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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.
When we decided to stop at Two Rocks, I googled the little town to see a map and determine what there might be of interest to check out. As I mentioned earlier, there's not much here, but I did happen to see a giant Neptune statue in the area and I started wondering what it might be and where. When we climbed the hill to the IGA, we were surprised to see what was waiting for us.
Just south of shopping center, we could see the giant Neptune on top of a nearby hill. On our way to get a closer look, there stood a grouping of limestone sculptures of very large “celebrity heads”. There were no plaques to tell us who the celebrity heads belonged to nor was any other information provided. They kind of looked familiar. Perhaps if we were Aussies, we'd know, but we were in the dark. We found out later that the heads were rescued from the abandoned Atlantis Marine Park just up the road and laid here to rest in their own little paddock.
As we wandered about looking at the heads, we saw another group of sculptures entitled the Waugal Monoliths. A plaque indicated that these were interpretations of the Aboriginal Dreamtime. The work, by American sculptor, Mark LeBuse, was commissioned in 1976 to celebrate Western Australia's 150th anniversary. Waugals, legendary serpent-like creatures with supernatural powers, lived deep within the Yanchep waters for thousands of years and are prominently featured in mythical rites and regarded with fear and awe by the local natives.
Waugals are associated with water, lakes and rivers and their slithering actions are believed to have caused the creation of many geographical features in the area. Aboriginal folklore handed down for generations tells how the waugal dragged its victims down into the depths of the lake to imprison them there forever. This Waugal was carved from wood and he lorded above all the other creatures.
We checked out each sculpture … fourteen in all. Some were whimsical like Quork the frog and there was a koala mother and joey, and a rather buxom Aboriginal woman, but others had frightening, pained looks on their faces … depicting birth and death or perhaps the fear of getting dragged down to the depths of the lake. All looked decidedly a bit worse for the wear.
On to Neptune! From his vantage point on top of the hill, he can oversee the port, but why is he there? In 1981, the Atlantis Marine Park was built as a theme park in Two Rocks. It closed in 1990 due to financial difficulties and has since been abandoned and vandalized. There's quite a bit of graffiti on old Neptune. The deserted park is fenced off with “No Entry” signs, but a well-worn path to Neptune's throne at the top of the hill was very obvious.
Against David's advice, I scooted through a hole in the wire fencing. I immediately became caught in the fencing when I saw a huge, occupied spiderweb only a nose length's away and then a bobtail skink slinked out of the bush. Needless to say, after an adrenaline moment of untangling myself, I was happy to take photos from afar. Further down the road, we saw remnants of dolphin sculptures. These pix, too, could be, and were, taken from outside the fence.
As we walked back down the hill onto Neptune Cafe's veranda, we saw another Neptune sculpture in their garden, in keeping with the cafe's theme. Even here in little Two Rocks, there is a plethora of public art. You just need to look for it.