Rodrigues to Mauritius Day 2 - Arrival in Port Louis, Mauritius
Position 20:09.593 S 057:30.039 E
Date 1040 (UTC+4) Thursday 26 May 2016
Distance run in 22hrs 40mins 158nm over the ground, 147nm through the water
Trip total 350nm over the ground, 328nm through the water
Trip time 2 days 1 hour 40 mins
Average speed 7.04kts over the ground 6.60 through the water
Arrived Port Louis, Mauritius
Route distance 346nm as originally planned
The real averages were somewhat better than the figures suggest as we took a long time getting to the Customs Dock as we waited a for a rain squall to go over and we had been deliberately keeping the speed down so that we arrived at the landfall in good daylight.
The lights of the east coast of Mauritius came up at 0500, an hour or so before first light and by the time we were passing through the Quoin Channel, between the northern tip of Mauritius and the island of Gunner’s Quoin it was 0800.
Gunner’s Quoin Island from the south as we pass by
The Quoin Channel is marked on the chart as having overfalls on the flood tide. We passed through on the ebb tide, or at least so far as high water at Port Louis is shown on the tide tables, and had a smooth transit. With a guaranteed daylight arrival, with the wind now nicely forward of the beam and with smooth seas in the lee of the island we were able to let the boat go and had a great last couple of hours reaching between 8 and 9 knots. We finally entered the Port Louis Harbour at 1010 and hang around whilst a rain squall passed through.
Finding the Customs Wharf, or at least where the Customs wish you to moor for clearance could be a problem however armed with a Lat/Long and for once electronic charts that were accurate. The description that the Customs Wharf is crowded with coastguard boats and local water taxis is correct and you actually moor by the side of a café, attaching warps to the railings and stone lamp standards. The position of Caduceus on this entry is that mooring and as shown on the following photograph. A good landmark is a derelict red brick granary building which is just to the left of the Customs Dock and the “Digital Arch”.
Moored just around the corner from the Customs Dock
We were advised that if you called the Coastguard they would send some chaps round to help with lines and that worked well with four guys ready and waiting for us.
Clearing in was a bit of a mystery. Customs informed the Immigration Officer who despite repeat calls still had not appeared two hours later. A further call revealed that he was snowed under with an oil rig offloading 80 workers and taking on 80 new ones. The answer was to take a water taxi across the harbour and beard him in his lair which is in the ground floor of the tower like building to the right of the silos in the photograph. En route I came across the Health and Sanitation Officer and after a brief chat he took our phone number and went on his way happily with no forms to fill in. Returning to the Customs Officer he looked at the paperwork from Rodrigues and said that there was nothing extra to do. There remained the Port Control, next to the Customs Office; this required the expected forms which are designed for merchant shipping. And that was that; it took some time but bore no resemblance to the experiences of yachts arriving last year from Rodrigues. It will be of interest to see how Flomaida are treated when they arrive on Monday.
The next challenge was getting into the Le Caudan Marina. After trying VHF 16 and the telephone number given, neither of which was answered, the Port Control advised that you just had to turn up and sort yourself out which is what we did. The marina is essentially part of a well administered car park. It has concrete walls with a 2 foot capping that is designed to destroy either topsides or fenders or both. On a positive side there are lots of stainless steel hoops to attach lines. At this stage we are not sure of it is a suitable place to leave the boat for a protracted period and we are examining other options.
Le Caudan Marina