Ainia - read this second
Arrived in Mauritius today after a generally safe and pleasant passage. Before anyone wonders about my nav skills since I said before we were going to the northern tip of Madagascar, read on.
After we left Cocos we spent four days heading towards Madagascar but it was not a pleasant experience. Speeds were not too bad, with runs between 110 and 140 miles but it was not very pleasant since there was a swell from the south along with the wind driven one from almost directly behind. We finally got fed up with and decided to go the conventional route to Mauritius. The sailing was much more comfortable and our runs were in the 150 to 175 range. We first went to Rodrigues Island which is part of the country of Mauritius and about 330 miles east. It is very nice place with incredibly friendly people but little water and basically no economy with a lot of money coming from Mauritius. Apparently people in Rodrigues want to be independent because they think that France really likes them and will invite them to be an overseas territory (hugely subsidized like Reunion, Martinique, etc).
Both islands are fascinating - they were French but taken over by Britain in 1810 and yet both remain quite French in language and culture even though the official language in English, Kids are taught in French but do all their written work in English. The result is that they can read and write English well but often do not speak it well.
Mauritius is totally different from Rodriques. Population is more than a million compared to 40,000. Economy is booming and there are fashionable people, restaurants, a great market etc.
To complete the set = there is a tropical storm to our northeast. Tropical storms can happen in any month in the SW Indian Ocean but there are an average of 3 every ten Octobers and this is still early in the month. They are talking about 55 knots and the storm heading towards us but missing the island by a bit and dissipating as well. If anyone wants to check you can see it on Passageweather.com/ Mauritius is the little island on the right east of Madagascar. Completes the set because on this trip we have had a volcanic eruption, tsunami, earthquake, bush fires, and now this, We will keep an eye on it and if need be move to Reunion which is 130 miles to the west, the yacht harbor there looks like a very cosy spot
Back in the water in Grenada - with new main and #2 and cockpit canvas (Santa came early). Will spend the winter and early spring in the Caribbean and then head to Bermuda and the northeast US. Still trying to decide if we will bring the boat to Canada, either in 2015 or 2016.