Mauritius to South Africa 1
Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Thu 18 Oct 2012 15:37
The fourth leg of our Indian Ocean crossing began amidst moderate tension. The first tropical storm of the season, cyclone Anaïs, was centred near Diego Garcia and moving west. As we prepared to leave the island the talk among Mauritians was of the approaching cyclone but the professionals were saying that it would fill and weaken as it came west. Our route lay to the south, away from any potential trouble. We were unanimous in deciding to sail but it merited some thought; we had never before sailed when there was a cyclone about. In the end the storm turned out to be a damp squib, petering out well before it reached Mauritius and we have been suffering from lack of wind rather than too much.
We motored down to Port Louis to clear out and finally left the harbour about 1600. Since then it has been a passage of mixed fortunes, and there is a long way still to go. The first 36 hours included some fine sailing but then the wind dropped and it has been difficult to keep the sails filled and the boat moving at reasonable speed. Last night we motored but conditions have improved a little and we are now pottering along at about four to five knots.
Yesterday evening I detected a further spot of trouble with the holding tank and that rather took the edge off the night’s restful slumber. However, in the bright new dawn, and furnished with Jim’s newly devised special tool we tackled the nightmare and it turned out well. All was soon running smoothly again.
Then, as a justified reward, Jim caught a fish. And not just any old fish but a fine big mahi mahi, a handsome creature and very fine eating. Lunch was quietly triumphant. Jim well deserved his success because he has been persistent in his application and has tried every combination of line and lure. It was a little disappointing that in the end such a handsome beast should be deceived by a horrible pink plastic “squid”.
Now we are waiting for advice. In a few hours Commanders’ Weather will deliver their latest forecast and recommendations on routing. We are nearing the latitude of the southern tip of Madagascar and a decision has to be taken whether to carry on for another 300 miles south-west or to turn west soon and pass fairly close to land. It all depends on what is brewing far to the south. In the meantime we jog along quietly.
We have travelled 450 miles and have about 1000 still to go, dependent on the final route.