The one thing we discovered about Cape Town, was that there was no in between when it came to the wind: it was either blowing a gale or absolutely nada. One could also be in Cape Town with the wind at Force one, and around the corner at the Cape of Good Hope it would be blowing Force 8.
The morning of our departure, there was not one iota of breeze. In one way that was perfect. Manoeuvring room within the marina was minimal, with no factor allowed for error, even with a small whiff of wind. It meant that berthing our 18 tonne Gratis for refuelling was undertaken without incident.
On the other hand, with about 3700 nautical miles to be traversed before arriving at Barbados, our next refuelling dock, the name of the game was fuel conservation. As soon as possible, the main and Gennie were raised in order to assist the motor by running it on minimal fuel consumption.
Bob and I had been eagerly awaiting this Atlantic run, for all accounts we had heard and read said it was a breeze in comparison with the Indian Ocean. One major factor for this was that, unlike the Indian Ocean, this crossing was undertaken during the summer rather than winter months.
As one exited Cape Town, the water’s surface was covered in quilt like carpeted stalks of kelp that grew upon their beds below. Like small black spheres, the heads and flippers of seals were all that was visible, as they appeared in prayer whilst they gnawed upon this flavoursome delicacy.
How we were looking forward to moving northward once more. In actuality, we had forgotten what the meaning of cold truly was until our arrival in the southern clime of Cape Town. Finding ourselves suddenly chilled to the bone as temperatures plummeted well below 17° at night was no fun. ‘Thank God I kept those woollens out,’ were my words. For poor Bob, on the other hand, it was ‘Ohhhhhhh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!!!!!
One of the major upsides of sailing was leaving the fast paced society behind us. Away from it all, upon the water we had the time to sit and enjoy as the world passed us by, taking the opportunity to take note of, and enjoy, the small occurrences usually ignored.
Birds were plentiful over the waters here, in numbers not seen since departing Australia. We both gained enjoyment from observing them as they approached the sea’s surface for landing. Feet lowered, wings set to assist with breaking and down they came: a bit like watching a bumbling booby upon the shore. Tail dropped a little, feet connected the sea, as the spread wingtips just kissed the water. With the waters assisting as a break, the beak dipped forward and continued onward in a nosedive that soon saw the head totally immersed in the final moments.
Fishing boats headed in whilst large ships passed us by.