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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Friday, January 09, 2009

Closing in on Cape Town

meerkat East London SA

A two day hop from Durban brought Marcy to the little river port of East London. The stop seemed grim at first, as we were moored alongside a nasty steel faced wall on a gray drizzly morning. The fenders were grinding and dock lines screeching in protest as Marcy lifted and dropped in the surge.

E London wall 2

E London wall 1

Soon, a kind local sailor stopped by, chatted and offered to call the yacht club across the river to see if there was room for us. There was, and we moved, the sun came out, and we enjoyed a sweet couple of days waiting for weather to permit the next dash south.

Marcy at East London SA

A local yachtie offered to take Ginger to the local zoo. She hesitated, but learned that some lion cubs were available for petting. “I'll be ready in five minutes!” she said.

cute cubs and girls el zoo

cub face el zoo

Father lion dozed in the sun nearby.

nappy lion el zoo

Ginger was amazed by the informal low fencing – in SA much more effort seems to be put into keeping burglars out than wild animals in.......

croc in grass el zoo

Her favorite animal was a young giraffe. We're lucky he wouldn't fit in the car to bring back to the boat.

giraffe face el zoo

giraffe el zoo

The highlight of our stay was a braii hosted by the club. The friendly French arrived in dinghies loaded to the limit.

french families arrive el

The French children had choreographed a dance to Fijian music and performed for us all.

dancers el

Remember Marta, the Polish singlehander? She had stayed at the club also, and left to head for the next port south just before we arrived. We learned that she had anchored at about the halfway point, and dragged into the surf at 4:00 AM on December 31. She was very lucky. Although the boat was heavily damaged, the Port Elizabeth lifeboat was able to tow her off the beach, and somehow keep the boat afloat for the long trip to PE and a haulout. A bit of scandal surfaced, the lifeboat reports saving TWO people – hard for a singlehander to explain. Hopefully the boat can be repaired and she can continue her voyage. Here is a picture of Marta back at Durban, motivating her work crew while consulting with the boatbuilder back in Poland.

marta and workers Durban

Warned yet again to respect the local conditions (you know by now we always do) we head out for the next leg. Ariel and Freebase led us out to sea. The wind was light, but the left over lumpy seas and big swell made the ocean a big washing machine. Here Ariel looks like she is above us – that's not an illusion, the big swells were lifting and dropping us twenty feet at a time.

Ariel on swell

We realized in disbelief that we were sailing the South Africa coast at the best possible time of year and in the “easy” direction! Later in the day as we watched a container ship lift and roll in the seas, water streaming from the ports, we thought that if we lived in SA, we might want to sell the boat and take up bird watching! Freebase was dwarfed by the seas.

Freebase 1

Freebase 2

We all pitched and rolled, but as the wind filled in the ride smoothed out as we headed onwards.

Ariel off E London

Right now, as we write, Marcy is anchored waiting for yet another front to pass at the very end of Africa, Cape Algulhas. The Atlantic Ocean is so close we can see it. The wind is screeching in the rigging, and Marcy is straining at the anchor. Ginger has made coffee cake, Peter is busy with little repairs, and we think tomorrow (weather permitting) we can resume the progress to Cape Town. We can post to the blog because we are in cell phone range.

Struis Bay Cape Agulhas

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