Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Soft Landing on Africa!

South Africa! We made it!
Dennis has always said from the beginning of this adventure that if we landed softly on Africa, we could consider ourselves adequate sailors. So we are now ADEQUATE!

We made it to South Africa with the Chesapeake Bay, North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, Panama Canal, Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean, Coral Sea, Tasman Sea, Great Barrier Reef, Straits of Torres, Gulf of Carpentaria, Arafura Sea, Timor Sea, Flores Sea, Savu Sea, Java Sea, the Mozambique Channel and the Indian Ocean behind us! Whoo Hoo!

We arrived in Richards Bay just before the weather changed.
The crossing was relatively easy compared to what we had expected. Everyone told us how awful it was going to be with confused seas and horrendous waves and swells. We were warned of suddenly appearing gale force winds and big storms. Fortunately, we only had a couple of really head-in-the-bucket type days out of eight days.

Actually, we ended up motor-sailing more than we wanted because we had a very short weather window. The weather service predicted a gale hitting Richards Bay, SA around 1800 on Saturday. We got into the harbor midday and were secured in our slip before the weather turned.

We are following the WARC staff boat through the channel.
Typical of weather forecasts, it didn't come to fruition at the intensity predicted. That was a good thing! It did blow hard and rained, but we never saw the hail. The locals were very worried about a hail storm since one had done extensive damage nearby so they were telling us to get in our boats and check our lines, etc. They were leaving early to go home before the storm.

I guess if you come from Michigan, one doesn't get too excited about hail, wind, rain, snow, etc. Nor do we believe the forecasts to be 100% accurate. That is not saying that we are lacks in our planning regarding the weather, though. We do respect Mother Nature and her powerful forces - especially on the high seas.

Zululand Yacht Club
For the present, it is good to be in Africa. There is so much to explore and learn here. We have several trips and a big safari planned. And we are looking forward to the vibrant city of Cape Town. And there is only one more big ocean to cross: the South Atlantic. Actually, the roughest sailing has been in the North Atlantic so we still have to face that before we get back to Maryland.

Our arrival at Richards Bay was relatively uneventful. The entrance to the Zululand Yacht Club is tricky so we had to wait for the Yellow Shirt staff  to guide us into the marina. As always, we had a wonderful greeting by the locals. And our welcome gift was a bottle of Champagne  - or correctly name "bubbly" since it is not from France.

Now that we are looking at the last few months of this journey back to St. Lucia, we are feeling somewhat bittersweet. While looking forward to returning to family and friends, the idea of leaving the sailing behind and selling S/V Trillium makes us sad. But we have other things we want to do and S/V Trillium is a wonderful blue water boat who needs to go to sea again.

I always look like the Wreck of the Hesperus when we
arrive in port, but the bottle of bubbly will make it a
non-issue! Where is the straw? Do I have to share-really?

Of course, our other concern is how will it feel to be back on land. We are not the same people we were when we left the shores of Maryland over three years ago. Where do we want to live? Where do we travel next? How do we find a comfortable place in a community? So many questions to consider over the next year.

All of the Captains and crews were happy to be on land!

A BBQ here is called a Braai. It is very heavy on the meats.
We would call it a mixed grill: beef, lamb, game, and, of
course a variety of the South African sausages. Great flavors!

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