19:40S 63:26E Rodrigues

Conor & Marion Wall
Thu 27 Sep 2012 14:54
Hello from Rodrigues
Marion and I and Toucan arrived in Rodrigues on Thursday the 20th September after a very difficult passage from Cocoas. The entrance to the harbour/anchorage at Rodrigues is quite tricky and best to do during daylight. It was just getting light when Rodrigues came into view so by the time we got around the top end of the Island to Port Mathurin we had full daylight. The following day a French catamaran ran on to the reef trying to come in at night time and some damage was done to her hull and rudder but nothing life threatening. Our arrival was gentle and customs formalities were straight forward although there was much signing of paperwork to be done. We had more official visitors on board this day than in any other country so far. Quarantine, Immigration, Customs, Police, Coast Guard and one other official (cant even remember what for). They all had lots of paperwork to be filled out and most of it was just being repeated from the official that was in front. Everyone was polite and friendly and just doing their job but we did think that a lot of government money might be saved if they used a system like most of the world.
The entrance channel to the harbour is just to the left of this photo.
We were greeted the following morning by Patrice who is a friend of Finlay (my brother in law’s brother). Finlay lives in Mauritius and there will be a blog on Mauritius later. Patrice was a fantastic host and gave us a grand tour of the Island and all the attractions and scenic sights. Everyone on the Island seems to know Patrice and he is the most delightful person you can imagine. A well travelled man and a former windsurfing champion with many tales to tell and a mind of information.
Marion and I called him the milk tray man as he was so good at arranging everything.
We had a potentially serious problem on our passage from Cocoas islands to Rodrigues. Approximately half way across (pretty much the middle of the Indian Ocean) our steering suddenly failed. We could turn the wheel freely but there was no movement on the rudder. We thought we were going to have to revert to emergency tiller steering for the rest of the journey. However on investigation I found that one of the rod ends on the steering arm between the quadrant and the wheel had failed and had fallen off. A botch repair was quickly carried out by me to give us temporary steering with the wheel should it be needed. We then switched on the electronic autopilot and this coped and worked very well for the remainder of the trip. Normally I do not use electronic steering, unless motoring, as firstly, it uses a lot of battery power and secondly it is quite slow to react in big seas and is also prone to tripping under extreme loads. On the other hand the automatic wind pilot that works on the back of the boat using only wind and water power to steer the boat is just as effective and never trips due to big loads. This is what we were using when the connecting rod failed. Sorry about all that technical jargon but I felt the need to explain.
Patrice had arranged for a man to fix this when we arrived in Rodrigues and so a better temporary repair was made. He also arranged for my outboard motor to have a full service following an underwater adventure in Cocoas Islands, which I won’t go into detail here, except to say that my laptop also went for a swim during the incident. Hence the delay in putting these blogs together.
So Patrice, if you are reading this blog, a huge thanks for the hospitality that you showed to Marion and me whilst on your Island. I hope some day we can return the hospitality when you next visit our side of the world.
Rodrigues was a real surprise for us. From the moment we landed ‘till the time we left there was nothing that could not be done or was too much trouble. Young and old, everyone with smiles on their faces and none seemed to have a care in the world. We were amazed at how many young people were on the Island all well dressed, well mannered, polite and happy. What more could anyone ask for in an Island community.
This photo is of Fish Island (for obvious reasons) on the East side of Rodrigues.
Never quite understood the history behind the Rodrigues Sausages but this photo was taken of some that were presumably hung out to dry. They certainly tasted nice.
Fishing close to the harbour was a joy to watch.
Not quite the centre of town.
The statue in the centre of the town.
Apparently this Cathedral was built by the Islanders, each bringing one stone. It really is massive for the size of the Island and sits in the centre of the Island. There is a rather long and steep walk from the Port Mathurin up to the cathedral. We drove, thanks to Patrice.
Whilst we were in Australia my sister informed me that one of the extended family members on my brother in law’s side of the family wished to sail with us when we got to Mauritius so plans were made for Jules to meet us in Rodrigues and sail the bit between there and Mauritius. We were delighted to have company on board and so it was that Jules arrived by plane the day before we left Rodrigues. The first thing he did after meeting us and after offloading gifts galore was to go and buy himself a hat. Marion is sporting the new hat in the photo below. Jules had been to Rodrigues on several occasions, Rodrigues being part of Mauritius territory, and he knew several people on the Island so some time was spent visiting friends.
The following day after Jules arrived we were off on the relatively short hop of approximately 36 hours and below you can see the hat being worn again by it’s proper owner.
The catch of the day was a nice Dorade and although not eaten on board due to the time of the catch on arriving at Mauritius, it was eaten by a large number of family members at a later date. More on that in the next issue.
Fine catch Jules and look at the size of the lure. Just goes to show, size doesn’t matter.
A very pleasant short passage and we believe that Jules enjoyed it so much that he is now going to buy the company.
Forgot to tell you we left Rodrigues on my birthday and I got a great send off from everyone there including the French contingent of sailors some of whom also had birthdays about that time.
Thanks one and all.