Catching The Dream

03 December 2017 | Zululand Yacht Club pontoons, Richard's Bay
23 November 2017 | Zululand Yacht Club pontoons, Richard's Bay
20 November 2017 | ZYC
15 November 2017 | ZYC
10 November 2017 | ZYC
09 November 2017
05 November 2017
03 November 2017 | ZYC
29 October 2017 | ZYC
28 October 2017 | Zululand Yacht Club pontoons, Richard's Bay
25 October 2017 | Oct 25th,Moored at Zululand YC
24 October 2017 | Oct 24th, 20 miles from Aghulas Current waypoint
23 October 2017 | Oct 23rd, 200 miles from Aghulas Current waypoint
22 October 2017 | Oct 23rd, 300 miles from Aghulas Current waypoint
20 October 2017 | Oct 20th, 720 miles from Aghulas Current waypoint
19 October 2017 | Oct 19th, 100 miles from S E Madagascar waypoint
18 October 2017 | Oct 18th, 200 miles from Madagascar waypoint
17 October 2017 | Oct 17th, 340 miles from Madagasca
17 October 2017 | Oct 17th, 500 miles from Madagasca
16 October 2017 | Oct 16th, off La Reunion

Boo Hoo-ray

03 December 2017 | Zululand Yacht Club pontoons, Richard's Bay
It's Boo Hoo with Chris and Polly, Stew and Kim returning N of the equator; and Hooray for Stew and Kim's big announcement out of Cape Town.
We all had a super time together, even without the game park, the hips and crocs in the wetlands and the cheetahs and other medium cats at the sanctuary. Paul was a great driver-guide who did his absolute utmost to get us around and to see everything possible. Sadly, the big cats kept out of sight, but the rest of the local fauna were magnificent - as per Roly the Rhino in the pic.
Our time together on DC was nicely relaxed, with dinner in the Club, and we finished off in Durban.
Having taken Polly to the airport for her return to Dubai, the rest carried on to 'our' guesthouse, which didn't disappoint. The only setback was at 'our' Indian restaurant where they went a bit mental with the chilli, so that we could hardly eat it. My tongue was numb for hours after, and we gave the several resultant doggy bags to a local on the street. I hope he's OK!
Anyway, back alone together on DC, it is a bit tidier, and I can fit the various bits the boys brought out and focus on being ready for new crew - Nic and Jez - in Jan.
Pip pip.

Miss Helen A. Neous - Bits

23 November 2017 | Zululand Yacht Club pontoons, Richard's Bay
With stories of a highly venomous black Mamba snake behind a toilet cistern, road signs denoting 'Hippo country' and roadside pics of elephants, crocs and more hippos remind you that it's not just the thuggish locals to be wary of!
The Marina management have just put up signs in the toilets giving various emergency telephone numbers, including 'snake catcher'. It doesn't say where the anti-venom is kept!
Meanwhile, Mags and I took advantage of a cloudy day today to do a recce of part of the roadtrip to the safari destination. Hopefully the promised hippos and crocs on the riverboat cruise will be more evident than today. We saw nuffink.
It was a nice day though, interspersed with phone calls to chase a delivery.
As a boat part for a 'Yacht in Transit', it should be allowed in duty free. However, the mischievous customs 'coded it' incorrectly - allegedly - so I am having to get it correctly coded if I want to avoid another £50 donation to these Govern-mentally official highwaymen (and ladies!)
Hip hip

Miss Helen E

20 November 2017 | ZYC
Nothing too exciting to report, as we count the days to Chris and Stew bringing Polly and Kim to join us.
With the World Arc here this last week, the ZYC has been busy.
We joined them for an interesting talk on Friday about the harbours to be found en route to Cape Town, and then for their awards dinner night afterwards.
Most of the fleet, including friends Dan and Emily left early Saturday to catch the tide and the weather window which should get them to East London or even Port Elizabeth before the weather turns against them for a few more days. That's what it's all about here....rush off as the last system abates and get to safety before the next system comes in. Our turn will come!
So for now, we have a couple of hot and sunny days before that next system lowers the temp and brings some rain and maybe some thunderstorms for our sons and their girls on safari!
Here onboard DC, we are really getting to the nitty gritty of maintaining standards with a new toilet seat for our loo (heads) plus a new kitchen (galley!) tap and replacement mirrors in the two bathrooms (10 years of salty air!)
We have also decided to renew the mainsail and genoa here.
We will keep using the existing ones as the recent repairs are good, but we know that at this age these sails could easily fail if ocean conditions conspire, and the prices here are very reasonable, even for a global brand like Ullman Sails.
So, bullet bitten!
Finally, another UK boat was selling their portable aircon unit for a decent price. It also heats and de-humidifies - though not at the same time! - so we bought it. It needs a longer exhaust hose for effective aircon, and that is on order.
It's a bit of a 'lump' of course, but it's versatility should be really handy; and for the price we paid, it won't owe us anything after a South African summer!
Pip pip!

Windy Richard's Bay

15 November 2017 | ZYC
We had a most interesting time at the battlefield sites around Rorke's Drift. The weather was perfect, our accommodation ditto with bbq facilities for our self catering. We would have gone for their meals, but they are served in your room, and we didn't fancy 'meals on legs', so took our own stuff.
We also had TV to watch the F!, some rugger and Roger F (for Maggie!) which all happened most conveniently in the evenings.
Our battlefield tour lasted from 07.30 until 5pm and was really good and kept us riveted.
With long but enjoyable drives through the countryside to and from the Lodge, and a morning at the big museum at Thanala (near Dundee), we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
We arrived back to an offer of tea with A&J, which morphed into gins and wine/beer and supper! We slept well!
That was two nights ago. With A&J off again on their travels, we had a fabulous lightning display and bone shaking thunder last night. It was genuinely scary, as lightning seemed to be striking repeatedly in the same direction and 'walking' on it's lightning 'legs' towards us. Maggie and I were both silently comparing the height of our mast to our neighbours....and wishing it smaller.
Eventually, the storm drifted off to the north, the lightning never getting closer than a mile, or so. The show lasted over two hours, with some torrential rain. We got a little damp watching all this from the cockpit, but the 'curtain' system worked well to keep us in and most of the rain out.
This morning dawned with more thunder and by noon, the wind started kicking in as the predicted wind storm began to build in earnest. Currently, the wind is gusting to the mid 30's and is likely to strengthen and to last a couple of days - so we're getting on with indoor jobs. At least it is cooler....from a very humid 30+ to around 25 now and forecast 18 tomoz.
With all this weather, the World Arc started arriving a couple of days ago, and we saw Emily and Dan on Skyelark this morning. All but one boat is in, with the laggard waiting out this storm in Madagascar. It looks like they could be there a while.

SA crime. Wow,

10 November 2017 | ZYC
Listening to the local station on the car radio, yesterday, the news was about:
1) the possibility that President Zuma would be impeached for tax fraud and failure to lodge tax returns for over 5 years, An assessment of the tax owed is R62m.
2) the suspension of several top dogs at the local electricity co for fraud, bribes and accepting kick-backs
3) the death of a Durban child, injured in a car accident, whose ambulance was robbed at the scene by a gang of thugs
4) a young teenage girl who was found in her ransacked home by her parents - with 14 bullet wounds.
Here, bidding someone 'Goodbye'' is accompanied by 'Stay safe'.

Durban. Wow!

09 November 2017
Mags and I have just had a very nice couple of days in Durban.
Having hired a car on Tuesday, we returned to DC to collect the liferaft. Not that we expected particularly bad weather......but it's 3 year service is overdue.
Once we had dropped that off, we made our way to the overnight B&B we had booked.
Wow! It was costing us about £51 a night (total - not each - B AND B!). It was an old 'colonial' style house complex amounting to 20 let rooms, with a breakfast room plus an 'honesty' bar and a splash pool. Our en-suite room was delightful, with everything you would expect plus cookies, choccies and a small decanter with the local liqueur and a couple of shot glasses.
At their suggestion, they having booked us a table,........ and after a couple of beers with the owner and several of the other guests in the bar, .........we walked down the hill to the local Indian restaurant for dinner.
It was brilliant. As good a curry dinner as you could want, with a couple of beers and wine....£30.
On our return, we called into the bar for a nightcap with a few of the other guests and ended up spending a little more time, and imbibing a little more hooch, than originally planned.
Fortunately, breakfast continued until 10 am, so our forced cheerful 'Good mornings' around 0950 still qualified.
Wow! Breakfast was brilliant, with juice, cereal, lots of lovely fruit options and yogurt. The toast, and excellent 'full English' followed. Yum.
We next drove to, and along, the waterfront. Our goal was to visit the marina to see how repairs were progressing following the storm of about 4 weeks ago. We also hoped to find the little Swede (Jonas on Alma)
Durban's waterfront is very attractive, and on a lovely sunny, but windy, day it was a good place to drive along slowly. The wardens located every 100m or so, was a reassuring - but sombre - sight. The level of crime here is ridiculous and seemingly random.
On the way, we passed an area where yachts were anchored and thought we saw Alma.
Finally, we parked outside the Natal Yacht Club and went inside 'for a nose'. As we wandered the corridors, we came across a room with a group of people watching a presentation. I went inside to find a Club official giving his occasional talk to Yotties needing to negotiate the Aghulas current and the weather systems between Durban and Cape Town. Jonas was on the front row.
Wow! It was brilliant.....and we listened while Roy Cook explained to about 20 Yotties......including Jonas plus the Nauti Buoys that we first met in Shelter Bay, Panama how and when to attempt the various passages. Priceless!
The guest house having found us a room for another night, we returned via the waterfront and an ice cream. Breakfast had been so magnificent, we didn't need lunch!
On our way back, we called into the World Cup stadium, but it was closed to visitors - too windy. Instead, we visited the Apartheid exhibition. What an appalling period of modern history - post Nazism. Amazing.
Sadly, Zuma and the present ANC seem bent on squandering the unbelievable legacy that Mandela left them. Mankind is such a sorry animal.
Back at our guest house, they booked us a table at a renowned steakhouse and ordered a taxi.
Wow. Superb steaks and all the trimmings. Mags had 'the biggest chocolate mousse I've ever had', and with coffee etc and beers/wine........£50. They booked us a taxi for the return journey, and this time, we slipped quietly to our room.
Our choices for breakfast this morning weren't quite as gross as yesterday .....but we still didn't need any lunch!
We just took our time to return home to DC; avoiding the toll road, and taking the local roads through some 'real S A villages/towns. It was great.
We were very happy to return to DC, but our 'appiness was interrupted when a couple of Customs goons arrived to serve a fine on us for clearing in with them over 24 hours from arrival time!
Wow! We didn't know of this 'rule'. Not only do we suffer a R1500 fine, but we can only pay it through an agent who charges R280!
Wow! What a scam! £100!
Welcome to South Africa!!
Vessel Name: DreamCatcher
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau 49DS
Hailing Port: Cowes
Crew: Martin Rutt
Extra: We're only popping out for a sail. We've 'done' the San Blas, Panama Canal, Galapagos, Marquesas, Rangiroa, French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Fiji, Tanna, New Caledonia and Brisbane; and up to Darwin so see you in........err....Durban.
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Created 15 February 2016