MV Anna, Unloading In Port Mathurin, With Cruising Yachts Anchored In The Basin
Port Mathurin Catholic Church
Though we are still in the tropics, the 1000 nautical mile passage from Chagos has brought us into a cooler more comfortable climate. The sea temperature has dropped from a simmering 32 degrees in the lagoon at Ile Boddam to a more human 24 degrees here in Port Mathurin. The lower sea temperature has a direct effect on our daily life - the refrigeration systems run much more efficiently, though the reverse osmosis water maker produces some 10% less water each hour. C'est la vie.
The most welcome change is the reduction in humidity and daytime temperatures - the "winter" climate here is most agreeable. For the first time in years we are breaking out trousers instead of short pants, and even occasionally a jacket for the cooler evenings. We are very happy not to be sweating continuously, as we were in Asia.
In a typical example of local hospitality, Port Captain Yvan Manuel last weekend organised an outing for us to the kite boarding championship event, held at Port Dud Est in the south of the island. The walking wounded (Ley and I) were transported in his car, while others used the local bus service.
On that final day of competition we hoped to see the spectacular freestyle finals, but the wind failed us and most of the event was postponed. The Port Captain has also arranged for local shopping expeditions, whilst dealing with all the other day-to-day issues of managing small vessels and crews from six different countries.
So what facilities are available here for visiting sailors ?
The railway is used for servicing the local tugboats, so it has plenty of load capacity, though it is not quite deep enough for large keelboats. Metal work and welding can be done by local contractors, though (surprisingly) the site does not have an air compressor for air powered tools.
A small workshop at the wharf is kindly made available to cruisers when not in use by the tug crews. We serviced and re-built our rigid vang (rod-kicker) there - it worked very hard on our last passage from Chagos.
Hardware stores in Port Mathurin can supply most common tools and fasteners, and we were able to purchase pop rivets to re-fasten our boom bag track.
Fuel is easily obtained in jerry cans from the nearby filling station, a short dinghy ride from the harbour. Larger quantities can be delivered by tanker truck right to the wharf, for a minimum 1000 liter order. We collaborated with several other boats to arrange a tanker truck, and pumped clean fuel straight into our tanks.
Our enthusiastic friend, Port Captain Yvan Manuel, explained that this was not a problem - medical care is free in Rodrigues, for local residents and all visitors. Amazing - multiple consultations and numerous physiotherapy sessions, pharmacy drugs issued, and all at no charge. We are very pleased to be here !
Port Captain, Yvan with Neil.
For those who are following in our tracks we have prepared a detailed guide to local services and suppliers - you can download it here.
Rodrigues arrival procedures and guidance are covered in a separate document we produced for the Port Captain's office - download it here.