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 that only a month ago wore a tired drab olive coat interspersed with sizeable tracts of sunburnt brindle, and were now encased in a mantle of vibrant greens.
Gently rolling seas greeted our girl as she departed the channel. In a first since departing Adelaide, this was a pleasant departure from the rocking, rolling washing machine effect experienced in previous port exiting.
Sailing the eastern coastline of South Africa was at its most dangerous between Durban and Port Elizabeth.
Here the continental shelf comes exceptionally close to the shore and there’s just a few miles to the 200m depth line where, almost immediately, the seabed plummets down, down, down into the ink black depths below. With the Agulhas current running at up to 5knots only a few short miles from shore, the sailor had need to constantly watch the clouds and sea for that dreaded southerly buster. Many ships have gone to their grave on this lonely coast line. Wind against current here can give rise to the largest waves in the world and ocean going ships have been broken in two. For now, Poseidon looked upon us with favour.