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Cruising with Flair

Monday dawned and we knew we were into the home stretch - the wind had died down and the northeasterly swell had also abated to about 2 to 3 meters .. with a bit of luck, we would be home and dry before sunset, but the weather gods decided to let us suffer a bit..

Before we knew it, the wind had changed and blew a healthy 25 to 30 knot South Westerly right on our nose .... by the time we came to Plettenberg Bay, the SW wind had succeeded in building up waves that came in a short chop from the same direction against the big North Easterly swells for the previous evening - not at all pleasant sailing conditions and under any other circumstances we would have anchored in Plettenberg Bay but we really wanted to get into Knysna before evening.

We radio'd ahead and both Kevin (from Knysna Yacht Co ) and Simon (a really good friend) reported that the infamous Knysna Heads were looking OK and that the South Westerly would flatten them even more, so we decided to go for it .....

The scenery along this stretch of the coast is really spectactular ....

OH - OH !

dawn arrived with still only a little wind - lunch consisted of steamed tuna in foil with tomato and onoins - we really did not have any of the condiments we needed to cook properly as we had only provisioned for a delivery.

Zzzzing again.... and another tuna in the freezer ..... and then things turned nasty...... by late afternoon we had 4 to 5 meter swells and 25-30 knot winds up the ass.

We reefed the genoa in a little bit and Sea Flair was sailing beautifully giving us between 9 and 12 knots with a bit more down the swells when suddenly a big swell came along ... Dallen and Grant both looked up at the chartplotter and SOG (speed over ground) registered 20.8 knots!!!!.... That is some kind of a record for us and certainly not the kind of speed we want to do to keep safe, so we furled the rest of the genoa and traveled under motor power alone for the rest of the evening

28/02/2009, NO WIND

No wind, No waves, one big lake - pefect conditions for motoring during the past 24 hours with not a puff of wind.

We were visited by a big pod of dolphins which we could see perfectly with visibility that must have been more than 20m.

At dusk, zzzzzing........ - both rods sang and after a short fight, two nice sized tuna were landed providing us with a stunning seared tuna supper and plenty in the fridge for tomorrow.


We have decided to take Sea Flair back to her birthplace, knysna, for some small warranty repairs as well as some modifications. We want the factory to do the mods as we know that they will be done properly there.

So, after waiting for a suitable weather window, Grant, Dallen and Scott left Durban harbour to brave the "treacherous" and infamous South African wildcoast coastline.


I always told my kids they were crazy to deface their bodies with tatoos.

Its either senility setting in or too many Bintang beers, but after a particularly mellow afternoon,I decided that a tat would go well with my new responsibility as Captain of Sea Flair - and at my age nogal ......


He was sooooo cute, we could have adopted him as a surrogate grandson ... but his mother did not agree!!!

We saw this little guy at the Ubud Monkey Forest - hundreds of monkeys that are used to being fed by tourists (unlike most western animal parks) - they jump all over you, digging in your pockets and clothes - quite intimidating...


Northern Queensland was beset with floods and the weather reports indicated worse to come - so we decide to cut Aussie short and go to Bali for 10 days.

We spent the first four days getting excited looking at furniture and accessories for our shops at home before realising that we were in Bali for a holiday - after the initial rush we just chilled for the rest of the holiday.

Here is a typical Bali street scene .....


We worked our way from Brisbane up the coast, through Moloolaba and past Noosa, ending up in Hervey Bay. We enjoyed Hervey Bay so mch that we spent 3 days here and almost bought an apartment overlooking the marina (see pic .....). Hervey Bay is the hop off point for trips to Fraser Island, apparently the largest sand island in the world. It is also world famous as a whale watching centre during certain times of the year.


Stopped over in Brissy (Brisbane) on the way up the Queensland coast - took a moonlight water taxi cruise up the river - really pretty and super efficient - the Aussies sure know how to do things properly ......


Arrived in beautiful Byron Bay to find it crawling with tourists - traffic jams worse than Bangkok in a small seaside town just don't make sense. It seems that the yuppy appeal of Byron has overinflated everything compared to when we were here two years ago - crazy property prices, et, etc......but its still a cool place...


More than 100 boat paraded through the harbour decked in lights - very pretty ...........


We departed Perth old years morning and arrived in Sydney lunch time - time for a quick nap and then in to the city to catch the big fireworks display in Sydney harbor.

More than 1 million people - most seemed to have come from China and India - attended the most awesome fireworks diplay we have ever seen - certainly worth the effort.

This pic shows lights over the Sydney Opera House ......


Most of the back end of October as well as early November was taken up, between normal business commitments, with practicing for the Coastal Skippers exam, which we need to be able to file flight plans if we want to leave South African waters.

Grant aced the theory exam and after that the practical exam took place under the worst possible conditions with a huge swell and breaking monsters right in the port entrance - one big growler came right across the starboard bow, covered the stack pack and flooded the cockpit and even part of the saloon!! We have new respect for Sea Flair with the way she handled it - our "submarine" catamaran!!

Here is a pic of practicing "man overboard" techniques inside the harbour.......


All good things must come to an end, and so we returned to Maputo marina to clear out of the country.

And the captain definitely needs to go on a diet after this ......


And the obligatory sunset in paradise .....

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Back on the water!
Who: Grant Siebert and Bernice Jahn Zelda Martin and Dave Prece
Port: Durban, South Africa
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