Click to view the map showing our trip through Canal du Midi to Sicily.
St Helena, created more than fourteen million years ago by volcanic eruptions, was in sight upon the horizon soon after the passing of dawn. The island, inch by inch, became more pronounced as each hour passed. The highest peak of an ancient volcanic mountain range, she was enshrouded by the misty haze of the tropical airs and bright backlight of … Read More
At last, a day for exploration of the region to the south. Cragged crater remains, the barren rocky mountain peaks reaching to the heavens, whilst below a green carpet of low growing bushes stretched to the shoreline and managed to survive, despite the harshness of the coastal environment. Eucalypt trees introduced from Australia grew in patches here and there, whilst homes were … 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
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
Here was a town on its downward spiral. The waterfront of dilapidated buildings fallen into disrepair, where only the poorer citizens now resided. A once thriving metropolis, more businesses were closed than open. The boating industry itself, was just surviving, with most business owners downsizing. Several we spoke to were making as much as they could before an eventual departure … Read More
Yesterday saw us catch a taxi to the Ushaka Marine World. Here one could meander along the promenade exploring the shops and partaking of a meal. A Wet and Wild theme park was perfect for those seeking relief from the humidity and heat or just looking for sheer excitement. No, we two didn’t venture in that direction. It was a … Read More
This day, the wind howled as a high rushed in. Eventually dying, all calmed and the poured down whilst a small show of thunder and lightning accompanied it in its passing by. A day in which a spaghetti sauce and Rum slice were prepared; the twins having been repaired, raised, refurled and lowered in preparation for the next leg; water tanks refilled and Gratis … Read More
Today saw us catch a taxi to Ushaka Marine World. Here one could meander along the promenade exploring the shops and partaking of a meal. A Wet and Wild theme park was perfect for those seeking relief from the humidity and heat or just looking for sheer excitement. No, we two didn’t venture in that direction. It was a group of … Read More
What a night it was Friday!!!! 50+ knots throughout as a massive low to the south passed through. One section of the pontoons came apart early on as it snapped under the pressure created by the wind. It required the assistance of two tugs with lines attached to the southern piece in order to prevent it from totally falling apart and thereby adrift: the tugs were … Read More
Every so often, the winches require a service. A cold front passing by, this was the perfect chance to carry out this maintenance. One does not want experience a winch failure in bad weather! Reading the instructions Parts placed in the bucket to ensure none are lost Together it goes.
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.
Weather window not large enough: not departing tomorrow after all. We shall be moving round to Zululand Yacht Club to escape escape the effects of the tugs and the deafening noise that goes until 3am most Thursday to Sunday nights. Time for completing a few more jobs.