Maersk Valiant in Port Louis Mauritius

We rounded the off-lying islands to the north of Mauritius early in the morning and made our way down the west coast of the island towards its capital Port Louis.

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Once the agent's barge was alongside and the harbour authorities had cleared the rig and granted us "free pratique", we were able to go about our business. We hadn't put down the anchor, preferring to remain in dynamic positioning mode for the few hours we were going to be there. One of the tasks that a drilling rig doesn't often get the opportunity for, being out in the open ocean for most of its life, is to safely put the lifeboats in the water and send them away from the ship's side for training purposes, so being in very sheltered waters we made the most of our time in that respect. We also, of course, took the opportunity to launch the fast rescue craft and our intrepid mariners Bryan English, Thomas Johansen and Bryan Maher put on brave faces and took one for the team. It' a tough job, but someone had to do it!

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Meanwhile a lot of the crew were gazing longingly through binoculars at the beach resorts visible not far away. Mauritius is well known for its tourist industry, and having enjoyed it myself on two occasions, I was able to regale them with tales of luxury and splendor, sufficient to make them all want to either jump ship or throttle me. I suspect that a few of them will return in their own time to see whether or not I was lying. As if I would!

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We left the anchorage in good time, everything completed, as promised by a very professional agency service, WD Associates, and set off to the south after nightfall, the lights of Mauritius twinkling seductively to our port side, bound for our next hurdle, rounding Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of the African continent. After that we'll be in the Atlantic Ocean and making a northerly course for Table Bay and then Walvis Bay in Namibia, where this crew will take its leave.

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