When we left Cocos our intention was to go about 2800 miles to the northern tip of Madagascar. This turned out to be exactly downwind and we mostly used just a poled out jib. In spite of a bit of helping current and good winds (15 to 25 knots), our progress was not wonderful (112 to 140 mile days) and we had an uncomfortable roll most of the time. We (the captain tends to employ the royal we at times) decided to change our strategy and head south. The change in course was only seven degrees but it made a huge difference to our speed and comfort. Our next nine days ranged from 150 to 174 miles and ride was much more comfortable, even with swells building to the 12 to 15 foot range at times. For the entire passage (2016 miles) we motored for a total of 4 hours - 2 hours getting out and away from Cocos and 2 hours getting into the harbour at Rodrigues. We really have to give the Indian Ocean credit, it is a wonderful place if you like to sail.
Speaking of France and Britain, Mauritius and Rodrigues were French until 1814 when they became British (earlier they had been Portugese (the name Rodrigues is Portugese) and Dutch (Mauritius comes from the Dutch). There were African slaves here to work the cane fields and after slavery ended huge numbers of Indian indentured workers arrived. As a result the population is very diverse.
In spite of two centuries of Britishness and the fact that English is the official language, most people speak a type of French Creole. In schools, the language of instruction is French, but written work is done in English - go figure. Hence many people do not speak English well, but can read and write it fluently. In any case, the baguettes here are cheap and tasty, although shorter and wider than Napoleon's original.
|Rodrigues is a very pleasant, somewhat sleepy place. This is a major street at a busy time fo the year.|