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Indian Ocean Voyages

Durban, South Africa to Kochi in India

Durban - Surf City of South Africa

The East coast of South Africa has world renowned surf beaches and huge sand dunes along its East Coast.  You can go from skyscrapers and cross the street onto amazing beaches that could compete with Australian surf spots. Sailing away from Africa you cross the fast flowing and wildlife rich Angullas Current and many whales and big game fish like tuna and shark frequent this coastline. Beyond the continental influence you sail into really deep waters. Enjoy tropical Ocean sailing with good strong trade winds at the start of your voyage to Mauritius.  The route will keep well south of the Somalian pirate risk zone.

Coral Reef fringed Mauritius

The classic white beaches, mangroves and mountain skylines great you. Once anchored within the fringing reef, the snorkelling off the beach is stunning in many locations around the island. The island has a complicated colonial past so there are shades of influence from many countries. It is so bright make sure you have good sunglasses and a spare!

La Reunion - Impressive Mountain Interior

Debbie in Classic Sailing Office has sailed a yacht from Mauritius to Reunion and onto Durban so I can tell you a bit about the weather patterns and character of these very different two islands. La Reunion feels a bit like the French Caribbean, with sophisticated restuarants, stunning clothes and sarongs to buy and a very laid back feel. The island is a French Colony and a well loved luxury holiday destination for the French. The interior is well worth a visit with a huge volcanic caldera and a ridgeline deeply cut by steep valleys.  The beaches have good surf in some places and are coral fringed in others.

Kerala and the Malabar Coast, India

Kerala is a tempting part of India to visit as part of any world travel plans but to arrive on a tall ship is a wonderful way to connect with India's maritime history. After all the open ocean, to glide along the lush waterways of Kerala with its famous houseboats will be a gentle introduction to this vibrant and exotic country.  The coast is also famous for wooden boat building.

The Kerala backwaters are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast) of Kerala state in southern India. The network includes five large lakes linked by canals, both manmade and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually half the length of Kerala state. The backwaters were formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouths of the many rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range.

Kerala has over 900 km of interconnected waterways, rivers, lakes and inlets that make up the Kerala backwaters. In the midst of this beautiful landscape there are a number of towns and cities, which are the starting and end points of backwater cruises. The port of Kochi (Cochin) lies at point where India's longest lake and canal system reaches the sea.

The backwaters have a unique ecosystem - freshwater from the rivers meets the seawater from the Arabian Sea. Many unique species of aquatic life including crabs, frogs and mudskippers, water birds such as terns, kingfishers, darters and cormorants, and animals such as otters and turtles live in and alongside the backwaters. Palm trees, pandanus shrubs, various leafy plants and bushes grow alongside the backwaters, providing a green hue to the surrounding landscape.

 

The Sardine Run – Cape Town to Mauritius

This is one of the seas most amazing stories and it goes something like this. Just when Oosterschelde and Europe leave Cape Town and head up the east coast of South Africa towards Mauritius they join in a spectacle of nature beyond compare. Now unfortunately there is now way we can guarantee the timing will match our voyages. But the ships love to be in the right place at the right time and to really get to see as much of as possible of nature’s grand events. We can guarantee they will make there very best efforts to be there.

The sardine run occurs from May until July when billions of sardines – or more accurately the Southern African pilchard “Sardinops sagax” – spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank. They move en-mass northward along the east coast of South Africa getting closer and closer to the shore as the cold current gets pushed shoreward  before diving off towards Mauritius. The immense numbers create a feeding frenzy along the coastline for whales, dolphins, sharks, gannets and other sea birds. When you are onboard the best things to look for are birds congregating in a certain area and mass diving into the shoal of sardines. The run, containing millions of individual sardines, occurs when a current of cold water heads north from the Agulhas Bank up to Mozambique where it then leaves the coastline and goes further east into the Indian Ocean.

The water temperature has to drop below 21 °C in order for the migration to get under way. In 23 years the “Sardine Run” has only failed three times 2003 and 2006 in recent years.

The shoals can be more than 7 km long, 1.5 km wide and 30 meters deep and easy to spot from a tall ship.

When the current has pushed the shoal towards the shore the density of fish make it worthwhile for slower creatures to hunt them. This threat to the sardines further coalesces the sardines into tight balls of fish. This instinctive behaviour is a defence mechanism that in these circumstances does not work to well! 

 

Across the Indian Ocean Mauritius to Perth

In June 2013 Join the ship in Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.  It is a short hop to la Reunion which is a bit of a French secret with surfing, superb mountain walking and great coral reef snorkelling. Both ships will then cross the India Ocean to Freemantle near Perth in Western Australia.

The Batavia Voyage

Maybe combine leg 5 with this 16 day Australian based voyage starting and finishing in Freemantle, Perth - a tall ship 'pilgrimage' sailing up the coast of Western Australia to the Abrolhos Islands - famous for the mutiny and wreck of the Batavia. The ship that the Dutch nearly took control of Australia with.

Kochi to Singapore – Lord Nelson

India - Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore and South to Perth on Lord Nelson

All these countries by tall ship and lots of islands in between. This area is steeped with  a very long tradition of marine trade going way back long before us Europeans came along to mess it all up. Experience the culture and travel the old way in this beautiful part of the world.

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