Cocos and Keeling to Mauritius

The longest leg of the journey across the Indian Ocean.  2400nm of open ocean.  Nothing to speak of between us and Mauritius with the exception of Rodriguez, about 350nm east of our destination.  2400nm of SE trade winds blowing at 15 to 25 knots.  Around two weeks of solitude. Two weeks of routine, two weeks of wind, sunshine and sea life.  Turns out we never saw a single dolphin, turtle or whale.  We did, however, catch a nice Mahi Mahi that we enjoyed eating over the course of about 10 days.  It provided us with at least 7 good meals.  On this leg of the trip we ate like kings.  We had the restaurant on Cocos and Keeling provide about five Malaysian meals for us.  In Darwin we also got some catering done for us by a Portuguese Take-away near the marina.  The sailing was great and we had about a 7.5 knot average until with hit Rodriguez where, with 350nm to go, the SE Trade Winds blew out and we had nothing.  We had to have patience and the last 350nm that should have taken us two days took us a painful 4 days with no wind or wind directly from the north of Mauritius (exactly where we needed to go).  After 3 days of motoring or motor-sailing we made it into Port St Louis in Mauritius.  Three hours and a bunch of unnecessary commercial shipping related paperwork later we had cleared in.  We spent the first evening on the customs dock ahead of a dismasted World ARC catamaran.  The cat lost it’s mast about 500nm from Cocos and Keeling and motored the remaining 1000nm to Mauritius.  The following day we found a berth in the marina after all of the ARC boats had left.  As usual it was good to have our feet on land again (even though the land was still moving underneath them) and to have a hot shower and of course a cold beer.  Port St Louis is a bustling city with a very modern port area with lots of nice shops, restaurants and bars.  Across the main street the ‘real’ Port St Louis exists with an amazing covered market full of fruit and vegetables, spices, woven bags and plenty of character.  Walking around in this place was one of the highlights of the island.  The meat market was also an eye opener!  We met lots of new yachties and also some of our old friends from the ARC again and explored the island.  The roads on Mauritius are in dire need of repair and the traffic is very heavy which makes getting around the island a slow affair.  We visited the Grand Basin which is a Hindu holy site.  I guess you need to be a Hindu to fully appreciate the greatness of the site.  Not being a Hindu I found it somewhat overrated.  We visited some nice waterfalls and beaches on the south side of the island as well as a town that is renowned for model boat building.  After 5 days in Mauritius we said goodbye (also to Scott who had to be back in Asia) and so Loic and I set off for La Reunion in the early evening of 2 November, after sitting through a huge afternoon easterly wind which bought with it a substantial dust storm.

Plotting the daily fix across the Indian Ocean
Sunrise with Loic and Mike
Storm over Mauritius
Loic avoiding a wave
Approaching Port St. Louis
Caudan Waterfront – Port St. Louis
Central Market – Port St. Louis
Central Market – Port St. Louis
Spices in Central Market – Port St. Louis
Local Meats in the Central Market – Port St. Louis
Monkey Business at Grand Basin – Mauritius
Rochester Falls – Mauritius
Gris Gris – Mauritius
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