Approaching Mauritius

Tonight is our third and final (barring surprises) night of this hop from Rodrigues to Mauritius. The passage has been pleasantly uneventful. We had a steady 20 knots for the first half, and we did an easy 6 knots with just the jib. Today the wind went lighter, and we flew our small spinnaker. Tonight the wind has nearly died, as predicted, and we are motoring — probably for the remaining 80 miles. Easy going. Beautiful night sky.

It makes one think, this being our last night at sea. Tomorrow we will be clearing in and getting settled. Then TC’s priority will be to get on a plane and be gone. Tim will have a week to help with boat tasks, and then he’ll be gone. I have another 3 weeks to deal with boat tasks, and then I’ll be gone. I won’t spend another night at sea for two and a half months. For Tim it will be over 6 months.

Mauritius is a major stop on our map. I consider it the two-thirds point of the circumnavigation. Eight time zones away from home. About 127 degrees of longitude. I look forward to taking a break — a summer in Maine. Following that will be an exciting adventure, getting to Africa and around the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Town. And from there it feels like a walk in the park back to familiar waters. (I may have to eat these words later!)

The most uncertain moment of this hop was actually a crew thing, and it occurred an hour before we cleared out with the authorities in Rodrigues. I should have seen it coming… It started three days before on our island tour by minibus. We were all piling back into the bus after a stop. Tim was climbing into the back as TC got in the front and closed his door…on Tim’s hand. Tim made a lot of noise about it, though he wasn’t really hurt. I’m not certain if TC even knew it happened. Probably he did, and he decided it wasn’t his problem that Tim put his hand somewhere that it shouldn’t have been. He said nothing. The incident seemed to pass, but it came up again a day later — Tim saying to someone else how there was no contrition on TC’s part. At this point I should have seen the similarity to what happened a year ago with Bill. But I let it pass.

As we prepared to leave, Chris dinghied over from Tom Tom to say goodbye, and he jokingly brought up a sensitive topic, asking who signs the papers for the authorities — who is really the captain…? While I was responding that it was purely a matter of convenience that I sign the papers, TC apparently was making comments about my being the real captain, and something disparaging that I didn’t catch about Tim being old. Chris departs, I go below, and then I hear Tim shouting at TC…repeatedly calling him an asshole…and adding that he understands why women don’t stick around with him… I hold my breath wondering what happens next. TC is hurrying silently to his cabin. After a minute I sneak a peek in his direction. He appears to be packing his gear! Oh boy! It’s not that we need him to get to Mauritius, but we have assured the police and immigrations that we are departing with the same crew that arrived. We won’t be allowed to leave without him until he purchases a plane ticket out of the country. Plus, I will be stuck with the aftermath…Tim’s one-sided story, starting with the hand in the door and no contrition.

I wait a few minutes, hoping everyone is cooling off. Then to the pilothouse where Tim is, and ask what happened. He vents, and he seems to relax some about it. Then I stick my head into TC’s cabin, and suggest that he ask Tim what set him off. To my surprise and relief, he cheerfully says that he will. A few minutes later I hear him going up and saying, “Can we clear the air?” And we all get through it. I didn’t hear any “contrition” about the car door though, so that may come up again. But the two of them seem to have gotten on well for the past three days. So many aspects to sailing…

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Someone asked a question about the boats I’ve mentioned, that aren’t in the BPO rally: Gaia, On Verra, Tom Tom, Convivia, and others. Sailors tend to form their own “rally” when not in a formal one (or when the formal one has only two boats in the vicinity). A radio “net” started, as several boats agreed on a time and frequency for staying in communication. Others hear of the net, and join. A “net controller” volunteers to coordinate the radio traffic, which gets tricky as the boats fan out, and some cannot hear others. When boats check in, they report their position plus course, speed and wind conditions. And when someone could be in trouble, like Tom Tom with a broken forestay (and Gaia’s autopilot and engine both failed), everyone looks to see if they can assist. There are about a dozen boats currently tuning in to the “Indian Ocean South Net.” We are the furthest west of the lot; the first to Mauritius. So we will be letting the rest know what we encounter regarding formalities, mooring, etc.

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A common question is what do I do to pass the time on a long passage. My answer has usually been that I love to just watch the waves roll by and enjoy my surroundings. But not so going across the Indian Ocean. A small dose of the waves was enough, and we generally wanted to stay inside the pilothouse. I read five thriller/mystery novels (probably as many as I’ve read in the rest of my life)! They became my “drug” to transport me to another world.

3 thoughts on “Approaching Mauritius”

  1. It’s unfortunate, but you have to expect these types of controversies, especially for the amount of time and close quarters you have shared. I hope this doesn’t ruin what seems to have been a great adventure so far. I have enjoyed all of your posts and pics! Safe voyage!

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  2. Zeke, What band, frequency and time is your net? I’m assuming it’s on SSB. Just wondering if it’s on a band we radio amateurs could pick-up in the states. Tnx, Ken

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