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

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ups and Downs Departing South Africa

As we set sail and departed Cape Town, our thoughts and conversations were all about the recurring leak. We dropped the hook at scenic Dassen Eiland to see what we could do about it. Marcy and a small crayfish boat were tucked in behind a shoal with a wave break.

Fishboat and break

Dassen wreck

It's a very pretty spot, but our spirits were low as we realized that we had spent thousands of rand, had two haulouts, but had missed repairing the major leak. We did our best exposing a gap and pushing waterproof epoxy putty into it. It's never easy trying to stop a leak from the inside, but we did our best.

Lower bearing block and repair

We set sail again and headed for Namibia. Our HF radio failed, depressing us further. It is much loved for safety, weather, email, and chatting with friends. We listened as our friends on Nomad just 100 miles away called us for our morning check in but we could not reply. Marcy leaked with a vengeance in the brisk quartering waves. We pumped every two hours, day and night, and kept the bilge water at a reasonable level. The southern fall is well under way and the days were chilly. The nights were downright cold! Peter was bundled up as he tightened the wind vane control lines.

tighten lines

Ginger was bundled up, too.

colder weather

Ging at nav desk

The cabin has never looked so warm and inviting.

warm cabin

Just hours before leaving Cape Town, we had installed an electronic black box called AIS. It reads, decodes, and plots VHF signals that are broadcast from commercial ships – giving us their position, heading, speed, name and other good information. Our route took us near busy shipping lanes, and the AIS proved to be useful and entertaining. The black boat shape on the screen is Marcy's position, and the triangles are all ships. They are not close (the screen is on the 300 mile scale in this image) but we can watch and spot potential problems much earlier than we can see the ships on the horizon. Some of these ships are so fast (up to 20 knots) that once they are in sight we only have a couple of minutes to react to a possible collision course.

AIS in operation

The wind was good and the passage was fast, so soon we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn. The air became a bit warmer – but not as warm as we thought it should be in the “tropics.” We turned into Walvis Bay and dropped the hook in calm, shallow water. We had views of beautiful sandy desert to one side, and a busy container port to the other. Marcy looked good with her new paint.

at anchor Walvis Baai

The water was so calm we could look over the side at our reflection to verify the name and homeport were still stuck on.

reflections Walvis Baai

Our first local visitor came onboard and perched on the mainsheet.

Namibian visitor

We know the drill by now. Visit customs, dismantle steering, and repair radio and leak. It could be worse – the location seems to be perfect for the work at hand, and if we can complete our duties soon, the desert calls for exploration.



At 6:48 AM, Blogger Stumpy said...

No updates for a week. That persistent leak didn't sink you, did it?


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