Time Bandit

Swopped two hulls for two wheels and now touring South Africa, dodging things on four wheels and four legs.

26 June 2022
14 June 2022
07 June 2022
27 May 2022
23 May 2022
20 May 2022
06 May 2022 | Pretoria, South Africa
30 April 2022
22 April 2022
16 April 2022 | There Goes The Neighbourhood
06 April 2022
02 April 2022
30 March 2022 | V & A Marina, Cape Town
19 March 2022 | Mid Karoo
19 March 2022 | Mid Karoo
15 March 2022 | Monique & Bastiaan Above Hout Bay.
04 March 2022
21 February 2022
20 February 2022 | The Anchorage, Witsand, Western Cape

Are We There Yet?

26 June 2022
Stuart Letton
Border crossings, miles and miles through Africa and still, we’re not there yet.

“There” of course being out sailing.
Until then, here’s more of what we got up to on our tour of Southern Africa, checking out the beasties.

The Upside of Winter

14 June 2022
Stuart Letton
Can you believe it? Something approaching winter weather has appeared in Cape Town.

The good news is that with tipping rain outside, rather than the usual blazing sunshine, I could sit down for a few hours with a clear conscience and come up with this latest piece of creative genius.

Hope you like and indeed, tempted to "smash" that like button.

Forward Thinking

07 June 2022
Stuart Letton
After our tough day out conquering the fringes of the Southern Ocean, went out for dinner with Susan and Mark from Erie Spirit next door, the only other boat still here. Everyone else long since checked into the Caribbean, USA or, coincidentally, our marina in Scotland.

It was 2 for 1 night at the burger joint and as the ”waitron” - that’s a new, politically correct, non discriminatory, gender neutral and very silly term we’ve started seeing on restaurant menus these days. My theory is that we’re being softened up, much like our waistlines, for the day when an R2-D2 style robot is doing the waiting at tables.
Or, perhaps it’s from a Harry Potter movie and our hero may have yelled at his pal, “Hey - Wait Ron”.

Anyway, our server took our order. Three different drinks, four different burgers with three different sides…….and accurately delivered what we’d ordered in jig time.

Me? I’d have been three paces from the table wondering if the guy in the black jacket had ordered sweet potato chips or was it plain chips! And what did the women want?

The memory these young folk possess is impressive. Or it’s a hidden voice recorder but no way could I do it.

Which is why, yesterday when we took the boat out to look at the new sails, run the water maker and bla bla bla, I thought that as it’s a lovely day and as there’s a good chance that when we leave in seven or eight weeks in mid-winter it won’t be, “let’s shoot a quick departure video and I’ll file it for my, “Yo Dudes, We Smashed Africa And We’re Outta Here” video.

And then forgot all about it. Which is why there was all the Social Meedya confusion yesterday when said post appeared, implying we had indeed set off

Comprendez? Good. Well, having cleared that up I’m off to fix the table. Now, where’d I leave the Dremel?

Are We There Yet?

27 May 2022
Stuart Letton
If you’ve been following our last few posts, and you have my respect for that, you’ll know we’re nearing the end of our lightning tour round lower Africa. Anything further north than Victoria Falls was looking a bit scary and as we never earned our Explorer badges we kept our ambitions to following our leader. Most days. We ducked out of a few of the 550k to 650k days, using the planned rest days to split the journey in two; wooses that we are.

It wasn’t until after a few borders and hundreds of kilometres that we realised Africa is actually, quite big. In fact, it’s about a thousand times the size of Belgium…… and a bit more interesting although, on some of the long straits between African towns……and when I say straight, imagine the Romans equipped with theodolites, lasers and GPS, parts of Belgium might put up a good fight in the Interesting stakes. Nonetheless, you couldn’t take your eye of the road just in case an elephant on walkabout chose exactly the time of your passing to cross the road and, well, almost make it the time of your passing.

As regular readers and/or SV Time Bandit YouTube followers might know, we’ve spent most of the last few months off topic; sailing, and off the boat, riding around on our own, making donations to various coffee stalls and eateries along the way. These essential and frequent stops means our average mileage has been relatively modest, maybe a couple of hundred miles a day. On the tour, we’ve been doing somewhat more. Over twice as much. As I said, it’s a big place.

However, if you want to see parts of Africa that aeroplanes, most other modes of public transport and crucially mass tourism can’t get to, and all in a shortish period of time, one has to press on. Which is what we’ve been doing for nearly three weeks so far.

Wake up, eat more for breakfast than your bike jeans really want to allow in, mount up, possibly for a game drive to see furry animals, some cute; some nasty; all ready to eat or be eaten at a moments notice. Or, possibly we’d be messing about on the river, aboard a river boat or in a plastic home-made canoe.“They’re not very stable”. Exactly what you were thinking and what you don’t want to hear as you set off looking for crocodiles and hippo. We eventually find them, chomping down on the river grasses or possibly it was a tourist that inadvertently slipped over the side.

On days we’ve not been playing Daktari or Attenborough gawping at the beasts we mount the iron horse and go steel ourselves for a long day in the saddle, “voyeuraging” at passing locals, their villages and lifestyle.

When you see the locals walking goodness knows how far to collect water and wood for heat, carrying ten to twenty kilos on their heads and get an enthusiastic and friendly wave you do feel a bit guilty about moaning about your sore shoulders. Not that I’m one to complain.

Here’s a preview of what’s to come……. Send out for popcorn now!

Live Aid

23 May 2022
Stuart Letton
Remember Sir Bob Geldof’s Live Aid when the pop stars of the moment, some of whom are actually still with us, raised massive amounts of money to help feed Africa?

Well, Anne’s also been on a mission except apparently she wants to wash Africa.

When Anne’s dear old mum was treated to a night or two in a nice hotel, she just couldn’t resist putting perhaps more than her fair share of the supplied, complimentary toiletries in her wash bag.

Like mum, like daughter. Consequently, our limited amount of space on the bike is now half stuffed with assorted toiletries which Anne gaily hands out to the occupants of the many villages we pass. The fact the only water they have has to be delivered over tens or hundreds of kilometres by truck, collected by the villagers then carried in 20 litre drums for miles back home escapes her, not to mention the potential for slight, implying these folk might need to improve their personal hygiene. This from two bikers who spend days if not weeks on the road in thirty plus degrees with nary a change of clothes between them.

Club 15-30

20 May 2022
Stuart Letton
No, not a typo or even us gatecrashing a holiday venue for which we long ago failed to qualify. It’s the change in temperature in the last five miles down out the seemingly endless Namibian desert into sunny Swakupmond-By-The-Sea. Well, it would be sunny if the sea fog hadn’t rolled in, hence the decidedly bracing fifteen degrees.

Over the last six months we, and our bank manager, think we’ve done a pretty good job of kick starting the tourist industry here in Africa. However, one thing we haven’t really done justice to is the wildlife. And so, if you’ve been following the blog, you’ll know the latest wheeze is a grand tour around South Africa, Botswana and Namibia to see as much as we can that’s got four legs and ideally a bit scary.

We cheated a bit, shipping the bike to Pretoria and following by aeroplane, just to really destroy any green credentials we might have. Now, after what seems about two months on the road we have covered something like three thousand kilometres. That’s about one thousand, nine hundred miles in old money. Our route took us north to and through Botswana to the border at Zimbabwe where we left the bikes parked in the lodge, (that’s hotel for any riff-raff reading this).

The paperwork to get motorbikes into Zim - as us worldly adventurers call it - is just too daunting so firstly, we were hauled out of bed at the crack of dawn to go and see the wildlife wake up. You know, head down to the water hole etc…. Later on, we joined the queue at the border to get across into Zimbabwe to have a look at the wonder of the world that is Victoria Falls. Walking around the edge of the Falls we passed a great big statue in the park - Dr Livingstone I presume.

From there, we pressed on stopping at Chobe and Etosha game parks where we realised our goal of seeing more wildlife. We clicked our cameras, shot our movies and generally gawped at a crash of hippo, a pumba of warthogs, a stand or alternatively and more appropriately a totter of giraffe, a herd, or as I prefer, a memory of elephants, a glut of tourists, a congestion of Land Cruisers and a Paparazzi of photographers.

As per the opening paragraph, we’re now on the coast where the ocean is crashing on the Skeleton Coast and looking out through the chilly fog banks at the South Atlantic, thinking “maybe we need more fleece”.

(You’ll be delighted to read that yet another stunning video will be appearing on YouTube SV Time Bandit channel once we get back to Cape Town).

Flat Earth Might Be True

16 May 2022
Stuart Letton
In our quest to see “a bit more of Africa” we’ve driven a few K since our last post. Quite a few in fact and finally, we’ve found flat Africa; the endless plains stretching from horizon to horizon. Endless pain from shoulder to shoulder.

Top tip. Do it in an air conditioned Range Rover or such like

Nah. Not them.

06 May 2022 | Pretoria, South Africa
Stuart Letton
Back when we were working class, in the child rearing years when it wasn't really practical to own a sailboat, we got into sea kayaking.

As eager new enthusiasts, we joined the Scottish Canoe Association and signed up for our first, "paddle in company' down Loch Craignish

Escaping from work early on the Friday we loaded the boats onto the roof, the camping gear into the back and set off for Ardfern.

Two hours later, the tent was up and we were, or at least I was, choking down my first beer of the weekend. As we sat in the pub, newcomers to the sea kayaking scene, we scanned the lounge looking for our fellow kayakers.

"Nah. None of this lot are kayakers, they must all be back at the campsite. These folk are all too old".

Next morning, guess what. These old biddies were the kayakers, many quite accomplished with serious sea miles and exposed passages, if you'll excuse the expression, under their slim hulls, and I'm sure they had a good giggle at us in our, "all the gear and no idea' mode.

So, as we sit in our hotel in Pretoria where we are starting our 22 day Victoria Falls tour on Sunday I'm thinking that tomorrow when the other bikers arrive, they will no doubt also be scanning the room and dismissing us old farts in the corner of the bar, sat in our slippers, sipping our cups of tea. No way are we their biker mates for the next three weeks, "especially that old guy over there with the man bag".

How time flies.
Vessel Name: Time Bandit
Vessel Make/Model: Outremer 51
Hailing Port: Largs, Scotland
Crew: Anne and Stuart Letton
About: ex dinghy and keelboat racers now tooled up with a super sleek cat and still cruising around aimlessly, destination Nirvana...
Extra: Parked up in Cape Town, South Africa and exploring on two wheels..... when we should be doing boat jobs.
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/timebandit/profile
Time Bandit's Photos - Maldives 2021 - so far....