Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Port Louis to Grand Baie

Hi everyone,
This morning we sailed from Port Louis to Grand Baie.  It was a short sail of 17nm northward along the west coast.   We took the opportunity to try out the Aires vane gear on a 20-25 knot close reach, and the slalom course it produces is clear below.  Later we hand steered, with a bit of slaloming there too!

Grand Baie is the location of the main yacht club on Mauritius which offers water, fuel, meals and hot showers to visiting yachts.  The nearby town of Grand Baie is said to be nice, apparently featuring the best supermarket on the island.

Here are our track and speed overall...

Zen Again Track
Zen Again Speed
The entrance to Grand Baie is fairly shallow.  At least one yacht has hit a rock this year while following a track recommended by other yachts.  We entered at high tide this morning with 0.5m of tide above chart datum.  The minimum depth we saw was 3.2m, or 2.7m when reduced to chart datum.

The track we followed used the leading line shown on CM93 charts.  These leads don't appear to be shown on Navionics or Garmin charts.  The leads are on a course of 154T, lining up Pointe Baignoire (where GBYC is situated) and the inland mountain Butte aux Papayes.

As our track above shows we passed well clear of the bay before tacking shorewards and bearing away.  Not pretty but we were enjoying the sail!  At the 20m depth contour we handed the sails and proceeded slowly under motor.  The drying patch on the E side of the entrance to the bay is conspic, even at high water (it was visible with water breaking over it).  If you have that about 100m on your port side you're close to the leads.  Don't stray W since there is a (charted) isolated rock.

The screenshot below shows our entry into Grand Baie in detail.  We joined the lead line in about 8m of water.  We did not see the isolated rock to starboard but the reef to port was very clear.  As we proceeded down the leads the depth decreased to a minimum of 3.4m.

We knew of an uncharted rock which had been encountered by another yacht recently.  It is shown below as VSrock.  Once past that hazard we departed the lead line to pass outside the vessels moored off GBYC and to stay over sand.  On this leg we saw the minimum depth of 3.2m when NW of GBYC.  We anchored in 5.0m just outside the GBYC moorings.

Track into Grand Baie
On the leads approaching Pointe Baignoire
View southward from our anchorage
Yesterday we did a bit more exploring and shopping around Port Louis.  The Caudan Waterfront has some nice malls, one of which has a craft area.  There are a number of local artisans creating their wares right there, and some of them are very good indeed.  There is also a shop "Mast" which sells locally made ship models.  Beautiful.

Caudan Waterfront Mall
In town we visited the Natural History museum which is a somewhat drab but has some very interesting exhibits covering the southern Indian Ocean in addition to Mauritius itself.

Dead as a ....
We expect to stay in Grand Baie for several days before returning to Port Louis for a day or two prior to clearing out sometime next week.  Timing depends on when parcels arrive from WA.

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