Hokus Pokus Indian Ocean Crossing 2011
We have kept you waiting a long time but now we will tell you about our sailing from Darwin. Sit down and relax.
As you know we had problems with the autopilot. After having replaced the ram and the hydraulic pump we tested it and sailed away. After 20 Nm it failed again so we had to sail back. They found the problem and after that we have tested it all the way to South Africa. We have had great sailing except some days with big waves from the south, we had it after Cocos Keeling and some other places. You must sail to Cocos Keeling it is a wonderful anchorage. There is not much to buy. You have to take the dingy to the small island Cocos, there are only Muslims so you cannot buy alcohol or bear but you can take the small ferryboat from there to the small island Keeling. There is the airfield and they have a duty free shop but when we where there it was empty, everything was sold out but we found beer in the supermarket and we had a small lunch at a cafe.
After Cocos Keeling we sailed to Rodriguez. You can anchor in the small harbour behind the reef and there is a good shelter from the waves but the anchor bottom is not so good. When the ferry comes, I think twice a week, you have to leave the harbor and can go back again when the ferry is in, that is because of the ferry has to turn around. When there is no ferry you can dock to the quay. The village/town is outside the gate. This is a special place but don´t miss the butcher at the market. After that visit you will think about being a vegetarian. The Island is very nice.
Our sailing to Mauritius was great. Port of entry is Port Louis and we stayed there all the time. The marina is close to the city and is well protected from the wind and there are guards 24 hours so it is very safe. An option is to go to Grand Bay where you can anchor and have a swim but it is far away from Port Louis. We liked Mauritius very much and there is a lot to see and do, check Lonely Planet.
Next stop was Reunion. It is a short passage. We had a great sailing and went to St Pierre on the south side. You have to watch the tide. It can be some problem if there are big waves just when you pass the reef. It is a small harbour with the nice marina. There are finger pontoons with water and electricity. The first week is free. You are now in the middle of the town St Pierre. It is a lovely little town and a lovely little Island. The Island is French so there is a lot to buy and good food and nice small restaurants. The food, wine and beer is cheep not as the other French Islands in the Pacific. Do not miss this Island. There are two ports of entry, the other one is on the north side and a commercial harbour with a marina. Here it is far away from everything so go to St Pierre.
The final stop was Richards Bay and it can be some Rock and Roll. You have to watch the weather. There is a radio Net Perri Perri on frekv. 8101 16.00 UTC. They have weather reports and the guy who runs it is South African. Go 150 Nm south of Madagascar because of the bottom structure. There can be big waves. There is a south going current, the Agulhas Current. This is one of the great ocean currents, running mainly from north east to south west following the two hundred meter contour of the continental shelf and dissipating over the Aguhlas bank south of Mossel Bay. The main axis of the current is on or near the two hundred meter line and can run up to 6 knots. When the current meets the sw gale it can be enormous waves which is very dangerous. We where unlucky to be there in a storm but the big waves had not built up. We had wind up to 55 knots and once it topped up to 60 knots and of course right in the nose. We had a hard night, it was total black and suddenly the whole earth was full of lightening's. We came into Richards Bay at five o clock in the morning. We had to do some repairs on both of the genuas and one back stay brook and we had to do a small repair on the Bimini. Hokus Pokus did it well but we where lucky to be in the harbour. Richards Bay is a Port of Entry. It is the shortest way and it is recommended because the weather can be even worse close to Durban.
Richards Bay is the closest harbour to the parks and it takes a couple of hours with a car to the parks where you can go on a safari, it is great. After have done three days on a safari we went to Sweden as you know. Now we are in Durban waiting for a good weather hole to Port Elisabeth. We used the current and got a very good speed. Next trip to Port Elisabeth is the roughest trip if we do not get the right weather. The distance is 380 Nm but we can shorten it if we make a stop in East London which will shorten the trip with 130 Nm.
Go to www.cruisingconnections.co.za and download "Welcome to Durban". It is very good information.
South Africa is great and it is cheap and we are having a great time.
Mats and Ulla