Barely a week after I arrived in Mauritius, it was time to hit the road again. Places to go, people to see, but it was with a heavy heart that I bade farewell to this beautiful island.
I have met many wonderful people here – with special thanks to Michel and Anne Bourgeois at 20 Degrees South, Pipo at the Grand Baie Yacht Club, Jean-Edgar Merle who has helped out in so many ways as well as throwing a fantastically decadent dinner party for me and Team Roz, Nicholas Weiss who hosted an afternoon event for me at his home on the east coast, and the TV folks at MBC.
I’d like to say a bit more about 20 Degrees South. There is a certain kind of hotel that I daydream about as I row across oceans. I very rarely stay in hotels, generally staying with friends whose company I cherish, and to save on cost and environmental impact – but I have to confess that there is nothing like the feel of crisp, white sheets tautly stretched across a comfortable hotel mattress to make me feel truly blissful. Just imagine how good that feels after 5 months of sleeping in an increasingly itchy and malodorous sleeping bag!
Over the years of my ocean rowing career I have been lucky enough to stay in some wonderful places – the Admiral’s Inn in Antigua, the Outrigger in Waikiki, the Madang Resort in Papua New Guinea – and now 20 Degrees South in Mauritius. (We shall draw a tactful veil over the Hotel Otintaai in Tarawa, which was…. interesting. Kind of a cross between Fawlty Towers and Prisoner Cell Block H.)
20 Degrees South is up there with the best of them. A little slice of boutique hotel heaven, and eco-friendly to boot. Breakfast jam, instead of coming in disposable plastic pots, comes in elegant little glasses with tiny jam spoons. Milk for your tea comes in cute mini milk bottles. Laundry bags are fabric, not plastic, and room keys have to be inserted in a slot to activate aircon and lights, ensuring guests don’t leave electricity burning when they leave the room.
I’d like to thank Michel and Anne for their warm hospitality, and for doing their bit to make the world a better, greener place.
I would also like to make a special thank you to the Grand Baie Yacht Club for hosting a presentation last Friday night. The event was a victim of its own success – the paltry 7 copies of Rowing The Atlantic that we had managed to obtain was far outstripped by demand, so apologies to those who did not manage to get a copy. If you email me via the contact form on this website, I will get hold of some more copies, sign them, and send them to you.
So where to next?
I am writing this blog en route to Los Angeles, where tomorrow I will be meeting Diana Nyad, the amazing 62-year-old ultra-distance swimmer, to further the acquaintance we started via Skype last week (video here, filmed at 20 Degrees South). On Thursday you can catch me at a Green Drinks/Surfrider event. At the Trashers Ball I will be making a short presentation – and my debut as a model! I’ll be wearing a trashy creation by designer Marina De Bris (geddit?!) and my good friends from the 5 Gyres Institute, Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins, will also be on the catwalk.
Then on Friday I’m off to San Francisco. ALL ARE WELCOME for celebratory drinks at Greens Restaurant in Fort Mason from 5pm until about 9pm on Friday, 14th October.
After a round of meetings in San Francisco I’m off to New York, from 22nd to 26th October. No plans as yet for any public appearances or events there, but I will keep you posted if that changes.
And finally…. my apologies for general bloglessness for the last 5 or 6 days. I had a wonderful time in Mauritius but it was exceedingly busy, and this is the first moment I have had to myself. From now on I should be able to post a blog every 3 or 4 days. And, of course, I will still be podcasting with Vic over at Roz Roams every week. So stay tuned!