Category Archives: Circumnavigation

Martinique

Bill enjoying his cigar

Bill raises the French flag

We had a nice first evening in the anchorage just chilling out. Bill enjoyed his end of passage cigar. It was one of three that James had given him for Christmas; he had saved it. The next morning he raised the French courtesy flag before we headed into the marina. There’s a big Club Med complex on the beach that looked nice.

Club Med on the beach

A ship carrying the yachts.

On the way into the marina this ship was anchored outside.  I’m going to get in trouble for this but it’s a bit cheating, isn’t it? It’s probably taking them back to the UK or maybe Europe.

Getting into our berth was a bit of a struggle because they have Med mooring here which means you need 2 long lines tied to the bow and 2 on the stern.  As Bill backed into position I handed the bow lines to the guy in the marina work boat who tied them to 2 buoys.  Meanwhile he was pushing our bow into position as Bill was reversing.  Fortunately Ken and Eiloo were waiting on the pontoon ready to catch our aft lines.  The dinghy got in the way so Ken managed to lower it on the pontoon as Bill released the davits. Luckily there aren’t any photos of this because it was all a bit difficult but once tied up we could all have hugs and congratulate each other on our passages.

Camomile has goose barnacles on both sides from the long passage

Camomile has a very dirty waterline from sailing for so long.  We went up to the office to check-in, a very simple procedure. Why can’t all check-ins be like the French? It was nice to be on dry land again after a month at sea. Strangely I don’t experience the swaying that many people do when they get off their boat. We headed to a bar for a coffee, arrr civilisation again.  I had a look around the local supermarket and bought a few things but wanted to wait to do a proper shop at the bigger store. The afternoon  was spent scrubbing the decks to get all the salt off.  It was great to be able to use the water again, there had been water restrictions in South Africa. In the evening we joined Ken and Eiloo and their son Kenneth and his girlfriend Dasher for a meal.

Raining in paradise

Brilliant launderette

The next morning we awoke to rain – had I needed to wash the decks???? I hit the laundry.  Not having been able to do any washing since SA there was a lot of it. They have a great laundry here with big machines that take 14kgs! During the day I had 2 of those going plus a smaller 11kgs and a couple of driers so everything was washed including mattress and pillow covers, towels, t-shirts, the lot. I’m left with a pile of ironing now. Yes I do.

While I was busy doing that Bill had the dinghy upside down, scrubbed off and found 3 small holes in it (it has to be pumped up every day).  I arranged through the office for the local dinghy repair man to come and pick it up that afternoon and take it away for repair.

Tuesday Bill got the bikes out and we went to visit the dinghy in ‘ospital, all was progressing well. There were lots of other dinghies in the same ward so T bag was happy. The big Carrefour was our next mission but we couldn’t carry a lot in our back packs so we returned the next day for a second shop and also to visit the chandlers to see what they had to offer.  Tom and Susie arrived on Adina in the afternoon and it was arranged to share their hire car for a day trip around the island.

Pretty fishing harbour

Fish for sale

Thursday 23rd we joined Tom and Susie at 9.30 and Tom drove off over the hills. The first stop was a local fishing village called Le Vauclin.   The stalls on the beach were displaying some delicious looking fish but as it would have to spend the day in a hot car we decided against buying any. I think these were parrot fish although they weren’t colourful like parrot fish normally are.

Beautiful scenery

The ruins of the house

After a little walk around we got back in the car and drove to the presqu’île de la Caravelle which is a 12 kilometre peninsular on the Eastern coast of the island that protrudes into the Atlantic ocean. Fields of sugar cane with wonderful views of the ocean surrounded the access road. We made our way to the tip of the peninsular and walked the track that led to the remains of Château Dubuc built in 1740. I was so happy I love looking around places like that; Tom had chosen the prefect spot as far as I was concerned.

What a beautiful view the house would have had.

The inside. You can see where the floor was.

 

 

 

The ruins were very well kept and we were each given a laminated plan of the ruins with a sort of pen that gave an audio guide as you placed it on each of the points on the plan. The accent was a bit difficult to understand but it was really helpful in explaining the area.

The old kitchen

 

 

 

These photos are taken of the remains of the main house.  This was the old kitchen. The bread oven can be seen in the bottom right side of the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

Tom and Susie walking down to the next section.

 

 

 

Bill stood by the cahots

Inside the ‘cell’

These are said to be cahots, small solitary confinement cells for the slaves that would have worked there or maybe storage for the sugar cane; I prefer to think they were the later. As you can see Bill wouldn’t have been able to stand up inside them.   Just to the left of the entrance you can see a small slit in the brickwork that was for air and a small amount of light to get in. It doesn’t bare thinking about the stories those walls can tell.

The sugar cane factory ruins

 

 

To the left of this photo is where it all started. They have created a model of how the process was performed. The sugar cane would have been pressed in between the rollers as either donkeys or slaves would have walked around in circles to turn the rollers. The sugar cane syrup would have dripped down through a hole in the ground, along a chute and into the cauldrons behind the furnaces to the right of the photo.

Furnaces

 

 

This was the furnace area. There would have been 4 furnaces pushing their smoke into the chimney. The remains of the chimney shown would have been much taller.

 

The caldrons

 

 

 

 

Behind the furnace were the cauldrons used to boil the sugar cane syrup to form the molasses, the start of the process for producing rum. It takes 10 to 12 tonnes of cane to produce half a bottle of pure alcohol.

 

The warehouse ruins

 

 

 

 

This is the remains of the warehouse area that contained the barrels of molasses.   The production continued up to 1793. Life for the slaves working on plantations like this was one of unimaginable barbarity. There were many uprisings and after the revolution of 1817 many slaves were given their freedom. By 1852 the descendants of Dubec sold the plantation to a nearby distillery and the chateau fell into ruin. It was restored in 2004.

Driving across the top of the peninsular

The St James Distillery museum

We had a delicious lunch in the village of Tartane then continued onto the St James rum distillery in the village of Sainte Marie. The delightful old colonial house contains a very interesting museum on the history of Agricultural rum, of which St James’s rum is one, and is produced from pure sugar cane juice as opposed to industrial rum manufactured from Molasses, the residue from the sugar industry.

The building was beautiful inside

Sampling the rum

During February to June, during production, the distillery is open for tours but only at 10.00 and 11.45 so unfortunately we were too late, (for any one coming along behind us).   It was still possible to have a tasting so various rums were tasted and bought.

Susie and I enjoying a pineapple juice

 

 

As we were three quarters of the way up the island we all agreed to drive onto Grand’Rivière a jewel of a fishing village at the northern tip of the island. It was a thrilling drive of hair pin bends, overgrown hillsides and bridges suspended over gorges. The road ended at a black sand beach overlooking the gap between Martinique and Dominica where Susie and I enjoyed a freshly pressed pineapple juice before the long drive back to Le Marin.

Tom and Susie

 

 

It was wonderful to spend time with these two who recently got engaged in South Africa (so the conversation was mostly about weddings). We met them in Rebak last Christmas and have sailed with them on and off during this last year. Tom calls me his sailing Mum and I call him The Cheeky Monkey!

Thanks for a great day Tom and Susie.

Bill rowed T bag back to the boat

Friday morning I cycled the road that encircles Marin for some exercise and spent the day on my computer writing. In the afternoon T bag the dinghy came back on a trailer and the guy helped Bill put it in the water. Unfortunately he put it in the wrong side of the pontoon walkway and to get back to the boat Bill had to row all around the outside of two pontoons full of boats.   I had a cold drink ready for him when he got back. Bill spent the rest of the afternoon putting his coat back on and the outboard etc.

Putting his coat back on.

In the evening we met Tom and Susie along with Ken and his son.  Nadire and Selim from the Turkish boat Keyif joined us and we all had a farewell drink together.  After saying goodbye to Keyif the rest of us went to the Mango bay for a meal, their Friday night ribs special were delicious.

Sadly at the end of the evening it was goodbye to everyone because we are all going our separate ways from now on; goodbye to another group of cruising friends.

Sue, Susie, Bill, Tom, Ken and Kenneth

Camomile continues North

Diamond Rock

Our position at 10.00 (16.00 UTC) Sunday 26th March
14 26N
061 02W
We have just passed the beautiful Rocher du Diamant (Diamond Rock)

We left Le Marin marina yesterday and anchored off of St Annes last night, as we did last Saturday. Having had a week in the marina we felt refreshed again. I was in the middle of posting a blog on Martinique when I ran out of internet so it will have to wait until we get back on line again. No facebook again for a while so if you’ve messaged me I’m not ignoring you. 🙂

The dinghy came back from ‘ospital and we had no reason to stay any longer. We had a great time catching up and saying goodbye to another set of cruising friends. Life long friendships have been made again. So on to pastures new, new friends and hopefully some old ones.

Crews of Antares, Keyif and Adina

Last thought for today. We’ve seen lots of flying fish on passage and around the island. Quiz question for you – is it a shoal of flying fish or a flock of flying fish??? I actually don’t know so you’ll have to google it and tell me.

Be good. XX

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 57 we made it.

This is the same blog but I’ve added some photos.

Our position at 16.30(19.30 GMT) Saturday 18th March was
14 26.39N
060 53.38W
The anchor is down, thank God, literally as we’ve arrived safely in Martinique after completing our circumnavigation.

Our last 30 hours was fairly uneventful except for the mini drama of nearly using the Hydrovane rudder. Bill had noticed the steering was behaving oddly on his night watch and put the autohelm on. In the daylight he looked over the stern to see the Hydrovane rudder looking bent. We hove to (stopped the boat) to look at it and discovered the pin clipping it into position had broken. Fortunately Bill always ties it on as well so we hadn’t lost the rudder. It was brought back on board and was a passenger for the rest of the journey. Incredibly Bill doesn’t have a spare, he had already used it, so we’ll have to get one along the way. That was our only breakage on the whole trip which is pretty incredible considering the miles we have covered.

Barbados in the distance

We continued to sail through the day although the wind started dropped in the afternoon and we motored for 2 hours because we (I) didn’t want to slow down, until it picked up again. Barbados came into view about 4pm as we sailed past the north coast with the lights from the resorts twinkling in the dusk. I watched a cruise liner leave Barbados on the AIS and was SOOOO tempted to call them up and ask for a lift! I ate my last 4 squares of chocolate during my last night watch.

I awoke to 100% cloud cover and a line of squalls matching across the skyline. Bill went back to bed for his second sleep while I sat in the cockpit with the umbrella up because it was also raining. The wind disappeared so the engine was on again. The cloud and mist continued through the morning and Martinique was hiding behind it. St Lucia appeared about 8am, which is the island south of us, and Martinique about 8.20, but disappeared again. When Bill got up I made pancakes for our last breakfast at sea because we seem to have missed pancake day while we’ve been out here.

Camomile right on the line

I started to come out of my chrysalis like a butterfly and began to sing again, I haven’t been singing for a while and although Bill says it’s nice to hear me singing again I think he’s just being kind because he prefers it to the silence! As we were about an hour away from our finishing line the sun appeared along with a pod of spinner dolphins jumping out of the Caribbean blue sea to welcome us. The wind started to blow and the engine went off. As Martinique emerged from the cloud we were quite close and able to see the lovely houses built into it’s verdant green hills. As we’ve already written we crossed ‘the line’ at 1.30pm Bill and I hugged each other with me in tears and Bill pretty close. It’s just amazes me we actually managed to do it.

Turning Camomile back to Le Marin, Martinique

We turned Camomile back towards the marina and had to motor quite hard against the wind to get there. Even though it was only 4pm when we got to the channel we decided not to go into the marina but anchor in the bay in front of St Annes for the first night to ‘wind down’ slowly from the journey. Once we go into the marina my feet won’t touch the ground with washing, cleaning, shopping, etc.

Heading into the anchorage

 

 

 

Once anchored I felt an enormous sense of relief that we were safe and could relax. We spent a short time sorting out the boat then the bottle of bubbles came out. We didn’t have posh Boli like someone we know (!) but a nice South African sparkling wine that was very nice along with some cool white wine too. I had intended cooking lemon chicken and apple crumble but I put some Pringles and cheese and biscuits out to have with our drink and dinner got forgotten.

The celebrations begin

I spoke to Sara on Norsa for the last time on the net (the SSB doesn’t work very well in the marina) and said an emotional farewell, they have another 7 or 8 days out there but they aren’t coming in our direction. Not sure when we’ll see them again – the down side of cruising. 😦
So to sum up the journey we left Simonstown 9 weeks ago and spent 3 days in Cape town before leaving on 19th January. The journey from Cape Town to here was 5634 miles altogether but we stopped in St Helena for 2 weeks and 2 days. The passage just from St Helena to here was 3857 miles that took 27 days 9 hours or 657 hours giving us an average speed of 5.8kts which isn’t bad considering we’ve had anything from 3kts to over 8kts along the way. It has become our longest passage and, as I’ve already said, it won’t be beaten. Of those 657 hours the engine was only on for 77 hours, half of those were for charging the batteries when the day was cloudy. The solar panels and wind generator kept the batteries going for the rest of the time.

So we go into the marina later today for 5 or 6 days then we will start to make our way north to complete the rest of the 1500 miles or so to get us to Florida. We’ve got 6 weeks or so to do it which, hopefully, will be enough time. The plan is Martinique this week
Antigua next week
St Martin first week in April
BVIs second week in April
Sail to Turks and Caicos third week in April
Sail the last 700 miles or so to Florida (on the inside route) during the last week in April If there’s anyone on that route that we know we would love to meet up.

All well on board.

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

Camomile completes her circumnavigation

This is the same post but I’ve added some photos.

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP We’ve done it!!

Bill and Sue on the bow of Camomile

At 13.30 this afternoon Camomile crossed the ‘finishing line’. We have sailed around the world traversing all meridians of longitude, the equator and then met our outgoing track here. Eventually we’ll complete our journey and head back to the UK but for now we feel we can call ourselves circumnavigators. Very emotional moment. Can’t believe we’ve actually done it, just Bill and I on our own but that’s basically how its been for the last 8 years. We’ve joined rallies and cruising groups but once you leave port, particularly on ocean passages, you are on your own; completely unassisted.

The line between the green crosses was our track from 2010

From the UK we’ve traveled 58525 miles so far on the worlds oceans and our circumnavigation from this spot on the 11th January 2010 and back to it today was 52365 sea miles or to put it in another context, two times around the earth’s equator.
This voyage has taken us 7 years 2 months and 7 days visiting 44 countries, some more than once, and more islands then we could keep count of – maybe we rushed it!

We haven’t arrived back with a tatty worn out boat either, Camomile is in better shape than ever. During our circumnavigation Bill has kept her well maintained and she has had new electronics including new autopilot, vhf and ssb radios and a new dinghy and outboard as a result of insurance claims from storm damage. Bill has replaced the standing rigging and most of the running rigging (ropes), she has had new sails, stackpack, cockpit cover and bimini, a new cooker and I’ve replaced the kettle three times. Bill also repainted Camomile and replaced all the woodwork (grab handles, toe rails, etc) and the propshaft. So I say to all you yachties working on your boats getting ready to leave, like Bill’s rhyme says JUST GO, there’ll be plenty of opportunity to finish your boat on the way round.

Back stooped and shoulders sagging
Soul and body really flagging
Worn out and weary, time to retreat
Before this daily grindstone has me beat

Cast your mind to a white sand shore
Green palm fronds over sea azure
Trade winds there cool a simpler life
And roaring breakers mute that strife

Above blackest night and pin prick stars
Milky way and meteors
Beneath glowing wake eats up the miles
as mast and deck heel to the sails

Go cruising now my friend don’t wait
’till fatty fare ‘n stress slow up your gait
Real loved ones will support you swim or sink
Life’s hour is later than you think

exert from the Rhyme of the Middle Aged Mariner by Bill Redgrove

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 46

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Tuesday 7th March was
00 19 NORTH
037 39W
on a course of 325T with sunny blue skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 126 miles. Average 5.2kts we motor slower than we sail. We have 1512 miles to go to Barbados

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WE HAVE CROSSED THE EQUATOR FOR THE FINAL TIME.

The first time we crossed the equator was with our wonderful friends on the Blue Water rally on the vessels Enchantress, Lucy Alice and Briet they had come to support us after a shroud fitting had broken and we had nearly lost the mast. With the mast strapped down we were unable to sail and they all escorted us to the Galapagos islands sailing alongside us while we motored 900 miles. We all had a wonderful equator crossing party on our own boats while watching each other throw various concoctions over each other as we crossed the line. It’s on the website somewhere I think around March 2010.
The second time was in 2013 after Sail Indonesia as we motored up towards Singapore on our way home after Mum had died.
The third was in 2014 after Sail Malaysia East in the Makassat strait between Sulawesi and Borneo in Indonesia on our way to meet Thomas and Sonal in Lombok. The forth was on our way back up to Singapore again later in 2014.
The fifth was last year 2016 on our way south through the Maldives (it was hot then too)
The sixth and definitely last time was at 3.30am this morning – we are back in the northern hemisphere to stay.

Camomile crossing the equator

The last few days have been stiflingly hot on board with no wind plus having the engine on made it really hot below deck. We kept having to close the hatches because of the rain showers; I hope to never be this hot on board again. Yesterday, in all that heat, we took the twizzle down as we hadn’t had any rain for several hours and the sails were dry. We didn’t want to take it down while there was a chance of more SE winds but the forecast was for NE winds tomorrow. We dropped the downhaul and Bill took the poles off the sails first taking off the ‘twizzle links’ and re-stowing the poles on the guard rails. We can have both the headsails up at the same time and pull them both to one side or the other but with the possibility of stronger north easters coming Bill decided it would be best to drop the sails and take it off. With no wind they came down easily, lines were swapped, shackles undone and the single headsail reattached, hoisted and furled away. The second sail had come down nicely and Bill and I managed to flake it the best we could on deck and roll it up. It’s now sitting under the table until we can take it ashore in Barbados and fold it properly. All this was done in the midday sun! We didn’t realise until the job was finished how hot we were. I have to have a sleep early afternoon so I can do the first night watch but I just couldn’t sleep because I was bathed in perspiration, I couldn’t cool down.

The black clouds are behind us now and we feel so fortunate to have had such a benign crossing; not a single flash of lightening. Up to the day before yesterday we had only ran the engine for a total of 11 hours just to charge the batteries. It has now been running for 42 hours as we’ve motored through the ITCZ and finally went off at 9.30 this morning as the wind started to fill in from the East. The mainsail went up for the first time since leaving Capetown and the wind is strengthening. We aren’t making our course yet but as the wind gradually backs to the NE we’ll get back on course.

We saw our first ship yesterday, in fact we saw two. There have been several on the AIS recently but they were the first ones we’ve had a visual on. Will need to keep a better look out.

I made a stir fry last night. I sliced up half an onion, half a red pepper, half a green pepper and ‘matchsticked’ a carrot. Stirfry with a chicken breast sliced. I then added a jar of basil, garlic and chilli stir fry sauce from Thailand and some noodles. All cooked in about 10 minutes. YUM.

Bill ate his last apple last night in celebration of our equator crossing, I had some grapes – or they were until they were made into wine. Haha.

Finally a very Happy Birthday to my little sister Amanda. Enjoy your last year of being forty something! See in May, lots of love. XX

All well on board. 🙂

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 12

Our position at 10.00 (09.00 GMT)Tuesday 31st January
18 36S
002 47W
We have 230 miles to go to St Helena and our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was 125 miles, a bit better.

The wind finally died completely yesterday and the engine went on at 1.00pm and was on for the rest of the day and all night. The air temperature is a lot warmer now and the sea temperature is back up to 25.8C which we need for when we get to St Helena because friends ahead of us have reported whale sharks are swimming around the mooring field. I might get to swim with a whale shark hopefully. They are harmless by the way and only eat sea morsels. We saw one in the Maldives but it was quite a way away and there were so many tourists you couldn’t get near it

I was out of bread yesterday and the bakers was closed so I made bread. I also made some flapjacks so they will last us until we arrive. Last night I made bangers, mash and beans with an egg on top. Now you may be thinking that doesn’t sound very special but we are talking really nice pork sausages (haven’t been able to get pork for a while) and proper Heinz baked beans not own brand rubbish. I found 4 tins in a supermarket, they are coveted by cruisers.

A tiny moon came out last night after the most amazing sunset. The sunrise this morning was beautiful too. Must be getting near land.

Amazing sunrise

Amazing sunrise

So the journey continues. These blogs go through to our facebook page but remember we can’t see facebook or your kind comments but thank you for them, I look forward to reading them when we arrive. If you wish to contact us on passage please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (but take the gaps out) I love to hear from you. xx

South Africa to the Caribbean – Day 11 back in the western hemishere

Our position at 10.00 (09.00 GMT)Monday 30th January
19 59S
001 10 WEST
We have 354 miles to go to St Helena and our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was an even worse 110 miles.

Our big news is that at 3.15 yesterday afternoon we crossed the Greenwich meridian line and are now in the western hemisphere. The last time we crossed from east to west was in 2008 on our way back to the Solent from The Netherlands. The other side of the world we crossed from west to east the first time in 2010 with the Blue Water rally and then crisscrossed it a couple of times in 2012, which was our last time in the wonderful country of Fiji. We’ll stay in the western hemisphere for a few years and won’t cross back to the eastern side until we are back in the English channel possibly heading to Norway….but knows when that will be.

East of the meridian

East of the meridian

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seconds after crossing the meridian

Seconds after crossing the meridian

Camomile crossing the line

Camomile crossing the line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wind finally died yesterday at 5.30pm and we started motoring. Luckily the wind picked up again at 1.30 in the morning and Bill put the sails out and started sailing again. We passed our three quarters of the way last night.
This morning our speed is anything from 3 1/2 to 6kts as the wind comes and goes.

I gave the Indian takeaway a go last night with chicken in Massaman sauce with basmati rice and Bill ordered a nan bread – how lucky is he. I am too because I had a glass of wine with mine to celebrate the crossing of the meridian.

One of a number of fabulous sunsets

One of a number of fabulous sunsets

I drank it at dusk watching the sun go down and light up the sky with a magnificent golden hue. Later, as it was the dark moon night, the stars were simply stunning with planets and galaxies visible without the ambient light of the land. I know I don’t like passage making but we are privileged to see some of the most amazing sights.

Enjoy your Monday …. and yes he did have a shave he was looking too shaggy!

So the journey continues. These blogs go through to our facebook page but remember we can’t see facebook or your kind comments but thank you for them, I look forward to reading them when we arrive. If you wish to contact us on passage please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (but take the gaps out) I love to hear from you. xx

South Africa to Caribbean – Day 1

Cape of Good Hope at dawn

Cape of Good Hope at dawn

After leaving Simonstown on Sunday 15th January at 2.30am we successfully motored around to the V&A marina in Cape town. The reconditioned fuel pump worked well and the new solar panels regulator was also performing but more importantly not interfering with the replaced VHF radio. All was good for leaving South Africa as our visa’s were running out on 23rd January.

Arriving at V&A marina

Arriving at V&A marina

My first job was to clear the backlog of washing in their washing machine which had a hot water fill, every one knows I love a hot water washing machine. As it was ‘too windy’ to go to the RCYC to check out Josh of the V&A persuaded them to let us check out from the V&A but first we had to wait for the letter. Finally arriving via Josh at 4pm it was too late to check out that day. The next morning we obtained a letter from the V&A to confirm all monies had been paid and set off for the control tower in the port to obtain the third letter we needed to take to customs to check out. The control tower is only open for letters from 12 to 3.30pm and after our second visit we got it. (Our 3 letters had different dates but customs didn’t seem to mind) we walked back into the port to, first immigration, where numerous forms were filled in and our passports stamped, then finally customs. That took 5 hours altogether and I can honestly say apart from Indonesia South Africa has been the worse for paperwork.

Sara on Norsa had a big birthday

Sara on Norsa had a big birthday

 

Tuesday was also Sara of Norsa’s birthday and I made her a cake. We spent a wonderful evening celebrating with Solstice and Gaia too.

 

 

Table mountain and the 12 Apostles

Table mountain and the 12 Apostles

Climbing the Lion Head

Climbing the Lion Head

Wednesday morning we climbed the Lion’s head next to table mountain, chains and all. The last 200ft was quite difficult but what a fantastic view! We’d started early and got back down at 10.30 3 1/2 hours round trip. I was in need of a coffee!

Table mountain

Table mountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing on top of the Lion's head with Table mountain in the background.

Standing on top of the Lion’s head with Table mountain in the background.

 

 

The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping for last minute provisions, fruit and veg and a bit more wine. It was early to bed because we both felt absolutely exhausted after our walk.

A view down the beach side of the 12 Apostles

A view down the beach side of the 12 Apostles

Leaving our berth at V&A marina

Leaving our berth at V&A marina

Thursday morning we were ready to go, our 48 hours after our check out was up and we couldn’t delay any more. It was with mixed feelings we left at 10.15. We want to get going but we’ve enjoyed south Africa and haven’t done everything we would have liked to do so hopefully we’ll come back one day – but on a plane.

The bridge lifted to let us out.

The bridge lifted to let us out.

The old customs house on the waterfront

The old customs house on the waterfront

Within an hour the sails were up and we were enjoying a great sail. The main thing we noticed was that it was cold. The water temperature was only 15 degrees and despite it being their summer and the sun being out the wind had a chill to it.

Our last view of Table mountain but it had it's 'tablecloth' on.

Our last view of Table mountain but it had it’s ‘tablecloth’ on.

Fishing boats at Dassen island

Fishing boats at Dassen island

It had been decided we would do a couple of day sails to start with to get used to the motion of being at sea again after spending weeks in marinas along this coast and motoring between them when the wind dropped to save being beaten up by the weather. Our first stop was Dassen island and we anchored at 33 24.78S
018 04.70E
along with a dozen fishing boats and millions of birds. The island was a bird reserve and fairly flat but with the anchorage on the north side it was very protected from the southerly winds. We had travelled 41 miles, a good start to our journey.

Fishing boat joining us

Fishing boat joining us

November Update

Camomile ready to go back into the water

Camomile ready to go back into the water

The website has fallen behind again so I’m going to try to bring it up to date before we leave South Africa.

When we first arrived in South Africa and checked into Richards bay we had quite a few jobs to do on Camomile. We were able to arrange to come out of the water for a few days to repair the copper coat, anti-foul the keel, replace a bulging sea-cock, clean the prop, replace anodes, and polish the hull.  Camomile looked very smart when she went back into the water on 31st October.

Next to Norsa again

Next to Norsa again

The outboard going to the doctors

The outboard going to the doctors

We went back to our berth in the marina next to Norsa, who had arrived while we were out of the water. The jobs continued with our outboard going to a local engineer for a much needed service and to sort out why it’s difficult to start sometimes.

 

Disconnecting the old tank

Disconnecting the old tank

 

 

 

Our new hot water tank arrived for Bill to fit which entailed emptying the deck locker of most of it’s contents and storing them in the forward cabin, disconnecting the seven inlets and outlets on the old tank and removing it, reconnecting the same and testing.

The old tank out

The old tank out with the failed repairs showing.

Hot water at last

Hot water at last

Fortunately it worked first time without any leaks. Hot water at last. I don’t mind having cold showers in the tropics but it’s cold in south Africa! Then we had to refill the deck locker. All this took several days.  Meanwhile normal jobs like washing, shopping, cooking, having my haircut, refueling, boat maintenance continued.

Deck locker refilled

Deck locker refilled

Eating breakfast......

Eating breakfast……

I have already written about the hippos at the iSimangaliso wetland and our jeep safari in the iMfolozi safari park but we had a third day away where we explored the Hluhluwe park in our own car. If you’re short of time I would recommend going on a jeep safari because you see so much but if you have time it’s nice to drive yourself because you have more time to stop and look at the scenery.  We spent two nights at the Leopard walk lodge about 20kms from the northern gate of the Hluhluwe section of the park. The breakfast ‘room’ was an open staging overlooking a private game reserve.

..... watching Wildebeest

….. watching Wildebeest

 

 

While eating our breakfast some wildebeest walked by.  They also had impala, zebra and a giraffe although we didn’t see him. If you get up early enough and go with a guide you might see a leopard (we were told) .

 

Mother and baby rhino

Mother and baby rhino

 

 

We entered the Hluhluwe park through the northern gate and straight away saw a mother and baby Rhino grazing by the side of the road. They were both covered in mud so must have been wallowing some where. The mother was sporting a huge horn, hope the poachers don’t see her.

A female white rhino

A female white rhino

 

 

This is Africa!

This is Africa!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love this photo. Right in front of us was a beautiful giraffe with some zebra just walking up the road. How cool is that!

A beautiful giraffe

A beautiful giraffe

We continued to drive around the park until we came to the Hilltop camp which is a resort within the park where it’s possible to stay. This would have been a nice thing to do but a bit beyond our budget but they did nice coffee. The view from the veranda was breathtaking.

Stunning views from the Hilltop camp

Stunning views from the Hilltop camp

The baby elephant is behind the right hand elephant.

The baby elephant is underneath the left hand elephant.

 

We continued on our journey and came across a small herd of elephants with a very young elephant with them but the adults were shielding it from our cameras.

 

Mother zebra with a baby feeding

Mother zebra with a baby feeding

Male impala

Male impala

We saw more rhinos, lots of impalas including this chap with a pair of wonderful horns, luckily the Chinese don’t like them, some warthogs (pumba), some zebra with more babies and finally another pair of giraffes came to say goodbye as we left the park.

A pair of giraffe come to say goodbye

A pair of giraffe come to say goodbye

Baby cheetah. I was standing about 3ft away from him.

Baby cheetah. I was standing about 3ft away from him.

Once we left the Hluhluwe park we drove back towards the town on the main road to the Emdoneni rehabilitation center for Cheetahs and other game cats. Firstly the animals ARE NOT drugged in any way, this was not a Thailand tourist attraction. Secondly it’s not a zoo. Many of the animals have been taken there because they’ve been injured or orphaned. Of the animals they have or have breed, half of them will go back into the wild and don’t have any contact with humans at all. The other half can’t go back for one reason or another and enter the breeding programme and are kept in the area open to the public.  Without the part of the center open to the public they wouldn’t be able to fund the part not open to the public which is having huge success in breeding, rearing and releasing cheetahs in the wild, which are in danger of becoming extinct because their numbers are declining.

African wild cat

African wild cat

 

The first animals we were shown were African wild cats, I know, I know they look like your average moggy but up close they are lighter than a normal house cat. As you can imagine there’s a lot of inter-breeding with house cats and the center has a breeding programme to try and keep the breed pure.

The stunning Serval

The stunning Serval

 

Next was the Serval, an absolutely beautiful creature, fabulous markings. The guided tour is also feeding time so they were all content to have their photo taken. This one was behind wire but his pen was huge. We also saw a Caracal but he wouldn’t stand still to have his photo taken.

"Who's this coming into my space"

“Who’s this coming into my space”

I got to stroke the cheetah

I got to stroke the cheetah

Then we were taken into the cheetah enclosure. The center has two pairs of brothers who have been hand reared so can never go back in the wild because they wouldn’t be able to fend for themselves. The beauty of the Emdoneni centre is you are able to stroke this handsome chap, another tick in the box for me! The center is very strict and we were all given implicit instructions before we entered the enclosure for the two bigger boys. We had to walk in single file and keep together with a ranger at the front and one behind. Once they were sure he was settled we were given the opportunity to come forward one by one. Guess who volunteered first?

Beautiful creature

Beautiful creature

 

 

In the second enclosure are two much younger cheetahs who will stand more than one person touching them so we both had a turn. The rangers stroke them like pets and the purring was like a steam engine, so loud.

This one was much younger. I could have sat with him all afternoon.

This one was much younger. I could have sat with him all afternoon.

Goodbye Zululand YC and Richards bay. We enjoyed our stay.

Goodbye Zululand YC and Richards bay. We enjoyed our stay.

 

 

After our second night at the Leopard walk lodge we drove back to Richards bay to do some shopping and refuelling, picked up the serviced outboard and checked out of Richards bay before taking the car back at the end of the day. Friday 11th after a nice lunch with Divanty and Gaia we left at 4pm with Divanty for an overnight sail to Durban.

Arriving at Durban

Arriving at Durban

 

 

It was a good sail and we arrived at 7am.  We anchored outside the marina at first because the marina was full but later we were allowed to go in and raft up next to Norsa, who had sailed there while we were on safari.

Not a lot can be said for Durban really. It was quite chilly while we were there and rained quite a bit. The problem with the rain was that it was full of coal dust that had come off the numerous piles of coal from the local mines waiting to be shipped out of the port and during the 2½ weeks we were there the boat became absolutely filthy. Quite a few boat jobs were completed including replacing the bearings in our wind generator and Bill and Norman replacing the bearings of Dons wind generator on Solstice.

Bill and Kevin manning the braai

Bill and Kevin manning the braai

 

 

The 16th we planned to have a braai (BBQ) one evening and almost called it off because it was raining again but we are British and a bit of rain didn’t stop us all!

On 17th I got my sewing machine out to adjust our new cockpit cover which hadn’t been right since it was supplied after our refit in May 2015. I also sewed the zip on that had been left off so we could put our aft cockpit cover on, normally for the winter!

An interesting row of houses

An interesting row of houses

Monday 21st Davina on Divanty suggested we all go for a ride on the big red hop on, hop off bus. The only difference for the Durban bus is you don’t hop off because it’s too dangerous but stay on until they stop in a safe area! The ‘good’ bits of Durban are few and far between and Delboy would have given this company a run for their money but it was nice to get off the boats for a day. I managed to take a couple of photos of some interesting places.

Nice building

Nice building

city hall

city hall

 

 

 

 

I think this was the town hall but not certain.

 

The fork lift training school

The fork lift training school

 

 

 

 

As we went past the forklift school all the men wanted to get off and have a go.

A typical street

A typical street

A market stall

A market stall

Most of the city looked like this, just streets full of modern buildings.  The market areas looked interesting but we had already been warned not to go into those areas on our own without a local guide. A couple of cruisers had had little run ins with the locals trying to steal jewelery or other items. There was a lot of poverty in between the wealth.

 

An unfinished road

An unfinished road

 

 

 

This was interesting. The motorway hadn’t been finished and the road just came to an abrupt end. The locals had set up some stalls on it and a temporary bridge had been built to link it to a working area.

 

The Moses Mabhida stadium

The Moses Mabhida stadium

 

 

Once back on the waterfront we were driven past the stadium that was built for the 2010 world cup, looking like a giant picnic basket with seating for 56,000 people, it was very well used. The ‘handle’ has steps up one side or its possible to use the Skycar. Once on the top it’s possible to plunge off on the Big Swing.  All around the outside were various sports areas. The seafront itself has a walkway along the waters edge several miles long. The problem was the area between the seafront and the marina isn’t safe so you need to take a Uber taxi to get there.

It looks like rain.

It looks like rain.

After our bus ride we made our way back to the marina before more rain.

Life continued until 29th when 7 boats had a meeting about the weather and sea conditions to Cape town. Later that day we all left on passage for the journey many of us had been dreading since arriving in south Africa – Cape Agulhas.

More in the December update.

Sailing south

Sailing south

 

 

We made it

We have arrived in Richards Bay, South Africa, wahoo!
Our position is
28 47.6S
032 04.7E
Our 24 hours up to 10.00 today was 162 miles.
The whole journey was 1188 miles in 8 days 13 hours or 205 hours giving an average speed of 5.8kts. Really pleased with that.

Yesterday we sailed with 2 reefs in the main and the genny poled out to stop it slatting. We had F4 most of the day from the north east with the wind increasing during the evening to F5 but again from the north east so all good. The current was giving us an extra knot or two and our boat speed was 7 – 9 kts most of the day.
Last night was very dark and black without the moon and with the added worry of squall clouds. Bill took the early evening watch as the wind was forecast to increase and he experienced several 35kt gusts, although from the north east, with a bit of thunder and lightening in the distance but by 03.00 the wind died completely, as forecast, and the engine went on. It was very important we kept our speed up because the forecast showed a southerly creeping up the coast although it wasn’t due until after midnight but we wanted to arrive in daylight.
While on the early watch this morning at 07.00 the wind generator suddenly sprang into life and the wind anemometer spun round to the south. Sam had told us of this yesterday so we were waiting for it. Fortunately it didn’t go higher than about 10 knots and only for about 3 or 4 hours but in that time the sea started to mount. I changed course slightly and all was ok but I wouldn’t have wanted the wind to go up to 20 or 30 kts. The engine stayed on all day even though the wind backed to the north east later.
I went for a sleep mid morning and when I got up at midday the land was within sight. The smells that come off the land after you’ve been at sea for 8 days are interesting; here it was coal dust (big mining area). We spent the rest of the day motoring down the coast and arrived at the marina at 18.30 which was 17.30 south African time, after calling the harbour port control on vhf 12 to ask for permission to enter. The pontoons at Tuzigazi marina are in a bit of a state and I think we’ll just stay here long enough to check in and go round to the Zuluyacht club.
The next couple of days will be taken up with checking in with immigration (passports stamped), customs and maybe the harbour master, (each country varies), sorting out sim cards for the phones, cleaning the boat inside and out, washing, and restocking our food cupboards and the fridge. Once we’ve got internet I’ll add some photos to the blogs.
So we are in South Africa, WOW. Bring on Hluhluwe-iMfolozi wildlife park and game reserve, the hippos at iSimangaliso wetland park, Knysa harbour, Cape Town and maybe the Kruger national park with James and Hailey at Christmas to name but a few of the sites here.

Bill having a well deserved whisky and the cigar he'd been saving. x

Bill having a well deserved whisky and the cigar he’d been saving. x

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