Feb. 23, 2011-Bingiza Missed Us (and a thought about Piracy)
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Route of Bingiza
We moved into the cyclone shelter, then when Bingiza didn't come our way we moved back out to the marina where we have power and water and easier access, then Bingiza reappeared south of Madagascar and, while it didn't actually threaten us, it pulled a flow of humid equatorial air southward over us, which, besides from being uncomfortably hot and humid, brought a long ocean swell in from the North, which made the marina untenable, so we went back to the cyclone shelter, where we are now.
wingssail images-fredrick roswold
Calm in the Cyclone Shelter
It is peaceful and quiet here in this little basin in behind Port Louis but not without aggravations. Like rain which makes us close the hatches. Like mozzies! The first night in here we were eaten alive! We put on bug repellant. Then we were sticky. And it was hot. We tossed and turned all night in the heat with bugs buzzing in our ears. Woke up all tangled in damp sheets with bites everywhere.
Needless to say we spent the next day fixing our bug screens, which we had not used since the Solomon Islands in 2003, and our awnings so we can keep the rain out without closing the hatches. We have more work to do on that second item but at least we now have no mozzies, and we have been keeping cooler.
There are a few other boats back here in the cyclone shelter with other people aboard so we have some human contact. And we have our new Mauritian friends who are fun to be with. There is a nice hotel nearby with a very nice bar and we go there for happy hour and to upload stuff on the Internet.
So life is good as we wait for the safe time to depart to Africa, which we hope will be in early April.
Which brings us to piracy: It was shocking to read about the outcome of the pirate attack on the vessel Quest. Judy and I both know that their family and friends are greiving and it again makes us realize what we put our families and friends through just by being out here. I think there is more to be told about this event as the statement from the US Command, as reported, was more than a little ambiguous. It’s not that I really smell a rat but we need to hear the complete version.
I suspect that this occurrence will change the situation in the Indian Ocean somewhat. At a minimum it will make people more reluctant to set out to cross through pirate territory. It might make the world powers do something, although what I am not sure; it is a very difficult situation to correct. Maybe every boat found in the Indian Ocean should be boarded and all guns thrown over the side, or maybe the whole coast of Somalia blockaded, but where is the legal basis for this type of response? Pirates are basically not pirates until they attack, before that they are just Africans on an old boat, and then when they do strike it is too late. The Navy can't very well go around shooting every boat which has Africans on it in case they might be pirates. But I want them all blown to hell and back again too (as my normally peaceful sister suggested) only they don't very well announce themselves and say, "shoot me". Still, the US and other countries will, must, do something, eventually they have to I think, I hope.
Our route is far away from the known pirate areas, at least those know to be pirate areas for now. It may only be a matter of time before other countries start imitating the Somali's excellent business model. Once they get past the risk that some of them will get killed, and in a country where there is no government, no food, no jobs, and much death already, that isn't much of an obstacle, it is pretty attractive; you invest a few thousand dollars and can get a few million dollars for a tanker, even if it goes wrong once in a while.
That is not just cynicism, it is a fact, so again, I think, I hope, the world powers will take some action, what ever it is.
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mauritius