01/27/2012, Hout Bay
Houston; We have a Teenager
27th January 1999. Gill came to stay and it has now been 13 years that we have had to enjoy this delightful, gas filled young man.
Gill turned 13 in Hout Bay, Republic of South Africa and we all wonder where we will be for his 14th. He was well visited in the present department with a PSP from us, a great stash of food from Joseph and Marci of "Horizon", a great outfit from the wonderful folk of DEAN Catamarans and good wishes from just about everyone at the marina as well as those from Oz.
It is blowing about 35-40 knots from the SE and our outer berth is a bit rock and rolly but we have just had cake and it was absolutely great so life is good at present. Gill is looking forward to having more responsibility on the boat and I am looking forward to the extra help. Gill has grown to about 162cm so is catching up quickly. I was hoping that I would not be overtaken for a few more years!!!!!
29th. Dad turns 57 and wishes he had done this trip when he was 12 going on 21!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh well better late than never. Birthdays are great in the sailing community. Greetings and wishes galore and even some presents..............................(thanks Joseph and Marci and Steve and everyone else)
01/22/2012, Hout Bay
Knysna to Cape Town
Well we have reached our last port in the Republic of South Africa and evidently we saved the best till the last.
We left Knysna heads with an easy exit through very dangerous waters and headed for Cape Agulhas, the most southern part of the continent of Africa with expectations of at least one good storm either there or Cape of Good Hope which is further north. Cape Agulhas is the cross-over for the Indian and Atlantic Oceans and has an inordinate amount of ship wrecks and is actually called the Cape of Storms. We rounded in a 15 knot SE'ly wind and relatively flat seas. So flat that there was a fishing boat at anchor 6 miles off the coast. These South Africans are crazy but very good sailors.
There is NO safe anchorage if the winds come up but we had a dream run as usual until we rounded Cape of Good Hope and the fog settled in. Visibility reduced to around 50m at best and ships everywhere on the AIS and radar so being discreet we modified our arrival port to Hout Bay just south (10minutes) of Cape Town and this is a grand little port. We picked up the last berth in the marina and now boats will be turned away as there is no safe anchorage here with winds every few days exceeding 30 knots and last week, 60 knots. Last year the top gale went to 93 knots. Fingers crossed......
We took a guided bus trip to Cape Town to report into the authorities and had a fantastic tour of Cape Town and Table Mountain and we will hire a car and do the wineries this week as well as the National Park of Cape Point. Beautiful is the only description.
Some maintenance to CH and we will be ready to sail early February to St Helena, South America and the Caribbean.
Gill's birthday on the 27th so we have a party to look forward to and a teenager aboard. Gill is off mountain climbing with Marnix of "INO" in a few days so is becoming very adept at all sorts of daring do.
Knysna Tours for the Weather Impaired
Well we made it into Knysna, once described by the British Navy as the most difficult port to enter in the world (Lonely Planet) and we surfed in at low tide and missed the rocks. The sailing directions ask that you sail as close to the rocks as you possibly can to avoid shallow water and breaking waves. We found a good surf wave and took it in. You can see the entrance at http://www.theheads.co.za/
Yep. It happened again. We hired a car at Knysna and headed east for the Elephant Park and yes......."IT RAINED"
There must be an aneroid barometer attached to my credit card but this makes it three times in a row. The Elephant Park was great though and we all got to meet the elephants, feed them and even talk and pat them. Fantastic experience with these great animals. Keely was a bit concerned at first but she got used to them.
The guides were excellent and as soon as I bent down to pick a few shards of grass he warned me that it is a VERY submissive posture and if I did not feel like having a few dozen tonnes of amorous pacyderm on my back I should stop now.
Next stop was a 70km road trip to the suspension bridge at Storm River (via a coastal coffee shop) but the weather closed in and that was the end of that. Also the charges of the National Parks here approaches the overly zealous charges of those that run Kakadu. Perhaps our National Parks bureaucrats are now training their SA counterparts.
This meant a backtrack to the largest single span bridge in Africa where the highest bungee jump is taken. Keely considered it as did Gill while I decided that my Ti backbone may not stand up to it.
The next day we headed off for the Western heads and the scenery was spectacular. This place is a bit like Sydney and Melbourne on a nice day..
Oh, did I mention that we got a new outboard........Yep the birthday fairy came early. Yamaha 15 and the dink flies.....
01/07/2012, Durban, South Africa
We finally left Durban with freshly painted decks, a new membrane on the watermaker, a new storage cabin and a myriad of other small improvements that you make from day to day.
We left behind many new and good friends that we hope to catch up with again, either on the water or somewhere equally exotic.
We arrived as a family of four and sailed with Tizer, the ships cat. He received his shots and certificates that will allow him into most countries bar Australia but that is an issue for the future.
Tizer has the run of the boat and we are attacked equally in our cabins, in the saloon, in the cockpit and even on deck.
We sailed at 0600, Saturday the 7th of January 2012 and we put the little furball into Gill's cabin where, as soon as we hit the swells he vomited causing a similar reaction in us all. Talk about cause and effect!
He has been rather quiet all day but has gained his sea paws and is investigating his new, somewhat moving home. Everyone keeps a close eye on him as I doubt if we could find the little ratbag if he went for a swim.
The SW'ly winds finally died last night and we sailed into a light ENE breeze that began to pick up several hours out of Durban and I hope it stays that way until we get to our destination of Knysna or Mossel Bay. We had to motor 25NM off the coast to find the Aghullas Current and when we did it is only moving at 3 knots so we are only doing about 8 knots at present. Not enough to break any records but good enough for the first day at sea. Tizer is beginning to look a bit green around the gills again and has bolted for the safety of Gill's lap. If he tosses his lunch there Jo will have a LOT to clean up as I am allergic to the stuff issued by cats. (at least I think I am)
We have been out with the dolphins and whales again today and have passed directly over several large schools of tuna which make the echo sounder go ballistic and my heart rate to soar . No fishing lines out yet. Perhaps tomorrow.
Oh oh, regurgitated cat food, think I better go wake Jo..........
12/23/2011, Durban, South Africa
Santa is due in tomorrow and we have "dressed" (decorated) ship with signal flags up the shrouds and rope lights around the cockpit and up and down the mast and halyards.
With all of this Santa is sure to find Gill and Keely. Will write on boxing day of our Christmas. We will be on SKYPE, UserID "gillkeely" on Christmas morning here from 0800. Time zones are such that this will be 3pm in NSW Australia and 1:30pm in Darwin.
Hope Santa makes a visit to you all,.
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.