Dec. 15, 2010-Riviere Noire
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Mountians of Mauritius
In the evening the wind comes offshore and our vessel swings toward the land to face the breeze.
Mount Tamarin and the hills of Black River Gorge rise over the small collection of houses known as Riviere Noire (Black River) where Wings is anchored. Beyond these lies the central plateau of Mauritius. These high land forms spawn the offshore breeze and the air which spills down from them each night is cooling and smells of earth.
Behind us a low surf can be heard on the outer reef and we know that local fishermen, including Rashid, who by day is our taxi driver from Port Louis and our friend, are out on the darkness tonight and most other nights unless the seas are up and in the morning they will each bring in a catch amounting to a dozen or so kilos of tuna and reef fish which they will sell to supplement the money they make from their day jobs.
We wonder where Rashid, whose family were shipped here from the Indian sub-continent by the British to work the sugar fields and were workers or farmers but certainly not fishermen, got his affinity for the sea. In Mauritius it is usually the African Creole men not Indians who we see going to sea in the small boats each evening or working the charter boats in Black River or Grand Bay. But Rashid’s work ethic does not surprise us: we saw that of the Indians in Fiji too and in Asia. And here, like in Fiji, the Indian population has swelled and they now dominate the electoral results. Unlike Fiji there have been no coups by indigenous people envious of the Indians'success, perhaps because there are no indigenous people here; everyone here has roots elsewhere.
We sailed from Port Louis to Riviere Noire on Tuesday to explore this new area. It was another lazy day of sailing as the fresh NE wind from behind carried us at six knots with only a mainsail and we didn’t care to set any other sails. We watched the island of Mauritius with its dark mountains and bright green sugar fields pass to port and had white wine with our lunch to toast its beauty.
As we neared Riviere Noire the wind shifted to the West: the geography here which results in an offshore breeze at night also provides a reliable onshore wind during the day. We sheeted in and reached toward the pass and then rode the breeze through the pass and into the bay where we anchored among the local charter boats and a few sailing yachts and admired the mountains. The views are nice.
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Angler's Club, Riviere Noire
Since then we have been ashore a couple of times and found the Angler’s Club where a cold beer can be had for $1.00 and where in the afternoon the returning charter boats offer entertainment for free. We walked to the supermarket but it was closed on Wednesday afternoon. We met a family living on a small catamaran here who operate a business from their boat designing and marketing kites for kite surfing, which is big in this area, but their market is primarily in the US.
So we are finding Riviere Noire to be an interesting and peaceful place to hang out.
We’ll sail back to Port Louis in another week or so but in the meantime we are enjoying it here.
Click here to see some more shots of the trip to Riviere Noire
Click here for more pictures of the Angler's Club at Riviere Noire
Click here for photos of the fishing contest at Riviere Noire
Click here to see the log book pages of our sailing trips in December 2010
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Riviere Noire, Mauritius