We left Rodrigues and had a nice, gentle three-day sail over to Mauritius. We haven’t been to a place this busy/big since we left Brisbane. Northern Queensland and the Northern Territories top out with towns of about 100,000. And the other Indian Ocean stops were all tiny. Mauritius has well over a million people. It’s just a whole different scale. We checked in at Port Louis and spent a night tied up on the wall there, but it is very much an industrial port.
When we arrived at Rodrigues we found out that we had a problem with the started motor on the starboard engine. We got online and ordered a replacement to be delivered in Mauritius. It got there before we did! Shipping from Europe was a mere $40 and it took 3 days. Definitely a metropolis (we met some folks in Rodrigues waiting there for a shipment from Reunion only 400 miles away and they had a two week wait). On the day we arrived I caught a ride down to the airport and picked up the starter. FedEx (and their ilk) sure has changed the world.
After doing all the official paperwork in Port Louis (and retrieving the new starter) we moved up to Grand Baie at the north end of the island and anchored off the yacht club. Grand Baie is a tourist town with a large Indian influence. From there we rented a car and spent several days touring the rest of Mauritius.
Mauritius is all about sugar cane (well, tourism is the number 1 industry, but sugar cane used to be). We were there during harvest season. The hills were covered in cane fields and the roads were crowded with trucks carrying recently harvested cane to the sugar factories. Of course, where there’s sugar there has to be rum. A sailor wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mauritius has a large population if Indian descent, and you see a lot of Indian influence in the food, culture, and architecture.
Even with more than a million people crowded onto a relatively small island there’s still a lot of open space. We did a couple of pretty strenuous hikes. There are flat areas (they are filled with sugar cane) and then there are the areas that are straight up and straight back down.