Social season

Tue 30 Oct 2007 03:31

 So having built up expectations of interesting encounters I had better not fail to satisfy even if their

Is only one reader left.   So I shall have to create our situation for you to put you in the picture. We had

Been picked up by a police launch 5 miles offshore at 6 o clock in the morning. During the previous night

Penguin had been clawing itself towards the south of the island to enter through the reef at the south channel

So that we could then sail up through the lagoon to the anchorage. After attaching our tow line the police

Launch then turned back towards the North channel and then towed us for the next 2 hours through the north

Channel eventually casting our tow line off at the main shipping port of Longoni they informed us that we

Would be able to get our engine fixed here and not back at the main town. For the next 10 days Penguin became home to all sorts of Marine life as she hung off the end of her anchor chain. I was kept fully occupied

With my head in the engine compartment, For Niamh and Will they where stuck in the back of nowhere 10miles from the main town. We had arrived on Thursday and England were playing Australia on Saturday,

 I was keen to get a second hand pump installed and get ourselves to town to watch the game. We managed

To get hold of a pump on Friday morning, so hopes were high for a good out come, change the pump over

And all would be well! But no! the Rugby came and went England had beaten Australia for the 2nd time in

A world Cup and we had missed it. That was surely a sad weekend on Penguin Missing a great England

Match and after three days of toil no further forward in our effort to get moving, We had considered sailing

Down to the town inside the reef, but with a lot of coral and very inconsistent winds it was not a sensible

Option. Their was also one further complication it so happened that it was the last week of Ramadan, Taxies

Where very difficult to find and by 6pm their would be none. Things were beginning to get serious England

Would be playing France the following Saturday and I did not want to miss that, we were also 2500 miles

From Cape Town sailing around the Cape without an engine was not high on my wish list. The whole of the

Following week we would be struggling for transport due to Ramadan.  But slowly during the following few

Days things started to fall into place. On the Friday Niamh and Will went into town whilst I was working

On yet another possible replacement pump, Friday Evening they returned having rented the last available Car

In the whole of Mayotte, whatever happened we would get to go to town and watch the match.  We had also

Made friends with the other boats parked in the port area, So our evenings where good fun, and to add Icing

To the cake a new pump was being flown from UK and would be in my procession on Saturday.

  Saturday 13 oct  What a day, to start off not much to do so go for a walk with Niamh,  1300 hrs John from

The beautiful 100year old Schooner delivers pump to Penguin, At 1700 all work stops for the day New Pump

From UK installed now only new Injectors to fit on Monday when workshops opens. Time to get ready to go

To town for the Match, by 2100hrs local time we are all clean and feed and sitting In front of a big Screen

Surrounded by at least 300 French people, was I the only Englishman their? ….  One minute after the start

England score a try, my scream of delight goes out ,,,  oh boy, I am the only Englishman there. Niamh and Will add their bit but both seem a bit reserved, Perhaps they feel that in the unlikely event of an England Win

They wish to get out alive. Their only dilemma is that they are sitting next to the loudest mouth in the southern hemisphere. As for the rest well there`s little to tell as everyone knows the result, The final whistle

Blew the Englishman gave his final shout for joy and 297 Frenchies  sat very quiet and sad their hopes ended.

  So the night Can get no better, or so you think. During the match as we were getting more happy, in the row

Behind sat four beautiful French girls getting more depressed. When the end came the only possible way to lift their obvious disappointment was to hook up with us to go dancing at the bar and let our good spirits lift  and cheer everyone up. So their you have it another Perfect Day in Paradise, at 3o clock Sunday morning

Niamh, Will and I were climbing back aboard Penguin and back to our Bunks, Sleep at last…what a day.

 During Sunday we use the car to see a bit of the Island and take a hike up the northern most mountain, in the

Afternoon we spent hours at the local sailing club trying to get laundry done and again that night we are

The only people in the bar to watch South Africa beat Argentina, it would appear as if the local French had

Lost their appetite for Coup de Monde.

 The Girls turned out to be teachers from France doing a two year contract in Mayotte, They were good

Company having us over for a meal and joining us on Penguin later in the week for a trip out to the reef when

Penguin was back up and running.  In all we stayed in Mayotte for nearly three weeks during which time we

Very rarely ate bye ourselves. We were twice invited to the local Ships Pilots house for a meal, Between us and the other two boats at Longoni and the girls our social calendar was full,  a total contrast from the previous 6months. After wading your way through that hear are the photo’s

Gwenwin Beautiful 100year old schooner built in Portsmouth.


Tuesday the 16th of October everything is complete on the Engine, We have been running my little Honda

Generator to keep the batteries good but we have had no fridge for the last ten days. I am turning the engine

And using WD 40 into the air filter but we are not getting any result something is still wrong.  One final

Phone call to Jerome can you come take a look and see what I have done wrong. Ten minutes later he has

Arranged for the small port tug to tow us to the dock, this would make it easier for him to operate and also

Enable us to get electricity and water from the shore supply. Once again poor Penguin was under tow three

Hundred metres to the dock. An hour later our knight in shinning armour had found my simple mistake sorted it out and we were listening to the sound of a Perkins diesel engine, amazing even noisy smelly engines can bring a feelings of happiness. Penguin would have a working engine to go to SA and we would

Get a fridge, electricity and hot water for showers. Life for the westerners was restored to almost normal.

  The following week was spent mainly anchored in Dzaoudzi catching up with laundry and mail and running

The engine as often as possible getting things in good shape for moving on. We had a further 1500 miles to

Go before Durban their would not be good facilities for repairs in Madagascar although the People are very

Skilled craftsmen their ability to get hold of spare parts would be almost non existent. Penguin would have

To be pretty self sufficient again. Sunday and Monday was spent saying goodbye to our new friends, I found

It interesting that none of them like working in France, but why else would they be in  Mayotte, sunshine, warm sea, Rhythmic Black Male Dancers, Good Salaries ? Surely not.

 Mayotte was a destination I had not even heard off before we bump into a French Cruising family in the Seychelles our unexpected visit there had turned into one of the highlights of the trip from NZ, our favourite

Saying on Penguin is “ It`s being in the Wright place at the wright time”. We certainly did that with Mayotte

Chance is a very interesting friend. The final weekend was spent watching France get beaten again by Argentina and England Put up a brave fight against The all Conquering South African`s,  So it was not only

The French Girls sad by the end of the weekend. Tuesday morning we got our Port clearance bought 4 baguette and it was time to go. An evening being entertained on the schooner Dwynwn.


Prince William and Entourage.           Below   Could only be French.

I know most of you will be in a state of shock at the rate with which these web diaries are appearing but all

We get to do is sit on are arses all day so might as well sit with a computer in front of me and give one finger

Some exercise. Je Blag… ha ha  no the real reason  is to modify the dates on my previous passage plan. This

Now should be pretty much set so you can make any plans around these dates and places. We have one passage taken but there are still lots to fill. Cheers Rob.

Routes  South Africa to Lymington.


Passage                           Distance   Passage Time    Allowed               Date dept   Expt Date arrive

Cape Town to Salvador





12 march  



Salvador to Cape Verde






Cape Verde to Cannaries






Cannaries to Azores



18 days



Azores to Porto






Porto to Rio Mouro





2 june

Rio M to Cork