Mauritius 20th/21stOct07

Mauritius

Had a lovely final sail down towards Pt Louis from the north of the island in bright sunshine. I took the pole down & was able to broad reach for a few relaxing hours until needing to get ready for the port entrance. I didn't have too much trouble finding the markers for the beginning of the channel in towards the Customs quay, took the sails down & contacted Port Control, for the second time, on the radio. When I saw the high, unfriendly quayside, I was happy that two cruisers had come to help
me by taking my lines - it would have been difficult to manage tying up by myself to the few rings high up, especially with the offshore wind. As it was, I managed to manoevre close to the wall & pass my lines up to them, before using one of the big tyres hanging there to climb up the quay.

Five o'clock on a Saturday evening was perfect timing for the most speedy filling in of forms I've ever encountered1!! Quarantine, Customs, Immigration, Port Authority.... lots of forms - but also lots of help from the officials to fill them in quickly. So I was able to move over within twenty minutes to the marina dock nearby (another concrete wall!) where there were a few more forms to fill in at the office- all was completed & I was settled in by twenty to six - amazing!! Then it was a sociable
Saturday evening get-together for the crews of five boats (3 of us single-handers). Two were boats I'd spoken to on our 'Cocos' Net but not previously met face to face. Unfortunately, while we were chatting, some lads came by & kicked some of our sandals off the dockside & into the water - my favourite, comfortable Reefs included... we retrieved one sandal but mine had disappeared from sight... Later, some of us went over to a nearby bar/restaurant for the England/S.Africa Rugby World Cup final
- no (allowable) tries and all the score coming from penalties - but a very all-out, hard-fought game. Pity we lost.... Late to bed.... & late up next morning - but it was Sunday....

Sunday 21st Oct

Had a lovely long shower, using heaps of water!!! Then warped the boat along the quay so it was beside a power point before setting off to explore a bit - Mauritius is quite different from Rodrigues in that it's larger, far more up-scale & they've recently developed the harbour area - so there are lots of 'eateries' of all kinds & shops selling a wide variety of goods, as well as supermarkets to complement the street and public (indoor) markets. I wandered up Farquar Street crowded with street
vendors - fruit, veg, DVDs, clothing, shoes... & finally crossed over to the big bus terminal before coming back via the Post Office and an Internet place - with a fast connection - wonder of wonders!!

When I got back to the boat, I gathered that one of my sandals was floating in the water nearby - we managed to retrieve it with a boathook - but so far, no sign of the other. The rest of the afternoon was spent tidying the boat & sorting out a shorepower problem (turned out the cable & plug were corroded) before we all got together for more socialising - on "Nereida" this time. To wrap up the evening, I went for dinner with a couple of others, on the way, passing a live jazz band - an excellent
dancing opportunity... but no-one was dancing! I soon had a little girl for a dancing partner - we had a great time and I later chatted to her Mauritian parents. After dinner, as we were walking back to the boats, there was a marquee with the sound of music coming from it - an Urdu group from N. India were performing excellent, lively songs with accompaniment to a very enthusiastic audience - great stuff!! Mauritius has many people of Indian origin whose forbears were brought to the island as
indentured labour to work the sugar-cane plantations after the slaves originally working them were set free - & transported to Rodrigues...

Written by : Mike

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