Friday, December 30, 2016

Land Ho! Mauritius Is Looking Good

Land Ho! Mauritius lies ahead!
We were so happy to see land after 16 days on the Indian Ocean. By landing in Mauritius, we have crossed three-quarters of the Indian Ocean with the roughest part yet to come. We have a week and a few days in Mauritius to rest and repair. (Sailors interpretation or R & R) before moving on to La Reunion which is only an overnight sail 120 nm to the southwest.

While in Cocos Keeling, our friends on Yacht Brizo suggested that their son could bring a new starter motor for the generator from England as he would be meeting them in Mauritius. As the Brits would say: Brilliant! We were so pleased when the parts arrived.

Don blowing up one of the big fenders to protect the side
of the boat from the concrete wall onto which we were tied.
Dennis and another sailor who had worked on Yanmar engines for nearly forty years tried to remove the old starter motor. One bolt wouldn't budge for them. Of course, it was located on the back side of the generator where they could not see what they were doing. Finally, another sailor whose career was working on engines gave us a hand and got the bolt out. He was small enough to actually get in a position where he could see and reach the bolt. Free at last! Then he installed the new part plus a new oil pressure gauge so all is well with the generator!

S/V Trillium all dressed up in Port Louis.
Due to the non-working generator which we need to power the desalination system, we had to conserve water on the long passage. Without a generator, we could not make water. Yacht Brizo had topped up our water tank back in Cocos Keeling so we started with 240 gallons. We put a water conservation plan into action: 1) wash dishes once a day, 2) no showers - just washing up, 3) no shaving, 4) no laundry en route, 5) conserve water wherever possible! The best part was when Yacht Brizo offered their shower to me!

The Caudan Basin was a great location for berthing as the
city was right there with restaurants, banks, shops, etc.
It worked. We arrived in Mauritius with half a tank so we could have used a little more on the way. Now we know how much we need to exist. Dennis and I can go two weeks on a full tank, but we weren't sure about three people using it. Often crew does laundry underway and that uses too much water when trying to conserve it.

It is interesting that when you can make water, you use it freely. I found when I was back in the USA last summer, I used water much more carefully than I used to before sailing off into the deep blue sea. I was very aware of not turning on the faucet and just letting it run. It is a good lesson for all to learn to conserve our drinking water. There are many places in the world dying for clean drinking water!

There was no limit to the amount of water we could drink as it is important to stay hydrated. But I could have showered and washed my hair at least once mid-way across! Now we need to clean the membranes before we can make drinking water from sea water. This may not happen until we get to South Africa so we will still conserve on the rest of the Indian Ocean passage.

Once we got settled at the quay, it was time to explore the area. As you walk from the marina, you enter an open mall area under an awning of colorful umbrellas. The area closest to the marina basin is a very contemporary shopping and dining region with a two story mall.

As you continue past some old buildings and other shops, you enter an older part of the city. The further we went, the more it became like some of the other islands we have visited. And the poorer the area became.

Crossing the street in the traffic was a real challenge. They don't have many lights so you just had to go for it and hope you wouldn't get hit by a motorcycle, car or bus! They use the round-about system so there are not many crosswalks for pedestrians. To cross major streets you had to go down steps, through a tunnel and back up.

A view down the main street in the financial
area. To the left of this street, things change.
It is always great to see the smiling faces of the World ARC Yellow Shirts waiting to catch our lines. We have had three great staff members on this half of the trip: Hugh, Cecilia and Victor. They are fun and do a very good job of keeping us organized and enjoying our adventure. Thanks to all. We had to say “goodbye” to Hugh back in Cocos Keeling and Cecilia in Mauritius. The fleet will miss both of them. Thanks for the great job you did trying to herd these cats!

Our view of the waterfront.

What do you know about Mauritius?

Mauritius lies in the center of the South Indian Ocean and was once was part of a volcanic land bridge that connected Africa and Asia. Mauritius was uninhabited until the end of the sixteenth century. Although Arab and Malay sailors stopped here, the Portuguese were the first to establish residency. It was called the Ilha do Cirne or Ilse of the Swan. As it turns out, the so-called swan was actually the Dodo bird, which is extinct.  Since it was a flightless bird, it was easy prey and was hunted to extinction by passing sailors. Sounds like what happened to the Kiwi bird in New Zealand.

The island has been fought over and controlled by the Dutch, French and British as it is a strategic location on the route from South Africa to Asia. In the end, the British won out and eventually gave independence to Mauritius in 1968. There are over 1.3 million people of Indian, English, French and Chinese descent. English is the official language with others spoken as well.

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