Multi-coloured earth

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 17 Oct 2010 08:31

When the coast guards came on board the day that we arrived, we spoke to
them of the news that we had received, concerning the fishing boat being
attacked by pirates, while we were still on passage to Mauritius. They
thought that the problem had been mutiny, not piracy and that they were
expecting the fishing boat to arrive in port that day. They told us that the
captains on some of the fishing boats beat their crew and treated them very
badly. As in most things, the captain had one tale to tell, the crew another
Monday 11th October and all the boats except Basia have now arrived. Basia
left Cocos Keeling 5 days later than the rest of the fleet so won't be here
for another week.
A lot of the boats have suffered damage in one way or another, a lost
spinnaker pole, a damaged sail, a lost life-raft etc. Most discovered leaks
that they had never had before. I guess that with the state of the sea for
such a prolonged period, it was inevitable. Most of us have previously
suffered worse conditions but for a considerably lesser time.
Tucanon has set a precedent. As the first boat to arrive at the destination,
we invited the crews from the other boats, as they arrived, to come aboard
that evening for cocktails. After four nights partying we were feeling a
little jaded but nonetheless, still managed to have a brilliant time when we
joined a group of other folks onboard one of the other WARC boats, for
drinks and supper on the fifth night.
To our amazement, the fresh produce which we obtained in Cocos Keeling,
despite having been waiting for us for 6 days before the official start of
the leg, lasted the duration of the passage. We gave back 10 pears and 4
avocados while still in the shop as they were already past their best but
the rest did well. Four tomatoes deteriorated somewhat but I still managed
to utilize them, one satsuma had to be thrown away and the carrots performed
as usual. Carrots, once chilled do not keep very well but are an excellent
colorful addition to a salad or cooked as a vegetable.
Each day there seems to be another job to tackle. We have washed as many
lines and ropes as possible and cleaned all the clutches and blocks. The
boat has been washed and the rib cleaned. All the cushion covers, both
inside and outside have been washed, as have the curtains. Even the interior
of the boat has been scrubbed clean of mould, which loved the closed up
conditions we had to sail under to reach Mauritius.
The marina has most magnanimously accommodated us in the inner basin,
complete with electricity and water, at no charge. Due to the lack of space,
it has been necessary to raft the boats in twos. The catamarans, already two
hulls wide are not rafted.
Seventeen of the nineteen boats moored here are dressed over all. The only
reason that one of the other boats is not dressed over all is because when
they raised their flags, the wind generator managed to chew them up.
We walked through the modern precinct out of the marina, through the
underpass, to reach the town of St Louis. Although there are a number of
modern shops in the town, most are small and of a Caribbean or Creole
flavour. There are a great many market stalls along the streets as well as
individuals offering goods for sale from a small patch in the road or the
pavement. Some of the vendors are holding their wares, as they stand on or
near the pavement, touting for sales.
There is an enormous under-cover fruit and vegetable market and next door, a
meat market with four separate doors, each with a sign outside displaying
"Beef", "Pork", "Poultry", "Goat".
Bev has started to hold yoga classes each morning at 9.30, in a room just
above the rally control office. Surprise, surprise! Her parents arrived out
of the blur. Rally control had been liaising with them but Bev wasn't aware
that they were coming until they were in the port.
Steven from A Lady has a kidney stone and was whisked off to hospital for an
operation. Jolly lucky that it didn't manifest itself until he had arrived
We shared a mini-bus with David and Susan from Voyageur and John and Jenny
from Tzigane and visited a number of places of interest. This included the
multi-coloured earth, where we also admired the giant tortoises, the
waterfalls and the rum distillery at Chamarel. The Rhumerie de Chamarel has
only been in production for two years and everything was in perfect
condition, hardly looking as though it worked for a living. At the end of
the tour of the factory, we tasted eight different rums and then a rum based
cocktail before adjourning for lunch. We were able to take lots of
photographs of the mountains with their domed and peaked summits, paddled in
the water off the sandy beach at Flic en Flac. We visited the water-filled
volcanic crater of Grand Bassin, dotted with shrines, where a 32metre statue
of the Hindu god Shri Mangal Mahadev stands. The lake is called Ganga Talao
(Ganges lake), as it is believed that the waters are linked to the River
Ganges, in India. The sweet perfume of incense filled the air. We stopped to
view Alexandra waterfall and drank a cocktail of freshly squeezed exotic
A great but exhausting day out.

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