I’m With The Band
17 October 2021
Local knowledge said we’ve passed the hardest part of getting from the Indian Ocean to Cape Town. SPOILER ALERT!That was just a ruse to get us here. The tough bit starts now. The last two thousand miles is all down to timing. The cheery story is that every three to five days, a big, nasty weather system comes thrashing around the Cape of Good Hope, or Cape of Storms, your choice of name and outcome, depending on whether you get the timing right.
The effect of these blows is felt right up the Mozambique Channel where we and half a dozen others are impatiently waiting on a clear, three to five day window to make the dash to the first shelter, a weeny island where you can hang off the reef in residual swell and watch the fruit bats tumbling in the wind as they get blown out to sea. The alternative and/or next stop is a headland at Bazaruto, where you can creep through the sandbanks, no doubt with a three metre swell crashing all around to await the next window.
Pilotage wisdom here says “Starting on a low tide with sandbars visible, proceed to the first anchorage with good NE/SE protection. You can remain there till the wind switches, but this will put you in sight of the conservation authorities who will try and extort cash out of you for being inside a conservation area When it is time to leave it can take you up to 6-8 hours to get out as you may have to wait for the tide – time you can ill afford when sailing to a deadline and your next safe spot.”
Soberingly, we just read of a boat that got caught out and apparently ended up, trashed along with the owners’ dreams on a Mozambique beach. No casualties other than the boat but not what you want to hear just before you leave. Tomorrow was an option but in my opinion too tight a time scale to get to the nearest port of refuge. Well, sand bank of refuge.
The good news is we’ve cleared the first hurdle, the compression zone at the top of Madagascar.
As for Mayotte, unfairly I think, Wikipedia doesn’t give the place much credit. They say the islands are the poorest of France’s eighteen “departements”. That 29% of dwellings are made of corrugated iron and there’s an unhealthy level of youth unemployment. The community is allegedly ninety five percent Muslim although from what we’ve seen from the bins stuffed to overflowing with empty beer cans, the remaining five percent must be drunk as skunks 24/7.
It’s not Noumea or St Barts but what it does have is friendly people, multiple patisserie selling decent coffee and all kinds of highly calorific delights and an extremely welcoming yacht club.
Despite the weather threats I don’t think we can afford stay long. I’m only just getting back into my shorts and not having to hold my breath for photos, some of which you might see in Rolling Stone soon as, last night I made an appearance in Michael / Hylite’s “Jam Session” in the yacht club. Nine or ten folk responded to Michael’s chalked announcement, “Jam Session 4pm Monday. All musicians welcome.
It should have read, “All musicians, …….. and Stuart, welcome.” What I lacked in talent I made up for in embarrassment.
Write in for copies of my latest MP3 download. Or not.
Woffle over, here’s a short vid of our passage from Seychelles.