Before 'To Durban': An email from Maggie to a friend
31 December 2017 | Durban Marina
Happy New Year to all of you!
Thanks for your last message. Hope all the Christmas events were a success.
We had a quiet but enjoyable Christmas with our minds more on getting ready to leave when the next weather window appeared. Little did I know that would be sooner than I thought!
On Thursday I woke early and thought it would be a good opportunity to get the washing done (the two machines here get very busy after 8am) so I turfed Martin out of bed so that I could strip it! Got all the sheets, towels and clothes washed and on the communal line by 8.30am. It was sunny so I thought it would dry.
After breakfast Martin had said he needed to try to fix the deck and steaming light problem that had evaded him when he first fitted the new unit. This is positioned halfway up the mast so I would be needed to help hoist him up with the safety line and keep in attendance for sending up tools, retrieving dropped items (one screwdriver lost overboard on this occasion!), and lowering him down when necessary. So up he went.
It was then that I noticed that the weather had changed and it looked like rain was possible! My washing, I thought! In the end it didn't rain. Martin was unable to fix the problem in situ - it isn't easy - so decided to pull the wire down the mast to see if it was damaged. It got stuck halfway down and the 'mouse' line couldn't pull it back up, so now we had a worse problem! Martin decided to fully resolve the problem, so went and bought a new length of electrical wire, but it was thicker than the old one so we had a hell of a job to drop it down the mast without getting caught on anything, fish it out at the bottom and squeeze it through a too small hole into where it had to be connected up. The good news was that it all worked and meant that all the outstanding jobs were finished!
That evening I noticed that Martin had emailed our local weather guru Des, who had replied that the next weather window was the next day.
Martin didn't mention this to me. He said later it was to save me worrying, but of course I had a disturbed night wondering why he hadn't mentioned it and assumed it was because he had decided not to go yet! I couldn't resist bringing up the subject when we awoke and he then said he thought we should go. Once all the issues were considered, and subject to getting confirmation of an available berth in Durban (the Marina was badly damaged in October and had been turning boats away) I agreed. We have both been getting twitchy about getting to Capetown in time to leave before our visa runs out on 24th Jan.
Following a phone call at 8 am to confirm a berth was free, we then had to rush around to get ready - involving tidying and securing everything movable on the boat, filling in official forms and delivering them to immigration (one and a half hour wait in office), customs and finally harbour police. Plus another visit by me to the pharmacist to get his opinion on whether the spots on my shoulder were the return of shingles!
The good thing was that we were so busy there was less time to get apprehensive about being at sea again after over 2 months as landlubbers.
Whilst all that was going on in foreground, Hebron was back with us to do some gelcoat repairs of the surprisingly few dinks and scratches that DC has suffered in her 11 years. We had to give up some time to assist him before leaving him to finish off - and clean the fenders, please!
On our return, all was done as much as was possible, and we bid a fond farewell to this lovely Zulu, having spent a short while with him in the cockpit looking at his family photos.
(We took photos of him - he's the one on the left)
To continue this exciting episode you now have to go to: sailblogs.com/member/catchingthedream where Martin has written a riveting account of our voyage and where a version of this email to you may appear later!
It is not nearly as nice here in Durban marina as it was at Richard's Bay, but it is one and a half hours nearer the airport when Nicole and Jeremy arrive next Thursday morning and will save a couple of days on our sail to Cape Town. We still have to do some provisioning and to get the autopilot mentioned in the blog mended!
Sent from my iPad