Sailing matilda

15 April 2013 | Rodney Bay, St Lucia
25 March 2013 | Union Island, SVG
10 March 2013 | Union Island, SVG
25 February 2013 | Speightstown, Barbados
18 February 2013 | North Atlantic Ocean - 165 East of Barbados
12 February 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 300 miles North of the mouth of the Amazon
03 February 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 260 miles East of Ilha de Fernando de Noronha
29 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 225 miles West of Ascension Is.
23 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 145 miles West of St Helena
16 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean - 75 miles from St Helena
10 January 2013 | South Atlantic Ocean
31 December 2012 | V&A Marina, Cape Town, South Africa
20 December 2012 | Hout Bay Yacht Club, Hout Bay, South Africa
24 November 2012 | Durban Marina, Durban, South Africa
24 November 2012 | Bluff Yacht Club, Durban, South Africa
16 November 2012 | Richard Bay, South Africa
11 November 2012 | 85 miles off Richard Bay, South Africa, Indian Ocean
08 November 2012 | Mozambuique Channel, Indian Ocean
02 November 2012 | La Port, La Reunion

Still in Durban, Cape Town Dreaming

24 November 2012 | Durban Marina, Durban, South Africa
Heather & Jonathan
Well we have had a bit of bad luck with weather windows, but hopefully we can get away this weekend. When the first window came, we were not ready for it as we were having too much fun in Durban and things to see (ballet, wine show, aquarium etc etc). With the second window we were all ready to go, but we dragged the anchor in a huge squall that hit while we were checking out. The boat was fine, thanks to some noble efforts of boats nearby led by Iain of Peat Smoke, but it did inadvertently cause a problem with our VHF and there was another problem that needed to be fixed, so we missed that weather window. The squall, by the way, contained some of the loudest thunderclaps I have ever heard and its the first time we have ever seen a flock of birds blown out of the sky. A bird-lover on a nearby boat went around in his dinghy picking them up and breathing life back into them. It was a very unusual sight seeing birds of various states of drowned pigeon coming back to life all lined up around his cockpit and gunnels. As each bird got his breath back and dried sufficiently, they flew off one by one.

We then missed yesterday's window thanks to Periperinet in the morning, who persuaded us (and a few other boats) not to go despite the forecasts indicating it was a good window. By the evening it was admitted that it was a good window and we should have got off, and if not, get off now, but in the meantime we had re-directed a package from Cape Town to Durban so we now have to wait for that to be delivered - ARRGH!! Things are looking good for Saturday though, and it could be a window that gets us all the way to Cape Town, so lets keep everything crossed.

Not that we have been moping around (well not much anyway). We hired a car and went away for a few days to see a bit of the interior and there is some stunning countryside. We will have particularly fond memories of an early morning walk around the Oribi Gorge. The hills around looked as if they were smoking in the early morning light, the waterfall spectacular as it plunged into the abyss, and I managed to walk the rope bridge across the chasm without hyper ventilating (I am not clever with heights). When we got back the monkeys were up to various bits of morning mischief that made for a breakfast cabaret. What a way to start the day.

We also went to a talk given by one of the boats that we have been crossing paths with along the way. Ralph Dominic of s/v Imvubu (apparently it means baby hippo) had returned to his home port of Durban after a circumnavigation that included the North West passage (one of only 150 sailing vessels ever to have done it and the first from SA). He concentrated on that part of the journey and together with some amazing photos it made for a great evening. I cannot honestly say he sold it to me, the weather windows he had to juggle with were seriously scary, but we would love to visit that part of the world one day. The following day he was at the Bluff YC with ourselves and Southern Cross and we got caught up in - wait for it, you'll never guess - some serious domino action. It was a variation called Mexican Train and I am proud to say I won 2 games - I put it down to being given trains from the Thomas the Tank Engine series as markers, and I had Mavis who I have always felt was a winner. Tom of course, had Thomas, but sadly he was the little engine that couldn't.

Jonathan also had some animal Samaritan action with a little lost dog at the Bluff YC. This little fox terrier/Jack Russell cross had badly infected eyes, a stomach infection, skin rashes and was in a generally bad state of repair. Apparently he had pitched up at the club and nobody knew who owned him. He had a lovely nature, but was keen on chasing the geese, so ended up in the polluted water of the marina. That's probably how he became so badly infected. So Jonathan took him off to the local vet who donated his time to diagnose the little guy. We gave him with all his various pills and potions back to Billy, the marina manager to look after until the owners could be tracked down. Fortunately a very nice lady who already had two dogs took him on a permanent basis (unless the original owners come forward) so he now has a good home with two other dogs harrass. But we very nearly had ourselves a great little boat dog...

Today we will probably visit the maritime museum and art galleries - must keep the spirits up. Jonathan at least got to see the new James Bond , which only opened here few days ago.
Vessel Name: matilda
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg-Rassy 42E
Hailing Port: Portsmouth
Crew: Jonathan & Heather Howard
About: Jonathan and Heather Howard are now back in the Caribbean after completing the circumnavigation. matilda is now on the market and in May we will return to the UK with our friends on Peat Smoke.
Extra: matilda was re-launched in October 2011. Our circumnavigation took 15 months and we are now starting to think about getting back to work.

Sailing matilda

Who: Jonathan & Heather Howard
Port: Portsmouth