Leaving Richards Bay

You can tell by the grins that the test sail went well. I leave Richards Bay in South Africa with mixed feelings: it was where I was diagnosed with Leukemia 12 months ago and where I have been robbed not once but four times: once by a black guy, once by the the Afrikaner who runs the boatyard, and twice by unknowns. My friend Roy reckons that in the absence of any other Australians the unknowns were Frenchies, but he's a Pom and is envious of French yachts (though he would never admit to it) and thinks all bad things that ever happen are down to the convicts they sent to Australia or Frenchies. Richards Bay is also the place where I met Rod and Michele – locals who looked after me when I staggered in over a year ago, and then again when I got back here after treatment in Australia. They have been constants in my life here and have helped all along the way with getting both me and Anjea back into shape. There is also the Zululand Yacht Club to thank. It has been my home for 5 months and has provided a safe place to repaint and renovate Anjea.

But now it is time to go. I will miss Rod and Michele, and the many other friends I have made here, but my visa has long since expired and I am on borrowed time. I dare not exceed the three month extension that I applied for and paid for, but have never heard about. Hopefully, they won't throw me in jail when I try to leave.

Two days ago we took Anjea out for a trial. It was the first sail that Anjea or I have had for over a year. Rod and Michele came out with Merel and I. Rod and Michele know the harbour well. I am lost outside the marina! So it was great to leave the navigation to Rod and much of the trimming to Michele. They are an amazing team with years of experience sailing together. We dodged the traffic up and down the bay and found a half-dozen things to address, most of which are already fixed. Coming back into the marina I managed to finesse reversing into the pen in a cross-wind, Merel calmly stepped off onto the pontoon, threw a couple of lines, and we were secure. My spirit soars! Finally, all the hard work of the past several months seems worth while.

It is New Year's Eve. The end of 2021. I am grateful to be here looking at the back of 21, and looking forward to whatever 22 brings. The plan is to sail south to Cape Town as soon as the weather permits. This coast is treacherous. They call it the Wild Coast but that's an understatement. The Aguhlas Current flows south down the coast. That's a good thing when traveling in the same direction and can mean 3 knots or more. Unfortunately, about half the time the wind blows from the south standing the waves up and bunching them together into mountainous swells reputed to reach 60 metres! Yes, metres, not feet. A couple of weeks back Merel and I were returning to Anjea as a storm came in. As we reached the top of our pontoon we were gobsmacked to see the entire walkway twist and buckle 2 metres into the air as the wind howled, the sky lit up with continuous lightning, and the rain hit us horizontally. Five minutes later it was all over, but I would not want to experience that at sea.

So we await the weather. Conditions this time of year are tricky but we should get some northerlies for a few days, long enough to get to the next safe anchorage down the coast. It gets easier further south so hopefully we will be in Cape Town soon after the 10th January.

We will stop at least once and maybe twice on the way to Cape Town.

Merel has joined Anjea for the trip to Cape Town and hopefully beyond. She is a street-smart, freedom-loving Irish girl with an uncommon skill with food, itchy feet, and she can sail a boat too. Anjea's oven hasn't been used for years and now it regularly turns out quiches, pies, sourdough breads, puddings and other delights, all organic and mostly veg. If we feel the need for meat we go to one of the club braais. Her 'day job' is working in the family business, an eco-resort in County Galway, Ireland called Slieve Aughty.

I wish you all the very best for 2022. All of us have had cause for reflection during the past couple of years. My hope for you is that you make 22 a year of change. It is obvious to all of us now that we need to take better care of the only planet we know of that has pizza, chocolate and beer.

Track us live on the map on Anjea home page.

Much love, Dave.


11 Comments

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    Hi Dave, Lovely to hear from you, and hear that things are going OK. It's been a while and we thought we'd lost touch touch. We sailed Quiet Achiever back to Australia a cupla years ago and sold her. We're now living in the UK and I'm well down the track in getting Residency. The pandemic has mucked up many of our plans but we work with what we've got and are planning more travel in 2022. We have both been to South Africa several times and are familiar with the areas you are about to travel in. Amazing area, great food! Take care in Durban re: robbers! Merel sounds like a lovely companion - lucky you! Are you still in touch with Leslie? Please keep in touch with us. We hope we can meet up again - somewhere. Are you now looking at ways to cross the S. Atlantic? We wish you a happy, healthy and safe New Year, which we all hope will be better than the last! Cheers! Graeme & Sue.

    NOTE: Please change our email address from [email protected] to [email protected]

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    Good to see you so well and back on the water.

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    Very nice to hear from you. Enjoy the trip and I'm looking forward to the next post 🙂

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    Very nice to hear from you. Enjoy the trip and I'm looking forward to the next post 🙂

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    Hi Dave, Great to see Anjea back in the water after all of your hard work. And a really nice way to start 2022.

    Merel is truly a great find and I wish you both many, many happy sailing hours and travels together.

    Wishing you a Very, Very Happy Birthday from Cherryl and I and big hugs.

    Safe sailing and all the best for 2022 and beyond.

    Neville and Cherryl

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    The very best of luck to you for the passage. Good to hear an Irish girl is going to be looking after you!

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    You are underway!
    Wishing you fair winds and good tides.

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    You are underway!
    Wishing you fair winds and good tides.

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    you have passed the cape

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    I am enjoying your stories Dave! Keep going xx

  • Gravatar Image

    I am enjoying your stories Dave! Keep going xx

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