Firefly arrived in Mauritius at 0430 on Sunday 16th October. We were welcomed into the Caudan Basin in the capital, Port Louis by Victor from Rally Control and Martin and Elizabeth Bevan from Caduceus. Victor provided us with some local rum which was well received after all the stress involved with completing the passage with a seriously damaged mast following the collision with a ship a few days earlier.
As soon as we cleared immigration the crew member who was watch keeper during the incident with the ship left Firefly. Clearly this was a difficult situation but we managed to do things on the best possible terms given the extra ordinary circumstances. Paul then set about getting Firefly repaired with very little knowledge at that stage regarding what was possible in Mauritius.
Fortunately, Mauritius is a surprisingly good place to get damage repaired and the people have a fantastic 'can do' attitude - combined, this meant that the 2 week stay was actually very satisfying despite being hard work and probably a very good way to get 'under the skin' of a country. Good internet was extremely useful to keep communications flowing with our superb insurance company, Admiral and to get information about the way to proceed with the mast in particular - the logic soon established was to undertake a temporary repair here and fit a new mast in Cape Town. From Monday morning onwards there was a continuous stream of contractors and a surveyor visiting Firefly and by the end of the week she was lifted out and the mast un stepped.
Susie had arrived by plane and in amongst organising the boat repairs we managed to make several trips out to see the interior of the Island. Gareth was spending time away from Firefly in a luxury hotel with his wife Jane and we joined them one day for lunch in Paradise Cove. The south of the island is particularly scenic, with a well preserved national park - it is also a kite surfing paradise. We had 2 trips south and Paul kite surfed from the beach at Outrigger Hotel and from the tip of the island at La Morne.
Once Firefly was lifted and work on the hull and equipment started we had to move into an appartment for a week as Firefly was not habitable. We chose one in a town called Flic en Flac enabling Paul to drive into St Louis and Gareth and Susie to be near the beach and diving centre, Gareth, undertaking his Padi diving qualification. Paul and Susie did manage some diving but it was only average and the water quite cool. The mast repair conducted by rigger, Herve Laurent, was a great success with plates being added over the damaged area and the spreaders refitted. Taylor Smith Boatyard co ordinated the lift in and out and arranged for repairs to both hull and equipment. Everything was completed by the 31st October and we left at 1800 direct from the travel lift once we were re launched.
It was a 24 hour trip to Reunion mostly under engine due to very lights winds. Arriving late afternoon the spectacle of the island was impressive. Reunion, part of France and the EU is incredibly steep and rises vertically out of the sea with high peaks and pinnacles. Arriving on the quay we were cheered by the other World ARC crews who had probably not expected Firefly to be continuing on the rally. It was a relatively short stop and we were already a couple of days late arriving. Denis and Sherry treated us to dinner aboard Trillium and the next morning we hired a car and managed 2 days of spectacular sightseeing. On the way back from the second day we picked up our new crew, Victor (whom we met on last years World ARC) and also did our provisioning. The next morning Paul drove Susie to the airport (as she sensibly chose to avoid this passage), dropped of the car and Firefly headed for South Africa with the fleet.