Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chagos, a gorgeous deserted atoll 

The dinghy with it's new cover in the idyllic tropical waters of Chagos. 
The first island we circumnavigated, the anchorage is in the background. 
Some flotsam I found on the windward side of the island, some poor fisherman is getting sun burnt!
What's left of the church's stained glass window. 
Disturbing the noddy's on their sand spit after circumnavigation # 4. 

The Black Rose, an 80 foot catamaran came to grief upon a reef.

Barry up to his thighs in water recycling bit and pieces off of  Black Rose. 
Cruisers never miss an opportunity for a book swap, I must admit this is the most exotic location where I have attended one!

Pictures of our trip from Sri Lanka to Chagos

When you see this on the horizon, it's time to reef. U...G....L.....Y
Buns will still rise when cooked at a 15 degree heel. 

Barry checking the prop for barnacles enroute on a very calm day.

This bobby was a bit stunned, we think she damaged herself when she hit the wind generator. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

We are enjoying our time here in Rodrigues. ( I am having internet issues so I am depending on my faithful brother to post this for me.) We anchored outside the main harbour when we arrived last Saturday evening. We went through the pass with the last of the fading daylight and dropped the anchor in the dark.

The next morning after we had negotiated the pass to the protected inner harbour we tied up at the big concrete jetty for the officials to check us into the country. One of our fellow cruisers showed up with a baguette for us and it was still warm, absolutely delicious.

I have a long list of boat chores for us to do but we have still managed to do some exploring. The other day we bought a map of hikes around the island and set off with Brian and Dorothy from Tagish. I thing we found the beginning of the path but must have lost it along the way.
We meandered back and forth across a small dry creek and then clamoured up the hill side. Dorothy found a ripe guava on the ground and we munched away enjoying the beautiful countryside. We kind of ended up where we thought we should be. We took the road back down stopping along the way for a snack of brie on baguettes. I don't think it gets much better than that.

Hopefully I will get my internet access sorted out and I can put more pictures on the blog.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ann and Barry are safely in Rodriguez

Friday, May 11, 2012

Well we are having to deal with what the Southern Indian Ocean is throwing at us, 3 meter waves and winds in the 20 knot range with gusts up to 28.  We are down to a triple reefed main and our storm staysail so very little sail out and still going 6.5 to 7 knots. If we go all out we could make landfall in Rodriguez tomorrow at dusk but Barry is worried about stressing the boat so we will probably be about 10 miles out at nightfall, D@#*! It would be nice not to have to spend another night at sea in big waves, close to land and possibly fish boats. We had a scare yesterday when our staysail stay came loose.  The pin had come out and bent the deck fitting. We took down the staysail and Barry managed to fix it with a long bolt through the crooked piece of stainless steel.  It seems to be holding out quite well.   I am nibbling on a piece of chocolate, we have managed to stretch it out and we have about 6 squares left for tomorrow night.  We ate the last of the canned fruit today, the only cans we have left are tomatoes, kidney beans, corn, a couple tins of soup and some tuna.  It would have been pretty slim pickings if we had stayed another 2 weeks in Chagos. I think I had calculated for a month stay and forgot about the 3 weeks plus of sailing we had to do from Sri Lanka to Rodriguez. I am thinking mangoes, bananas, fresh tomatoes, lettuce and ice cream, YUMMMMM!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Our crossing is going very well so far (touch wood).  Today we put the spinnaker up at 0900 and flew it until 0100 and then we had a perfect takedown while bathed in moonlight.  The moon is just past full so we have it for most of the night, it gets up about an hour later each night.  We left just before the full moon so have enjoyed it's beauty and light for most of the night hours.  I watched it come up the other night, how come I don't remember watching a moon rise in Yellowknife. In the dead dark of the open sea when it rises it lights up the eastern sky, just as a sunrise might. Then the large glowing yellowy orange orb rises and lights up the sky.  There is a planet, either Venus or Mars which shines brightly on the western horizon every night.  Before the moon comes up, the starlight bounces off the waves, it has amazing light. When the spinnaker was flying in the dark our nav lights shone on it from the top of the mast.  It was flying on the starboard side which meant it glowed green as it billowed out around the reefed main, magic! The other night I was down below checking on navigation on the computer when I heard a weird noise in the cockpit.  I looked out and there was a stunned looking boobie sitting in the cockpit.  I think it must have been hit by the wind generator as it tried to land on the solar panels.  I took a picture and it didn't move.  I was trying to figure out how to get it out of the cockpit without getting attacked by it's very sharp bill when Barry got up.  After putting on a pair of gloves he just lifted up the cushion and dumped it overboard.  There was a little blood on the cushions, I hope it didn't break a wing or anything, and that it was just a little stunned. We have a schedule on our ham radio twice a day with 4 other cruisers who are crossing at the same time as we are.  One of them is a Brazilian and he is a little excitable. He got some information that there was a cyclone brewing along our path to Rodriguez. He threw everyone into a tizzy.  We downloaded Grib files, weather reports and were going  to get a weather fax, we could find no indications of a storm brewing.  When we got together on the radio again, we found out the cyclone was in East Timor which is just north of Australia. We are over 2000 nm away from there and there is no way the cyclone's path would head this way.  Even though we figured out where this was he was still worried about it today.  He projected that if it moved at 100 miles a day it would reach our area in 20 days, so what, we will be safely at anchor in a secure harbour at the time.  I guess he just has a fiery Latin temperament and needs something to worry about, but I wish he would stop going on about it on the radio. It was an interesting exercise in what the yacht's would do, the ones neared the equator were going to head back north and hang about outside the cyclone belt.  We thought we would just proceed at speed, using the motor to go as fast as we could to make landfall.  The boat only 100 miles behind us did not think he could make it to Rodriguez in time and was going to head back north.  Thank goodness we don't have to follow through on any of those scenarios.   Rodriguez is by all accounts a very nice place.  It is populated by freed slaves that were brought to Mauritius to work in sugar cane, I think.  I am looking forward to exploring the island and getting to know the people and it's culture.  A long time ago it was French and then was conceded to the British in the 1800's (I think), so all the official paperwork will be done in English but the locals speak French.  I am hoping to take some lessons so both Barry and  I can improve  our grasp of the language.  We will probably be in Rodriguez for a month and maybe up to three months in Mauritius, a good length of time to improve our language skills. Apparently there is a good French bakery on the island so baguettes here we come and my mouth is watering for fresh fruits and veggies.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

We are on our way to the island of Rodriquez.  There was a good weather window and our buddies on Tagish we leaving and we decided to join them.  We were going to be fairly short on food for the journey so we decided to leave while we still had some goodies to enjoy on the trip.  We are having a good sail so far, we made over 100 nm yesterday and will do so again today.  There have been a few big wide squall giving us 20-25 knot winds for a couple of hours but we have managed to get the sails reefed before they hit and they have been no problems.  It is a 1000 mile journey to Rodriquez so in theory is should take us about 10 days, hopefully we will manage to make a little better time than that.  I am looking forward to the fresh fruit and vegetables when we get there and to eating someone else's cooking.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

DATELINE: INDIAN OCEAN GINGER BEER BOMB An explosive experiment gone awry was reported on the Canadian registered sailing vessel Cat's-Paw IV last week.  The explosion was unobserved as there was no one within 200 miles of the event (good thing) but the results were easily observed in the tiny pieces of ginger plastered over teak woodwork lining the inside of the vessel. In an attempt to duplicate the ginger beer elixir they became enamored with in Sri Lanka the first mate of Cat's-Paw IV mixed yeast, sugar, grated ginger and water.  The first batch was acceptable but a little bland so she reported that she upped the sugar and ginger content to give it a little ZING.  The explosion was stupendous, spewing out of the bottle with tremendous strength, reaching the ceiling of the boat and dousing the walls with the results.  The remainder of the bottle, a scant cup in the bottom was very tasty indeed. Fortunately, no injuries occurred and the Captain maintains the right to slowly and carefully open all future ginger beer experiments.   FILED BY YOUR INTREPID REPORTER ON THE SPOT-----ANNOE We have been in Chagos about 10 days now.  It is a wonderful spot, an atoll about 5 miles across with about 10 deserted islands.  There were 15 boats anchored here, 4 departed the other day so they are about 25 people in the area.  We are allowed to stay here for 28 days and we will probably stay most of the time unless we start running out of food.    We have been spending our time circumnavigating the islands with another very keen Canadian couple. We have visited 7 of the 10 island and managed to walk around 5 of them. At one of the islands we discovered a 25 meter catamaran that slipped it's anchor last year and went up on the reef.  It is aground on the edge of the island so we spend a few hours with hammers, screw drivers and saws salvaging what we could.  Apparently the yacht belonged to a French rock star and was being delivered across the Indian Ocean by a paid skipper when something went wrong.  What a shame it is to see the wreck of what once must have been a beautiful boat.  Barry had a great time, he took off some lovely steel mast slugs, a very large D ring, a lovely stainless steel turnbuckle, worth about $300 new.  Today we sawed off some teak walkway, I have 4 pieces and I figure that someday it will make a lovely picture frame.  My favourite find was a small fire extinguisher, Barry found a very useful bottle of contact lens solution. We have been doing a lot of snorkeling, we manage to see something new each time we are out.  There are turtles, rays, octopi,black tipped reef sharks and all sorts of beautiful fish, groupers, butterfly and angel fish, snappers, parrot fish and dinner on the fly, trevally, just waiting for Barry to figure out which lure they like to eat.  He hasn't managed to catch any fish yet, but one of the other yachties took pity on us and gave us one the other day. There is a well on the island and we have been using that water to do our laundry.  Once a week we take all our dirty clothes ashore and take about 10 buckets full of water out of the well and swish and plunge our laundry around in an attempt to get it clean.  It feels like real luxury to have enough water to rinse twice if I feel like it.  I have washed our cockpit cushion covers and the covers for our fenders, washing them in soapy water twice in an attempt to get rid of the grime from Sri Lanka and the output from the rubber plantations in Malaysia. With much squeezing and wringing, making me wish for a mechanical wringer by the time I am done a load, I put the wet clothes in a plastic bag, lug it back to the dinghy and then motor back to the boat where we hang it to dry.  The ample UV and wind usually make short work of getting everything dry.  The whole process takes us the better part of a morning though.   I have been using some of my time in the galley to offset the lack of stores here.  I am making my own yogurt as well as bread.  The ginger beer production is still underway with mixed results.  I am also sprouting mung beans and once a week we have a very nice salad made with bean sprouts and carrots. I should probably have 2 batches of sprouts underway at once since it takes about a week until they grow big enough to be eaten. We have been having social times with other cruisers, we've had a get together with drinks ashore, the day after we arrived so we could meet everyone.  A couple of days ago we had a morning book swap with coffee/tea and goodies we had baked.  We invited an Australian couple, (the ones we went on our tour with in Sri Lanka) with their 2 children, 10 and 12 over for dinner and a games night.  Yesterday we went on a snorkeling excursion with 4 other boats.  All in all we have been keeping busy, I am neglecting my embroidery and Barry and I are about equal on the Scrabble score board.   Hope all is well with everyone, we enjoy hearing your news so please drop us a line at  If you have NEVER written us at this address before put     //wl2k       in the message line and it will get to us.