Category Archives: 9. Indian Ocean
Into the Atlantic!
I knew I would be excited to pass Cape Agulhas and cross the imaginary line between the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic, but when we actually did it I was “pumped!” The sailing conditions were super. We were flying along at 9 knots with the big spinnaker up. And as we crossed that line we also turned north, back toward the sun and the tropics, for the first time since Sumatra. Yeah! Whales were spouting in the distance, adding flavor.
We had a little ceremony to mark the milestone. Three Ships Scotch was tasted and offered to the sea. One could say that the major ocean milestones of this voyage are the Panama Canal, Thursday Island where we left the Pacific for the Indonesian seas, the Straits of Malacca where we transitioned to the Indian Ocean, and here — transitioning to the South Atlantic and also being our furthest point south of the whole voyage. Making the turn north makes my heart sing, a verse about the warm sailing that lies ahead, a verse about heading towards home.
The sail to Mosselbaai (Mossel Bay) was pleasant. We weren’t racing to get in before dark, or before a front came through. We are now in a pleasant marina, with floating docks and water/electricity available. Once again we are inside a fenced-in port, and have to pass through a gate to get out and in. But the town is very accessible and pleasant and, we’re told, safe. It is a touristy/resorty area. It is considered “Western Cape,” even though we are still on the Indian Ocean side of Cape Agulhas. The white people here speak Afrikaans.
The first evening here all three crews ate at the Yacht Club, and hovered around the showers and wifi. But since then we’ve been walking around town a lot, and finding other places to eat (including a very nice beef/broccoli curry on the boat, thanks to Nora). Tonight we splurged a little, and went to a sushi and oyster bar that was very nice. We followed that with a movie on the boat, which has been a common evening activity for us of late.
Just up the road is the Batolomeu Diaz Museum. Diaz was the first European to sail around the Capes, attempting to reach India. He sailed here in 1488. A replica of one of his vessels was built in Portugal and sailed here, where it is now on display in the museum. Great fun to go aboard and check out its interesting rig, and to imagine sailing aboard (with a crew of 33). I understand why early explorers found this area to be almost impassable, and in fact it is amazing they managed to round the Capes at all with no weather router or weather tracking ability, and no charts, and no knowledge of where shelter could be found ahead. Sailors today have it so easy!
Did lots of cleaning on the boat yesterday, which feels good. Also bought huge chocolate chip cookies yesterday, which feels good. I’m feeling more and more “arrived.” Not yet certain exactly what this feeling is…but I’m just being here…not perseverating about the weather window…we will get to Cape Town soon enough…but it’s not just getting around the Cape…I’m being more content on the boat…more comfortable with my own ability to voyage…to be the master of my vessel. The last day on the way here we were a dozen miles ahead of Tahawus…it was a rare pleasant sailing day…I decided to change course to go closer to the coast to see more of the scenery…let Tahawus sail on past us…no need to rush, no need to arrive first…I enjoyed both the side trip and the laid back feeling, which has not been present much since, well, since Cocos Keeling, months back.
Just got the report from our weather router…that there is a very favorable pattern starting tomorrow afternoon, with plenty of time for us to get to Cape Town. It being so nice here, we considered letting this window pass and waiting for the next one. But we need to get our Brazilian visas handled at the Consulate in Cape Town. So the plan is to leave around 3pm, with the expectation of arriving in Cape Town Wednesday.