Navigating the Indian Ocean through the favourable seasons of the north and south monsoons takes time.
Our chosen route from Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Chagos, Rodrigues, Mauritius, and Reunion has taken us eight months. Although actual sailing days in that period would be no more than a quarter of that time with the rest of the time spent aboard Blue Heeler.
The most punishing stretch of the crossing was the 10 day trip from Chagos to Rodrigues. And even that wasn’t too bad.
But it’s not over yet. We still have over 3000nm to reach Cape Town in South Africa.
Other cruisers have elected to ‘do’ the Indian Ocean much like ripping off a band-aid – nice and quick. Boats travelling directly from Cocos Keeling to Reunion/Mauritius take around three weeks. Yachts are slowly trickling into Reunion for a rest before they navigate the notorious waters of southern Madagascar and the Mozambique Channel and it’s been good to catch up with folks we haven’t seen for some time.
Others are already in South Africa while a good proportion are currently enjoying their time in Madagascar.
While some take the shorter and possibly more challenging southern route below Madagascar to South Africa, we’ve opted to sail the northern route around the top of Madagascar then cross the Mozambique Channel at it’s narrowest point. This trip is further than the southern crossing, but we don’t want to miss the opportunity to visit Madagascar. The cyclone season in this region begins in November so it’s important for us to get a ‘wriggle on’ as they say.
I can’t believe it’s been four months since the bumpy crossing from Chagos to Rodrigues. In that time we’ve only sailed one day during, from Mauritius to Reunion, so it will be good to be on the water again. But as they say a ‘rolling stone gathers no moss’. Well, I gathered a little moss during my stay in the form of an unwelcome infliction. A virus in my inner ear has had me staggering around Le Port with an unsteady gait and making it tricky to move around the boat. All I need to complete the picture is a patch on my eye and a parrot on my shoulder! Ironically when I walk on land it actually feels like I’m on a moving boat! I’ve had enough and it’s time to get this rolling stone moving again!
So with an impending departure from Le Port, we leave behind quality highways, magnificent views, delicious pastries and the ubiquitous baguette, and take with us cheap French wine plus memories of the people, hikes, villages, and the beauty of Reunion Island.
Next stop Madagascar!
PS: Here’s some notes for our cruiser friends as promised.