11/04/2011, Richards Bay
Africa at Last
Hi all. Well we made it to Richards Bay in South Africa after a great sail from Port Louis in Mauritius. We left on the 20th October in company with a South African catamaran named "Whiskers" with Gerald and Dianna. Truly excellent friends and we kept in touch for the entire voyage arriving within an hour of each other. We hope to see them on the water again.
The first few days were excellent sailing with virtually no seas running and 15 knots on a close reach and we made fantastic runs of over 200nm a day.
The wind died on us and became quite fluky but when it did come it came with a vengeance and we had our fair share of gales and very large seas so after rounding Madagascar we cut north into the Mozambique Channel with every intention of making a landfall at Inhambarne as gales were expected in South Africa and the best way was to go right around them.
This was a correct move and we missed the big ones. Two boats that did not follow this route had difficulties with one sinking (all saved) and one having to be rescued after they lost steering then rudders. I guess it pays to respect the the weather gods! Perhaps it was Keely's birthday Gods that helped us. The lucky duck had two birthdays!!!!! One in Mauritius and one at sea.
A window of opportunity arose just before we hit Mozambique with a strong northerly forecast so we ran for Richards Bay in a 40 knot following breeze and made her this morning.
The trip was great and we caught a very large Dorado and still have some in the freezer. It was over 4ft long and very beautiful. A shame to eat it but it tasted as good as it looked as sushi, fried and curried and steamed. We lost a large tuna that took the hook, line and reel. It was like a ballistic sub and perhaps that was what it was........
The place is full here and we are unsure whether to stay or go onto Durban but time will tell. Anyway we are safe and hope you are all well. Chaotic Harmony excelled in all conditions with no breakages and top speeds of over 18 knots at times.
Did I mention that it is damn cold....
Ian, Jo, Gill and the Keel
10/19/2011, Port Louis, Mauritius
Hello World, This is Keely Maree........
My birthday is on the 30th October but as we will be at the bottom of the Indian Ocean for that Mum and Dad decided to have my birthday yesterday in Port Louis, Mauritius. This was great and it means I will get to eat another cake on my real birthday so I guess I will turn 10 twice and be 20 already.
My day started when I woke up really early and suddenly remembered that it was my birthday. Dad was awake so I woke up Mum and we put up some decorations before we woke Gill and then the fun started as presents started to arrive on the table. My favorite present was Gill's who gave me some games for my DS. We blew up balloons and made signs and everyone came over to say Happy Birthday in the marina. Even people I didn't know.
Dad cooked pancakes and I was allowed to play games straight away which was odd as Mum normally wont let us do anything like that before school but I coped with the relaxed regime and began to enjoy it all.
In the morning all my friends came over for a party after Dad baked me a chocolate cake ("You are the best Dad"). All of these people are sailors and really nice. There was Lynne and Mike from "Wombat of Sydney", Joseph and Marci from "Horizon" and Gerald and Dianna from "Whiskers" which is another catamaran like ours. They all bought balloons, lovely cards and presents and lots of chocolate for me so I thought this was a very special.
We lit the cake and it was covered with candles, chocolates and lollies and we ate it all up, it was so nice. The grown ups then chatted while Gill and I played games and mucked around with the new DS games.
Gotta go. be good.
10/17/2011, Ill de Maurice
The Road Trip
It had to come to it and we finally succumbed to temptation and hired a car which was delivered to our pier for the day for about the equivalent of AU$35.00. OK, in Mauritius they drive on the same side as we do but the place is littered with European tourists who seem to enjoy changing their status to traffic accident statistics. Add to this the bus drivers here who are all possessed by the greater demon (god) of racing car drivers and we have a nerve racking trip planned. An earlier trip by bus was fun as we all imagined ourselves trapped in a movie scene on a runaway bus.
I must admit I was apprehensive and just a tad scared when I stalled the little Daiwoo outside our marina berth.
With yours truly behind the wheel and Admiral Jo at the nav station we made it out of the marina and onto the motorway and decided that we needed fuel and in a hurry. Fuel stations here are in currency, not litres so it is daunting to know how much to put in so the hire car company made a profit this day with all our non-syphonable fuel.
First stop was the Botanical Gardens. The Admiral said to go straight ahead and her protégé in the navigation stakes, Celeste said it was to the left. Being of sounder mind I turned right and proceeded to the gardens and decided to allow the ladies to enjoy the scenery without the onus of looking at maps and road signs. Relief.......... We are directed to park and then asked for money to "look after your car, Monsieur" . We had no change so Celeste offered 50 cents which he refused as "your offering to my most important task would not even buy me a coke so I look after for free, OK?"
The new album shows the pictures of the gardens (and also a fire on the hill above the marina the night before). It just happened to be World Food Day here so the gardens were packed with stalls and we enjoyed some good local curried chicken while my tangled nerves adjusted to the concept that we had only just begun our driving. Next stop was only another 200m down the road at the Model Boat Centre. This is the only one in Mauritius they said, but it was the only one at the Botanical Gardens centre at Pouplemousse with every viallage and town we passed through also having the world famous "Model Boat Centre".
Anyway we headed for the coast and north around the island. There are a lot of gum trees here that were imported to combat the swampy areas and relive the inhabitants of a mozzie problem. It appears to have worked and we lit a dried leaf up and smelled Australia for a little while.
We got sick of the never ending beaches so we zoomed to the windward side and then back across the island to Port Loius where we (read brave driver/navigator) became geographically embarrassed and missed the freeway turnoff and ended up in the back roads and alleys of Little India and Chinatown. "Oh, great god of GPS road nav units, please come to Mauritius!"
Well, we arrived back, no dings in the car; only to the drivers sanity who has vowed to never again try to outdrive the Mauritian bus drivers.
Work continues on the boat to ready ourselves for the coming journey of 1500nm to Richards Bay. We will not go to Ille De Reunion as there is no room there and no anchorages so next Monday we sail.
10/07/2011, Ille Maurice and Captain Kodak
Life at Mauritius
We have been here now for 12 days and will be here at least another 21 as we wait for Keely's birthday celebrations on the 30th and the summer weather patterns to cement themselves for the trip to Richards Bay in South Africa. Life is good with island trips and maintenance jobs. The image is of Maats and Ulla (Hokus Pokus 2) and Marci and Josepth (Horizon) completing Captain Kodak training while at the Grande Baie Yacht Club.
The summer is rapidly approaching and things are beginning to warm up with the wind is gradually changing. As I write a small thunderstorm is building over the mountains and this is a sure sign, along with the s'ly wind that the climate is moving along and well on its way to summer.
We all went on a Top to Top expedition to Blacks River and climbed the mountain and cleaned up the trail on the way back. Even Keely climbed and everyone was very proud of her but we think our climbing days are numbered with sore legs, backs, knees and muscles that I had forgotten existed years ago.
We have a new crew member in Celesta who will travel to South Africa with us and perhaps she will even write some of the blog for us. The cruising community here grows daily with boats from all over the world. Last night Keely was dancing to an Irish Jig on the dock played very capably by an Irish boats crew on the accordian. Nations represented here to date include
Estonia, Canada, USA, Australia (us), New Zealand, England, Mauritius, France, Ireland, Belgium, Nederlands, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Norway, Alaska (USA) and Denmark. We have completely filled the marina and docks and have become a tourist attraction in our own right with many people coming to look at all the different boats and national flags. The poor customs and immigration authorities check every few hours that no-one else has crept into the marina and the security people check as well all day and all night. The customs boat is very flash and looks like something from an American movie and the crew complete with designer sunglasses.
We are all looking forward to seeing South Africa and have planned three inland trips over the next few months. We will travel inland for 2 weeks from Richards Bay and see the major (and less visited) national and game parks and stay at B&B places which are apparently many and varied. WE will hire a 4WD and visit 3 other countries during this trip. The second trip will be through the garden belt of South Africa and the wineries and german settlements. This trip will be from Simonstown and be about one week. The third trip will be from a port in Namibia and take us all the way inland to Victoria Falls and into Zimbabwe before heading back through the desert and diamond country back to the boat and onto St Helena Island.
Hi. have a look at the picture with this article. It is a GRIB file that we download to gain an understanding of weather that we may encounter enroute. The weather map shows that when we would have arrived at Richards Bay in South Africa there would have been a 40 knot southerly breeze. Mix this with the southerly flowing Aghullas Current and there would be extremely rough conditions. This area is where the 100ft waves come from and these rogue waves are generated by exactly the conditions you can see so guess what.........................we will not sail.
So we are now doing all those jobs that need to be done. Renewing lines, checking rigging, refueling, scrubbing the hulls and props, passage planning to the nth degree and servicing what needs to be serviced like the outboard and main engines. We have also made the decision to get some woodwork done in Africa with storage compartment doors and laid decking in the interior of CH. Lifes full of things to be done. It is just nice to have to have the time to do them. Went searching for water filters today and got waylaid in a fishing tackle store. It really makes me wonder how on earth Australia can charge so much for something when we can get it here and elsewhere for a 1/3 of the price. And the GST here is 17%. I am thinking that Australia is a retail rip-off.
Decisions made we will hire a car and have a really good look at Mauritius until the weather improves as summer approaches and the highs move further north. Although to tell you the truth the "highs" have not been too nice to date either with the top part of them being effectively squashed in our area giving us 30 plus knots which is great for sailing but unpleasant for anything else.
Will keep all informed of our departure. Be good...........
Hello, my name is Gillen. I live on a catamaran called "Chaotic Harmony" and we are sailing around the world for now. I come from Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia.
We first met the family of Dario, Sabine, Salina, Andre and Noi from "Top to Top" (http://expedition.toptotop.org/) at Langkawi in Malaysia in November 2010 but since then they have a new baby girl called Alegra. They were visiting schools to tell the dangers of plastic in the water and how it affects the turtles and sea life and collecting the beach rubbish. The kids like to come to my boat to watch DVD's and play games.
We met up with "Top to Top" again at Rodriguez Island in the Indian Ocean and again a few days later at Mauritius where we currently are berthed in a marina together at Port Louis.
Dario asked our family if we wanted to climb a mountain with him and his family on Mauritius and Celesta from "Sogno D'azul" and on Thursday the 22nd September 2011 I climbed my first mountain all the way to the sumit. The mountain is called Mount Le Pouce which means "The Thumb". My family stayed on our boat and did some jobs that needed to be done like the dishes.
Most of the mountain is just walking until we got near the summit where we had to start climbing. The paths are very wide until about half way when they got narrower and became one person only so we had to walk in line.
On the way back down we took out garbage bags and collected as much rubbish as we could. Plastic water bottles, chip packets, paper and tissues were the main bits of rubbish. We got about 5 bags of rubbish from the one trail down.
When we got to a clearing at about the third the way up we went down a different path which took us on a winding trail of thick, dense jungle and eventually led to a place that looks like the Australian bush with eucalyptus and acacia trees.
We walked about 4 kilometers down and through the foothills until we reached the edge of the city and then we got a taxi cab back to the boats at the marina. Selina and Andre fell asleep as we were all very tired from walking and picking up other peoples rubbish.
It was a great day and even the taxi driver that took us to the start of the trail climbed with us all the way. We ate lunch at the summit and even saw about 8 monkeys but they did not get my apple core. I shared my chocolate with Selina and Andre and the taxi driver.
When I got home my feet were white from being wet from the wet grass and I have two big blisters but it was still good fun but tiring so today I am resting.
I think the Top to Top expedition is great and people should not litter our world especially places like Mauritius. The picture is Mt Le Pouce
This is Gillen signing off. Over and Out.