Au revoir, Rodrigues

Wed 13 Jun 2012 08:43
Wednesday, 13th June 2012
Position 19:41.5S 61:47.7E
Left Rodrigues last night, as a brief fine weather window has appeared. Today is perfect on the ocean, blue sky, reasonable typing conditions, though one finger only, and very good speed in F5 winds. Tomorrow it all comes back again, for another two weeks, so a number of boats went out yesterday, I was last. The sharp guys will be in Mauritius before the weather breaks, but then they didn't get to do the East coast beach walk yesterday, which was great.
Rodrigues was really excellent: European summer climate, very safe environment, very friendly and helpful locals, and a good infrastructure, especially buses, to explore the Island. Pretty though not absolutely stunning scenary, hardly any mossies. Good eating places, and a great fresh food market, though most surprisingly, no fresh fish! Delighted to find friends Peter and Cathy from Leto, who I last saw in Langkawi two years ago. They have done the West coast of Sumatra, real sailors! Saturday night everyone went to the Marmite for supper, seperate tables for the French and English, but convivial, and much banter. Discovered that marmite is not just a sticky spread currently making a fortune for John Lewis, but is a French cooking pot.The main town, Port Mathurin, is just a small grid of shops and houses, but just about everythig is available here. And goodness, a branch of Barclays Bank that had the grace to accept my previously blocked credit card: so now I am solvent again.
For the young there is excellent kite surfing, for the rest of us, walking. There are many footpaths.The trailheads are up in the mountains, and you take a bus up, and walk down to, and along the coast till you see another bus which always stops, and takes you back to Port. I did the Trou d'argent (it is a pirate beach, with buried treasure of course) yesterday, and the day before the Baladirou treck which was quite a scramble down a very steep ravine, and consisted largly of rock hopping in the dry river bed. The walks are 10 km or so, and despite their downhill nature, are good exercise for my ship softened legs. They are also an exercise in orienteering, as there are precious few trail marks, and the written blurb is completely unhelpful: They prefer that you take a local guide of course, but not my scene. I followed one quite hopeful looking pathway for4 a mile or so, only to discover that it was a pig track: but even the pigs were friendly, though poor with their directions!
The local dish is octopus: and quite delicious, they do it in all sorts of sauces, and though a bit chewey, they get a much better flavour and texture than we have ever managed at home: Definitely something for me to try at home, once I have perfected my rye bread. So could have stayed for a month or more, and everyone says that once you have been to Rodrigues, Mauritius itself is allways second best. But that is where I may be able to lay up until the Northern Winter, so need to press on.
Shipwise, I have made some progress with my leak problem. One of the Stbd bulkheads has become soaked with water from a leaking limber hole: just the same problem that arose last year on the other side of the boat. A patch of epoxy soaked acrylic canvas over the crack seems to have contained the port side problem, so I have tried the same trick on the starboard side, it would be great if that will get us dryly back to the UK, as a definitive repair is a big job. Sad to say goodby to my LED headlamp, which has seen me through many midnight adventures on board, but which I now recall leaving on a seatback in the Marmite. If there is a problem during the rest of this trip it will be the torch between the teeth trick, at least that one stops you swearing too much!