ARRIVAL IN RODRIGUEZ ISLAND
22 September 2011 | Port Mathurin, Rodriguez Island
After 14 days, I finally arrived in Rodriguez Island yesterday. I have to say, that the crossing was rough and tested my resolve at many points - and that opinion is shared by all sailors that did it during this time. As it turns out, there are about 6 boats making the crossing now, all with final destination: South Africa.
Yesterday's day break saw me indecisive as to whether I wanted to stop at Rodriguez or continue on to Mauritius. But a weary feeling finally led me at 9 AM to swerve north, put up as much sail as I could, go as fast as I could and head for the anchorage here....which had to be accomplished by dark....otherwise a long night outside in the rough ocean waiting for daybreak. Shearwater came through underscoring her strong suit...when you need speed, as I did yesterday, she is hard to beat. This may come into play in the most dangerous part of the voyage - its coming up...closing in on S Africa and then of course rounding the cape.
The entrance to this Port Mathurin was a bit of a nail biter...the electronic charts(maps) that I use, as do many others, were completely inaccurate for this islands approach. That is to say, that the map's positioning of buoys, reefs and land is not, in fact, where all those entities are, as confirmed by GPS. (For those of us with GPS in our cars, it would be similar to having the GPS tell us to go through rivers, ponds, buildings and mountains on our way to our destination-that, in fact, being the correct path....but... the map on which it is superimposed is wrong.) But with a few accurate GPS waypoints entered into the chartplotter one simply had to accept a position of blindness, ignore the hazards as the MAP presented them and go from one waypoint to the other - trust your GPS instruments!
Then it was to the big concrete wall/pier and the wait for customs and, while waiting, I learnt that my timing was not the best as the next morning comes the once-weekly cargo vessel that berths at that wall and needs the full harbor to maneuver in. So dutifully at 6 AM all yachts left the harbor....back out to sea...and returned after the ship was safely secured. And tomorrow, no one is sure if we must repeat this little dance when the ship leaves.
But the day is setting, its peaceful in the harbor and Shearwater is quiet. And slowly I unwind.