7 Dec 2012

33 54.5S 18 25.2E

Last night Dulcinea sailed (or rather motored in drizzle, light winds, and sloppy seas) round Cape Agulhas from the Indian to the Atlantic Ocean. There was the necessary freighter that steamed straight towards us on collision course, and wouldn't respond on the radio, but we turned 30 degrees away and he steamed off. It has been a nice experience, with a good breeze, to travel at similar speed to much of the commercial traffic.

We pushed on NW up the coast past Cape of Good Hope where a lovely breeze sprang up, and approached Table Mountain & Capetown sailing at 12 knots under sunny skies. Our Almanac says that one cannot enter the harbour after dark, but we were in time and at 1715 the two lifting bridges moved clear for us as we slid into the V&A Waterfront with onlookers leaning over the rails. Peter Flanagan was just inside on his boat Lady Amber (which has spent the last 4 years laying instruments to measure ocean temperatures & currents for a UN agency - google Lady Amber) and a lovely crew of young women from his boat helped us to find a spot and moor Dulcinea. It was a glorious arrival, which completes the planned passage-making for 2012. Now I shall lay up the boat and return to Canada for 2 or 3 months.

We feel as if we are in the heart of smart oppulence here. I assume that all the coulours of S Africa lie outside the barrier, but in here it is the sort of marina where I idly dream of what the bill could be if I hit any of the neighbours as we dock! Our other two stops in Africa were different. E London was an earthy, practical town with a sheltered anchorage just past the Mercedes factory up the Bufalo River, and beside a most informal & hospitable yacht club. Port Elizabeth was a bigger commercial centre with extensive docks and lots of dirt from them which is now plastered onto our new sails. In each place, we stayed for a few days, got well hosted by the yacht club, and took a drive into one of the nearby game parks at Addo and Mponga. There really are giraffes, rhynos, zebra, and elephants just roaming around these places, and many parks of 10s, hundreds, or 1000's of square kilometers of bush in each.

We took one or two days for each of the connecting passages, and were rewarded with magnificent sights of fish and animals in the famous Agulhas Current. Just outside E London about 100 dolphins jumped and swam in a perfect circle which they rapidly contracted before they dived inside for their feed. Then a far bigger area which we saw as a mass of gannets from a couple of miles away. As we sailed on, we went through the middle, and the water was, in places, white with fish and birds below the surface, dolphins were jumping, and a brydes whale was in it too. We saw whales every day, and a humpback was breaching as we approached Capetown.

Love to all