//WL2K Day 4 Mozambique Channel

Pos 17-28S 39.50E COG 220 SOG 4.5

340 nm since departing Madagascan W coast. As promised, the channel has been frustrating. Excitement from the threat of a nearby thunderstorm at Cap St Andre (didn’t eventuate), and a headsail change in washing machine seas (sails and crew remained unwashed). Haven’t yet had the favourable current consistently adding to SOG though for one day we noted the 40deg difference between T and magnetic COG. Mostly hard on the WSW/S/SE wind trying to get south west. Going to windward for the first time in a few months (thanks trade winds!) Storm Petrel is in her preferred quadrant… though forgot how damp that makes cabin and crew. Lots of leaks. Thankfully winds are light, but have to watch how much diesel we’re burning. Sights are on the forecast to decide whether we can keep pushing to Richards Bay or need to shelter on the Moz coast. Stay tuned!

1 year !

Since we left !

And a few things we did see on the way. South Australia, beautiful Tasmania, the great bays of NSW, the wild and empty Far North Queensland, Islands of the NT, Indonesia, an ocean crossing and the Mascarene Islands on the other end and now Madagascar. What a trip.

Well anyway tonight we are in a Bay off Madagascar, baobab trees dot the craggy shoreline and we can see the Lemurs swinging through the treetops. Here is to another one.

//WL2K Landfall Madagascar !

Ahoy !
Day 6 out of Reunion saw us at Cape d Ambre, helped by a favorable current we picked up since Cap Est. The constant 3-4kt boatspeed slowly returned to more normal 5-6kts and once we were abeam Cape d Ambre we were flying along at 10kts in flat seas and with just a little breeze. The light breezes where a good thing at last : the feared witches cauldron at Cape d Ambre was smooth as a babies bottom as we skidded around and where the wind usually speeds up to 40kts we only saw 20 or so. Luck !

We turned south from there and went along the coast, we saw our first sailing dhows, kraggy islands with (small so far) baobab trees and the mountain ranges of Madagascar to the south. Anchored in the lee of an Island called Nosy Hara. Excited to explore a little bit !

//WL2K Day 3 from Reunion. Somewhere in the Mascarene Basin.

Day 3 out of Reunion Storm Petrel is 80nmi E of Madagascar at Position 14.47S 51.45E.

Very hot: 29deg in cabin all hours and not much breeze. Too hot to cook. Wind is only around 5 kn, first it was out of the NE but since this morning its aft of the beam so we are sailing with big spinnaker + main, motoring sometimes. Maintaining NW course. Starting to see birds and flying fish. Clear skys. Desert-like stars. Negligible swell. Happy, relaxed.

//WL2K Reunion

After long clearance procedures at St Louis, an over night sail brought us to the french Island of Reunion.

whereas Mauritius is hilly in some areas and has flat land to the north, Reunion is just a stark (and active in some parts) Volcano rising out of the sea to 3000m. Its also just half the size of kangaroo island has a population of 800 or 900.000. Its also French and European Union, so it is fairly developed and civilized with Freeways, Every imaginable cheese in the Supermarket, Shops for everything, Traffic jams and Dog Poo on the sidewalk. Just like Europe.

We rented a car and drove around to see some waterfalls, have a peek into one of the three calderas of the island and to see the volcano, currently silent but recent lavaflows still visible. Fantastic Scenery however most days shrouded in clouds down to 300m.
Would be nice to do some hiking also but our plans to head towards Madagascar and the encroaching cyclone season gave us only a 2 day stay, so we stocked up on baguette and cheese and cleared out again. Au Revior !

Photos to follow.

Mauritius

In brief…curry in a hurry roti/faratha/ti puri feasts, bustle and hassle but not too intrusive and always with friendly smiles, touristic but terrific anchorage near generous GBYC, baguettes, patisseries, pate, mojitos, fresh produce market, urban grime laced with incense, sugarcane fields and fires, eucalypts, Super U stockpiling, verdant craggy vistas (rockclimbing potential, surely?!), kimchi, knoedel, happy street dogs/stray cats, cacophony of creole, Hindi, Muslim, French, English, Chinese voices and cultures (listen to the radio stations!), bellies ballasted by Wahoo nuggets and Mahi Mahi on the fire, people-watching selfie and wedding photoshoots, colourful street art, soul nourishing hike, blast the barnacles, wonder-full village weaver bird nests, mobile phone tower palm trees, sunset swims.

In depth…Arrived Pt Louis 14 Oct 2019: 3 days from Rodrigues in light conditions and moderate fishing and shipping traffic. Great to catch up with familiar faces on arrival, fellow cruisers with whom we have island hopped the Indian Ocean in close succession. Hooray!, Bonjour, nice fish!, Hola and Morgen to…. ‘Pauline Claire’, ‘Lola’, ‘Kama’, ‘Gota de Rocio’, ‘Kristina Regina’ and ‘Frida’. Clearing-in was convenient and straight forward. The Caudan Waterfront ‘marina’ hospitality was welcoming, featured security, potable water and a delightful hot shower (my first since Christmas Island!). A couple of less-desirable attributes such as the noise and pollution of the city and commercial harbour, and our gunwhales sitting below the concrete wall to which we were tied (SS34s don’t have much freeboard!) all combined to entice us away to anchor at Grand Baie after one night in Port Louis. The entrance to GB was shallow as charted, but did have helpful port/stbd navigation buoys – not on the charts. Three nights on anchor in clean water and a light breeze close to Grand Baie Yacht Club. It is well appointed (though busy with am and pm charter traffic), secure, and great showers. Relaxed on board, walked to nearby shops, free-styled a bbq at the beach, spent time with Andy and Miriam from ‘Kama’. Next time: self drive a hire car or scooter to see more of the island (850-1000Rs); snorkel; outer island visits; and do more hikes (buses with 1-2 transfers takes 1-1.5hours to get to most bushwalking areas. Clunky but accurate journey planning: mauritius-buses.com and Excellent trail info: http://www.exploremauritius.org/?page_id=755).

Departed GB early 20/10/19 for Pt Louis in order to clear out. Limited space at customs ‘dock’ with shallow draft and very basic concrete wall to tie up (but a stone’s throw to the central market!). Final departure late morning….destination: REUNION ISLAND.

Rodrigues

2000nmi+. 14days and a couple hours. This was the Indian Ocean passage between Cocos and Rodrigues. Rough at times. Like a saltwater washing machine. But we made it.

After that and sometime late morning we turned left into the channel at Port Mathurin and cleared in. 17 (!) Forms later we where good and able to explore. Best thing in Rodrigues – the market. Everything is super fresh and a dollar gives you 5 small head of lettuce. Also fresh baguette every morning. Heaven ! Also everybody is super friendly and pretty relaxed. The harbour master even invited us for lunch.

We also rented a scooter and explored the island all over, different here, Christmas Island had like 2000 people and Rodrigues has 40000 and the island is even more remote, more hilly and smaller.

Anyway, we will be on our way towards Mauritius soon. Another 350nmi till then. Ciao!