Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Mon 15 Oct 2012 04:55
It appears that the best kept secret in Mauritius is the Grand Baie Yacht Club. There are several of our cruising acquaintances about, including four anchored in this bay, but they do not take advantage of the facilities available at the Club. We cannot understand why. Over the past week we have been well fed and watered, entertained by competitive racing, have re-provisioned and had our diesel tanks filled, always a comfort when starting a long passage.
The forecasters at Commanders’ Weather Corporation of the USA, say that the first week of our forthcoming passage “looks good” so we are preparing to check out later today although there is a tropical storm to the north-east. It should not interfere with us but we are keeping an eye on its progress west and will take a last-minute decision in an hour or two. Our planned route takes us to Richards Bay, a large port 90 miles north of Durban, via way-points south- east of La Reunion and about 150 miles south of Madagascar. We aim to avoid the shallower water south of Madagascar and to cross the Agulhas current at its narrowest part. We shall keep Commanders’ informed of our position each day and be ready to vary our speed and course during the later stages if necessary to avoid meeting a “southerly buster” whilst we are in the fast-flowing, south going current.
As usual we have had a few jobs to do and one that was most unwelcome involved a leaking extract pump and total blockage at the bottom of a “black water” holding tank, which was brim full with 72 litres. I will not attempt to describe what we had to do, the horror of it was.....indescribable. Suffice to say that the masterstroke devised to deal with the crisis was thought up by Jim and involved the use of nuclear duct tape. Regular and fair-minded readers will allow that I foresaw back in May that it was just this combination that would dig us out of our nastiest holes. As a reward to himself Jim has taken time off to fulfill a long-term desire and have a traditional RN “fouled anchor” tattooed on his left bicep. It looks very smart and tasteful.
A shore party is planning a short expedition when the shops open, then when there is sufficient rise in the tide to leave this bay safely we shall head south to Port Louis to check out. We hope to be clear of the island by late afternoon. The passage should take us 10 to 12 days.