LETTER  from Eivind & Heidi _  KNOCK DOWN IN THE INDIAN OCEAN - AUG - SEP 2011
Rough crossing!
 
A lot to dry out!
 
Eirik pilots us toward Port Mathurin, Rodrigues.
 
Exciting moments in the turtle conservation park.
 
Cress from Canadian s/y Conversations and Eivind on their way for kite beginners course.
 
The Capt`n in action.
 
Finally we met again - Lisbeth and Vegar.
 
The Captain`s 27. birthday was celebrated in Port Louis.
 
Eirik walked almost to the top of Le Pouch - on his own feets.
 
Bjørnar and the Captain at the platou below the top, before climbing the last bit.
 
Also the rock on the top was climbed!
 
 

KNOCK DOWN in the Indian Ocean

21th August, after very nice days in Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the course was set towards the island of Rodrigues, further 2000 nm westward. The voyage would be more exciting than we wished for…
We had been underway less than 4 hours when the first fish was reeled aboard – a 13 kg Wahoo. After the first night with calm conditions, the wind increased a bit. With 25 – 30 knots from the south east we headed west with good speed. 30 knots of wind is not so much on the open ocean, but it was still enough for THAT to happen…

Knock Down
24th  August at 0310 the Captain was woken by a BANG and water pouring into the cabin. Half awake he rushed through the column of water and up to the cockpit – where he did NOT find Heidi, but a dodger that was ripped to pieces…
Luckily the seconds of despair did not last long. After shouting a couple of times Eivind heard Heidi answering from below deck. Just before ”IT” happened, Heidi had gone below deck to calm Marius in the port aft cabin. That was where she was when the soaking wet Captain came rushing up to the cockpit.

What happened?
Most probably a breaking wave hit Empire on port side, which threw her over to starboard. The water on the starboard side then came high up on deck and tore the ageing dodger apart. ”Well protected” under the dodger the little hatch to the starboard cabin was open – to where the Captain was sleeping. With the dodger in pieces the water gained free access to the hatch.
The hatch which was originally just a little bit open, was ripped fully open and the water poured in – in the face of the sleeping Captain. The Captain woke VERY quickly. Heidi that was sitting comfortably leaning toward the bulkhead with Marius on the lap, hardly noticed anything of the incident except Empire shaking in the waves. But afterwards we got enough to do...
We are normally very restrictive with open hatches. Even in calm weather the hatches under the dodger are the only ones allowed to be opened. After the incident we have lowered the limit for when also the hatches under the dodger has to be closed…
 
A lot of water
When the Captain came back down below deck after luckily realizing that Heidi was still on board, the water was pouring over the high doorstep from the starboard aft cabin and into the saloon. It was not for many seconds the water was pouring down the hatch to the aft cabin, but we probably took in about 400 liters of water while over on the side. Not enough to be a danger to the ship`s stability, but enough water to make a lot of damage – if we had been unlucky…
 
Damage report
With hard work the rest of the morning, where Empire more or less sailed her own seas, we managed to get rid of more or less all the water floating around in the bilges. 24 hours after the accident a preliminary damage report was ready: 2 pcs very wet mattresses in the starboard aft cabin, 8 big plastic bags with wet clothes and other stuff, water in starboard cockpit locker, one 12 to 240 inverter apparently not working, dodger in pieces, flag on a broken pole over board, 2 plastic buckets over board, the Captain`s drinking bottle and a book “missing”… We had been lucky after all!
Afterv 6 days we had managed to dry out everything that got wet. Only rinsing everything that got salty in fresh water - and drying once again – remained for later. The incoming saltwater did not manage to damage any conservatives or other stuff that was stowed under the sole. We declared the ship “back to normal” by hoisting a new Norwegian Flag on a newly made flagpole.

Rodrigues
3rd of September – after 13 days at sea – we arrived in Port Mathurin in the island of Rodrigues, which is a part of the country Mauritius. We were welcomed by polite and smiling custom officers as we pulled along the big ship`s dock in the small harbor. With 11 out of 13 dinners made from different types of beautiful fresh fish, we were looking forward to a dinner containing MEAT or BIRD…

Beautiful island with great people
Rodrigues is a small island with one city – the capital Port Mathurin – and many small villages scattered around the island. A barrier reef is protecting the island from the big ocean. Port Mathurin in the north and Port Sud Este in the south are the only places possible to enter with a yacht.
Walking around town, everybody was waving or saying “hello”. We experienced Rodrigues as a smiling and happy island.
We explored the island over two days with a hire car – and managed to see the turtle farm, the caves, a local concert, big scenery from the highest peak of the island and a kite surfing ”beginners course” for the Captain.

Time flies
One planned week turned in to two weeks on Rodrigues. When we were ready to throw off our friends Lisbeth and Vegar in the Norwegian yacht Pomona arrived.  We postponed our departure and the reunion party with Vegar took three days. We had to wait for Lisbeth to be released from quarantine at the hospital. At Pomona`s arrival she was sent to the hospital diagnosed with possible malaria – a disease not existing in Rodrigues and the authorities were afraid that Lisbeth should spread the malaria to local mosquitoes…
First time Eivind met Lisbeth and Vegar was in Farsund in Norway in 2000. Last time we met was in Thailand in 2010. Finally we met Pomona again – and we were about to see much of each other in the time to come. Done with the reunion party, Empire threw off heading for the neighboring island Mauritius – also a part of the country Mauritius. In addition to see a lot of what Rodrigues could offer, we also managed to rinse in freshwater – and dry out again – most of what were soaked in salt water during the accident the third day underway, while on Rodrigues!

Short sail
After the previous two long legs over the Indian Ocean, the two day sail to Port Louis on the island of Mauritius almost felt like an afternoon sail. With the simple formalities in Rodrigues freshly in mind, the procedures in Port Louis felt like a paper mill – even though it actually was a very relaxed process. Safely checked in with Customs, Immigration and quarantine, we tied up in the inner corner of the small “marina” – and did not manage head out before after 20 days…

Teeming with life
The yacht harbor was situated in a peaceful corner of the city. If we walked across the main street and in to the city center itself we met the “real” Port Louis. People everywhere, small markets, swarming and lively. Beautiful, tempting and colorful vegetable markets high above western standards. You can buy ”everything” in Mauritius – to a surprisingly nice price.
Pomona arrived in Port Louis a few days after Empire. With Pomona tied alongside Empire, we made the “central Norwegian unity”. When Lasse and Pauli in the Swedish yacht Satumaa also showed up, we felt that almost all our “old” sailing friends were present. We met Lasse and Pauli first time in Buenos Aires in Argentina in 2006 – and since we have met many times. Last time we met was also in Thailand in 2010. With Pomona, Satumaa and Empire at the same dock in Mauritius, all three yacht`s crew were doing good  regarding the “pub agreement” for Richards Bay in South Africa, that we all agreed on when our routes parted in Thailand early 2010. To be honest - we were all three one year behind the schedule for the “pub agreement”…
Later also the Norwegian yacht Go Beyond and the Danish yacht Exabyte showed up in Port Louis., in addition to the Swedish yachts Lovisa, Panacea and Hokus Pokus. Scandinavian yachts dominated in the harbor in Mauritius. 8 of the about 25 yachts on a long voyage moored in Port Louis flew Norwegian, Danish or Swedish flag!

Visit from Norway
While we were moored in Port Louis Bjørnar came visiting from the ”rocks up north” – for the twelfth time since we left Oslo in 2005! Together with Bjørnar and other sailors we explored Mauritius, with a hired minibus and by foot.
We climbed two of the spectacular mountains on the island. We also saw the lions, leopards and tigers in the island`s famous animal reserve. Bjørnar, Lisbeth and Vegar even walked for two hours in the park, with two lions by their side. Eirik and Marius were too young to be allowed that kind of an adventure, so we had to look at the big animals through the fence.
 
Full harbors
Already before we arrived in Port Louis we heard rumors telling that the harbor was full. But Empire and many other found a space after that. While in Port Louis we heard the same rumors about the harbors in Reunion, the island that was to be our next place to stop. Luckily, normally there is always room for one more... After 20 days in Mauritius we managed to throw the lines, after first leaving Bjørnar at the airport. One night`s sail away the French island Reunion was waiting...

Yum!!!!! To get to know local children is the best of all. Fun in the animal park.

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