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South Africa Log
Sunday December 2nd, 2001
Woke up fairly early and had a wonderful breakfast over at the coffee shop. Then we wandered around bit, and we were pleasantly surprised to run into Tonya and Gerrith from Blue Nomad. We spent the day hanging out, relaxing and celebrating with them. Gerrith has completed his circumnavigation. We watched the storm roll in around late afternoon. High winds and black sky. The heavy rain came quite a few hours later. We were all very happy to be on shore for that storm. In the evening we made some collect calls home to my Mom , my Dad and Dave's Mom. Really great to talk to everyone. -SLC
It was a low gravity day. Hi ho. -DWH
Monday December 3rd, 2001
Booked a safari trip into the Hluheluwe Umfolozi Park. We will spend 2 days on a guided hike and camping. Check out the website www.rhino.org.za We hope to see the 'Big Five' ... lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and water buffalo. There are also cheetahs, giraffe and wild dogs. We are very excited. This is my birthday present from Dave!!! I hope to get some good photos. My telephoto lens should prove to be quite useful. -SLC
Talked to Dale at Quay Walk Tours and Travel and also to the nice ladies at the visitor center to decide just what we wanted to do. Then went back to Dale who helped set it all up. The safari goes from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. Everything is included except transportation to the park. The cost was about 1000 rand ($100US) per person. Dale also helped arrange a rental car which was 172 rand a day. -DWH
Tuesday December 4th, 2001
Went into town today. We needed to get visas from immigration to allow us to leave Richard's Bay. Yachties are considered to be "in transit" and are free to move around the harbour town but need visas to go anywhere else. After visiting the immigration office we walked across the street to the shopping mall. It is very much like being at home. We even saw the new Harry Potter movie.
Talked to Guy. He just arrived at his dad's home. We are really looking forward to see him. We are going to do our safari and then keep the car for a couple extra days to go see him. -DWH
Went out to a Tuesday night happy hour and fish fry. Everything here is so inexpensive for visitors because the rand has pretty much crashed. A nice glass of white wine is usually 4.5 rand (about 40 cents), but during happy hour it's only 3 rand (27 cents). The fish dinner, which included a baked potato and salad, was fantastic and cost 20 rand ($1.90). We met some fun people and even got to see a delayed broadcast of Monday Night Football. It was great to see the Packers kick some butt. Finally Tonya and Gerrith joined us and the party continued on into the night. -DWH
Wednesday December 5th, 2001
I laid around the boat today. Stacy and Jo went to the mall. Stacy did some shopping and picked up photos. Jo saw Harry Potter.
This evening after dinner we spotted a lion fish next to the pier. It was really beautiful. It would be cool to see one while swimming, but not too close. -DWH
Thursday December 6th, 2001
It was a pretty lazy day. Stacy and I went out for the most fantastic dinner. We had skewered fillet steak at Mari Tinos. We are basically tied right in front of the restaurant. It is run by a very friendly Portuguese lady. It's the kind of place were the owner talks to every customer. -DWH
Friday December 7th, 2001
Drove to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park for our safari. See "Safari Adventure" for all the details.
Saturday December 8th, 2001
Safari continued !!!
Sunday December 9th, 2001
Safari continued !!!
Our safari ended in the afternoon. Then we drove to Pietermaritzburg (PMB) to see Guy. What an excellent reunion. We were anxious to tell of our adventures in the Indian Ocean and to hear what he's been up to. We caught up with him, met his dad, had a braai (BBQ), and watch Jo's videos. -DWH
Monday December 10th, 2001
We had breakfast in PMB and then took off for a short tour. We checked out the boarding school that Guy attended. It is one of the two most prestigious schools in South Africa. It was interesting to learn that even though it's students were from the richest, most powerful families of the white minority, it was very progressive and fought apartheid by admitting black students despite threats from the government to use the army to shut the school down. Next we stopped a micro brewery / hotel for lunch and some beer tasting. Finally we drove to Guy's step mother's families farm. We were given a warm welcome and had a nice braai with his relatives. -DWH
Tuesday December 11th, 2001
We started the day with a nice walk on the farm. Then we were off to PMB to drop off Guy at his dad's house. After a quick lunch we headed back to Richard's Bay to return the car and get ready for tonight's party.
Before leaving for our Safari we had arranged for Stacy's birthday party. Since
the restaurant "1001 Islands" has a Tuesday night fish fry / happy
hour that is attended by many cruisers, and since we really like the people
that work there, we decided that it was the place. We talked to them about birthday
cakes (enough for the whole crowd), and they said that they would take care
of it. We had fish and wine and carrot cake and an excellent time. (Thanks Mom)
Wednesday December 12th, 2001
Checked weather from Peri Peri this morning. It looks like we will have NE winds for the next couple days, so it is a good time to move. The big thing is to avoid one of the "SW Busters" that come up suddenly and blow hard against the Agulhas current causing very big, steep waves.
Spent the whole day running around filing a "flight plan" and checking out for our trip to Durban. It appears that we need to check in and out of South Africa for each hop around the cape. It's a slight pain in the butt, but everyone is friendly and there is no charge.
Checked weather with Peri Peri one last time at 5pm. It still looks good. Untied and headed out around 5:30pm. It should be a quick over night sail to Durban. Blue Nomad will also be sailing, but they are planning on waiting until midnight to leave. -DWH
Thursday December 13th, 2001
Arrived in Durban and tied up around 10am. It was a pretty uneventful trip. We used the water temperature gauge to stay in the good current. There were lots of ships to avoid, but we are getting pretty good at that. There are especially a lot of ships anchored outside the harbour because the harbour workers are on strike. As we approached the harbour I talked to Port Control to get permission to enter. Once we got inside I was about to call them again to get directions on where to tie up and the procedure for clearing in when some men on a large, industrial pier started waving and yelling about paperwork. We thought that port control must have called customs and immigrations and that they had come down to meet us, so we pulled up to the pier. It was very tall with no ladder to climb down. Then we noticed a clip board with some papers floating in the water. We fished it out of the water and handed it up to them. They thanked us and waved good bye. They were not customs or immigration officials at all. They were just some guys who had dropped their paperwork in the water and needed help. We were glad that we could give then a hand. Eventually we got in contact with the yacht club, got tied up at a slip, and got started on the paperwork. The woman in the office was very helpful. It took a while as we had to wait for an immigration officer to come down, but by 3:30 we were once again checked in. -DWH
Where is Blue Nomad? Stacy tried getting them on the VHF, but there was no reply. -DWH
Friday December 14th, 2001
Got up early for a nice walk. We found an interesting place called the BAT Center, basically a working art center and a couple friendly places to eat. We had breakfast, and we were thinking about checking out the art when a SW wind started to pick up. We headed back to Ladybug to check out the situation and add a couple additional lines. With this wind we started to really wonder about Blue Nomad. After making sure everything was OK on the boat, we headed back to the BAT center and really had an interesting time talking with the artists. We met one guy named Manuel and especially enjoyed watching him make prints from wood carvings. We were able to see all stages of the operation. After spending most of the day looking at art, we headed down town. We found a shopping mall that was way too busy and a tourist center that was part information, part art/craft shops. We were in the craft shop when a local big shot came in to buy Christmas gifts. It was the Minister of Home Affairs. We know this only because one of the five or six very well dressed guards announced his presence to the shop owner. Since we are just ignorant tourist, we were not the least bit inhibited and started to chat with him. At first he didn't seem to know how to react to this, but later was quite friendly. We were looking at bead work. He explained that the quality was excellent, hard to find such good quality these days. Stacy obviously agreed and picked out a small purse and a matching bracelet and necklace. -DWH
Blue Nomad has arrived. Their trip down was a bit too exciting. As they were ready to head out of Richard's Bay the port captain would not let them leave because he had not received their flight plan. The flight plan had been turned in, but obviously had not been forwarded to him as it should have been. Since it was midnight, their only option was to wait until morning to get things straightened out. When they finally left the weather report was still favorable, but this morning the SW Buster hit, and they were in the middle of it. They got out of the main current, but the 35 knot wind still kicked up some steep waves. Blue Nomad is 60ft long, steel, and weights 40 tons. They still got pounded. Tonya said there was water coming in through ALL the hatches. They usually motor at about 8 knots, but during all of this they were only able to make 1 knot. Needless to say, they are happy to be here safe and sound, and we are very happy to see them. -DWH
Saturday December 15th, 2001
Went back to the BAT center. We decided to buy two color prints from Manuel and one black and white print from Isaac, who taught print making to Manuel. Ran around town for a while. At 5pm I went back to the BAT center to pay for and pick up our prints. Then Manuel walked with me back to Ladybug. He said he wished his wife and son could see the boat, so we made a plan for tomorrow. -DWH
Jo spent the day on the water with Norman, who was the committee boat for today's races. -DWH
Sunday December 16th, 2001
Early this morning it was sunny and still. While laying in bed we expected it to be a hot day, but then the clouds moved in. A little later the wind picked up just a little from the SW. Within about 15 minutes it was blowing hard.
Manuel came over with his wife and son. It was great to have local guests. (see guest log)-DWH
Monday December 17th, 2001
Stacy did e-mail and some shopping. Jo worked on a safari video, and I worked on the adventure story for the website. We also spent some time scrubbing the deck. Ladybug has gotten dirty and all the shiny, new boats that get washed more than sailed are making us look shabby. Later in the day we had a visit from the Ellis family. It was fun to show the boat to Guy's family, so they can better understand his experience. It is also interesting talking with his father, Chris. South Africa is has great potential and terrible problems. When the African National Congress (ANC) gained power, they push the idea of reconciliation - black, white, and Indians are all South Africans. This is a beautiful idea, but there is certainly problems. There is a lot of poverty and violence. The hope is that education will be the great equalizer. Unfortunately there is another problem that is devastating now and getting worse.......AIDs. About 11% of the people in South Africa have HIV. In this area, KwaZulu-Natal, it is 33%. Here is an example that shows just how bad the situation is: If you work in a restaurant with 20 other people, if 3 or 4 die this year of AIDs, that would not be unusual, at least in the Durban area. This is really bad and getting worse. -DWH
Went out to dinner with Guy, Norman, and Etienne. Later joined on Ladybug by Helen, Beatrix, and René. Ended the evening by taking a harbor cruise with Norman on his boat. Finally got to bed around 2:30am. -DWH
Tuesday December 18th, 2001
Jo found a great used chart shop. It is chart wonderland. There are charts for all over the world. Used originals are 45 rand. Used copies are around 25 rand. They also have lots of books and other boat stuff. The owner of the shop is also working on a cruising guide for the area of Salvador, Brazil to Trinidad. We are going to try to get a draft of this as it will not be ready for publication before we leave.
Jo worked on charts, figuring out what we need and buying them. He got a very large pile of charts for about $85US. This would buy 4 charts back home. Stacy and I went to the internet cafe and then went looking for lunch. She spotted an "African Cuisine" sign down an ally. That looked perfect. We went in and found that the place was very busy, but there was not a single white person in sight. A lady greeted us and said that she would try to find a place for us to sit. There was music playing and the atmosphere was very upbeat. We ended up sharing a table with two young men and were soon in conversation. One thing we've noticed here is that the races don't always mix well. It is often difficult to talk as peers. I hate greeting someone with "good morning" and having them reply "good morning, sir", especially when that person is obviously older than I am. The simple fact is that some of these people have been down for a long time, and it seems to be the way that they know. Being in a bad economic situation does not help either. Anyhow, like when we talk with or friend Manuel, this conversation flowed. Nkululeko and Zane work in the meat department at a large super market. They are 22 and 25 respectively. We spoke openly about topics ranging from education to the AIDs situation to sports. We found them to be very polite, intelligent, and well spoken. Stacy later said of our meeting, "That is the reason I travel." After we had finished our meal and exchanged e-mail addresses, we got up and were leaving together. As I headed for the door a man grabbed my hand and nearly knocked me over in giving me a hug. He nearly had tears in his eyes when he said, "We are all brothers in this country." He explained that he had been watching us during or whole conversation with Nkulueko and Zane. "You are good people. You all talk like brothers." It was a powerful moment for us. It is too bad it is not the norm. -DWH
Tonight we experienced a high energy rock concert in miniature called 'Milestones to the Millennium'. This was a dinner show in a very small and intimate theater. We really enjoyed the three course dinner and the show. We got to meet some of the band and our waitress, Shannon, was very cool. The music was a huge variety of soul, rock and roll, and current hits. Pink Floyd to Ricky Martin!! Our favorites were the guitarist who did an excellent Jim Hendrix and the female singer who did an incredible Tina Turner. Thanks dad, this was part of the birthday present you sent! -SLC
Wednesday December 19th, 2001
Spent the day writing and working around the boat. Stacy and I got a tour of a locally made catamaran and later were given a good factory tour. We are always shopping for the "next boat." (Anybody have an extra couple hundred thousand dollars that you don't need?) -DWH
We visited Shannon at her other job in an antique/used book store called Ike's on Florida Avenue. She helped us find a few interesting South African Novels.Tthen she sent us over to the Bean Bag Bohemia (known as the 'triple b') for some coffee and a snack. There was live jazz and a young crowd. -SLC
Thursday December 20th, 2001
Listened to weather from "Peri Peri." It's not looking good for the next week or so. -DWH
Worked around the boat - scrubbing, working on safari story and the rest of the website; Stacy also working on website and making a flag for St. Helena; Jo working on safari video. Later went to internet cafe. The Capital Times is planning to run another story which is pretty exciting. Later had a braai (South African for BBQ) at the Point Yacht Club. -DWH
Friday December 21st, 2001
Checked the weather again this morning. It's still looks iffy for the next week or so. I guess we will spend Christmas in Durban.
We had a surprise this morning. A local celebrity (at least in the yachty community) stopped by to say hello.......
Fred (AKA Peri Peri) and his wife Eva pay a visit to Ladybug
Dave, Jo and I went to see a jazz band (see BAT Center for photos). Yesterday when we mentioned that we would be here tonight, Manuel said that Neta, his beautiful wife, had a letter for Stacy. Neta took the afternoon off from work to come down to deliver it herself. It turned out to not really be a "letter" but was a wonderful surprise.....
A beautiful present from Neta. Traditional cloth from Mozambique. Amazing colors and design.
Saturday December 22nd, 2001
The day started with a trip to the marine supply shop to pick out a new stove top. We found a nice marine grade replacement for 1/3 the cost of anything we could find in a catalog. Jo spent the day refitting the counter top to accept the smaller shape of the new stove top. It is going to look great. Dave and I both managed to spend some time Christmas shopping for each other. Dave also paid a visit to Manuel, which made me very happy. In a short time Manuel has become a very good friend to us. I also arranged for our Christmas present from Dave's parents. Dave's mom insisted that we spend a night off the boat for our Christmas present. So on Christmas eve morning we will be picked up by David from Yellowwood Lodge. The lodge is situated right next to the Stainbank Nature Reserve. I hope the rain lets up so we can make use of the mountain bikes there and see a few of the animals....mongoose, bushbaby???, zebra, bushbuck, reedbuck, water monitor??? and genet??? Not sure what some of these animals look, but maybe we will find out. -SLC
Had a nice pizza dinner over at the Royal Natal Yacht Club with Egon and Silvia (s/v Nalu). Then we went to the Point Yacht club because I wanted to toast to the wedding of John and Natalie in Canada. These are our friends who we traveled with us from Panama to Tahiti. Nat was on s/v Beacon and John on s/v Trojka. We figured out that it was about 1:30 pm where they were, so we think our toast was maybe right on time. We send our love and wish you tons of happiness. We will celebrate with you sometime in the near future. -SLC
Sunday December 23rd, 2001
The rain has been well set in since about 7 pm last night. We are having a lazy morning. Dave listened to the weather report early this morning then went back to bed. I got up around 8:30 to start working on the computer. -SLC
Monday December 24th, 2001
My mom gave us money to spend on a night off the boat for Christmas Eve. Stacy found a lodge that is right next to a game reserve. It is just on the edge of Durban, but has zebra, impala, etc. We had breakfast at the Royal Natal Yacht Club and then got picked up by David, the owner of the Yellowwood Lodge. When we arrived we met his parents, who also live there. David is apparently a good athlete, but his father, Joe, was really impressive. There is an annual 90 km (about 56 miles) running race here. They have both done it, but we saw a photo of Joe finishing a few years ago. He did it in 9.5 hours! That's pretty fast for a guy who was in his 60s at the time. After meeting everyone, Stacy and I got settled in and then went for a walk in the game reserve (photos above). We saw impala, zebra, and monkeys. After the walk we were pretty hot, so we took a dip in the pool. Excellent. We ended the evening with a braai (BBQ), wine, champagne, and gifts. It was a most excellent night! Thanks Mom!-DWH
Enjoying the great scenery.
Monkeys in the trees and on the path!
We crossed several streams during our hike.
Tuesday December 25th, 2001
Merry Christmas everyone! Happy birthday Kadek! Stacy and I had a big breakfast, and then David gave us a ride back to the marina. When we arrived there was a fresh wind out of the SW. Stacy and I were both hoping that Blue Nomad was still at the dock. Yesterday Gerrith seemed pretty determined to leave, but it would not be nice to be spending Christmas day out in this. We were relieved to see the big blue hull still safely tied up. When we got to Ladybug, Jo said that Gerrith and Tonya had invited him to a big Christmas Eve dinner (they even gave him a written invitation). It sounds like a good time was had by all. -DWH
Wednesday December 26th, 2001
Today is Boxing Day, another holiday. It looks like the weather will be switching later today or early tomorrow, but the offices are closed so we can't check out. With nothing better to do, Stacy and I went and saw "The Fellowship of the Ring." -DWH
Thursday December 27th, 2001
Blue Nomad left this morning. It probably would have been better to have left last night, but I'm sure they will be fine. We'd like to leave, but we are not checked out yet. By the time I could get the paperwork done, it would be too late for this weather window. I discussed the situation with some other boats and decided to do the paperwork tomorrow and tell them that we will be leaving early Monday morning.-DWH
Dave and I decided to head over to the yacht club for burgers around sunset. But we stopped at s/v Nalu to see if Egon and Silvia wanted to meet us after dinner for a drink. As we came up to the boat I could smell some good food being prepared, so jokingly is asked "Is dinner ready yet?". Silvia replied "Almost, come on up". I told her I was only joking, but she said she wasn't and that we were invited for dinner. Dinner on Nalu sounded like a lot more fun than the yacht club, so we ran back to the boat for a bottle of wine and had an evening full of great food and interesting conversation! -SLC
Friday December 28th, 2001
Six boats checked out this morning, all planning on leaving on Monday morning. Now we will just have to hope that the weather cooperates. Stopped by the BAT center to see Manuel. Jo came by a little later and he was closely followed by Egon and Silvia. There was good music on the patio. The staff at the restaurant wear really cool shirts. I tried to trade a "Ladybug Adventures" for the one our waitress was wearing. She seemed interested. I had a second, unbuttoned shirt over my tee shirt, so I took the "Ladybug Adventures" shirt off. When she returned, I gave my shirt to her. She said she couldn't trade, so I told her that in that case my shirt was a gift. -DWH
Saturday December 29th, 2001
Stacy and I went to the BAT center, quickly becoming our favorite place in Durban. To our surprise, the waitress from last night was wearing "Ladybug Adventures". Her name is Joy and she really made my night. -DWH
The staff including Joy in her "Ladybug Adventures" shirt
Sunday December 30th, 2001
Went to the BAT center to see Manuel, Neta, and Mduduzi. We spent the afternoon talking and watching Manuel work on a wood carving. We gave Manuel and Mduduzi "Ladybug Adventure" shirts and gave Neta necklaces from Bali. Mduduzi is usually pretty shy around us, but when he saw the shirt his arms went right up to Stacy so she could put it on him, and then he let her hold him for quite a while. Later we went up to the bar to see Joy. -DWH
Monday December 31st, 2001
Self portrait of "Laundry Dave"
A was doing laundry on the net and listening to music this morning. I had the music cranked up and was really enjoying myself. I ducked into the boat for a couple minutes to do something, and when I came out....voila! There was a beautiful old wood boat pulling up to the end of the pier. The name of the boat is Babar. I tried to help the skipper tie her up, but he was good and even though he was alone, he didn't need much help. Once the boat was secure, I introduced myself. His name is Pierre, he is French, and he is just arriving from Reunion. The passage took him 23 days. He had 8 days of no wind, 3 storms, and got knocked down by 50+ knot winds off the south of Madagascar. I explained the check-in routine and took him up to the marina office so he could start the paperwork. A little later Stacy came back from shopping, and we went back to the office to see if he needed any help. Stacy's French came in handy, and she did some translating to help him through all the forms. I'm sure he could have handled it just fine, but he was very, very tired. Once he had gotten through the initial paperwork we took him to the yacht club for a beer and lunch. We were curious, and he filled us in on his story. When he was a little boy, he read about a man sailing around the world alone. He loved the story and 50 years after the original voyage, Pierre set off in a replica boat to do the same trip. It has been a fabulous experience for him. Not only that, but the man who did the original trip is still alive, and Pierre calls him from each port. (to learn more, see:WWW.VOILESDAMOUR.COM) We ended up having a braai on Ladybug. Our guests included the mighty crew of s/v Wings of Time - Jeff, Laura (with child), and Nicholas (16 months old). Egon also came over. He is now on his own as Silvia has left for 3 weeks in Spain with a bunch of her friends. After a little sleep Pierre joined us and proved to be a most enjoyable guest. He gave us a replica of his boat, built inside a bottle, one of the things he does on those days with no wind. He and Stacy were helping each other with their language skills. They were having conversations where Pierre spoke only English and Stacy spoke only French. -DWH
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Tuesday January 1st, 2002
Midnight!!! Happy New Year!!! The harbor is lit up with expired flares. At one point there must have been 50 or 60 in the sky. We had champagne (the cheap stuff) and toasted the new year. Unfortunately Pierre could not hold on as he was very tired after just arriving. He has an excellent bottle of French Champagne in our cooler that he insisted we drink, but we will wait to share it with him. After the light show ended and the champagne was gone Stacy, Jeff and I headed to the BAT center to celebrate a little more with our friends there. When we finally headed back to ladybug it was just starting to get light in the East.
In the morning: Everyone was moving pretty slowly after staying up last night. I got a couple hours of sleep, but Stacy didn't go to bed at all. Around 11am we went for a quick sail with Jonnie and Marianna on s/v Zing. They are very friendly. Around 2pm our friend Joy stopped by with her two daughters. Later Egon showed up, and then Jeff, Laura, and Nicholas also joined us. It was a fine afternoon of discussion, music, and playing with legos. Joy even gave Zulu names to me and Stacy - Sipho (male form of "gift") for me and Siphokazi (female form of "gift") for Stacy.
The day ended with another braai on Ladybug. The Bug is definitely becoming one of the social hot spots in the marina! -DWH
Wednesday January 2nd, 2002
We spent most of the day checking the weather and doing last minute things to prepare for departure. Talked to Fred (Peri Peri) at 7am. It looks like we have a window after the SWer that is currently blowing. The next SWer is forecast to reach East London on Saturday. That should give us a little better than 2 days if we leave tonight or early tomorrow. Discussed the situation with Jeff and then went to see Tony Herrick at "Cruising Connections" chart shop. Tony wrote a cruising guide for the east to west passage around the cape. After looking at the weather fax, he thought that it was a reasonable window. He also suggested that we leave at the tail end of the SWer, rather than waiting for it to switch. It will be a little uncomfortable at first, but we are less likely to get caught out as we approach East London. It is about 250 miles to East London, and there is no shelter on the way. This is a very hazardous coast. At 3:30pm I listened to current weather reports from buoys all along the coast. The wind has changed to SE in East London already. It is still SW between there and Durban, but is light. After a little discussion we decided to go for it. We said good-bye to Pierre and got him to sign our guest book, and we told Jeff that we were going for it. The last thing we did before leaving was to listen to Fred's broadcast at 5pm. There was one bit of news that disturbed us. One of the three forecasts that Fred has for East London shows a SWer hitting there on Friday instead of Saturday. He said he wasn't sure what to make of that. We had another quick discussion and decided to continue with our plan to leave. If we get out and tomorrow morning's forecast looks really bad, we can turn back to Durban.
5:40pm: Lines are off, and we are headed out.
The wind was light and shifty, but the seas are not too bad. Called Jeff of the VHF to give him the conditions. He and Laura still haven't decided if they are leaving. -DWH
Thursday January 3rd, 2002
The wind continued to be light and uncertain as to which direction it wanted to blow. Up to 2am we had only been averaging about 3 knots. From this point on we need to average about 6 knots to make it to East London by sunset Friday. It is also important to get there as quickly as possible to avoid being caught by the next SW blow. I fired up the engines and motor sailed. It is not real efficient fuel wise or as pleasant, but we got our speed up.
Around 4am the wind settled down and blew pretty consistently from the west at about 8 knots. Jo took over at 7am. I listened to Peri Peri. Nothing new with the forecast It looks like the next SWer will be in East London late Friday or on Saturday. I checked in with Fred and gave him our position. A number of other boats are also on there way down. I think they all left after us, either later in the day yesterday or early this morning. They include Eagle Dancer (US), Mari Stella (French?), Elefant (German), Alumine (Austrian), and Sunset Sailor (South African). Fred and Laura on Wings of Time decided to wait for a better window.
The wind shifted around to the NE around 10am. Jo and I were asleep, and Stacy was at the helm. She said the seas were very confused, and she almost got sea sick (and she was at the helm!). At 11am we had a problem with the outhaul for the 1st reef, and she woke me up, but by then the seas had calmed down quite a bit. Since the wind had shifted, we decided to try the spinnaker. We were really moving for a short while, but the wind picked up, and we had to drop it and go with just the jib. It was about this time that we seemed to have found the current. We were doing around 5 or 6 knots through the water, but about 10 knots over ground. -DWH
4pm: We have done about 38nm in the last 4 hours. The wind is up around 35 knots. The seas are really starting to build up. The barometer is dropping as expected, but a little faster than I would like. At this rate we should be in East London in the morning, but it might be an interesting night. -DWH
5:15pm: Could not pick up Fred, but got a relay. The SWer that was forecast for East London tomorrow has been changed. It is now forecast to arrive on Saturday. That's good news. It's still blowing though. I'm not sure how accurate our wind sensor is, but I've seen apparent wind speeds of 33 knots. We are heading down wind at about 6.5 knots and have a current of about 4 knots. That all adds up to a pretty high true wind speed. It might be a long night. -DWH
Later: The barometer has stopped dropping, but it is still windy and the seas have continued to build. We are staying around 3-5 miles off the 200 meter (depth) line to stay in the current. This seems to be working as we are still really moving. We can also tell that we are in the current as the water temperature is staying around 75 degrees F. The autopilot does not handle these big following seas very well, so we are hand steering. We have decided to go with 2 hour shifts at the helm rather than the usual 4 hours. We are also having a second person on standby in case help is needed. It is actually pretty fun sailing. I'm just glad that the wind isn't coming from the other direction. If we had 35-40 knots in the opposite direction as the current, it would be very, very ugly.
11pm: We have done 120 nm in the last 12 hours. It's cool to sail with the current. Our previous record for 12 hours was 100 nm. -DWH
Friday January 4th, 2002
1am: We have done 170 nm in the last 16 hours! The barometer seems to be going down again, but very slowly. When it drops, then levels off, then starts coming back up it is a sign that a SWer will hit soon. I'm watching it closely, but the initial drop was less than usually precedes a SWer, and the forecast is for continued NE winds for another day or so. Anyhow, I'm glad to see it dropping again. We have started to turn in towards shore as we approach East London. As we reached the 200m line the sea really calmed down, but we still seemed to have pretty good current. The wind is still strong, but with the reduced seas the autopilot is working well again.
Since the autopilot was working, Jo took watch from 1-5am, giving Stacy and me a good rest. He said that as we got inside the 200 meter line, the sea temp dropped to 65 degrees and the current disappeared.
As we approach East London, the dolphins appeared to greet us!
7 am: We are just outside the breakwater waiting for permission to enter. I talked to Peri Peri Fred and let him know that we had made it safely. The 4 or 5 boats behind us seem to be doing OK. S/V Sunset Sailor sounded a little beat up, but he was advised to head a little closer to shore to get out of the big seas.
8:30 am: We are rafted up (3 boats deep all along the wall) and ready to celebrate a safe passage with a big breakfast! We can also celebrate our longest 24 hr run - 210 NM from 5 am yesterday to 5 am today.
We spent most of the rest of the day relaxing and helping the other boats that are coming in. We are now rafted up 4 deep. Stacy and I did a quick run into town to send/receive e- mails. We are wondering if/when our friend Eric might arrive from the US for a visit. Later we met some South African yachties and shared in their braai. Excellent food, drink, and conversation. Around 9 or 10pm the last of the Durban group, s/v Sunset Sailor, arrived. It is couple with 3 kids and one other crew. They just bought their boat and started sailing in Richard's Bay. This is the most hazardous place in our whole circumnavigation, and they are just learning here! We wish them the best of luck and are anxious to help in any way. When we saw them coming in, Stacy and I ran down to help them tie up. They caught a nice dorado on their passage, so later they brought it up to the braai. We had a good time having a little fish and a lot of conversation with them. -DWH
Saturday January 5th, 2002
We have had discussion about a very important issue. When we left Durban, we still had Pierre's bottle of Champagne. He refused to take it back, insisting that he had given it to us. We very much want to share it with him and hope we meet up in the next month or so, probably in Cape Town. But what if we don't see him again? If we don't get to drink it with Pierre, then I think we should save it for our circumnavigation party! -DWH
Sunday January 6th, 2002
It was a cold and rainy day, perfect for doing a little reading. -DWH
Monday January 7th, 2002
It was cold and rainy again today. We all took a wet walk into town to send e-mails. and do a little shopping. Our friend Eric is coming to South Africa, and we wanted to let him know where to find us. We were suggesting that he wait for us in Knysna. I gave him numbers for Peri-Peri Fred, Tonya and Gerrith (on Blue Nomad in Knysna). At 5pm I tuned into Peri-peri and right away he called "Ladybug, are you listening?" I knew what that meant! He had gotten a call from Eric. Eric showed up at the boat in the early evening. It is excellent to have him back on the Bug. -DWH
Tuesday January 8th, 2002
Listened to Fred at 7am. The wind is still out of the SW, but is light and should be switching. Local advice is to go early to make the most of the weather window. Mick from s/v Karisma was over to listen to the weather with us. We were all in agreement and decided to go for it. We untied and started out at 7:45am. As a bonus we had a seal swimming around the boat to see us off. It's good to be moving again. Our plan is to head for Knysna, which is about 300 nm. On the way we will pass Port Elizabeth (140nm) and Port St. Francis (190). If the weather looks iffy, we will stop in one of those two. Right now it looks like we have about 3 days of favorable wind ahead of us, so we should be able to make it with no trouble. -DWH
8:30: Sails up! Dolphins everywhere.
10:00am: The wind is still out of the SW and is blowing pretty good, about 20 knots. We are about half way to the 200m line. The seas are not too bad. -DWH
The seas didn't get too bad, even after we crossed the 200m line. Later in the afternoon the wind shifted around to the east. We have had several albatross flying around the boat. We also had a dorado hooked but lost him. -DWH
6pm: Lots of birds fishing. Identified them as Cape Gannet. The seas have built and every once in a while there are huge waves, maybe 20 or 25 feet high. They are not steep or breaking, so they are not threatening, but it is a cool sensation. It's like being in a big valley, then on the top of a hill, and them back in the valley. Eric even thought it was cool, and he's sea sick. Despite not feeling well, he is still good company. -DWH
Wednesday January 9th, 2002
Yesterday we followed Karisma out of the East London harbor, and this morning we are still together. I talked to them on the radio and told them that I don't need a GPS. I can just follow their sail.
The wind switched to the ENE last night, and we are cruising comfortably with the jib and double reefed main. It has been a beautiful morning. There were birds everywhere at sunrise. They included cape gannets, a couple different kind of albatrosses, and several others. We were also visited by dolphins several times. A seal swam by and took a look at us, and later we we passed one sleeping on the surface. He was holding a front flipper and a back flipper straight up out of the water. I'm not sure why seals do this, but we also saw the behavior in the Galapagos. We believe that these are Cape Fur Seals. (note: I later found out that this is how seals regulate their body temperature. They put one or both flippers in the sun to warm themselves up.-Jo) -DWH
I listened to Peri-peri at 7am. He did not have good news. There is a low over the country that is expected to move offshore tomorrow. It is expected to be between East London and Port Elizabeth and cause fresh SWers tomorrow in that area. This is very bad news for the boats that just left Durban for East London. We have just passed the area, and the forecast for Knysna and Mossel Bay are for light SWers tomorrow. All this makes us nervous, but it doesn't look like it will be bad where we are headed, and we should be into Knysna before it hits. After a brief discussion we decided to continue on to Knysna. After all this I called Karisma. They don't have a working SSB, so I have been using the VHF to relay weather info to them. After hearing the forecast, they decided to stop at Port St. Francis. They called to warn us so that we didn't continue to "follow their sails". -DWH
6pm: It has been a delightful day of easy sailing along the coast. The sun is shining. Eric is feeling better. Jo and Eric just saw a couple penguins. I listened to Peri-peri. There is nothing new in the forecast, but I was happy to hear that Wings of Time should make it to East London without too much trouble. We have just under 60 nm to go to the entrance to Knysna. We should arrive in time to go in at low tide, 7:40am. The wind just died, and we are now motoring, but everyone is in good spirits. -DWH
10:30pm: Seas were calm, and we were heading straight into the wind at sunset. The seas are picking up just now and the wind has shifted a few degrees to the southwest. I can see the light for Cape Seal, and there seems to be a lot of fishing activity in the area. Eric and I each saw a different shooting star. There are quite a few lights on shore too. -SLC
Thursday January 10th, 2002
6:20am: The head wind picked up a little in the early morning hours, so we have been motor sailing for all we are worth trying to make the entrance to Knysna by low tide. Just now we got a call on the VHF. Tonya and Gerrith are at the entrance ready to guide us in! What a great surprise. The entrance is tricky, but Gerrith is from Knysna and was a sea rescue volunteer, so he really knows it well.
The Knysna heads. It doesn't look to bad in this photo, but there is arock right in the middle that needs to be avoided, and when the swell is up it is breakers all the way across.
What a spectacular entrance. We basically passed between two cliffs, and at one point we were only 30 feet from big rocks and crashing waves. Once inside it is like a big lake. Very nice. -DWH
9:20 Tied up temporarily. Waiting for a boat to be moved on a slip next to us so that we can tie up and have some cocktails!
The rest of the day consisted of exploring town, eating lots of oysters, and having a few beers. -DWH
Friday January 11th, 2002
Tonya and Gerrith have already purchased wheels, a VW microbus. They needed to go to George, an hours drive down the coast, to pick up a water pump and asked us to come along. It was a beautiful drive. There is also a old steam train that makes the trip between Knysna and George. When we got to George we booked a return trip on the train. We had about 3 hours until the train left, so Gerrith took us on a little tour. We stopped on a cliff overlooking the sea where we saw a large shark, a seal, and some dolphins. Apparently this is a bad area for shark attacks. There are lots of great whites and other large sharks. Someone was even attacked in the Durban harbour a couple weeks ago. The guy was standing in knee deep water and fishing when a shark decided to take his leg. This was only about 50-100 meters from where Ladybug had been tied up! After our scenic lookout, we moved on to a beach where Stacy, Jo, and I did a little body surfing. Stacy and I also tried Tonya's boogie board. It was quite obvious to everyone there that I was totally incompetent, but we both managed to ride a wave or two. Eventually we ended up back in town, loaded up on snacks and wine, and caught the train. It was even more scenic than the drive and took about 2.5 hours. After returning to the boat we napped and then went out in town. Stacy, Eric, and I somehow managed to pick Gerrith's favorite bar, and he and Tonya showed up later. It was an excellent night which actually lasted until 2:30am -DWH
Saturday January 12th, 2002
A SWer had come through last night and was blowing pretty good this morning, probably around 20-25 knots. Jo went off to update the website. Stacy led me and Eric on a hike. She would not tell us where we were going, but we had faith in her. Our trust was well placed. We ended up at the Knysna Oyster Company. Knysna is famous for oysters. They raise them right here in the lagoon, and also collect them along the coast. We had oysters for brunch and then took a tour - very tasty and interesting too.
When we returned to Ladybug, the wind had started to pick up. We quickly added a couple extra lines to the pier and then checked around to see if anyone else needed help. Once everything was secure, we turned on the instruments and checked the wind speed. It was often over 40 knots with gusts up to 47. I'm really happy we are not out trying to sail into this. I'm also wondering about the J22 that went out sailing this morning. They have not come back yet. Hopefully they found a good place to tuck into. -DWH
Sunday January 13th, 2002
Spent a lazy day around Knysna. Talked to my dad on the phone. He had pneumonia. He is still in the hospital, but he sounded really good. Hopefully he will be home soon. He filled me in on the UW women's basketball team and on the Green Bay Packers. The UW women are having a fantastic season, 15-1 and ranked 5th. The Packers play San Francisco in the first round of the NFL playoffs today.
Later we went to the "Buccaneer", the friendliest pub in town. Bruce, the bartender, offered to try to get the game on their satellite TV. Unfortunately it did not come in. Stacy called her dad to say hello and got a 4th quarter update. It was tied at the start of the phone call, but then the Pack kicked a field goal. We went back to our beers and saw one update on ESPN showing that it was still 18-15 with 4 minutes. We had another beer and waited patiently, but after about 30 minutes we were still waiting. Finally I called Dad again and he gave us the good news - Green Bay 25, SF 15. -DWH
Monday January 14th, 2002
It didn't seem right for Eric to visit and not see big game, so we arranged a trip to a game farm with Tonya and Gerrith. Actually, Tonya arranged it, and Gerrith hauled all of us to the farm in his recently acquired VW Microbus. The crew of Ladybug just sat back and relaxed. It would have been really great to do another trip like the one to Umfolosi, but there just isn't anything like that near by. We had to settle for a "game farm", basically a big, private farm where they raise "wild" animals. These animals are then sold to parks and other farms to be used primarily as breeding stock. All and all our tour was pretty enjoyable. We drove around the farm in a large all-terrain vehicle with open sides. We started out seeing eland, zebras, and impala. One especially interesting thing is that they have "black impala". It is the same animal, but there is a black color variation that is based on a recessive gene. Even though the impala is very common, there are only a couple hundred of the black ones. This farm now has about 75 of these. It sounds like good business. A normal impala fetches about 700 rand ($60 US), but the farm just sold a black impala for 100,000 rand (you can do the math). The tour continued and we saw bond bucks, wildebeest, and water bucks. This was all fairly interesting, but not that spectacular. Then we spotted the rhinos. There was a lone male, and then a little further along there was a female with her one year old calf (right word for baby rhino?). They were very cute, well at least as cute as rhinos can be. We were able to pull up to within 10 or 15 yards. We continued on, and next we saw giraffes - very nice. After driving around the main farm, we went to a separate section for the final highlight of the tour, the lions. The farm has two males and two females. These lions have been in captivity their whole lives and have not been taught to hunt for their dinner. They are still lions though and are kept separate from the other game as they would surely find a way to eat a couple of the precious black impalas if they got the chance. Instead hese guys are fed half a cow once a week. All they have to do is pull it off the back of a pickup truck. Unlike the other animals, the lions are not being bred. They have actually been sterilized to prevent them from breeding because they do not have the skills required to teach any offspring to fend for themselves in the wild. The farm agreed to take the lions a couple years ago to prevent them from being sold for "canned hunts". It seems to be working out well for the farm as they are a great attraction, and the farm looks to be making good money on it's tour. -DWH
The King! Rhinos
Tuesday January 15th, 2002
Eric needs to leave us soon, so he needs to get to Cape Town or Jo-berg. He could easily fly there, but we have some things we would like to do in Cape Town before we arrive by boat, so we rented a car and headed west. It is a beautiful drive of about 500 kilometers. At the end there was a spectacular view as we crossed the mountains and approached False Bay and Cape Town. We checked into a backpacker type place and then went out for a fabulous steak dinner. Imagine going to the "big city" and having the biggest, most expensive steaks that the fancy steak restaurant serves. Add some appetizers, a couple bottles of wine, a couple beers for the guy who gets headaches from wine, desserts, and coffee. Then the bill comes..............$35, $10 each with a nice tip. -DWH
Wednesday January 16th, 2002
Went to the Brazilian Consulate. Jo needs a new Brazilian passport. Stacy and I need visas. Jo filled in the renewal application. The passport should be ready in a week or two. Stacy and I got the visa forms. We will need the boat papers which are on the boat in Knysna, but it only takes one day to process so it's no problem taking care of it when we arrive with Ladybug.
With our work for the morning done we were ready for adventure. Eric will be flying out tonight, so he got to pick. He chose well........touring some of South Africa's wineries. It was an excellent afternoon seeing the countryside and tasting wine. -DWH
This is the view from the wine tasting room at the Thelema winery. Great wine and a friendly family! (This is a real photo with real mountains, not just a back drop at the photographers.)
Thursday January 17th, 2002
Had a big "working man's" breakfast, checked out the Royal Cape Yacht Club (very friendly and helpful), and then headed back to Knysna. -DWH
Friday January 18th, 2002
I listened to Peri-peri Fred this morning. It is time to get in tune with the weather again. It sounds like we might be able to take off tomorrow. We are leaning towards just going to Mossel Bay, which is only about 40 miles. The tough thing with doing a big hop starting at Knysna is that we can only leave when the swell and tide are right. By waiting for the right time to pass through "the heads", we miss part of the weather window. We will be able to leave Mossel Bay at any time of day, so can make the most of the next weather window to make it to Cape Town.
I got back into writing today. I wrote a story about when Steve Weber and I were biking in England. The first draft is done, but it will need a little work. While I was writing, Stacy did research on the possible anchorages between Knysna and Cape Town. -DWH
Had a nice dinner at Carmen's Corner. The owners, Carmen and Alfredo are very cool and interesting. They came over to the table, and we ended up talking for about a half hour. After dinner we met Jo at the Buccaneer. I think Jo has officially become a regular there. Stacy and I have been there a few times but had never met the owners, Leon and Tilla. They are very different from Carmen and Alfredo but just as cool. A good time was had by all. -DWH
Saturday January 19th, 2002
Listened to the weather and decided to leave for Mossel Bay just before high tide this evening (7:15pm). Had breakfast at the Buccaneer, paid the marina, scrubbed the bottom, filled fuel and checked water, etc. Carmen and Alfredo stopped by to say hello. I hope we meet them again. Stacy and I had oysters and champagne for lunch, our last big treat in Knysna.
5:40 lines loose.
6:40 We have cleared the heads. As I said when we passed in, this is a spectacular spot. There was very little swell, so there were no big breaking waves, but there was a lot of traffic making the exit a little interesting but not too bad.
7:00 Sails up. Since we only have 40nm to go and don't want to arrive before dawn we started with a double reefed main. It seemed like there would be enough wind but once everything was set we were only doing 2.5 knots. We put up the full main and were doing about 3.5 knots for a short while, but the wind continued drop. Soon we were just motoring. I guess watch keeping will be easy tonight. -DWH
Sunday January 20th, 2002
Heard the port diesel stop in the middle of the night. Didn't get up but assumed that we were sailing. When I got up at 2am we were motoring with just the starboard engine. Jo explained that the port engine had died. The RPMs had dropped from 1900 to 1500. When he put it in neutral it died completely. I took over the watch, and he looked at it but could not discover anything. This has happened a couple times since we bought the boat, and it has always been solved by changing the fuel filters. We decided we would wait until it was light to work on it further. I was on watch until 5am when Stacy took over. I took a one hour nap and then looked at the engine. Changing the fuel filter did not get the engine running. While I was working on it Stacy got us up to the harbour entrance. Jo got up and helped as we made our approach. Conditions were good and the entrance is easy so we headed in with the one engine. It was no trouble, and we were tied up at the Mossel Bay Yacht Club marina by about 8:30. Wings of Time came in about an hour later. We all signed in with the yacht club, and then we worked on the engine most of the day. No luck so far. Ended up having some food and beer on a neighbors boat. We met some nice people and had some spirited discussion about South Africa, racism, etc. -DWH
Monday January 21st, 2002
Worked on the engine. We have good compression (looked like good compression by the way it turned over and also checked using the hand crank) and no problem with air, so it must be fuel. Changed the fuel filters and bled the lines. doesn't start. Checked the fuel from the bottom of the tank: looked OK. Bled the line between the tank and engine to make sure there is no crap in it - looked fine. Re-bled the lines on the engine a couple more times. It cranks over fine but is not firing. (It is good to have a second engine. We have the starboard engine running and the battery bank jumper switch on. We don't want to overheat the starter, but otherwise we can turn the port engine over all day long. If we had just one engine this would have killed the battery.) Checked the fuel being delivered to the injector. Compared it to the starboard engine and they both look the same, a pulse of fuel with each rotation. It still would not start. Jo changed the fuel filters again. Still doesn't start. There is white smoke coming out of the exhaust which might be unburned fuel, but I'm not sure. We are suspecting the injector. Unfortunately we have to be careful removing the injector because it has a cooling jacket around it which can possibly come out. If it does we don't have the tools to put it back in. Finally tried the old trick of spraying WD40 in the air intake. The engine fired up and ran as long as I continued to spray the WD40. This confirms that it is a fuel problem. It is looking more and more like the injector itself. Tried to call a diesel mechanic to get some advice before we proceed, but did not get a hold of anyone. I guess we will try again tomorrow. -DWH
By the way, Mossel Bay looks like a fantastic place. It is a pretty little harbour town and the people are friendly. It also appears to be pretty safe, so we can wonder at night without worrying about getting mugged (this was not the case in Durban and East London). It's too bad we could not spend a month or two here, but we are anxious to head for Cape Town and then Brazil. There is never enough time. -DWH
Tuesday January 22nd, 2002
I called a local diesel mechanic this morning. He said he could come by around noon. Later I was able to reach Peter Barnes (diesel mechanic) in Cape Town to get advice on our problem. We must be learning a few things because I didn't feel completely incompetent. We had tried all the obvious things that he suggested, and I had answers to all his questions because we had done a number of diagnostic tests. He agreed that it sounded like the injector and said that we should be able to get it out without too much trouble. When the local guy, Henk, came by we pulled it out and checked it - there was just a dribble or two, not good. Henk is sending it out for a rebuild, but that will take a couple days.
One thing on this whole engine trouble shooting - it's good working with Jo. If I run out of ideas or get stuck or lose steam, then he takes over. If he runs out of steam, then I take over. It is definitely a case where two heads (and two people with initiative) are better than one. -DWH
I went for a short run along the point to the lighthouse. On my way back to the boat I bought tape to put the carpeting back up in the v-berth. The rest of the morning I spent re-hanging the carpeting and repairing holes in the dinghy floor. Jo spent the day overhauling the dinghy engine, as we have not used it since Christmas Island. Around 1pm we all decided we had worked enough and went for lunch. After lunch Jo checked on getting our propane tank filled. Meanwhile Dave and I headed up to the Shark Info Center. We have been hearing about diving in a cage with Great Whites and wanted to know more. We had a pleasant time meeting and chatting with Roy and Jackie from Shark Africa. They are very involved with research and preservation of this amazing shark, along with their day charter business. The main goal of their charter business is to share the exciting experience of seeing sharks along with educating clients about this fish. -SLC
Wednesday January 23rd, 2002
Dave started his work in the bilge/engine room early. I went for a short run. On my run I stopped to talk to Roy and Jackie to see if they were going out to find sharks today. They said the weather looks good and they would head out around 10am. I ran back to the boat and we grabbed our cameras and headed out to find some sharks. The day was fun. We met people from Port Elizabeth, Argentina and England. Much to our disappointment the only activity we saw were seals playing in the water and lots of birds. We are hoping to have another chance to try to see the sharks before we leave. For more info check out: www.sharkafrica.co.za
Notice the cage mounted on theback of the boat. Even though we didn't see sharks, we still had fun.
Around 5pm as we were heading up for our showers Dave said "Look, is that Babar?" Sure enough our friend Pierre was just entering the harbour. He looked tired, but happy to be here. He left Port Elizabeth 4 days ago. The weather was not good to enter Knysna, so he ended up here. He had no wind, then strong wind straight on the nose. We helped him tie up and then we headed off for showers and dinner. We had a lovely dinner at the train restaurant just off the beach. They have taken an old train and made a restaurant and back packers hotel out of it. I had an Ostrich steak and Dave had Seafood Poitjke. The steak was excellent, not even a little gamey. It tasted mostly like beef. I can now understand why there are so many ostrich farms here. The Poitjke is traditional Afrikaans cooking where they throw everything (rice, veggies, meat and spices) into a cast iron pot and cook it over an open flame. -SLC
Thursday January 24th, 2002
Dave is working in the Bilge/Engine room again today. I helped him make a cover for the hand crank access hole. I also checked our stove top for leaks. Everytime I turn the stove on I felt like I was smelling propane. I used soap and found a small leak in the fitting. Jo tightened the nut and the problem was fixed. I spent the rest of the morning patching the last hole in the dinghy floor. We are hoping to head of to the museum as today is too rainy and cold for any hiking by the light tower. -SLC
Mailed postcards from the old post office tree. The story is that in 1500 a Portuguese explorer left an important letter in a boot under this tree. The letter was found and delivered in 1501. It is therefore claimed that this tree is the oldest post office in Africa. After sending out mail we visited the Bartolomeu Dias museum. Dias was the first European to set foot on South African soil when he landed on February 3rd, 1488. The museum included a life size replica of his ship. The replica was built in Portugal and sailed here. It was very impressive. -DWH
Friday January 25th, 2002
It has been windy here for the last couple days. We are still waiting for our injector, so we are not quite so anxious, but several other boats are hot to leave. I listened to the weather at 7am just like I do every morning. There is a window in that the wind is forecast to be SE for the next couple days, but it is also expected to be very strong (30-35 knots). Some boats were going to leave yesterday morning, but decided against it when it was windy. It's blowing even harder today, so nobody is leaving. A couple of boats did arrive early this morning. Around 9am the wind really started to pick up, and waves started to break over the harbour wall. A third sailboat just came in and had a hard time getting tied up. There are big waves crashing outside, but it's even rough inside the harbour. I've put out lots of extra lines. We basically have two lines everywhere we would usually have one. In most cases the lines are tied to two separate points on the pier and also on the boat. That way we are still safe if anything breaks. (It's my job to be paranoid. I've heard that paranoid sailors tend to live longer.)
Henk, the diesel guy, stopped by to tell us that our injector has not been fixed. We were hoping to have it today. I'd like to get the engine running and clean everything up in the engine compartment, but I guess that will just have to wait. Oh well, it is a lovely place to be stuck, and with all this wind we wouldn't be moving anyhow. -DWH
Just heard that our friends on s/v Sunset Sailor were two hours behind the last boat that came in. This is very disturbing news. There is a family of five on board. The father is a new sailor as is the mother. They just started in Richard's Bay. The mother has had trouble with getting seasick. They have three small children who also tend to get sea sick. The conditions are pretty wild out there right now, so I'm sure they are uncomfortable. To make matters worse, they have been having engine trouble. -DWH
Later: Sunset Sailor is in. They had a little excitement and some minor damage before they were completely secured, but the crew was well. Debbie and the two girls were sea sick most of the way from Cape St. Francis, but they seem to be a hardy lot.
It is Pierre's birthday today! We had a great dinner on Babar. The French certainly know their food and wine. We finished the festivities with cake (made by Stacy) and Champagne (with a capital "C", the good stuff that Pierre gave us for New Year's Eve)-DWH
Saturday January 26th, 2002
Got up at 6am, checked our lines, and then toured the dock. Found two local boats that needed new lines. One boat had 1 broken bow line and 2 that were badly chafed. I was able scrounge up 2 more lines for the bow. The other boat had a polypro line holding his bow off the dock, but 2 of the 3 strands were broken. I was able to add a couple more lines for him also.
Listened to Peri Peri at 7am. He doesn't think we will get a good chance to leave until Wednesday or Thursday. The wind seems to be dropping a bit. It got up around 35 yesterday, but one boat here reported seeing a gust of 45. After this passes there is a low that is going to come offshore and a cold front that will come through. After all that we might get a chance to move. -DWH
Port Fest is going on this weekend. There are boat races in the harbour, carnival games and rides, basket ball, boxing, music and dancing, etc. Yesterday the races were canceled due to the weather, but it is nicer today. Stacy and I walked around and checked it out. Then we went over to visit Sunset Sailor. When we got to the other side of the harbour where they are temporarily tied up we were surprised to see Elefant. They apparently came in very late last night.
There are two South African Navy ships in the harbour, and after a short chat with the mighty crew of Sunset Sailor we all went over to tour the ships. Both ships are used for mine clearing. 90% of South Africa's trade goes through it's harbours, so it is important that they are able to keep them safe. We chatted with the crew. It sounds like just about everyone got sea sick on their trip from the main base at Simon's Town (near Cape Town). Checking out the ships was interesting, but the best part was hanging out with the kids from Sunset Sailor. They are charming.
When we returned from our ship tour, Pierre and Jo were having a beer in the cockpit. Pierre had collected mussels at the point early this morning. He had the pot of cooked mussels sitting on our saloon table. The smell was fantastic! It was a marvelous afternoon - eating mussels and drinking beer. We also had local visitors. Antoinette, the bartender at the yacht club, and her two boys, Wyand and Dewald, stopped by. A little later Freek and Koos, our neighbors from s/v Eye of the Storm, came over.
After a good nap, the final event for the day was a braai with a bunch of other cruisers over at the yacht club. A good time was had by all. -DWH
Sunday January 27th, 2002
Check out this guy's mussels. (PS This photo may end up being used as evidence.)
I got up early and went with Pierre and Pat (s/v Simmer) to collect mussels. I believe that Mossel Bay is named for the mussels, so it seems like the thing to do. It was fun and a good excuse to be out and about at sunrise. Later I cooked them up, and we invited Jeff, Laura, and Nick from Wings of Time over for lunch. After lunch I took a nap while Stacy started preparations for Pizza. Our friends Roy and Jackie (who do the shark research/caging) came over for dinner with Roy's sun Dean. It was an enjoyable and very social day. -DWH
Monday January 28th, 2002
Worked on the boat this morning. I went up the mast to clean the sail track. We have lubed the slides in the past. That made it easier in the short term, but we ended up with gunk in the track (grease mixed with dirt). It was getting tougher and tougher to get the main up. I guess lubing the slides was a bad idea. Anyhow, I started at the top of the mast. While up there I did a quick inspection of the rigging and found a nasty surprise. There is a broken strand on each of the cap shrouds. I inspected the rigging in Durban, so this has happened since then. I'm glad we caught it.
There was room on the shark boat this morning, so we took another shot at seeing great whites. I really want to go down in the cage to see them. What a great way to take my mind off the rigging. Unfortunately the sharks once again snubbed us and did not come to play. I guess this will be just one more reason to come back to South Africa. -DWH
It was great fun collecting mussels yesterday, but I had ended up being a little nervous. Why wern't there any locals collecting mussels? I asked some locals about mussel collecting regulations. One person I asked said that the limit was 25 or 30 (I had collected 130, lunch for 5) and that there was probably a permit. Another said that the limit was 50 and not to worry about the permit. "Nobody really cares too much." While out on the shark boat this afternoon another cruiser told us about Pierre's morning. He was out collecting mussels again. The police took notice, explained that it was not "mussel season", and escorted him back to Babar. They searched the boat, probably to make sure that he wasn't a big time mussel poacher. Once they determined that he was a small time crook they told him to stop collecting mussels out of season and left him to clean his catch and make lunch. -DWH
Tuesday January 29th, 2002
Called Sparcraft in Cape Town to see if they can make new cap shrouds for us. They were very friendly and said that it would be no problem. Stacy arranged for a car rental. We took off the port shroud and prepared to leave for Cape Town in the morning.
Our injector is back (Cost including shipping and labor = $50). Jo said he will put it in while Stacy and I are in Cape Town getting the new rigging.
Most of our cruising friends headed for Cape Town today. I guess we'll miss this weather window. -DWH
Wednesday January 30th, 2002
Took off for Cape Town around 6am. Arrived at Sparcraft around 11:30. Met Ian Fraser who was very helpful. It turns out that they don't usually do rigging service work like this. They are a factory and usually make masts, booms, etc. and do rigging work for new boats. Even though we were not their typical customers, we got great service and at a very good price. Everything was done by 1:30, and it would have been quicker if not for the lunch hour. (Cost for new rigging = $350)
After leaving Sparcraft we decided to take a different path back to Mossel Bay. We passed through Paarl and then into the mountains. It was one of the most scenic drives of my life. In addition to the mountains, we were also going past wineries and B&Bs. It ended up to be too late to start tasting, so we stopped at a lovely B&B. We had our own cottage next to a vineyard. There was even a fire place on the porch. We had a fire, ate sandwiches, and drank a bottle of local wine. Very nice. -DWH
Thursday January 31st, 2002
Wine tasting by 9:30am. Picked up about 5 cases at incredible South African prices. Then continued our scenic drive back to Mossel Bay. When we got back Jo had the diesel running. When he put the injector back in it fired right up, but he found that the water pump was not working and had to put in a new impeller. -DWH
Friday February 1st, 2002
New rigging up. Sail track clean. Other misc. work done. Starting to watch the weather a little closer. I got the synoptic chart off the internet, talked to Willem who is a local expert, and also got Fred and Alisters opinions on the SSB. We will not be leaving tomorrow morning, but probably tomorrow evening or Sunday morning. -DWH
Saturday February 2nd, 2002
I got up early this morning to watch the marathon start. Then I went back at 9am for the 3 k race. This was a little short for me, but it was fun anyhow I wish Dave and I planned better, I would have walked the 1/2 marathon.
Spent the rest of the day checking e-mail, buying groceries and getting the boat ready. We did not have a chance to say good-bye to Roy, Jackie and Dean. Too bad, but I think we will be back to Mossel Bay someday. -SLC
We spent the day checking out the weather and preparing to leave. This window looks as good as any other. Time to go sailing.
5:30pm We are off for Cape Town!
6:45pm Jo spotted some strange splashes on the surface ahead of us. At first I was alarmed, but when it moved we knew it wasn't rocks. It was fish. The birds quickly moved in to join the feeding frenzy. Then about 50 yards ahead a whale surfaced. Way cool! After a few minutes without seeing it again, the water boiled up right next to the boat. We never actually saw the whale, but it was really close. I suspect that it started to surface and then noticed us and decided to stay down.
7:10pm A shark just circled the boat, fin up out of the water. We think it was probably a hammerhead.
7:20pm Pulled in the fishing line to avoid catching a shark and found a 14" tuna like fish hooked on my lure. It is different than anything else we've ever caught, but looks tasty.
7:40pm Fish sandwiches for dinner. -DWH
8pm What a great start to another passage. Whale, shark, and a great fish for dinner. No complaints here. We can't see Sunset Sailor, but I know they are just ahead of us. I hope they have had a great start like us.-SLC
Sunday February 3rd, 2002
9am We are motor-sailing at about 5 knots. The sun is out and the seas are calm. Only a few birds this morning. Jo said that he had dolphins swimming and blowing right next to the boat for over an hour last night. According to Pierre on Babar this means that we should expect good weather!! If the dolphins cross your path and head away from you quickly this means you can expect bad weather. In about 10 hours we will be back in the Atlantic. This is very exciting as we started the trip in the Atlantic and it makes us one step closer to home. Dave heard Sunset Sailor on Peri Peri this morning and they are about 7 or 8 miles ahead of us. They should be enjoying the calm conditions. Let's hope it keeps up. -SLC
The forecast for Cape Agulhas (the southern most tip of Africa) is for 15 knots from the south for the next two days. Bring it on. Actually, locals told us that there is only two ways to go around Cape Agulhas, motoring or in a gale. I guess motoring is not too bad, but it's just too beautiful out to be motoring. -DWH
3pm More dolphins, but they didn't stay long. Hope this is not a bad sign. We turned off the engines and we are making good speed under sail. The sky is clear and the seas are still flat. Only 20 miles till we are directly south of Cape Agulhas. -SLC
6pm The wind has picked up to about 20 knots out of the south. We are sailing along nicely. We have just passed Cape Agulhas and are now officially in the Atlantic Ocean. -DWH
9pm The sea temp hit 59.1 (sea temp south of Cape Agulhas was 70 degrees) -SLC
11pm Wind dies, motoring. Ships all over the place, 5 within an hour. -Jo
Monday February 4th, 2002
8am 1 penguin, 1 albatross, lots of seals and organic matter floating by. -SLC
We passed the Cape of Good Hope this morning. We have seen a couple penguins and lots of seals and birds. It was exciting for me to see the penguins. Stacy and Guy saw penguins in the Galapagos. Jo and Eric saw them on the way from East London to Knysna. I was feeling left out until now. These guys are "Jackass Penguins", which are only found in South Africa. I'm sure they are loving this cold Atlantic water. Before we rounded Cape Agulhas the water temperature was around 70 F. Now it is 52 F. The water is also very clear. We just had dolphins playing around the boat, and it was cool to be able to see them way down deep. -DWH
By noon it looked like we would not make Cape Town before dark, but we could make it to Hout Bay which is about 15nm south of Cape Town. Besides, most of our friends are in Hout Bay, so it seemed like a good choice. Motored into the marina about 4pm and were greeted by people ready to help us with lines and pour champagne. What a wonderful life! -DWH
Champagne with Pat and Colleen from s/v Simmer(as promised in our guest log!!) to celebrate our arrival in the Atlantic ocean and a successful passage around the cape. So nice to arrive somewhere and have friends waiting.
Tuesday February 5th, 2002
Headed into Cape Town with Torild and Nils (s/v Abeline). We sorted out immigration then had a nice lunch together. After lunch Dave and I headed off to the Volvo Penta Dealer to get new seals for the water pump. We also made a stop at the Royal Cape Yacht Club.. We finally met up with everyone else to watch a movie. We saw Ocean Eleven. After the movie we went out for a great steak dinner at our favorite spot...Walter's! When we got back to the boats we stopped on Abeline for a beer and to continue our conversation. It was a really great day!-SLC
We had a spirited discussion on Abeline last night. It is interesting to discuss politics with foreigners and hear the "world's opinion". We seem to hear certain things over and over: 1) The people are outraged with the terrorist attacks and agree that the people behind them need to be stopped and punished. 2) US foreign policy is not always friendly and fair. There are probably some issues that caused these people to be so anti-American. Just because they were wrong for what they did, it does not meen that the US is 100% innocent. What are all these people so pissed off about? Is anyone in the US discussing this issue or are they just cheering military victories like they are watching a football game? 3) People are losing faith in the US with regards to international treaties and other agreements, especially on arms and environmental issues. 4) A large portion of the world still counts on the US to "keep the peace." Even though they disagree with much of our foreign policy, they are still generally supporters (at least in Europe, Australia, etc) and count on us to be the worlds policemen. -DWH
Wednesday February 6th, 2002
Lots of wind today. Glad to be in port and not at sea. Jo fixed the leaky water pump this morning and Dave went off to get us a few new fenders to keep the bug off the pier. -SLC
Thursday February 7th, 2002
It is really blowing today. Stacy saw a gust of 48 knots. We are on the end of the pier, so we are relying on our fenders. I went and purchased 2 more. While I was adding them a neighbor came over with a couple more that he didn't need. He said he hates seeing a boat damaged. (Me too!) He was here 3 weeks ago when they had 70 knots sustained and gusts to 87 knots. He said the marina was absolute chaos, and he and his family actually spent the night in a hotel.
A note on the weather here: Unlike in the trade winds, the weather here is driven by a constant stream of lows passing from west to east. Combine this with a mixing of warm water from the Indian Ocean and cold water from the Atlantic. Finally the steep mountains all along the coast funnel and accelerate the wind when it is from certain directions. This all combines to give pretty crazy weather from Cape Agulhas to Cape Town. It is especially interesting at Cape Point and Cape Town, where it is not unusual to get 60 knot winds when the weather is pretty mild all around. -DWH
Stacy's back is really sore. She is having muscle spasms. We got a muscle relaxant from the pharmacist. That seemed to help. Finally updated the website. It's been about 6 weeks. -DWH
Friday February 8th, 2002
According to the weather on the SSB, there is 35-40 knots at Cape Point, just a few miles to the south, but in Hout Bay it is absolutely still. Stacy's back is still really sore. She spent most of the day in bed, but did manage to walk around a little. Jo and I took care of changing the oil in the diesels and cleaning up the bilges. (engine hours = 2077). Had dinner on Simmer. Jeff, Laura, and Nick were also there. It was good to have a little social gathering before we head up to Cape Town. We are not sure when we will see Simmer or Wings of Time again. -DWH
Saturday February 9th, 2002
6am: Lines cast off. It is a beautiful day except for the lack of a nice breeze. Stacy's back is quite a bit better. Had an easy motor to Cape Town. We saw lots of seals and penguins, but didn't catch any fish. The scenery here is spectacular. The whole Cape Peninsula is mountainous. We had a great view of Table Mountain and Cape Town as we approached.
Stacy with Table Mountain and Cape Town in the back.
11am: Tied up at the Royal Cape Yacht Club.
Met up with Leanne for a cocktail around 5pm. She is one of Guy's old friends and has been receiving mail for us. Later we opened all our cards and packages. It was just like Christmas all over again. (We had originally planned on being here for Christmas.) Thanks to everyone for all the gifts. -DWH
Sunday February 10th, 2002
Stacy went shopping, Jo went to a movie, and I worked on the internet. I wanted to check the risk of hurricanes in the Caribbean in June. The hurricane season in the Atlantic officially starts on June 1st. Since we are a little behind schedule, we will still probably be in in the Caribbean at that time. I checked historical data and found that there has only been 1 June hurricane and 4 or 5 tropical storms in the Atlantic in the last 6 years. Also, these storms tend to develop out to sea and give more warning than later storms. All in all it doesn't sound too risky. In the afternoon we went to the grocery store to load up, two full carts of stuff for about $190 US and free delivery to the boat. Not bad. Had a braai on the Bug. Guests were Mick and Amanda from Karisma, Pierre from Babar, and Leanne. -DWH
Monday February 11th, 2002
Arranged to get the shaft seals on the port saildrive replaced. We will be taking care of that tomorrow. The diesel mechanics that I talked to are both BMW riders, so we had a nice conversation. Later Stacy and I bought materials for a new sail cover and also for cockpit cushions. Stacy doesn't have time to do the work now, but will work on it over the next couple months. We got some good tips from the place that sold us the material. It wasn't a store but a shop that makes sail covers, cushions, and other canvas items for boats. -DWH
Tuesday February 12th, 2002
We changed the shaft seals today. We were getting a little water in the transmission fluid. We lifted the back of the boat out of the water using the yacht clubs crane. There seemed to be a salt build up on the shaft where the seals ride, but once it was cleaned off, the shaft looked fine (inspected by diesel mechanic and also by the Volvo-Penta dealer). The mechanic helped us install new seals. While Jo and I were busy with the sail drive, Stacy did a little cleaning on the bottom. We usually go in the water to scrub, but the water here in only 50 degF. We also had a good look at the rubber piece was added to the outside of the hull where the sail drive comes out. The expensive part from Volvo did not seem to last very well, so we made our own in Darwin. After about 6 or 7 thousand miles they still look great. There was one unfortunate accident during the whole operation though. The rain shield that I made while we were in the San Blas Islands and gave to Stacy's as a Christmas present got crushed by the strap while we were lifting the boat. -DWH
Wednesday February 13th, 2002
Listened to Peri Peri this morning. I need to get in tune with the weather again as we hope to be leaving in the next couple days. I also wanted to hear the latest "pirate" update. Last year there were cases of yachts near St. Helena being approached by mysterious boats in the night. A few yachts were scared, but as far as we know nobody was attacked. Just in the last couple days we have started to hear about a boat that was just attacked. Apparently there has been a lot of discussion on the SSB about the incident. Our information, which is 3rd or 4th hand and should not be considered as reliable, is that a yacht was attacked by a 40 foot open boat with several armed men on board. The skipper of the yacht, who is the source of the info, was wearing a bullet proof vest and was armed. We don't know if shots were fired, but the yacht is now reported to be only 140 nm from St. Helena, so we might know more in a couple days. There is some speculation that the guy might be a little nuts. I've never heard of anyone carrying a bullet proof vest on a yacht. It does suggest that he might be a little paranoid, but I've never met him and don't want to jump to any conclusions. Hopefully we will get reliable info when he arrives in St. Helena. For the time being, some yachts in the area are not giving their exact position when they check in. -DWH
Thursday February 14th, 2002
Spent an excellent day motorcycling on the Cape Peninsula and a fantastic evening at a B&B. Check out Dave's Birthday Adventure. -DWH
Friday February 15th, 2002
Returned the motorcycle in the morning. Then ran around trying to get everything done so we can leave tomorrow if the weather is right. Paid all of our bills. Bought two more cases of wine. Stacy went to the store to load up on fresh produce, bread, sandwich meat, and cheese.
Listened to Alister on 14316 at 1:30pm and Peri Peri on 8101 at 5:00pm. Cape Town itself is forecast to have winds up to 40 knots, but offshore it looks like it will be more like 15-20. Also heard more about the "pirate" incident. The yacht was near the Valdavia Banks, which is a big area for commercial fishing. There was a lot of small fishing boats in the area along with a "mother ship". It is believed that one of the fishing vessels fired a flare to try to warn the yacht away from nets or lines. The skipper of the yacht had night vision equipment, bullet proof vests, and automatic weapons on board leading many people to speculate that he was a little paranoid. It is believed that he overreacted to the warning from the fishing boat and started firing his automatic weapon in the air. The fishing boat split, and he got on the radio and reported the failed "pirate" attack. This was several days ago, but he has not made any official report of the incident.
We had the starboard diesel injector pulled yesterday. The diesel mechanic inspected it and cleaned it up, but it looked pretty good. We were not having any trouble with the engine, but decided to have it checked since we had trouble with the one on the port side. Now it's back in and the engine is still running fine.
Later had a little party on the Bug. Leanne brought a cake. Our friend Etienne (met in Durban) and his brother, Jacques, came by. Mick and Amanda from Karisma and Paul and Kay from Wirlinga were also over. It was a nice gathering with six different countries represented. -DWH
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