All of a sudden everything happened really quickly: The weather forecast said that the winds would turn East within the next two days, with an incredible 35 Knots maximum. Since we have had many arguments whether some wind was at 20, 30, or more knots, and we never had a good way to actually measure it, we decided that this would be a great opportunity to calibrate our 30 knots and above senses.
Even though the winds were still rather mellow when we set sail in Featherbay in Knysna, leaving the bay was still surprisingly difficult. Big rocks to our right and 2-Meter waves breaking on the reef to the left of us. The boat started rocking pretty bad and our ‘properly’ tied down water canisters decided to make an attempt at escaping … but no chance. Captain Ben keeps our belongings on a tight leash! At the end we managed to stay in the channel and got out without a scratch. Only a few more miles in the Indian Ocean now.
A light breeze was what helped to get us out of the bay. But that breeze did not pick up, and then eventually completely disappeared. From dusk till dawn we cursed the sails in a wild frenzy. All the sails replied was an unimpressed “flap, flap”. Which in their language means “whaatever”. No but seriously, this was one of those moments where we were expecting a hell of a ride and all we got was a boat moving from side to side, but not ahead. Even our threats to fill up the tank and start our little motor seemed to not have an impact on the situation. Or did it? When I had emptied a whole canister of diesel and was about to start the engine, my hair started moving around like a wacky, waving, inflatable arm-flailing tube man! You know, those things at the car dealership. You get the point! We had what we wanted … wind in our sails!
The wind was powerful and persistent, and finally moved in the promised direction. So while we were just surfing down the waves and swinging from right to left and back, I was sure to have spotted a dolphin close to us. But it did look a little weird. A while later, another one of these “dolphins” popped up to catch a breath and say hello. I couldn’t believe it – it was a seal! In South Africa! Later we were told they even have penguins here. Interesting place this is.
Tuesday night we experienced a very sudden temperature drop. Up to this point we generally navigated in our comfy undies and slept outside with a thin sleeping bag, but now we had to go through all of our old stuff to find warm clothing. We hadn’t worn anything to protect us from cold in about a year probably. So at 3 am it was my turn, and I was at the wheel in jeans, a sweater, and jacket. After about 2 hours, our Mr. Vee self-steering couldn’t hold the course anymore due to too strong winds. Even though we had reefed the jib twice already, the wind was still a little much. And I needed a warmer jacket. I actually found one somewhere down in the depths of our old stuff. Wrapped up and with slightly blue toes I steered into the morning sun.
Steering Marianne into the False Bay Yacht Club near Cape Town was luckily a little easier than getting her out of the last bay. After a nice gentleman helped us put in Marianne at the yacht club, he asked us for her name. When he heard “Marianne” he told us to go let the marina know asap that we had arrived, because apparently people had been worried about us. The nice receptionist of the marina, who gave us the couples prices instead of per person, told us that our friend Lauren was worried because we had not sent any messages from our satellite phone for over a day. And since there had been storm warning of 40+ knots, she had called the marina. And then apparently a warning was broadcast on the radio frequency for boats to keep their eyes open for Marianne. Of course, we never heard this, due to our slightly unreliable radio.
So now we’re here safe and sound and share the jetty with this nice lazy fella. We will stay here for about two weeks, possibly also sail up to Cape Town itself. Our marina is actually in Simons Town, and to the capitol city it’s another 1.5 hours train ride. Either way, we will keep you posted! Thanks for reading, and check out our pictures …