12/15/2011, Durban, South Africa
Life in Durban, South Africa
Well, it is Thursday, 15th December and only 10 sleeps till Christmas and Chaotic Harmony is still a work in progress. All those little jobs have been finalised but the mid range jobs are still underway. Hopefully they will be finished by Christmas so everything is crossed.
The Christmas shopping is complete but it will be different having Chrissy in a Marina. Santa is due and the stockings will be filled with South African goodies to the extent where we have changed some of the 240V fittings to use SA adapters. Tizer (Tigger/Tabby) has demolished the tree so we will have to rebuild it Christmas Eve. Luckily Christmas is on a Sunday as Thursdays are always wet here for some inexplicable reason.
I forgot this fact this morning when I started to paint the cockpit decks which are the last part of the deck repaint and had to stop when it began to pour. Weather here is similar to Mackay/Melbourne if you can think of it. Hot and humid one day, cool and wet the next or part thereof. I had planned to finish the job with 2 coats last week. I think it will be finished for Christmas. All part of the fun, painting and living in the same area. Tizer has discovered the joy of wet paint and also Acetone on his paws.
The watermaker repairs are happening slowly. I am fitting a new set of membranes as the old ones had well and truly past their use by date and this will enable us to make 150L an hour or at least 100L. 150 seems to be the magic number as it is also the average amp usage per day as it is in litres of water. The last of the fittings for the new unit will arrive Saturday and we can install them along with a new control box and hopefully test it all out.
The starboard forward storage and tool centre has been completely demolished and carpentry underway to rebuild it. This has forced us to move the washing machine to the forward cabin to store and to bring it into the cockpit to use. It is a temperamental machine and more than once I have tried to get rid of it but it keeps coming back. Cheaper than laundry people so not an issue I guess. Jo wants a "spin dryer" instead so maybe Santa will come visit again once we hit Cape Town.
With the new spare and tool centre becoming operational I will be able to move all spares etc into it and move weight further aft so this is good and it will look very flash.
We cannot wait till Santa comes here and brings a sleigh full of goodies. I am hoping for two new winch handles and another few pots of deck paint. Gill and Keely are hoping for most of the known world as kids do and Jo wants a maid. One offered her services but unfortunately she does not have a passport.
We will be here till the first week of January and then make our way to Port Elizabeth and East London before Mossel Bay and Simonstown where we will leave South Africa for Namibia. From Simonstown we will tour the garden route and vineyards of the Afrikaaners. We were thinking of a trip to Victoria Falls and will do that from Walvis Bay in Namibia as we can also see the desert country before leaving Africa for St Helena Island and onto the Caribbean before an east coast tour of the US.
To everyone we cannot contact by Christmas please have a great day and to Kerry and Steve, our special thanks for the card and gifts. If a parcel arrives from Africa the Oz bureauocrats will keep it for a few months so you may have to wait a bit.
Be good, Chaotic Harmony. We are off to the Thursday BBQ in the rain (again) The photo of Gill and Keely saying bye to Gill's German/NZ mates Leonard and Emily from Iemanja who are leaving for Cape Town. I hope we catch up with them again.
12/06/2011, Durban, S.A.
Christmas, Chaos and Harmony
Well. Check out the Christmas Tree. It even has fibre optic lights and is the pride and joy of Tigger who is in the process of demolishing it before Santa gets to see it.
The tree is up, decorated and in fine working order and is the pride of "D" finger here at Durban Marina. We will cover the boat with 12V lights and signal flags to ensure Santa finds Gill and Keely in Durban on Christmas Eve. He will not slip on the new non-skid paint and will hopefully fullfill the Christmas lists and fill the kids stockings with chocolate that Mum and Dad can "borrow".
Hope you all have a great Christmas with lots of joy.
Jo, Ian, Gill and Keely
12/03/2011, Durban, S.A.
We went to the markets in Durban and came home with a ships cat by the name of Tigger. He is 7 weeks old and currently rules the boat making life aboard different to say the least. He is creating a lot of smiles around the place and seems to find every hidey hole possible while he discovers his new home.
In other news we are starting to make headway in our mini-refit with deck painting, cupboard making, and general maintenance before we head off to the Drakkensburg Mountains on our next adventure. Tigger will go back to the pussy cat home for a week while we enjoy the sights and hopefully stay dry.
The big Climate Change conference is on in Durban at the moment and the place is littered with tree huggers and all sorts of feral wildlife. Why can't we just all go sailing?
After a hectic week in Durban arranging for work to be done on CH and selling and buying bits and pieces Jo arranged our first trip away for a week into KwaZulu-Natal to see and enjoy the sights, sounds, animals and people of the area.
We hired a car and made bookings for the first 3 days at The Bushlands Game Lodge just south of Hluhluwe and next to the Hluhluwe/ImFolozi Game Park. ( HluHluwe is pronounced Shloo-shlooy by the way). It was a hot and humid morning in Durban when we left so minimal clothing was packed. This turned out to be lesson number 1.
We arrived at the Bushlands Game Lodge just after a large rain and during a lighter rain and just before sunset. The place is 10km down a dirt road and we had a Toyota Corolla that was itching to be bogged or drowned and the last 10km was nervewracking to say the least. This was lesson number 2. It was also a bit chilly and doubt started to creep in about the wisdom of packing light and also only having two drive wheels.
Anyway the lodge was very nice with giraffe, zebra, impala, nyala, warthog and several other non-pronouncable species wandering around but we decided to do a 4WD tour with guide into the Hluhluwe/ImFolozi Game Park the next morning at 0530. The vehicle is completely open and the park boasts access to the "BIG FIVE" of elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. Well at 0530 belting down the highway in an open 4WD in the rain and cold we all began to hypothermiate and by the time we got back we had seen an elephants bum, several rhino, wilderbeasties, giraffes, zebras and buffalo and more impala and nyala but I think it was too cold and wet for the cats who were probably still snug in bed somewhere. The rhino were VERY impressive and VERY BIG and it is great to see these animals in the wild. They were White Rhino but white is a mispronunciation by the poms and white refers to their wide mouth. We got some great photos so check em out.
Back to the lodge at 0930 for a defrost and breakfast and 10 gallons of hot coffee for me when we made the decision that Ian needed warm clothing so a quick drive to St. Lucia Wetlands Reserve to do some shopping, see the hippos and back to the lodge after another dirt track adventure then back to Bushlands for a fire and wine. Mmmmmmmmmm.....
The next morning we took off to Hluhluwe and visited the Ilala Craft Factory where the Zulu display and sell their craft. Great stop and we all got a souvenir and a good look at the history of the Zulu tribe. From here we visited the Duma-Zulu village and were treated to Zulu beer, traditional dancing and village life in a kraal. Gillen liked the bare breasts of the village maiden. Apparently they go bare till they get a boyfriend, then they cover em up and wear some beads on their heads. Once engaged to be married you are permitted a dress and when married a hat. The men have the rule of the roost and the first wife arranges all subsequent marriages as the amount of cattle and wives one has dictates your social and wealth status. Interesting thought and something that probably gives Germaine a headache. I do not know how they faired in the cold with minimal clothing. Must have perfected heaters by then I think. Then it was onto the Emdoneni Lodge where they care for and rehabilitate wild cats including leopards. They have a Leopard there that has been there since a kitten and Gill and Keely loved stroking and patting this lovely beasty.
Did I mention that it was still raining and COLD. The next morning was day 4 of 7 so we decided to lick our wounds and tackle the mud again and head back to Durban for a warm up and prepare for a trip to the Drakensburg Mountains and also the famous Zulu War sites where they trashed the might of the Pommy Empire. Did I mention that poms are still not exactly liked in this part of the world?
So we are back on the boat, warming up with a glass of wine and looking at maps. Be good.
11/12/2011, Durban, South Africa
Well we made it to Durban which is to be our home for a month while we travel South Africa and see the place and it wildlife. We traveled down the coast in a very short weather window in company with "Whiskers" (Gerald and Dianna and little Bea) and "Wombat of Sydney" (Mike and Lynne) after leaving Richards Bay at midnight Thursday and arriving at Durban 15 hours later for a distance of 90nm.
It was great to travel with "Whiskers" who completed their second circumnavigation on arrival at Durban so it was a champagne dinner on arrival to help celebrate. They are really great friends as are Mike and Lynne and we hope to spend some time with them before we leave.
The sail was excellent and we had good weather most of the journey with whales blowing close to the boat at 0430 causing a bit of angst with whale snot left on the starboard hull. By sunrise we traveled in company with pod after pod of humpbacks all wanting to jump into the air, breach or wave their very large flippers at us. Amazing, and Keely sang to them in genuine near perfect whale.
Richards Bay was a very nice, friendly stop but unfortunately there were no berths left for cats or for anyone else for that matter. It appears that the pirates have had a benefit for South Africa as we have collectively filled South African marinas. The Indian Ocean crossing has damaged quite a few boats with everyone we meet reporting damage of some kind. We have been either very lucky or very careful as we appear to be the exception to date.
"Chaotic Harmony, Chaotic Harmony........This is PERI PERI Net......Do you copy Ian?"...............
This radio message arrives every day at 1500GMT and the guys at Peri Peri Net ; Roy at Durban and Paul at Johannesburg operate the most efficient and friendly net we have ever encountered. They provide detailed weather reports and forecasts for your location, maintain an interest in you and your movements and provide a way to contact other crews on boats underway, and have a wealth of experience and knowledge of South African waters. It is a very nice way to sail South Africa knowing that these two gentlemen are out there and waiting to pass on weather and wisdom as well as just having a friendly voice to talk to every day at sea. We have been a member of the net since Rodrigous Island and will continue to monitor it while we can. We have met Roy in Richards Bay and will meet Paul in Cape Town in the near future. Anyone in the area can be a part of the net on 8101kHz.
Actually everyone we have met in South Africa is delighted to see us. We all feel a bit privileged to be enjoying the hospitality that has been extended to us and now see South Africa as a new home of sorts. On arrival at Durban we were met by several people who helped us berth and invited to drinks at the bar. What a welcome !
Will try and get to the internet shop and post some photos soon. We will also take the opportunity to have some interiour work done on CH while we are away. Will remodel the front cabins and turn the port one into a food larder and schoolroom/private space for Gill and the starboard side into a general store and laundry with the starboard forward head being reworked into more storage space for lighter items. We will also create a large timber box for the cockpit to store a generator and dive compressor and a smaller one to stow the numerous lines we use. We are going to be busy.
"Sogno Da'Zul" (Onno) met us in Durban on arrival. He lost his steering in a large storm off Durban and was towed in by a freighter . Very lucky but we are happy he is OK and making repairs. The picture at the head of this story is of Onno being rescued.
Cannot wait to get into a hire car and go say hello to the lions, zebras, hippos and elephants
11/04/2011, Richards Bay
Africa at Last
Hi all. Well we made it to Richards Bay in South Africa after a great sail from Port Louis in Mauritius. We left on the 20th October in company with a South African catamaran named "Whiskers" with Gerald and Dianna. Truly excellent friends and we kept in touch for the entire voyage arriving within an hour of each other. We hope to see them on the water again.
The first few days were excellent sailing with virtually no seas running and 15 knots on a close reach and we made fantastic runs of over 200nm a day.
The wind died on us and became quite fluky but when it did come it came with a vengeance and we had our fair share of gales and very large seas so after rounding Madagascar we cut north into the Mozambique Channel with every intention of making a landfall at Inhambarne as gales were expected in South Africa and the best way was to go right around them.
This was a correct move and we missed the big ones. Two boats that did not follow this route had difficulties with one sinking (all saved) and one having to be rescued after they lost steering then rudders. I guess it pays to respect the the weather gods! Perhaps it was Keely's birthday Gods that helped us. The lucky duck had two birthdays!!!!! One in Mauritius and one at sea.
A window of opportunity arose just before we hit Mozambique with a strong northerly forecast so we ran for Richards Bay in a 40 knot following breeze and made her this morning.
The trip was great and we caught a very large Dorado and still have some in the freezer. It was over 4ft long and very beautiful. A shame to eat it but it tasted as good as it looked as sushi, fried and curried and steamed. We lost a large tuna that took the hook, line and reel. It was like a ballistic sub and perhaps that was what it was........
The place is full here and we are unsure whether to stay or go onto Durban but time will tell. Anyway we are safe and hope you are all well. Chaotic Harmony excelled in all conditions with no breakages and top speeds of over 18 knots at times.
Did I mention that it is damn cold....
Ian, Jo, Gill and the Keel