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

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Not so fast...

We tried to leave, we really wanted to go.  Sad as we were to leave Cape Town, IT WAS TIME.  We cleared out and went to sea.  As the waves grew the water level in the bilge rose.  Ginger said "What Now?!" Peter said "It's got to be the rudder again."  He was right, Marcy wasn't as ready to leave Cape Town as we were.  One more trip to the yard was in order. Water was pouring in the top of the lower rudder bearing as before.  So, back to the yard, fabricate a lower bearing and then we'll be on our way.  We hope the delay will be no longer than a week. As we write this Marcy is sitting on the concrete at RCYC again, having survived another crane lift. We are at the bar recovering....


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Last days in Cape Town

We're getting serious on Marcy now! The jib is on, the new African propane tank has a new box to protect it from seas, the engine oil and filter have been changed, and most importantly the canned goods and staples are bought and stored. But, this is Africa, and as with everything else the way some of those things got done wasn't easy.

Take for example the propane box. The plywood needed to be painted. We heard about a hardware store a mile away so we walked over there the other morning to get some paint. It was a pretty good hardware store, decent stock and fairly busy. That's good news when you're buying paint because it means the paint isn't old. But, there's always a catch. They only had one liter of base paint left on the shelf. The rest was due any minute - they were just waiting for the delivery truck. So, we got the one liter and decided to walk back there another day for another liter if we really need it. We've learned new supplies can be 10 minutes away or 10 days away. On can never be sure.

Then there was the big grocery shopping day. It's a short walk to the closest store but too far with a month's supply of cans and staples. We called the customer service manager who we'd met at the Royal Cape Yacht Club delivering food for Mike the sindlehander. Several messages were sent by email and left by phone - with real people. Finally we went in person and learned that the customers service manager we'd been trying to reach had been out of the store for the last 5 days. So, we arranged with the store manager that we would come in on Thursday morning a van would be available to deliver our groceries in the morning. Before leaving we asked if she would be in on Thursday. She realized that, in fact, that would be her day off, but she would let the manager on duty Thursday know the plan. Thursday morning at store opening (8AM) we arrived to start our shopping. We stopped by the manager's office to make sure there was a driver available. Of course, they knew nothing of this plan and no there was no van or driver immediately available. We finished our shopping by 10A and were assured that they would deliver the groceries before noon. These purchased groceries were left sitting in two shopping carts outside the managers office and we crossed our fingers that we'd actually see all of our groceries again at the boat. We rushed back to the boat to meet some friends who were due to arrive at 10:30 and the waiting game began. As it turned out our friends were delayed and arrived at 6P. The groceries were a bit more troublesome. There were several phone calls placed to the manager who was apologetic but unable to get the drivers to deliver. Finally just after 4P the groceries arrived.

The soft fuel bladder that we got in Australia was another story altogether. We will need it in Chile and thought this could be a good place to get hoses for it. We dropped it off at a shop and after a week, 3 visits and numerous phone calls we finally were able to pick it up with all the parts. For a mere 700 rand or $70USD they provided us with food grade hose (which could disintegrate when in contact with diesel), hose clamps that are too big and won't close enough to clamp the hose and a deck fill fitting as a fuel cap. Rather than argue that a child could do better Peter paid the bill, added the hose to our assortment of hoses and we'll try again in Brazil. Maybe we'll have better luck communicating our needs in Portuguese.

Ginger's birthday day at the spa (the first of our voyage) was a similar disaster. It started with her standing on the sidewalk for ages waiting for the "complimentary shuttle" that never seemed to show up despite several phone calls assuring her that it would arrive "just now." It ended as badly as it began with a "shame - we so wanted to make sure you got that massage" and she won't attempt this "advanced tourism" move again soon.

Despite minor frustrations, we love South Africa and hope to return. The every day challenges with getting things done are just part of life here and aren't really a bother until time gets short and things have to be done before departure. So, our last two days in Cape Town find us caulking the toe rail to hopefully keep out the salt water, shopping for fresh produce and clearing out with the officials. We're not going to try for any more fancy appointments or arrangements!


Friday, March 06, 2009

Fitting Out and Having Fun

When we depart Cape Town, we will head north to the coastal desert of Namibia. Then we cross the Atlantic to Brazil, turn left and head down the coast of South America. Marcy needs to be fit and ready for a lot of miles, so we are working long days to prepare.

Our inflatable, Sniffy, died the death of a thousand leaks, the fate of many inflatables that spend too much time in the tropics. The PVC became porous. We traded outboards also, leaving the 15hp here in Africa and moving on with a nice little light 5hp Yamaha. The tinnie will live on top of the aft cabin, and we've had a cover made so we can carry it upright.

dinghy on deck

dinghy frame

The outboard will fit inside the tinnie (along with fuel) as well as a few fenders or whatever. The outboard can either run from an integral tank for short trips (most of our usage) or draw from a remote outboard tank. Peter enjoyed one of our test runs in the dinghy.

dinghy test

We've found that for our type of tender use, a big fast rig doesn't make sense. We tend to stay quite close to Marcy. After all, everywhere we go is new to us! Also, in deserted anchorages, there is a safety factor - never go further than you would want to row. And the tinnie rows much better than Sniffy did. We like to fish, and a rigid dinghy is the best way to handle that action. Sniffy was so big that we needed to deflate it and stow it down below, sometimes an unwelcome job. Beaching an inflatable is a delicate exercise to avoid punctures on some nasty beaches and we could barely lift the rig to move it up the beach. This rig is light and we can drag it if we need to! Ginger enjoyed yet another test run, a sunset cruise really.

sunset cruise

Of course one negative to a rigid tender might be swimming - it won't be as easy to board the tinnie from the water. We'll have to figure something out, maybe a rope ladder. Also, we still have Red Dogfish, the inflatable kayak that is a dream to board from the water. We first came to appreciate tinnies in OZ. There rubber duckies were scorned as croc toys - literally. We envied the dinghies that were rated as safe to explore upriver.

tinnie and Marcy

Peter continued with various projects. No, this is not a toilet seat. It's a holder for the pressure cooker as it cools....

not a toilet seat

Peter worked on a box for the propane tank as a lifeboat drill goes on behind him. We are moored next to a Maritime Academy.


In the still mornings, Ginger worked on her yoga.

dancer on deck

Our cushion lady, Jo Fensham, came through in the nick of time with a beautiful set of cushions for Marcy.

cushion delivery

Now we can retreat down below and lounge in luxury in Marcy's saloon. Our salt soaked ratty old cushions are history.

luxury saloon

This area in Marcy is called the saloon, in spite of general usage today calling it the salon. An interesting little bit of history is that “wild west” saloons were called so in a bid to invoke the ambiance (varnished paneling and brass) and class of a ship's saloon of that era. Yacht ad writers and brokers today call it a salon to get away from the wild west connotation...and bring to mind, at least to us, of some sort of gathering of artists in Paris. So saloon it is on Marcy. But no spitting on the floor allowed!

Also completed in time is a new dodger. The canvas guy, Adrian, fitted Marcy with a dodger complete with an awning that extends from the aft edge. The favorable exchange rate of US dollars to SA rand has been a blessing, allowing us to replace this key part of the boat. Years of harsh sun and a big hit from a wave in the Indian Ocean had all but destroyed the original.

dodger fitting

Our last days in Cape Town were not all spent working on Marcy. New Cape Townian friends Kate, Patrick, and Hei Won took us out to a delicious lunch at a wine county restaurant.

lunch with Kate and family

Then we went on a tour of one of the wineries.

Ginger with samples


We were impressed with the tasty products of the Cape. Back onboard Marcy we resolved to sip a glass every evening.

wine on deck

Tomorrow we'll work on that furler, tonight we enjoy the wine!

P n G Granger Bay


Monday, March 02, 2009

Have cushions will travel

Life is good here on Marcy. Our last big contracted project was boat cushions and we got our new cushions yesterday (Monday) so as soon as we have food on board and our Brazil visas we'll be ready to travel. It's always exciting to untie the dock lines and head to sea and we're getting excited to go.

There was no rest for Ginger when she returned from Seattle because we had to complete some projects and get the boat moved from the Royal Cape Yacht Club. We pulled our spare chain out of the bilge and marked and stowed it in the chain locker. Though Peter had finished most of the woodwork projects in the cabin there were still tools out for the jobs to be completed and with most of the cushions thrown away in preparation for the new ones things were pretty rough for a while. The windlass had to be bolted on to the repaired foredeck, the propane solenoid had to be replaced (that spare came just in time from Seattle!), the stove battery holder had to be replaced and bolted in... the list was long but it's hard to remember all the jobs now. We moved the boat on Friday, Feb 20, to Granger Bay where we'll be able to finish a few jobs and get ready to leave the country. We tied up just in time to leave the boat and hike across town to the dentist. It's a great country for reasonable medical care.

We also had a busy social schedule. A plane passenger, Wendy, from Ginger's trip came by to visit and brought her friends Beverly and Georgina and we had a nice evening with them at the RCYC. Beverly was kind enough to offer to help out with errands and she also happens to sell wine! Beverly dropped off a case of wine for us and took Ginger on her first round of boat errands. What a help!
We first met Kate at the immigration office and she and her family took us on a fantastic afternoon to a fruit farm, lunch and a very personal tour of the Stellenzicht winery. Thursday Viqui, a friend from the RCYC took Ginger on another round of boat errands. Friday Ginger had to get her hair cut again - making up for all those missed hair cuts between OZ and SA. We've been very comfortable in South Africa!

The boat projects continue. We're struggling to get parts for the roller furler. We thought we could replace the bearings but it turns out that's not true. After spending a full day pulling the furler apart it became apparent that a sub-assembly would be destroyed taking it apart. We contacted Schaefer and they told us to order a replacement assembly from their supplier here. We found out yesterday that the $100 part plus the $100 shipping fees were assessed $200 in import fees to come into the country! We're still waiting to hear if those fees can be negotiated as we're a yacht in transit and shouldn't pay any import fees. Whatever the result we can't go to sea without our furler so we're anxious to get it installed and re-hoist the jib.

The hot fall weather has brought out the mozzies and we've had our share on board every night. The mosquitoes here are smaller and faster than the variety in Seattle. They are very hard to hunt down. We've been alternating between getting no sleep while we hunt skeeters and spraying the whole boat with bug killer to steal some sleep in a poison induced haze. OK, it's not quite that bad but our boat is not very mosquito proof and here in the marina they're tenacious bugs.

It's another beautiful morning, time for yoga on deck and then back to work.