If you read our articles at least every once in a while, you are aware of our constant race against time. Time flies. And Marianne does not. We had just gotten used to this place and noticed that 7 weeks had already passed. So we had to continue on our hunt for talented and creative musicians soon. The hunt was still on for us here, in Richards Bay (South Africa), and then would continue in Durban and Cape Town. While writing this I was in my cozy little refuge where I could relax and get some work done. I was very lucky and got to know two fine young ladies with whom I quickly became friends and who gave me a place to stay while Marianne was getting fixed up. It was too messy on the boat: screws, nuts, bolts, paint, tools everywhere you looked.
Marianne was a full on construction site. Drills, belt sanders, hammers, paint brushes, fiber glass, epoxy glue. You name it, we had it! Every part of the boat was being worked on. Whenever I wanted to go to bed, first I had to go through a couple layers of tools, then a couple layers of trash, then a single layer of new material, and then I could try to fall asleep and hope not to get poked in the back by a screw or two. I tried to evade the thought of having had to clean this beast up before Hannes would come back from his trip to Germany. I enjoy a lot of things, but tidying up is definitely not one of them. When we’re out at sea, everything is right where it’s supposed to be, and after you use it you have to place it back for sure because otherwise it will fall down at some point and break, or break something else, or fall off the boat, like some of our cutlery has done whenever we forget it on the side of our boat after washing it. But as soon as we arrive somewhere and drop the anchor, we start leaving stuff out and within 2-7 hours the boat looks like a tornado had just torn everything out of its place. So long story short, I was grateful for every minute that I did not have to spend on messy Marianne.
We first met Lauren and Sarah on our day of arrival. Right after getting off the boat, we by chance met a couple guys in the immigrations office who we already knew from Nosy Be in Madagascar. What a coincidence! So since they were about to head off again and continue with their journey, we thought we should go for a farewell drink, or two, or three. And guess who worked at the yacht club bar that night … that’s right, Lauren and Sarah. It’s always good hanging out with locals. It makes things easier and gives us the feeling of being accepted and well-integrated. All together, it’s just a lot more fun. Especially with these two! Where are the best places to eat? Where do they serve the coldest beer? Which beach has the best waves for surfing? They had the answers to all our questions.
So Hannes had to fly up to Germany as you may know. So I appreciated the girls company all the more. And after hanging out and a few little jam sessions on the beach with the guitar, I got to see their place and started dropping by every so often. Having a place to stay made things easier.
Through the two of them, during the following weeks I got to know probably half the people of Richards Bay. Sometimes people would wave and I had no idea who they were, or I got a nice “Howzit, Ben?” from someone I did not really recognize. I would just politely return a smile and continue as I was. Either way, it feels nice to know people and have people know you. Even if it’s not mutual I guess.
I spent every single day on Marianne, or underneath Marianne, just fixing, sanding, painting, drilling, glueing. And lucky me, my neighbors knew everything there is to know about paint, electronics, and everything else I had to fix. So when youtube failed in helping me find instructions, I went and knocked on the neighbors boat. Sometimes it has its advantages being the youngest and most inexperienced mechanic, or wannabe-mechanic. People help you.
But to spice up my boring working days a little, Lauren decided to take me to the Umfolozi Game Reserve, a national park with all wild animals of Africa. Lauren is rather experienced with all this stuff and spotted the amazing animals way before me. I often just saw bushes and not the Elephant behind it. Occasionally these big boys came dangerously close, so the video might be a little shaky. But see for yourself. And I gave it my very best to add a little bit of soothing music in the background. Music soothes even the savage beast!
Speaking of music. That next weekend we went down to the 300 km away South Coast to visit Laurens friends K’an and Taryn. These two siblings had sailed around the world for 7 years with their parents and learned how to play the guitar while doing so. So sailing and music is what they love. Sounds familiar, right? We also spent a lot of time with their drummer Greg in their rehearsal room. I loved what they were playing, so the following day we went up to the rooftop of the highest building in town and had ourselves a little recording session. I would have loved to spend some more time with these guys, but fact is that it was Sunday, and according to Rebecca Black, after that comes Monday, so we had to head back home because Lauren had to work and so did I. I really had to hurry up and get everything done before Hannes got back and I still had a lot of recording to organize for Maputo. They had a TV interview planned for me there. I was excited for all this and was looking forward to some good recordings … which I of course then got! Stay tuned.