Sri Lanka
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At a crossroads of maritime routes traversing the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) has also been exposed to cultural influences from other Asian civilizations1

 The distinctive civilization of Sri Lanka, with roots that can be traced back to the 6th century BC, is characterized by two factors: the preservation of Theravāda Buddhism and the development over two millennia of a sophisticated system of irrigation in the drier parts of the country. This civilization was further enriched by the influences of Hinduism and Islām.1

Most cruisers who stop at Sri Lanka check into Galle and then travel inland to the highlands to see the scenic tea plantations that produces some of the world's best tea and the Elephant orphanage near Kandy.

General Information
Country Code:  94
Time Zone:    +6 hours from UTC
Currency:      Sri Lankan Rupee


Check In

Check In Procedures -  These were the procedures in Galle when we checked in in January 2003.

  1. When you are about 1-2 miles out, call 'Port Control' on channel 16 and let them know that you are approaching the harbor.  (If you arrive at night you may enter the outer harbor and anchor around 'Watering Point' until morning.)  Port Control does not open until 9am Sri Lanka time.

  2. Proceed in and anchor in the north end of the outer harbor near a small white cone.  You will see 2 breakwaters into the inner harbor to the east.  Call 'Port Control' and let them know that you have anchored.

  3. The Navy will send out Naval personnel in a wooden launch.  (Make sure that you have plenty of fenders out as there is usually a small swell and it is difficult to keep the wooden boat away from the hull.)  They will board your boat and perform a cursory check for contraband and explosives.  (It is probably best to stow loose items such as cameras, sunglasses, liquor, small radios, etc. so as not to attract undue attention.)  When they came onboard Long Passages, they asked us to open our lockers, but did not empty the contents.)  You will need to give them a crew list.  Once they are finished you may enter the inner harbor, if you desire.

  4. Enter the inner harbor through the small opening between the right breakwater and the small buoy.  The left 3/4 of the entrance between the 2 breakwaters has a submarine net running across it, so DO NOT enter through that opening.

  5. There are several mooring options inside the inner harbor:

  • You may tie up bow and stern between a buoy and the pontoon located behind the right breakwater.  Unfortunately the pontoon does not give you access to land.  It is advisable that you also drop an anchor as the integrity of the buoy attachment is suspect.

  • You may tie up along the ship dock at the NW end of the harbor, although the dock is very high and you must climb up on a large fenders to reach the top.

  • You may drop an anchor at the north end of the harbor and run stern lines ashore so that you do not swing.

  1. You may now go ashore.  Call one of the agents, either Windsor (channel 69) or GAC (channel 71) and arrange to come in and complete your check in. 

  2. Make your way to the Naval Base entrance (with the swing gate) located along the road at the NE end of the harbor.  Tell the guard that you are checking in and need to see the agent (either Windsor or GAC).  They will assign someone to escort you to the office.

  3. The agent will check your passports, ship's papers and clearance papers from your previous port (zarpe) to ensure that everything is correct.  They will fill out most of the required forms and ask the ship's master (captain) to sign them.  The charge in 2003 was US $170 for Windsor and US $200 for GAC.  They will provide a written receipt which breaks down the charges.  In 2003 the harbor and custom's fee was US $120 for a 30-day stay, the rest of the money being the agent's fee.

  4. You will then be escorted to the immigration office where your passports are checked and stamped.

  5. Next, you are escorted to the customs office where you will fill out a custom's declaration form stating the type and quantity of certain items that are on the boat.  If you have firearms, you will need to declare them.  The custom's agent will need to visit the boat to inspect the weapon and if you have a secure place to keep it, they will place a seal across the opening that will be inspected when you leave to insure that the locker has not been opened during your stay.  The custom's agent almost always visits the boat anyway, so again best to stow loose small items and liquor.  When they visited our boat, the 'junior' member of the team did ask for cigarettes, liquor, etc.  We did NOT give but did offer a cold soft drink which was accepted.  The visit to the yacht is usually arranged sometime later in the day.

  6. After customs you will be guided to the Naval guard office where they will issue you a pass that enables you to leave and re-enter the facility.  You must show the pass when either leaving or entering and all bags and packages will be inspected both ways.

 1Information obtained from Encyclopedia Britannica

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