Our BPO schedule says we depart Cape Town Saturday, and we’re almost sticking to it. Surprisingly, we are told that the clearance process is easier on Sunday, so we plan to leave Sunday morning.
I have mixed feelings about moving on. Of course, as always, I look forward to continuing the voyage, reeling off some miles, getting into the life-at-sea rhythm. But it is very pleasant here in Cape Town. The yacht club facilities (hot showers, Internet, restaurant, laundry, and water/electricity at the dock) are top notch. Everyone is friendly, and we’ve made some new friends. The exchange rate makes things very affordable for us. It seems that you can get anything done/made for a boat, and done/made well. Why go anywhere else?
The boat I owned 30 years ago was built here. Atlantic 42’s (our current boat) used to be built here. The popular Leopard catamarans commonly offered by Moorings and Sunsail charter companies are built here. In fact, their builder, Robertson and Caine, turns out four of them every week. This is a serious yachting centre. The boats at the yacht club don’t just sit and go nowhere. (Well, some do, of course.) There are races every Wednesday and Friday evening, and a constant stream of events at the club.
And where to go…? We got our Brazilian visas, no problem (other than the high cost), and of course we will sail to St Helena and Brazil. But many people have told us of the wonders of Walvis Bay, Namibia, 700 miles north of here. It isn’t exactly on the way to St Helena, but it isn’t terribly far out of the way either. If we go there we would want to stay several days, because the cool stuff requires a tour ashore. All told it might add a week to our itinerary. We could do that, and still arrive in Brazil by the time I promised Liam and Nora…
In response to a comment posted by a certain cousin of mine, I want to assure you that I have been swabbing the deck, at least figuratively. Scrubbing the growth off the waterline (too cold here to get in the water and clean the whole bottom). Removing a faulty relay for the wind generator, and installing a new switch in its place. Going to the rope factory where they sell remnants and loading up on new lines at fabulous prices. (Three of the “remnants” I bought are 80 feet long! I felt like a kid in a candy store, and if there is time I may go back for a third visit.) Meeting with our diesel mechanic almost every morning to take the next troubleshooting step. (Still have troubles, but hopefully it will serve well enough.) Getting the standing rigging inspected, and following up on replacing some damaged parts (which had to be fabricated, and we just got them today…whew!). Installing the new motor for our windlass. Fixing the corroded wiring on an engine stop solenoid. Stocking up with diesel and propane. Replacing a broken hinge on our table. Etc. Always more to do.
Two days ago we went to a trendy restaurant for dinner with a college buddy of Bill Hickson. Too much great food and drink…I felt lousy in the morning and spent a large part of the day asleep, while Nora and Liam went on a wine tour. Today we shifted into preparation mode. We need to provision for about four weeks, which for us is a challenge both in planning and execution. We ordered frozen meats from a wholesaler, to be picked up tomorrow. Then spent a couple hours filling three shopping carts at the supermarket (and getting a checkout line opened for us, and a lift in their van to get all the food back to the yacht club). One of the mechanics offered to take us tomorrow to a fresh produce market, which we may do even though we bought most of what we need at the supermarket. Besides picking up our meats tomorrow, and maybe going back to the rope/candy store, we are nearly ready. Settle bills, do laundry, fill water tanks, finish stowing everything, watch the weather, and…determine where we are going!