Click to view the map showing our trip through Canal du Midi to Sicily.
Breakfast completed, we loaded Little G2 with a picnic lunch and camera kit. Heading westward we explored the shoreline. With frequent showers falling, it sadly meant my D700 had to remain in the case and I had to be happy using the 1AW1. From the water it is possible to see how rugged Rodrigues is: volcanic rock, evidence of the … Read More
During the early morning hours it came time to turn Gratis to starboard for the final run to Cape Town. Easy one would have thought, but oh no, not here. Sound asleep was I upon the starboard bunk when Bob commenced the turning. Rudely awakened was I, while simultaneously throwing out my right arm to prevent a fall from the … Read More
Between Mossel Bay and Cape Town Early morning, still no wind: how monotonous, but a blessing in disguise, as our slow motoring speed meant the worst of the strong winds expected around Cape Agulhas the following day would be missed. In a first, it was a case of slowing Gratis down. Oil Platforms upon the horizon were silhouetted against the darkening … Read More
Calm seas all night, nil wind meant motoring and low speeds: what a contrast to the last leg. Morning found Gratis surrounded by ships in the busiest shipping route encountered to date. Fishing boats were doing their thing just south of us, whilst a myriad of birds soared across skies and waves. Bob made the decision to attempt fishing once … Read More
Mid-afternoon, Gratis entered the gentle swirls of the eastern coast of South Africa once more. What wind there was came from the South – upon the nose. With sea swirls flowing beneath, we were entertained by a mama Pacific gull educating her fledglings in ocean flying. Off, she would take, only to land a short distance ahead. Patiently, she waited, … Read More
Having arrived in Port Elizabeth early that morning, the ensuing evening saw an unpredicted strong westerly blow: what a relief to know we were not thrumming into the waves and swell. This was a time where, unable to purchase an ali whisker pole of the right thickness and weight, a second much stronger piece of wood was purchased. Bob thinking … Read More
Fun this morning. Twins up, a beautiful relaxing warm shower to release the aching muscles, enjoying a cup second coffee for the day, we were carefully monitoring the wind as it commenced creeping up and down, like a shy animal teasing as it slithered forward then back as one attempted to entice it out. A sudden short sharp burst of … Read More
Midnight, the alarm rudely emitted its piercing cry. Finally, the long awaited weather window had arrived and a northerly was gently kissing the air. A final perusal of the weather predictions online, Big Bertha roared to life. Mooring lines released, Gratis gracefully glided into the darkness. With the coming of full daylight, it was possible to view the rolling hills … Read More
With another southerly buster – just one of many over the past weeks – on its way, at this stage this means our only hope of making our way round the Cape is to ‘bunny hop’ from port to port. Like Richards Bay, at night Durban is one of those harbours lit by an array of eye confusing lights in a myriad … Read More
Exquisite weather, a midnight departure and the speed of the infamous Agulhas Current (www.oceancurrents.rsmas.miami.edu/atlantic/agulhas.html) all worked in our favour as, after a three month sabbatical, we commenced our journey southward: Europe bound.
We are currently on route to Durban, This is roughly a 24hr sail.
Painting and the demoulding of the forward lazarettes is completed (always a continuing saga on boats when in the tropics). In just a few minutes I will be into the bilges once again – drying the compartments and rinsing/drying/vacuum bagging the cans this time. Bob is heading out to replenish the gas bottles and doing a few of the important outdoor jobs. Another … Read More
More spiels added to The Mauritius Page (more pics will come over the next month). http://gratisaustralis.com/the-journey-so-far/journey-the-world/mauritius/ South Africa so far http://gratisaustralis.com/the-journey-so-far/journey-the-world/richards-bay-south-africa/
Bone weary and mentally drained, this was proving the most difficult leg to date. The high in place for an additional day, gave us 24 hours up our sleeve, and with poor wind strength did we need it!!! Regularly checking with Peri Peri for weather updates……. Midday: at long last, although light, the winds turned North Easterly: 60nm remained. The … Read More
The north easterlies at long last arrived! Another drama as the wretched throttle wouldn’t engage, so with engine off, rocking and rolling we were during the process of raising the sails once more. A bit of investigation later, it turned out the second throttle in the cockpit had been knocked into gear, thereby blocking the action of the inside control. … Read More
Upon my awaking, there was Bob setting the main: the long awaited Easterlies had arrived, or, so he thought. What a farceur that wind had been!!!! Main and Asymmetric out, that bug bear of nature receded once more. Grrrrrrrrrr…….!!!!! Down it all came. Like an imp, the wind frolicked with Bob throughout the day: up, down, up down came the … Read More
After struggling with light winds overnight, conditions finally reached the ultra – light level and without our twins, (remember, we were unable to use the combination until the alteration to the rig was undertaken). All sails were brought on board and Big Bertha thrummed to life. Two days remained, of the journey – touch wood!! Awaiting, awaiting, for the Easterly … Read More
17:30, 440nm remained. This was the evening we commenced listening to Roy on Peri Peri Radio, a South African service that provided twice daily weather updates and advice. South Africa is notorious for the development of localised weather fronts. All was well.