Sunday, May 31, 2009

Leaving Port Louis

I'm out of here in a couple of hours. The destination is Saint Marie, Madagascar. The winds are not strong at all so this will be a longer passage than normal. It is five hundred miles with a light but favorable current. If I do a dismal thirty or forty miles a day it would take twelve or thirteen days max.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

1996 Flashback

The novelty of Port Louis is starting to wear off. This place feels like being on the campus of one of those two year vocational business colleges. Loads of minorities all "dressed for success" working grunt office jobs in the financial district where there are a lot of foreign corporations represented. The rest of the population is screaming at the top of their lungs, "cinquante, cinquante" while standing infront of a pile of plastic clothespins...

I've had to do a whole lot of custom CMAP printing of my "new" route as my destinations have changed given the piracy situation. The printer, generously donated by a fellow cruiser, also has a scanner! I just figured this out...

The dawn shot is the approach to Mazatlan, Mexico, and the at anchor shot is San Blas, Mexico. These photos are all from my first cruise aboard a Pearson Vanguard I did in the mid 1990's.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Port Louis, Mauritius

I'm in Port Louis, Mauritius. Got in yesterday.

Galle to Mauritius took 29 and a half days. I got about a two hour respite while motoring through Peros Banhos at Chagos.

The first part out of Galle went well. I only lost a degree to the east while close reaching against about a 10 - 15 knot early SW monsoon wind. Once I made it to the equator I tried to use the occasional southerly wind to head west to Gan but gave up after four days with a daily average of about 20 miles of progress. I knew there would be more wind south so headed toward Chagos and got there on May 8th. With no permit, I didn't want to risk a fine and plus, the SE anchorage off of Fouquet was crowded! There were eight other boats there... The thought crossed my mind that I wouldn't mind having had to pay 100 pounds if I got to be the only boat there but that wasn't the case. The "word" at Chagos was "piracy". Apparently conditions in the Seychelles had deteriorated since I'd left Galle. It was like none of the boats in Chagos wanted to go any farther west. The Cornell waypoint from Chagos To Madagascar passes you well to the North of the Saya bank at about latitude 10 degrees. I decided to cut through at the 13 degree latitude for insurance which gave me more distance from the Seychelles. After about a day out and studying the chart, I got a bad feeling for the whole area and decided to do the obvious - head for Rodrigues. The Southern Indian Ocean is notorious for large seas but I figured May shouldn't be so bad. The only danger I'd face is a late in the season hurricane but I'm so slow that by the time I got in the affected areas, it would be late May. The sail down was once again against the wind. When it lightened up I could make Rodrigues, when it picked up I could make Mauritius. Finally about a hundred miles out of Rodrigues, I got hit by some nasty stuff, thirties on top of a eight to ten foot swell. I put that on the bum and lost the chance for Rodrigues but made it here instead. Oddly, the worst wind was yet to come. The lee side of Mauritius was experiencing an "anti cyclone" as the locals called it. In the morning I approached the island from the west in about 12 knots of wind. Once I got close to the point, the seas were flat but it was 30-35 from the tip to Port Louis. The wind was coming straight off the land like it didn't want me to come in. Just four miles out, I had the engine going and was barely making a knot and a half. With the fuel filters clogging and the engine dying out once in awhile I limped into the Caudan Marina, complete with Mcdonalds, Pizza Hut and KFC within walking distance...