We expect to be in Puteri for another few weeks. We are preparing Tahina, and ourselves, for our next really big trip – the Indian Ocean crossing. It’s a big ocean, with only a few stops along the way. And, this ocean has a tendency to produce unpleasant sailing conditions no matter what time of year you pick or what route you choose to take. It’s either too much wind, not enough wind, contrary swells, squalls, or long passages without a stop. Of course, if you go at the wrong time, you could also deal with cyclones. Naturally, we hope to optimize our route for the best conditions.
We have been working on our never-ending boat project list. And going through a pre-passage checklist (which of course has added items to the project list). I’ve completed a thorough rigging check up the mast (no major problems), purchased a number of spare parts/supplies, prepared everything for basic maintenance on all the engines, begun putting protectant/polish on all the deck stainless, etc. Karen has been working on provisioning and is working on making our replacement cockpit spray dodgers (which we will definitely need on this trip). There are many other tasks left before we are ready. Fortunately, none are very major, just numerous and tedious.
This past week I did a lot more reading on what to expect on this passage. This includes researching information on the countries we will be visiting (e.g. Mauritius and Reunion). Thankfully, a lot of information tailored to cruisers is available from Noonsite. It includes basic information, for almost all countries cruisers visit, such as customs/immigration/quarantine (CIQ), ports of entry, procedures, visas, available boat services, marinas, and more. We also try to collect recent accounts from cruisers who have completed similar routes for current news on changes to procedures and costs, preferred ports, weather issues encountered, preferred radio channels, etc.
We have also begun communicating with other boats going on a similar route so we can develop awareness of each others plans and share info. Some of these boats we will probably bond with as we run into them again at stops along the way.
Today we’re making a provisioning run to the local stores to stock up on regular goods. We plan to make a trip to Singapore to get Australian meats from a store we used last year. They will pre-package custom-sized orders and freeze them for us before we pick them up. I’m also hoping to go to an optometrist today and see about some new glasses. I’m excited by the prospect of good vision in both eyes for the first time in 21 months!