Blue Pearl - South Africa
Blue Pearl arrived in Cape Town, South Africa on Tuesday, November 27th after an exhilarating 900nm, 4.5 day sail from the town of Richards Bay. I should have written about this earlier..!
Of course you can always check my face book page (Ruud Bosman) which will keep you much more current and you get to see some nice pictures too.
In any case, we arrived in Richards Bay Australia from the French island of Reunion which I wrote about before. The sail from Reunion around Madagascar to Richards Bay and then to Cape Town is notorious for its challenging and variable weather and strong and somewhat unpredictable ocean currents.
We found out about those currents...! Going around the south coast of Madagascar we were quite a bit ahead of the fleet but had decided to stay a good distance off-shore. The following day several boats who stayed closer in had passed us as we encountered significant currents going in the wrong direction.
In any case we arrived safely in Richards Bay for our first exposure to South Africa. We were impressed. Everyone was helpful, marine service providers were skillful, stores were plentiful and there was no shortage of anything we needed. There was a spectacular shopping mall, surpassing anything we have experienced in the US.
This Southeastern corner of South Africa is Zulu Country (our marina was called the Zululand marina) and has some beautiful country side to offer, including wild life reserves for safari experiences, ocean facing wetlands with beautiful vegetation and a variety of animals living in the wild, beautiful beach and dunes area and a surf crashing on the beach relentlessly. All very impressive.
And then we left Richards Bay to passage to Cape Town. It's about a 900nm sail through an area where the Indian Ocean and South Atlantic Ocean meet and several hot and cold water currents get together. The most famous one is the Agulhas current which runs to the Southwest at 3-5 knots.
The weather changes almost from day to day and boats typically plan to stop at bays or towns in between to await good weather windows. Most of our fleet did. A nice combination of good planning and some luck allowed Blue Pearl to continue all the way around Cape Agulhas (the most Southerly point of South Africa) and make it all the way to Cape Town without stopping anywhere. We were only one of two boats to do this.
Our average speed over the 4.5 days was just over 8knots, the Agulhas current, which we were able to "ride" for a large part of the passage was obviously a huge help. The worst of the weather we encountered was about 35-40 knots of wind, and pretty wild seas, going around the Cape which lasted for about 6 hours. Blue Pearl did great through all of it.
So, now we are in Cape Town and it is a real joy to be here. A beautiful city with numerous attractions. We are at the V&A marina in the Waterfront neighborhood. Beautiful place. We will be exploring the City and the Country for the next 6 weeks. Laurie is arriving today and Ruud is looking forward to spending some exciting time on land with her after more than a year at sea.
More to follow.