October 28, 2015

Sailing to South Africa

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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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope you make it in this weekend, because Monday does not look good along that coast. Sorry there is no real Halloween for you if you make it in tonight. I hope to visit you in Cape Town, if you are there in January and/or February. My home town is East London, and while not the most attractive city, if you have to duck in there to avoid a SWester, the river mouth harbor is very safe and there is a small yachting community. Please visit the Natural history museum there to see the original coelacanth, plus an early therapsid, and early human foot prints, among many other things. If you can tolerate visiting zoos, they sometimes have lion cubs that you can play with. And the aquarium used to have a good seal show. Hugh