Oh, this is the place where the fishermen gather,
In oilskins and boots and Cape Anns battened down;
All sizes of figures with squid lines and jiggers,
They congregate here on the squid-jiggin’ ground.
– Arthur R. Scammell, 1966
Heading south from the beautiful Uligan, we had a great sail with 15 knots on the beam to enter the North Thilandhunmathee atoll through a sizable gap between the coral. Anchoring in 8m at 6deg54.913N” 073deg13.694E in a spot with the white sandy beach some distance away. The snorkelling is good with plenty of fish, but not worth getting out the dive gear due to the shallow depth and it’s not particularly clear. Internet is slow here, so I can’t use Skype reliably although we can surf slowly.
A local dhoni came by to say hello and gave us to mangos. Another went by and offered us coconuts. These guys are building a resort on the island and appear most friendly.
We spent Wednesday cleaning Blue Heeler jumping in the warm swimming pool-like water in the progress. We gently washed the hull, careful not to rub too much antifoul off. Wayne donned the scuba gear so he could get deeper to the keel and also scrape barnacles off the bow thruster prop. While he was doing that, I climbed on the bimini roof washing away the traces of Sri Lanka with citric acid, and afterwards we washed the topsides and deck.
During the day we’d also stop and use our squid jig to see if we could catch dinner. Wayne hooked a largish squid which immediately started spewing jets of black ink towards him. He kept the squid in the water to avoid ink getting on the deck, and being our first squid, I was amazed to see its body fill up then spit the contents out, ultimately running out of ink and spitting out water. As we’d never caught squids before, we weren’t sure how to kill it. We read that the best way is to rip its head off! I was aghast at the prospect and decided that Wayne would do this while I looked for a more humane way to terminate the life of our next cephalopod victim! He didn’t die in vain and became the entree for the evening wearing a coat of deep fried flour, salt and pepper.
The following day I set about polishing the stainless to make our Blue Heeler shine just a little more. Before lunch, a dinghy ride over to a large bommie for a snorkel. Following lunch I cleaned up and decided to bake a loaf, while Wayne attempted to jig for more squid. “Al, I’ve got one!”, I heard as I was preparing the yeast. Running up to the cockpit I saw Wayne jiggling a squid which had decided to squirt continuously at anything that looked threatening. This included me, Wayne, our teak deck and anything else in the way! “I’ve been inked!” I cried, while Wayne had black drops dripping off his forehead and spray all over his legs. The creature had managed to squirt up and into the cockpit leaving a black puddle at the helm. Seems like we need more practice at this. Anyway, Wayne gladly ripped this guys head off and he joined a chicken who had a similar fate in a spicy chilli noodle dish.
We’ll stay here a day or two to perfect our jiggin’ then head on down to the next anchorage.