Oyster World Rally: The Fleet Reaches Mauritius
It’s been just over a month since we last caught up with our Oyster World Rally fleet, and so we reached out to Regine Watts, Rally Coordinator, to get the latest.
Regine, tell us what's been happening in the Oyster World Rally since we last spoke.
When we last talked the fleet was still in Indonesia on that little island Gili Gede, a part of Lombok, and we had earthquakes rumbling beneath us. Eventually the shaking became less severe and you got used to it, however despite people’s assurance that we would not feel these tremors on the water, some of the fleet certainly did. A few of them were close to the epicentre, which made it pretty frightening, but thank God nothing really happened to any of the boats.
I tried to organise for the fleet to get involved with relief work whilst we were there, because we are fully aware of the fact that we are in a very fortunate position in comparison to the people in Indonesia. However, we came up against challenges due to not being able to speak much Indonesian and not knowing the best people to talk to - I didn’t want us to just be getting in everyone’s way. In the end though we were able to work with a fantastic government organisation. I collected donations from the fleet and the marina, and this went towards buying building materials for temporary shelters, as well as school books and blankets for children. I’m just glad we did what we could.
Did you do anything to celebrate your time in Lombok before moving on?
Absolutely - everybody gathered in the marina and we had a lovely party with entertainment by local dancers. We had a fantastic band, so everyone danced the night away. The Lombok Marina Del Ray was also very happy as we were the first fleet they welcomed onto the new built dock. It wasn’t really running at full capacity yet, because the earthquake has somewhat delayed the completion of the yacht club building. But all this fleet needs is a nice little place to come together and have a good time.
Then, once everyone has provisioned and refueled and the boats had had any necessary work completed, it was time for the next trip over to Cocos Keeling. About five boats decided to stop at Christmas Island on the way.
Describe Cocos Keeling.
Simply unbelievable. It's being compared to an atoll in the Pacific because the colours were just unbelievable. The water is so clear and clean and because you're so remote in the middle of the Indian Ocean the salinity is not so high, so swimming there is an absolutely amazing experience. When the fleet reached the little island where the anchorage was they organised a barbeque, sourcing the food from a local company. This was a great opportunity for all of the Oyster World Rally fleet to come together, and whilst there they also went diving and took a canoe trip to explore the southern end of the Cocos Keeling islands together.
The yachts that visited Christmas Island on the way also had a lovely time, feeding back that it would be well worth going through next time around as an official stop. I'm not sure it will be possible to do that, because it was complicated enough to get to Cocos Keeling as a support team with only two flights out there per week. However, Christmas Island is certainly an interesting place. Everybody was made very welcome there and the fleet reported that the provisioning was brilliant. There was only space for a limited number of our fleet to go, with only seven mooring buoys available and the ocean being too deep to just anchor there, but I think that everyone who wanted to visit the island did.
Where did you head from there?
We set off for Port Louis in Mauritius, the next stop on our route. The first of the fleet left on the 17th September, and it was a long journey this time - we estimated it would take them 10-14 days of sailing. They started off with good winds, but these died down a bit as the week went on. However, they are all seasoned sailors by this point in the Oyster World Rally and so are used to changeable conditions - they know that you always have to think a little bit on your feet.
As usual I flew out ahead to get everything in place for their arrival, so I’ve been spending my time getting a berthing plan in place and introducing myself to the Mautitius Port Authority. I’ve also been looking into organising some tours of the area, because there is some incredible landscape here, and checking out diving spots for the fleet.
What has the fleet been up in Mauritius?
It’s such a change here compared with the places we’ve been to recently, and everyone has been very eager to take advantage of electricity and water available at the Le Caudan Waterfront Marina, as well as the laundry facilities. It’s also been fun having the opportunity to visit a wide range of nice restaurants once more.
On the 8th October we came together as a group for another party - this time with a Mauritian buffet, so that we could taste some local specialty foods. Some of the Oyster World Rally fleet decided to not stay in Mauritius for as long and to stop by Rodrigues Island for a few days instead, as they felt this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them to explore it. But we all came together for this fantastic party.
And where are you off to next with the Oyster World Rally fleet?
Currently we plan to leave Mauritius on the 11th October, once we have the clearance, to make the one day sail to Reunion. We’ll stay about a week there before cruising on to Durban, although this depends on the weather, which becomes a bit more unpredictable around here. I will be checking closely with our professional weather router to see when is best to leave, but are currently thinking either the 18th or 19th October will be when we sail on. As you can imagine, we’re all very excited to explore these new regions as we continue with the Oyster World Rally.
Don’t miss the next installment of the Oyster World Rally catch-up, where we’ll hear about the fleet’s adventures in Reunion and Durban.