Blue Pearl - Overdue
We just departed Le Port de Plaisance on the French Island of La
Reunion in the Indian Ocean. It has been much too long since I last
updated you but here we go. La Reunion is an absolutely beautiful place.
If you are still working on your retirement plans, take some French
lessons and move to this little Island. I know you will like it. Hats
off to the French, in contrast to some other countries I know, they
treat their overseas territories in exactly the same way as the
"departments" in mainland France and the results are there to prove the
point. A very well functioning infra-structure, an economy that seems
the work, excellent shopping and all the services that are typically
available in first world countries. We spent just over a week here and
enjoyed every minute of it.
Of course we were in a good mood arriving in La Reunion from the Island
of Mauritius as it turned out that Blue Pearl was the winning boat for
this leg of the rally. We have chalked up two wins now and aren't done
yet..!. Mauritius is an independent Island occupied in sequence by the
Dutch, who gave the Island its name, the French and then the British.
Imagine how confusing that must have been for the locals. They should
have stayed with the French, the Brits pushed the French out, as they
would have been much better off today. They are trying though. There is
a lot of tourism and many forward looking developments, there is still a
lot of poverty also, though. They are pretty smart people there. They
grow a lot of sugar cane of different varieties, sell all of it overseas
and for their own needs import sugar from elsewhere at a lower cost.
Part of the country of Mauritius is the Island of Rodrigues where we
were not scheduled to go but ended up as part of a rescue at sea
mission. Karen Slater , crew member on rally yacht Aranui , took a
tumble in some stormy weather, fell on her back and head and ended up
having to be evacuated by the Mauritius Coast Guard on their 235ft
vessel called Barracuda. If you are on Face Book go to Ruud Bosman,
scroll down and you will find some video footage of the rescue
operation. Quite spectacular. The Barracuda took Karen to the island of
Rodrigues where we diverted to to provide Karen with support and TLC
ashore. Fortunately she is doing well now and has returned home to
England where she is recovering from her scary ordeal. We expect to see
her back in Cape Town.
This unscheduled diversion interrupted our crossing of the Indian Ocean.
The planned passage from Cocos Keeling to Mauritius was about 2350nm's,
we added some distance and time because of our stop in and arrived in
Mauritius a few days later than planned. We also, like the rest of the
fleet, encountered some pretty strong winds (30-35knots) and big swells
of around 15ft. Blue Pearl handles this kind of weather well , we just
reef down and enjoy the ride. It is hard to stand on your feet though...!
We are now underway to South Africa. Our first stop there is the harbor
town of Richard's Bay and from there we proceed to Cape Town. We will be
in South Africa for a nice long period. Laurie is flying in and we have
planned several exciting trips including a safari in the Kalahari
desert. Your captain is looking forward to some "luxury" time ashore.
And maybe Laurie will stay on the boat for our crossing of the South
Atlantic ocean to St Helena and Brazil..!