Captain’s Log April 2011

Happy Easter to everyone!

We have decided to do a ‘quick’ update with our latest news…. and to provide this link to a journal of inspiring emails that we have been receiving from our friend, Anne, who lives in Sendai, close to the recent earthquake epicentre in Japan. Anne’s home was badly damaged in the earthquake and she had to move in with friends. Her emails give amazing insight into day to day life in an area of Japan that has been devastated, but they also give a touching insight into the psyche of the people she has come to know and love in her 22 years living in this fascinating country. She was happy for us to post the letters on our website and we hope you feel as moved by reading them as we have.

So, our news…. we are still in South Africa and have decided to remain here until Lynne’s Australian citizenship issues are hopefully resolved. She has a citizenship appointment on 12th May in Brisbane and pending the outcome of that, we are hoping she will be a true blue Aussie by around August!

If all goes to plan, Eric will fly across and spend some time in Australia in June, so we can visit family and friends together (for a change), then return to South Africa ready to head across the Atlantic by September.

Since our last Captain’s Log we had a wonderful get together with ex-Dar es Salaam friends in Pretoria in December. We stayed with Billy & Denise Adams, (who now live in Manchester!) at their holiday home at Bronkhorstspruit Dam. A couple of days later Mark & Lesley arrived to join the party, followed the next day by more of our Dar es Salaam friends, who were all attending Cliff & Cindy’s wedding at Zebra Lodge the weekend of 11/12 December. The wedding was great fun, particularly as we all stayed the night at the lodge.

The setting was stunning and Cindy looked fabulous! After the service at the chapel we were treated to drumming circles and fire dancing by some local artistes. We were even

invited to participate (in the drumming circles, not the fire dancing!), which was great fun. The reception was lovely and there was a slide show of many good times shared by us all in Dar es Salaam. In fact our table was so enthralled by the slide show we almost missed the buffet! Unfortunately the planned game drive had to be cancelled the next morning due to rain, but we were happy enough to talk nonsense and carry on partying. Eventually we all said our farewells and Eric drove Mark & Lesley and Lynne back to Billy & Denise’s where we continued partying for the rest of Sunday joined by the rest of the Adam’s family including little Tyler (Candice’s 4 year old son).

On the Monday we had a day out at Cullinan and visited the diamond mine which produced the huge diamond which was cut into the diamonds which make up the UK Crown Jewels (the Great Star of Africa and the Lesser Star of Africa in the Crown and Scepter, on display in the Tower of London). As Lynne managed to lose her ring in all the drumming activity on Saturday night, Eric very gallantly bought her a new diamond ring with the famous Cullinan Star cut! And no it was not a ploy by Lynne to get a new ring!!

Sadly the get together came to an end for us on the Tuesday and, although we were sorry to miss Candice & Jeff’s wedding the following Sunday, we had to drive back to Knysna to prepare Amarula for the sail around the Cape. So we said our goodbyes and hit the road. We stayed over in Colesberg on the trip back and decided to detour to an interesting sounding village called Nieu Bethesda. No one warned us about that road! DON’T DO IT!

We managed to get quite a slash in one of our brand new tyres, which we had to replace in Graaff Reinet and as we drove onto the ramp in Knysna to unload our car at the end of our trip, we noticed another flat! That said, Nieu Bethesda was a cute little place, famous for the Owl House – just make sure you take the road from Graaff Reinet, not the one coming from Middleburg….

So, back in Knysna we prepared for our sail around to Saldanha Bay on the west coast, just north of Cape Town. Luckily we were around to spend more time with Cindy & Cliff, as they had chosen Knysna to enjoy their honeymoon. So we managed to squeeze in a couple of fun days together whilst they were in the area.

Just before Christmas we had to have Scrumpy’s leg operated on, as he tore a ligament playing Frisbee in late November, which hadn’t healed.

We had a lovely Christmas dinner with our friends, Gyda & Max (the Jack Russell) and Debbie & Stewart & Alannah. Then we said our goodbyes to our new found friends in Knysna and at the Knysna yacht club. Just before leaving Scrumpy had a final check up at the vet’s, then we were off.

By early afternoon on Tuesday 28th December we had cleared Knysna Heads and were sailing towards Cape Agulhas.

We had good south-easterly winds, but throughout Wednesday the confused seas across False Bay made for quite uncomfortable conditions, so the bottle of bubbly we had planned for our Wedding Anniversary that day stayed in the fridge until after we had rounded Cape Point and were cruising past Table Mountain the following afternoon! At dawn on Thursday 30th December we enjoyed our final African sunrise over the ocean just before rounding Cape Point and heading past the stunning mountains, beaches and bays of the Cape Peninsular in 40 knot winds! Luckily the winds were with us not against us, so we were flying past Table Mountain in no time. That awesome sight never ceases to amaze us, whatever angle we see it from – what an absolutely stunning city Cape Town is!

We arrived at Dassen Island by 1600 hours accompanied by whales, dolphins, seals and a myriad seabirds.

  

Once anchored in the protected bay to the north of the island we enjoyed a couple of days relaxing there enjoying the sounds and sights of nature. Whilst it is prohibited to go ashore we circled the bay by dinghy and observed the penguins waddling along the beach along with numerous pelicans, cormorants and other sea birds, which all choose to roost here.

We decided to spend New Year’s Eve here and set off for Saldanha Bay early on New Year’s Day, as the wind had swung around to the east and was blowing us onto the huge kelp beds just off the island. The winds were variable and it was overcast, so we motor sailed and arrived at Saldanha Bay Yacht Club at around 1100.

Once the weather had cleared later in the day we went ashore to meet some of the members. As it was New Year’s Day it was a party atmosphere with people enjoying their braais and parties.

We have now been at Saldanha for over 3 months! The yacht club is very friendly and relaxed and there are some lovely beaches to drive to within an hour or less including LangebaanJacobs BayPaternoster and St. Helena Bay.

Initially we had planned to sail to Namibia and across to Brazil by April/ May, but having decided to pursue Lynne’s citizenship situation we have deferred our plans.

So mid-January Lynne went back to visit her family and friends in UK, which was fortuitous timing as her ex-Dar girl friends 

had planned a girlie weekend at a village in Derbyshire for the last weekend in January! In fact from the moment she arrived it was party time with meals out, Burn’s Supper parties, lunches, brunches and birthday meals and visits. By the 3rd week she was glad of a day of rest here and there, but once again it was great to catch up with everyone and a shame to miss out on friends further afield…..

Meanwhile back in South Africa, Eric’s ex-Navy buddy John had arrived 2 days before Lynne set off for UK, so the boys also had lots of fun catching up, driving around the area and also doing some boat work!

Apart from a 3 day trip back to Dassen Island and some day trips around the area they spent 3 days on the hard in YachtPort SA cleaning and repainting the antifouling on the boat. NB: we already have growth on the hulls again in less than 2 months despite 4 coats and 65 litres of paint! Aaaggghhh…..

The day before Lynne returned from UK Eric & John offered the services of ‘Amarula’ as the finish boat on the 2011 Downwind Dash (world kite & wind surfing event) from Langebaan to Saldanha Bay.

It was an impressive event with 320 participants and the winner crossing the line after a mere 26 minutes.

When Lynne arrived back to take over boat and dog watch duties Eric & John took off on a 4 day road trip to visit Cape Town, Hermanus and Mossel Bay, then back up to Route 62 to Oudtshoorn, Barrydale, Citrusdal etc.

They had a funny experience at Ronnies Sex shop on Route 62, when they noticed a rather attractive female sitting in the passenger seat of a much less attractive man’s ‘pick-up’ truck. On further inspection (well you have to don’t you!) they saw that this gorgeous blonde was in fact a blow-up doll!!

The Oke in question came out with the wonderful comment ‘well she doesn’t argue much or answer back!’

John returned to Australia on 22nd February after a great trip and threatened to visit us again soon! In fact only a couple of weeks later Eric returned to Australia himself to assist Daniel, his son, to buy a prawn trawler and get it up and running.

John joined Eric & Daniel at Crowdy Head and between the 3 of them they got the boat on the slipway, did some repairs and re-painting then re-launched her and Daniel & John sailed her back to Yamba, whilst Eric drove back via Coonabarabran

 to spend a couple of days visiting his daughter, Nicole, husband, Dave and their gorgeous twins, Abbigail & Brooklyn. Once back in Yamba Eric was busy back at work with Daniel & John to get the new trawler ship shape – seems it will take a little longer than anticipated, but hopefully she’ll come together soon. We’re happy to report the boat is now operating and Daniel is gradually fixing her the way he wants her. We wish him luck with this new venture and thanks for all your help John!

Since Eric returned from Australia we had a lovely weekend in Cape Town house-sitting our friends place in Camp’s Bay.

What a pleasure to step across the road first thing in the morning to walk the dogs on the lovely beach with the stunning backdrop of Table Mountain, Signal Hill and the Lion’s Head.

We enjoyed driving around the area and stopping off to hike some of the many trails on Table Mountain, including the Chapman’s Peak drive, Constantia area and Rhodes Memorial. On the Monday we drove on to Hermanus for the night, as Eric had been so impressed on his visit there with John. In particular he wanted to return to the restaurant  set in a cave looking out onto the rocks where the Southern Right whales come right in close between May to November each year, making it one of the best land-based whale watching areas in the world! Although it wasn’t the whale watching season the restaurant was well worth a visit and even more so as they allowed us to sit there with the dogs!

We are now beginning to feel the colder weather setting in. This west coast is certainly colder than Knysna with the winds off the Atlantic ocean and we really felt it this past couple of days when we thought we’d have a sail back to Dassen Island.

Even the birds had flown away for the winter! It was COLD and the swell from the ocean afforded us very little sleep in our anchorage. This unseasonal weather caused us to cut our stay short and we motored back to Saldanha in 7 metre seas….

With that, we wish you all a very Happy Easter and look forward to hearing from you as & when you have time to drop us a line

Lynne, Eric, Chui & Scrumpy xxx

 For previous Captain’s Logs, please click here