We've been ready to leave for a couple of days now. All the essential boat chores and repairs were done. We'd seen pretty much everything we wanted to see on the island. The boat's ready. We're ready. BUT Neptune is not ready and therein lies the problem. There is no wind. Not even a little bit of a breeze is forecast for the next few days. Okay, I'm exaggerating … 3kts with gusts to 4kts. This is not good news for a sailboat.
Delays are always an issue for sailors. We get psyched up to leave and then we wait, and wait, and wait. The frustration level grows and that's when many folks make mistakes. They get tired of the endless waiting for a reasonable forecast and they just take off. Some have schedules to meet; others just can't handle the waiting game. There are not many boats left in the marina. It's definitely time to go, but we've certainly learned the hard way that patience invariably pays off. It's just not easy.
The delay has also posed another issue for us. Mauritius granted us a 14-day visa when we arrived. Our 14 days is near expiration and these couple of days delay will require a short extension to the visa. If we're lucky, we'll either get a free extension for a couple of days OR the forecast will change a bit.
So … what to do while we're waiting. We're down to the B-list places to visit, too. We take walks in the morning just to get out and exercise as long as we can. We've visited the free Seashell Museum, upstairs from the Mikado jewelry store. It's a one-room affair with a pretty good display of seashells actually. We did find out that one particular species of harp shell (harpa costata) is native to the Mauritian waters. This carnivorous gastropod (think sea snail) has the ability to self-amputate a part of its foot, kind of like some lizard can do with their tails. Even after wowing about this new tidbit of information, we made it through the museum in about 15 minutes.
We decided to buy a few souvenirs from the crafts market rather than the retail stores along the waterfront. Many of the reasons we liked Mauritius when we first arrived are the very same things that are driving us crazy now. The heat and crowds and closeness of the market and the accompanying stench of rotting produce and human sweat about knocked us over. We climbed the stairs to the souvenir vendors and walked the gauntlet to a fellow who sold t-shirts we liked. We wanted one. “Look, a kasmir/pashmina scarf for you, madame.” “No, thanks, just a t-shirt.” “Look, madame, a fine table runner for your table.” “No, thanks, really, just a t-shirt.” “Spices, madame, every women needs spices for her cooking.” “No, thanks ….” Bargaining is part of the game here and David's good at it. I just walk away and let him do his thing. We got the t-shirt (and only the t-shirt) for a reasonable price, but it was hard work.
We've been writing up a storm. We're ahead on some blogs for Gentry to post while we're at sea and David is working on a couple of articles he promised to Good Old Boat. I'm working on an article for SSCA and another for Cruising Helmsman. The website needs updating. There's enough to keep us busy if we're ambitious enough.
So … what do we do when Neptune doesn't cooperate? We busy ourselves the best we can. In the past we've waited up to two weeks or more for a weather window. Don't fret if there's nothing you can do to change things. We try to remain patient ... and we wait.