Wednesday, July 29, 2015

More Rodrigues July 2015

We were in Rodrigues for a super low tide with the full moon and we took advantage of the drying reef to become food foragers.  This is looking back at the anchorage and wharf from the reef where I went to collect mussels.  You can see the cargo ship is still in the harbour and we are all at anchor.
 Caramel, a Philippina on Koukouri knew where to find the mussels.  She and another lady went out very early to hunt for octopus in these shallows and then took me out to show me where the mussels were.  At low tide, the tips were just sticking out of the coral and covered in a thin layer of sand .
The locals don't eat the mussels; they think they are bad for you.  But this guy had a couple of octopus he'd caught and came to see what we were doing with the mussels.  He just shook his head and walked away.

Anna from Tapasia is cleaning some of her haul of mussels.  They take a lot of work to knock the coral and beards off to make them ready to cook.  Better to do it out here than to carry all the excess back to the boats and then have to get rid of it from there.  

 Karen cleaning her haul for the day.  I ended up with the green net dive bag half full and that was more than enough work for me.  I dug them out of the sand and broke them off the coral rocks with the dive knife I'd strapped to my leg for that purpose.
 Tom and Barb from Gosi came out to see what we were doing.  They brought their coffee but none for me!  I had to get up early as Caramel said to meet them on the reef at 7 AM.  I finally had to sit down to clean my mussels; I'm getting too old to squat for hours to do the low work.
 We're off on another hike to try to find and follow the trail we lost one day.  Here we are at the levee and heading down to follow the river.   There is a waterfall near the end of the trail if we wanted to hike back up a different valley, but with no rain recently we didn't think it was worth it.
 Sean brought a coconut to drink and hacked it open on a break.  He held it with his feet while working the husk off with his machete.  He's quite a character.
 One of the high fields we crossed on this hike.  There were mushrooms growing out of the cow patties and Sean was running around collecting them as fast as he could.
 Another view from up on a high plateau
 These are some of the mushrooms I collected and gave to Sean to eat.  He said they were ok tasting and didn't really have much/any hallucinogenic properties that he could tell.  They grew out of cow dung like the magic mushrooms I've heard of, but he claimed there was no affect.
 Another 'kid' on the trail.  Tiny little goats are so cute.  This mama didn't even mind us getting close enough to pet her.
 A couple of brilliant cobalt blue butterflies were mating and flitting around, flashing their color in the sun.
 I love these trees with the dramatic drapes of roots.  Some had been tied in a knot long ago and grew into a gnarly knob.
 The ribs of a broken old boat, sitting high and dry in the grass along a shore.
 The locals hand their octopus out to dry on these sticks.
 A closer view of those drying octopi.  When they are dry, they fold them and put them into plastic and sell them at the market.
A roadside vege stand with some nice tomatoes, starfruit and lettuce.  We all bought some tomatoes here.
 It's not only octopus they dry on poles.  Here we saw shark fins hanging in the sun to dry.  They'll sell them to the Chinese most likely.
 More octopus flying in the breeze as they dry.  A weird sight, really; they remind me of Halloween ghosts.
 Some local fishing boats on the shore.  Their sails are rolled up around a bamboo pole and another pole is just leaning in the tree.  The other pole is used to push them around in the shallow water inside the reef as few of them have or need motors and the water is too shallow to use one much of the time.
 The local prison has some great views just across from the bay.  The rest of the wall was painted in murals depicting dolphins participating in all sorts of sports.
 Chinese sausages hanging outside a shop to dry.  We stopped for a cold drink as it was a verrry long walk back from the end of our hike.  The smarter ones caught a bus, but we walked the road back along the bays.
 Out on the drying reef, this reticulated sea cucumber was stretched out to over four feet in length.  He's in only about an inch of water here.  They are like Velcro when you touch them, and will shrink back up to shorter lengths when disturbed.
 We took Tim and Liz out onto the reef to collect mussels.  They've lived here for years and have never been out onto the reef.  They'd forgotten there were even mussels out here!  They had a blast.  Something new for them and Liz doesn't really like the water, so it was a treat for them to ride across the anchorage in a dinghy and walk the reef.
 Tim shows off the bag of mussels we collected.  I left them to clean, cook and enjoy them.
 Lots of coral, sand and junk still clinging tot he mussels before they were cleaned.  A bit of white wine and garlic and parsley and they steam in just a few minutes for a wonderfully tasty heap of tiny morsels to enjoy.
 A local with a traditional flat drum used in the sega music, the local music for the dance here.
 The beef shop at the market.  They'll cut a chunk off for you or you can buy the bits and pieces if you can recognize them.  Rodrigues exports cattle to Mauritius for beef; we watch them load the mooing cattle on the ship in special containers with open air slats.
 One entrance to the market.  Folks set out their wares on the ground if they haven't rented a stall space.
Another cruiser couple asked me if I wanted to join them to go to watch sega dancing.  I jumped at the chance on a Sunday afternoon.  I thought I was going to watch a sega dance performance, but it turned out the dancing was in the nightclub across the street from the fire station.  Sunday afternoons they have a live band that plays music.  The band was a drummer with a flat round drum like the one pictured earlier, an accordionist, and two men playing the triangle.  A woman sometimes came to sit on the corner and clack together some noise makers.  It sort of sounded like zydeco sometimes.
 The band.  Very simple but it worked.
 Women danced with women a lot as there were fewer men.  The dance floor was filled every number.  This woman is getting into the local sega dance mode, twirling with the outflung skirt.
 Oh yeah, here we go with the outflung skirts and the swishing of it back and forth.  It was a lot of fun to watch, but they didn't play many of these numbers.  It was kind of like being at an old fashioned barn dance.  The nightclub smelled like a gymnasium--sweaty-- and I could certainly see why.
 Neil and Ley from Crystal Blues actually got out and did a few turns on the dance floor, too.
We had a cruiser's dinner at a local restaurant, Blue Marlin, reputed to be the best food on the island (but not too expensive).  It was a beachside restaurant and we filled the place up and had a wonderful meal.  Barb, Kerstin, Helmut, Chris, Tom and Jason were at our table.
My pizza for dinner.  I'm liking the thin crust when it's made so well here.
Another night up at Tim and Liz's house, up on the high hill overlooking the entire town.  Liz was cooking us Chinese and Mauritian dishes. Quite a place, really.  Chris and Jason having a discussion and Helmut in the background looking at the fountain Tim had made from local coral and shells.
Tim giving Kerstin some dirt out of a pot so she can grow some of the herbs that Liz gave her from her garden.  Good soil/dirt is often hard to find when you're on a boat and visiting coral or volcanic islands.
The water fountain Tim built from local coral and shells.  Very pretty.  You can see clam shells, cowries, conch and sea urchins and even a mussel or oyster shell mixed in there.
Liz had set out some cowries on a glass table top and Jason spilled some residual sand out of it when he picked it up to admire it.  Oops.
Tim and Karen in front of the fountain.
Liz and Jason in the kitchen.  Those are some of the Chinese dishes on the stove.
A plate full of mixed dishes.  Quite a feast for all of us.  If we'd come up earlier, we could've learned her secrets to making these dishes.
Dessert was atrifle with orange cake on the bottom, layered with Jello and mixed fruit cocktail, and topped with a coconut custard and fresh bananas from her trees and wild raspberries she had picked that morning.
Liz put little signs by each dish so we knew what we were eating.  Octopus curry and pig's feet were two of the dishes and both were delicious.
Chris and Helmut at the foosball table in the living room.  Jason watching like an umpire.  The table got some exuberant use when we visited.
Resting in the living room with a glass of wine or beer.  It was so generous of this couple to have us all up for dinner several times.  They even picked us up from the wharf.  It was a long, very steep ride up the hill to their home and the folks in the back of the truck had to hold on tight as we whipped around the tight hairpin turns needed to get up into their driveway.
The cruisers and port captain convinced the local diesel truck to deliver fuel to the wharf for the yachts needing to top off.  They wouldn't come unless they could sell a minimum of 1000 liters of fuel, so the yachts all came together and added their needs and the truck just rolled along the wharf from one boat to the next to fill them all.
A good bunch of the yachties here at the time.  A 72-year-old local guy named James Waterstone has been welcoming yachties for decades here.  He doesn't own a boat but he loves them and wanted pictures of all of us with our yachts.  James is the guy in the center in the pink shirt, next to Karen in the bright red shirt and shoes.  Jason is missing but there are folks here from eight yachts, plus the Port Captain, Yvan on the far right.
The last sunset before departure day.
Lee didn't bring a chair to our sunset snack get together on the wharf, so he decided to sit on my lap to give his feet a rest.  There were too many folks on the wharf to have them all on one boat, so we had drinks on the wharf this night.
Empty crates had to do as tables as there weren't picnic facilities on the wharf.  Not elegant, but hey, we're cruisers and it's the company that is important.
Sean brought roasted green bananas to the party.  Wrapped in sooty foil, they tasted a bit like roasted potatoes.  It was nice of him to contribute as we all know he has little money to buy food to share.  Jason has a mouthful of something and was trying to lean back out of the photo but got caught.
A local boat leaving the harbour at the same time as us.  He zigzagged in front of us to put up his sail and then was gone. 
 The sunset as we headed off from Rodrigues to Mauritius.  We just followed the sun to the west.