If you asked us six years ago if South Africa (or Madagascar, Comoros, Seychelles, Chagos or the Maldives) were part of our cruising plans we wouldn't have been sure. For many of us out here this is the ocean we never planned to cross. The Suez canal through to the Med was easier and more alluring (and for Europeans which make up a hefty percentage of IO sailors-it's more direct). But then, pirates. And the decision got tougher.
But we crossed (almost: knock on wood, make a sacrifice to Tiki, get those bananas eaten...) And now I get to contemplate South Africa.
We're about 1/3 of the way to Richard's Bay. Aside from the first squally night (40 knots out of a little cloud, surprise!) It's been mellow enough. Charlie is out of hiding and the meals I prepared before setting off are being consumed.
While we've had some bumpy and uncomfortable moments we've also been blessed with a bright full moon and clear skies.
So it was sobering when just south of Madagascar a boat was lost while we were sailing along. Fortunately, like the other for boats lost this season, the crew of two was rescued by a passing container ship.
Still it reminds us why we were wary of this ocean. And why so many boats chose pirates over potential storms this year. It will be a great thing to have the Suez canal become a safe route for cruising boats again one day. But with a few hundred Indian Ocean miles to go I'm grateful that circumstance sent us here.
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