At Sea

Change of Plans

Sitting out in the middle of the Indian Ocean with a storm bearing down on us, just holding our breath and hoping it will go away. The forecast models still can’t agree on where this cyclone is going to go or what it’s going to do. Some say it’ll go West and sit over Northern Madagascar. Others say that it’ll go South and cut across our track about 400 miles to the West of us. Either way, we’re faced with sitting out here for four more days, doing nothing except watching films, reading books and trying not to be too nervous. There is an alternative though. Rodrigues Island lies 500 miles to the South West. That’s four and a bit days of sailing. It is also far enough East that none of the forecast tracks hit it and it would leave us no further from our destination in Madagascar than if we had simply stayed put. We’re tired and haven’t had a fun time of our Indian Ocean crossing. We’ve had relentless squalls for the past week and before that winds dead astern and sloppy seas. The lure of land is strong. So, we’ve decided to change our plan and head for Rodrigues. We have set sail and are now making 5.5kts South West under a triple-reefed mainsail and a little sliver of genoa. It’s pretty rough but Bob is handling things very well.

Since we’ve decided to make landfall earlier than expected we can afford to be a little more opulent with our supplies. So this morning I decided to make bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast, with jus de baked beans. I managed Sarah’s sandwich successfully, but it was too much to expect to be able to pull off a second performance without a hitch. At the critical moment, just as the sandwich was being converted from a menagerie of parts into something of beauty and elegance; just as the bacon had been laid onto the toast but had not yet adhered to it with the aid of a liberal smearing of mayonnaise, a particularly large wave re-distributed my sandwich impressively. One bit of bacon was hurled across the cabin and slid down the side of the portable generator. The other bit of bacon landed on the floor and became one with the hairball in the corner. The mayonnaise on the toast worked beautifully as a glue, adhering it to the side of the companionway stairs. The beans, thank Neptune, we’re still safely contained in the pot on the stove. I picked up the pieces, and through careful timing with the swells managed to reconstruct the sandwich. There were some distinctly unusual textural aspects but overall I was determined to enjoy it. Sarah, meanwhile, having eaten and enjoyed her un-molested sandwich, proceeded to laugh at me. I couldn’t help but laugh along with her.

So that’s life on Bob, as we bob around out here trying to dodge cyclones. There’s another tropical depression to our North East that we need to be careful of in addition to the one we’re really concerned about. The French meteorologists on Reunion Island think it won’t amount to much but we don’t want to take any chances. It feels good to be sailing away from these things rather than just sitting like the proverbial duck with our fingers crossed.


  • Stephen Brooks

    Just been reading up on Rodrigues, sounds fantastic in its own right. Surrounded by beaches and self seeding coral reefs which is good for swimming and snorkeling, the island has its own unique ecosystem, with plants, trees and animals only found there. Incl. fruit bats and giant tortoises. Sounds perfect for you two!

  • Brooksie Snr

    I have just woken up and started my day off laughing at this excellent narrative. :). Good decision to go to Rodrigues – you will be able to re-charge your batteries after a none too pleasant crossing ………………. but crossed you have. I did it in an aircraft carrier and it was OK for me ………….. so what are you complaining about?! 🙂

  • Paul Terceira

    Well done on making the decision…..I will look up Rodriguez….I remember seeing on the charts, but know nothing of it.
    All the best

  • Grahame Rendell

    Only one hurricane hole (SW) at Plaine Corail, the notch to stb. of the entrance. The land looks a bit desolate (mid summer) hope your find your respite and land-legs.

  • Jimmie Amos

    Glad to hear you are going further SW great decision at 5 plus, even SSW might be good? Rodrigues really looks like you will love it. Your coordinates are very interesting to follow if you include them. Thanks for letting us share your adventure.
    Good crew good skipper good ship Bob will look after you both. Hope the wind stays aft.
    Sorry about the bacon……no worries, the pig felt worse.

  • Jimmie Amos

    Great to hear you are headed SW at 5kt plus Bob’s is usually a great boat with the wind free.

    Maybe even SSW would work. It’s great to follow your coordinates. Rodrigues also looks very promising. Good crew good skipper and a good ship…..hope the wind stays aft for you. Bob usually likes a bit of free air I think. Thanks for letting us share your adventure.

  • Jimmie Amos

    Great to hear you are going SW at 5kt plus. I think Bob loves a bit of free air aft.
    Enjoying your reports very much with the coordinates. Hopefully the wind will stay aft.
    Sorry about the bacon…..the pig felt worse though. Rodrigues looks promising. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us.
    Good crew good skipper good ship Bob will take care of you both.

  • Vicky Hamshere

    Difficult for us landlubbers to imagine your situation, but incredibly interesting to follow you. The breakfast debacle is hilarious! Laughter IS the best medicine! Happy onward sailing!

    Fingers crossed for you for an early landfall. xx

  • Jimmie Amos

    Good to hear you are underway and should run clear hopefully. Bob loves it broad so 5kt plus is good also. Good crew good skipper and good ship. Bob will look after you.
    Rodrigues looks a promising destination too. Sorry about the bacon, the pig felt worse.

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