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 end was in sight….
16:00 the wind strength increased and for the first time, the current assisted. What a dream!
Main and Gennie, 1400 revs on the engine, 12 knots of wind on the beam, plus current gave us 6.5 – 8.5 knots speed.
23.2nm remaining, through misty rain, the coast of Africa was in sight. What excitement built within to see this longed for land? Wind behind, main down: winds built to between 15 – 18 knots and under the one sail Gratis continued to fly.
20:00 we entered the bay leading into the harbour, and still assisted by the current, Big G zoomed along.
Night upon us; lights confusing; ship ahead of us in the channel; permission granted to enter the harbour; believing all were in, I mistook a ship for the pilot pickup area. A shock to see it rapidly closing upon our port side. A quick radio call, he had us in sight, engine power reduced, past he glided, behind we followed.
Ever alert, what appeared to be a well – lit platform with a net on its side suddenly appeared where only minutes before the area was clear. On closer inspection, foaming white water streamed from its base as it turned toward us: the monstrosity was another ship: so much for port control saying all was clear. Another radio call; no answer; call to port control who contacted said ship, which slowed and followed behind at a safe distance. (We later learnt this was a platform which was being used to cut up a tanker that had been ship wrecked in a massive storm just outside the channel entrance.
Within the channel, lights became ever more confusing as yellows, green and reds merged with those within the background. Outdoors on watch, I assisted Bob as he guided Big G safely into the Tuzi Gazi Marina and the international wharf. There appeared to be no room on the quarantine area so at 22:00, totally exhausted, Bob tied up the tug wharf and into bed we fell.
All up we had travelled about 1400nm.
No fish this trip. A mysterious monster from the depths took both stainless swage and lure, leaving in its wake only the swivel upon the line.