We spent three weeks at Grand Baie, a nice place to park the boat. Nice access to restaurants, grocery stores, and shopping centers. And, we were able to pick up free WIFI from a hotel. Last week I went to an eyeglasses store. My right eye has had time to stabilize after the cataract procedure I had in March, so it was time for new prescription glasses. I ordered a complete set of distance glasses, reading glasses, and sunglasses.
Over the weekend, I researched what we needed to get our visas renewed because the immigration officer when we checked in only gave us one month. Apparently other boats got two months, but for some reason our official wasn’t so kind. It turns out that we needed a bunch of paperwork to apply for an extension, and one item is a bit difficult. They wanted proof of where we would be staying for the next month. Saying you are “at anchor” isn’t good enough. Fortunately, the marina at Port Louis is aware of this problem. When you go to the marina you get a “contract” that is valid for a month or more if you need it. You’re not obligated to stay there each night.
So, we moved Tahina down to Port Louis on Monday and after getting our contract went to the immigration office in town to do the paperwork. The officer required us to write a letter explaining everything (already evident from the paperwork), then after we got him copies for everything (about 10 pages of documents) he looked things over. Of course, he found something else he wanted which required me to go back to the boat. Mind you, this had nothing to do with immigration, it had to do with the boat (a customs thing). But, it’s better not to argue with a bureaucrat, so I asked if it was ok if my wife didn’t come back with me – which he said was fine. So, an hour later (after lunch) I was able to go back and complete our visa extension for another month and get our passports stamped accordingly. Its funny, but I barely get upset anymore by these things. We’ve endured much worse hassles and there’s really not much you can do.
It was nice being in the marina actually. We got to rinse off the boat, top up our water tank, take showers with unlimited hot water, and we visited with some other boats. Our friends on s/v Solace were there one last day. We got to have dinner with them and the next day they left for Reunion. We met up with s/v Blue Heeler who arrived from Rodrigues two weeks ago. Four more boats arrived from Rodrigues – two French boats, a German boat, and a Canadian – all mono-hulls. Apparently they all arrived shortly after we departed Rodrigues.
On Wednesday, we got some fresh veggies at the very nice market in Port Louis and recharged Karen’s phone. Then we left Port Louis and sailed south to the Black River anchorage. The views of the mountains of Mauritius are quite beautiful as you go down the coast. We had increasingly faster winds as we went south. By the time we got to Black River we were on a tight reach, double reefed and had to make several tacks with 30+ knots apparent winds. But, it was actually a very enjoyable sail.
We plan to stay here at Black River a few days, and then head back north to Grand Baie to pick up my glasses. The views of the mountains here are really nice though, maybe we’ll stay longer. Here is a map showing our new location. I’ll post photos later.