention, rather than the horizon.
Burma, or Myanmar is very, very difficult to sail due to the time consuming and exhorbitant expense of obtaining permits. Our hope was that this meant we’d be sailing an area that was pristine and wild. We find it anything but.