We received a formal memo from the Port Captain, Gilbert Mallet, advising that the supply ship, Mauritius Trochetia, would be arriving again on the following morning and that all yachts would have to clear the dock and the anchorage in the inner harbor in order to provide sufficient maneuvering space for the ship to turn around. Arrival time? Around 0530. Along with the other three sailboats at the dock, we were required to move to a designated area in the outer harbor, until the ship was securely docked.
Though we're usually up early in the mornings here in Rodrigues, we're not always fully functional. Most morning's are pretty calm; this morning the wind was blowing at about 25 knots and there was a good chop on the water. We heard Trochetia's first hail at about 0510. She was just a few miles out and heading for the entry channel to the outer harbor. We received a hail from Port Control at about 0540 to haul anchor and proceed to the outer harbor. Solitaire, the port's tug, led the way to the designated area and Albion, a smaller utility vessel, took up the rear, following us out.
As soon as all sailboats were clear and accounted for, Trochetia began her approach. Though Solitaire moved into place near the ship, Trochetia, her big bow thrusters churning, made the dogleg turns into the inner harbor without help. The tug moved into place to turn her around and nudge her against the dock.
We made good use of our 45 minute wait in the outer harbor. Our back-up NavMan autopilot needed calibration, part of which required doing several tight circles. We're not sure what the other cruisers thought of our unusual antics, but the autopilot was calibrated by the time Trochetia was all secured.
We got the all clear hail from Captain Mallet and all four sailboats proceeded back into the calmer waters of the inner harbor and anchored. It was dead low tide as we followed the channel back to the inner harbor. Looking at the locals fishing on the reef, we weren't inclined to stray outside the markers.
We found our same little spot and dropped the hook. By 0645, we felt as if we'd done a day's work. Time for a cuppa.