Grand Bay is a beautiful little bay that is very crowded with tourists and boats. This is Mauritius’s low season but there were still around 10 catamarans full of tourists that would leave the bay and sail out to a nearby island every day. Every morning they would wave at me as they passed by, because, I suppose, we were both boat people for that moment. The first day or two I waved back, but after that I became jaded and gave up waving. We didn’t really have much in common; they were wearing their beach day best, riding on a chartered boat for a day of swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing. I was drinking a cup of coffee and relieving myself off the side of the boat. For them the boat was an activity, something they would do for half a day on vacation and then leave behind. For me it had become a home and a way of life.
Despite my mild irritation at the number of tourists, after several days in Grand Bay I got bored and decided to sail out to that nearby island with Conny and Bee on Conny’s boat, Miramis. We’ve been hanging out with then a lot; Conny is from Sweden and has been sailing around the world for the last several years and Bee is from Thailand and sailing with him for a few weeks.
We sailed for several hours upwind toward Flat Island, an island that actually has a huge hill on it with a lighthouse on top. Between Flat Island and another small island right next to it there is a lagoon where all the tourists boats anchor and there is nice swimming and snorkeling. We arrived just after all the tourists boats had left. There were high winds and giant swells and the pass in to the lagoon looked completely suicidal. We decided we would anchor around the other side of the island for the night and try to follow the catamarans in in the morning.
We ended up anchoring in a spot that was partially protected from the wind but offered no protection from the swell. We had a rocky night but also had plenty of beer and Bee made a delicious Thai dinner so it was all good.
In the morning we attempted to follow the catamarans in to the lagoon but after seeing the extreme maneuvering even they had to do to get in we decided to give it up. Instead we anchored outside the lagoon and took the dinghy in. We almost got flipped by a big wave but eventually made it in safe and did a really nice drift snorkel through the lagoon. After we were done swimming we were going to try to climb up the lighthouse but the coatguards stationed there told us we weren’t allowed to leave our boat anchored outside the lagoon because they were afraid it would end up on the rocks. We sailed back to Grand Bay that afternoon.
I rented a car for a couple days to explore the island and search for some waves.
The first day I drove down the east coast and checked Tamarind Bay. The swell report said it should be overhead but it was tiny and nobody was out so I continued to Le Morne. Le Morne is a really cool area and a super popular spot for kite boarding. There is nothing to do at night though so I had a pretty calm evening. The next morning I checked Tamarind again and this time it was even smaller thought there were a couple of long boarders out. It was way too small for my short board so I got back in the car and drove down south to Mahebourg. Mahebourg was cool, very local with almost no tourists, and I had some really good Indian food for dinner.
The next morning I went to the race track for my second time then returned to Grand Bay.
The nightlife is Grand Bay is pretty fun and we passed several nights enjoying a few drinks in the local bars. My favorite was The Banana Club, a lively, open-aired spot with live music almost every night. The first night we went was a Saturday and the owner, an American ex-pat, was playing guitar and singing classic rock tunes with a band of local guys. He was great, and after we chatted I learned he’s from San Francisco and his son lives just a couple blocks down from where I lived in the Sunset. We went to this place several more times and I recommend anyone in Grand Bay do the same.
On the 14th our new crew, who we’d been waiting to arrive, flew in to Mauritius. We had met Kady and Natalia while in Cocos and got along super well them both. When Nigel and Annie decided they were going to fly home we invited them both and lucky for us they were crazy enough to accept our invitation!
Natalia is from Argentina but had been working and living in Australia for the past year (the past 5 months in Cocos). Kady is from Western Australia and had been working in Cocos, where both her parents live, for the past 8 months. Two days after they arrived we sailed down to Port Louis to check out of the country and the day after that we sailed for Reunion!