Saturday, 25 June 2016

Mauritius

 Mauritius is a huge island compared to Rodriguez. The information I've read tells me that there are 1.1 million people who live here. The mountains on arrival reminded me of Oa Pau in the Marqueses. 
The day before we arrived I caught a Mahi Mahi, also called a Dorado or a Dolphin Fish depending on where you are. I caught it in the morning and cleaned it and we had it for lunch. Carol froze half of it so they will enjoy it in the future. Picture to come. 
I've spent the last day touring Mauritius. I've been to the south east side, over the top and down the west side to Black River and up the West side from Port Louis to Grand Baie. Maggie is safely docked in the marina in Port Louis. 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Almost in Mauritius

We have have an excellent sail from Rodriguez.  The winds have been 15 to 22 knots most of the time with some periods down to 12 knots and others up to 27 knots.  We have had lots of squalls with rain and high winds up to 32 knots.  A 3 night 2 day passage seems like old hat after our long passage from Cocos Keeling to Rodriguez.  There have been lots of ships on this passage.  I'm sure after ships go around Cape of Good Hope they go just south of La Reunion and Mauritius on there way to Singapore or other destinations.  One ship came as close as 0.9 nautical miles and at one point yesterday I changed course so as not to cross the bow of a cargo ship. He radioed to make sure he understood my intention's. The big excitement today was we caught a Mahi Mahi, also called a Dorado or a Dolphin Fish in some parts of the world. I cleaned it and we had fresh fish for lunch.  Carol did a fabulous jop of cooking it.  It was nice to finally catch a fish on this trip after dragging a hook for thousands of miles.  As I write this we are less than 24 hours from our final port on Mauritius.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Goodbye Rodriguez

Maggie is about to depart Rodriguez. I have enjoyed my stay here. I'm ready to move on. Follow the position report (link to the right) and follow us on our trip to Mauritius. It is about 350 nautical miles. We hope to arrive on Friday morning. 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

More of Rodriguez

JM I've been told many times a picture is worth a thousand words. I've also been told that some of you who are following the blog are enjoying the pictures. I held back the other day but will post a bunch of pictures today. 
The beautiful beaches
The octopus drying
Incredible views from the mountain tops
Cactus in bloom with fruit you can eat
Wonderful flowers even though it is winter
Huge church surrounded by all kind of lush vegetation
 Another great view and a stone wall. Who knows how long it has been there
Piglets trying to get bigger
Soccer field that likely gets flooded at high tide. 
Grandpa building another sand castle for his grandkids 
A typical home with a fence made of sticks and branches
Palm trees, beaches and a beautiful sun set

Tom Tom

I may have spoken about sailing vessel Tom Tom before on the blog. Chris on Tom Tom started in England. Sailed single handed to Martinique. I met him there. He sailed single handed to San Blas. Unofficially part of the BPO. No single handlers allowed. He had crew from San Blas to Gal├ípagos. He was single handed from there to Tahiti. He had crew on and off to Australia. He missed the Indonesian part of the BPO and sailed from MacKay, Australia to Rodriguez single handed. 5 days from Rodriguez his fore stay broke. He was able to use the Genoa halyard and the spinnaker halyard to stop the mast from coming down. He was in winds up to 30 knots. How did you spend Fathers Day you ask. I spent a good part of day helping Chris on Tom Tom. Yesterday we replaced his fore stay which is the wire at the front of the boat that holds the mast up. There is a tube that goes over the fore stay that has a track that the sail slides up through.  It is for furling the foresail. It comes in sections & he had the sections straitened. We put some of the sections in upside down yesterday not realizing the track was not symmetrical. The sail wouldn't go all the way up the track when he tried yesterday and again this morning. We had to take it all down and put the pieces on the right way up & put it back the whole works back up. Chris is not fond of going up the mast. He was up 3 times. Once to figure out why the sail wasn't going up. Once to take the pin out at the top of the mast to lower the fore stay and the furling mechanism. Once to put the pin in after we got it up again. Winding him up in the bosons chair 3 times was a great workout. 
He discovered that one of the stays going half way up to the spreader has a strand broken. I went up & put a line around the spreader so if it breaks from here to Mauritius he has a backup. 
Tom Tom is the boat between the 2 catamarans that is not under the end of the rainbow. It is the one to the right of that boat under the rainbow. It is against the concrete wall sporting its Genoa all nicely furled. Chris couldn't be happier. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Why am I here

Many of you out there I'm sure question. Why would you want to spend time on a boat and sail around the world. I will admit it's not for everyone. Some get sea sick. Some get bored with hours at sea. Here is a picture that will maybe help explain why many of us love this life

Monday, 13 June 2016

Rodriguez

'We arrived a week ago after 16 days at sea. We set anchor about 10 AM on Monday June 6. We slowed down for the last day and a half so we would arrive during daylight. We had lots of squalls which forced us south and we were unable to get to the anchorage without doing a jibe to get back north. We had several squalls and rain as we approached Rodriguez on the jibe. Before the last day we set our clocks back 2 hours to get to the local time. As we were arriving a supply ferry entered the harbour which in Rodriguez means all the boats anchored in the inner harbour have to leave the anchorage and head out to the outer harbour. We timed it perfectly and came in just after all the other boats had returned to the inner harbour.
Our first view of the harbour after a squall 
Upon arrival the quarantine officer came aboard and we filled in the forms. He had a quick look around below and headed on deck to flag the coast guard dingy down for a ride to shore.  While he waited for them to arrive he filled us in on the town and told us where we could get a Mauritius flag among other things we inquired about.  Next the coast guard came aboard and there were more forms. We figured we would wait till after lunch to deal with customs and immigration. We got a call indicating they were waiting for us so Chris from sailing vessel Tom Tom offered to take us to the dock in his dingy. After another stack of forms we were finally complete. We headed off to get SIM cards for our phones and find the shops, French bakery, market, banks and grocery store. We also visited the information centre and went to a kiosk to purchase a hiking map. 
The next day No Regrets had planned a tour by van to see the sights of the island. We left early and drove along the coast and saw the billionaire's house
(28 Mauritius Rupees to a Canadian dollar) and the governor's house. We drove on & saw a bridge they used for bungee jumping. It was closed. Next we went into a limestone cave and saw how stalagmites & stalactites start their formation. We saw some neat shapes where they had us imagine we saw a cat or Winston Churchill or some other animal or person. We had a great lunch and then toured to other parts of the island including a walk to a great beach
Grandpa Bob building a sand castle for his grand children. His oldest grand daughter thought "he looked funny with the fur on his face" but wished she was there building in the sand 
We also visited a honey farm.
An abandoned limestone quarry of special interest being a geologist 
We ended the tour by visiting 2 monuments. One was to do with the abolition of slavery on the island. 
Our guide Julian in front of the monument 
The other had to do with the person who first introduced agriculture to the island in the form of a orange grove. The site was strategically located so that they could see any ships coming that might be a threat. The view was tremendous. 
The next day we took a bus to Point Cotton and went on a long hike from Point Cotton a quarter of the way around the island mainly along the east coast. We passed the same beach we had seen the day before. It was a very scenic hike and we had a great tour guide. The next day we went on a 2nd hike. We took a bus up to an interpretive centre and then climbed to the top of Grande Montagne (a 15 minute climb) where we had a great viewpoint.
We then followed several paths to the coast at Baladirou. At Baladirou there are many gardens full of all kinds of vegetables and it is highly irrigated.
At one point along the hike to get there Alfredo had us scampering along a goat path on the edge of a cliff. His wife Alleshia slipped at one point and one leg was dangling over the edge. Soon we were headed down through the forest to the creek below where we hopped from rock to rock along the creek bed. Once making it to the shore we climbed a cow trail to the top of a headland and had a great view of the barrier reef and the Indian Ocean beyond. We walked along the coast for a long way. Fortunately it was low tide and we were able to hop from rock to rock to get past several headlands to get to the next beach. We finally came to a road and we followed it along the coast to our anchorage. The following day we had to lift anchor and get out of the inner harbour so the supply ferry could leave.
Boats at anchor waiting for the supply ferry to leave the harbour. Beautiful Rodriguez in the background 
The rest of the day was filled with boat chores which included washing the salt off the stainless, canvas and plastic windows. I also polished all the stainless on board getting rid of the rust that constantly seems to form. 
The next day we took a group of 18 hikers and a small dog on the hike we had done 2 days before.  We started by going up to the viewpoint as before. When we started down we began at a different location to insure we were able to followed the marked path. We were able to follow the path markers the whole way. Unfortunately the lady with the small dog misunderstood the hike part of the equation. She thought we were going on a walk and was very unprepared. I ended up carrying her dog over the rough rocky river section and the sections that were rocky along the coast and up the stairs to the bus stop at the end.
The group of 18 at lunch break
Two of us walked along the road to the anchorage while the others waited for the bus. We got back at 4 PM and had to wait another 40 minutes for the rest to return. It was Sunday and the buses ran infrequently. 
Monday was spent on the boat. I spent a good part of the day cleaning the green slime off the boat at the water line. 
Yesterday was another hiking day. We did 2 different hikes. The first we started high and walked down past the suspension bridge
where they do bungee jumping to the shore and along the coastline. We took a bus and then climbed up a valley to the mountains above. It was a gruelling hike and I got a real workout.