Sunday, December 9, 2012

Durban

My friend Bridget came to Richards Bay (I had been writing Richard's, but I think Richards was actually someone's last name) Nov. 29. The next day we joined Paul, Dino, and Sasha and drove to Hluhluwe/ Umfolozi game reserve where we saw 4 (lions, elephants (enormous ones and baby ones), rhinos, and buffalo, but no leopards) of the "big 5" as well as warthogs, impalas, giraffes, wildebeests, velvet monkeys, baboons, zebras (one with only a stub for a tail, but which he continued to wag to ward off the flies), african hoepoo bird, and possibly hippos among others.  Back in Richards Bay, we managed to get in a couple of surf sessions and frisbee tosses before moving on.

After a meal of curries, including the local specialty, bunny chow (curry in a hollowed out chunk of bread), Twister departed Richard's Bay Wednesday (5 Dec) evening. After tacking for several hours to get around all the ships anchored by the harbor entrance, we set a course for Durban. The Agulhas gave us a boost for awhile and Twister was cruising at 7 to 8.5 knots until we encountered a counter-current and light winds.  Orion and Taurus were standing on their heads (from Bridget's northern hemispherocentric perspective). After many hours of sailing in place, the northeasterlies increased and allowed us to sail 4 to 5 knots against the current.  Bridge baked scones for breakfast.  We saw one albatross and lots of white-chinned petrels.


Andrew and Bridget on top of world cup stadium 
Approaching Durban, we sailed wing and wing until we accidentally backed the mainsail. The boom was held in place by a preventer, but when the wind caught the right side of the sail again, a large hole along a seam was the result. Repeating this procedure more or less tore the sail in two (fortunately along the seam, so it was easy to repair). Durban is Africa’s biggest and busiest port. There were numerous ships anchored off the harbor entrance. Turns out one was not anchored and we had to get out of its way. Once inside, we enjoyed a nice sail (using only the jib as the main was retired) through the calm waters of the harbor. We were approached by water police who instructed us to maintain our course and speed as one of them jumped aboard. Turns out we were not speeding, they just wanted our boat's details. We arrived Bluff Yacht Club at the western end of Durban Harbor ca 28 hours after we departed Richard's Bay. There we saw Imvubu (who I'd met in Rodrigues) and tied up to the same pontoon.  The port of Durban is very industrial, of course, but the waterfront area is lovely. Andrew from the yacht Liquid Blue at Bluff Yacht Club was kind enough to drive us around on a tour of the sights, including his favorite surf breaks (which we surfed) and the stadium built for the soccer world cup.

Today is Sunday the 9th of December and the forecast looks good to move on to East London or Port Elisabeth tomorrow morning. Should be a 3-day sail.

Photos from South Africa.

3 comments:

  1. Nice....I remember liking Durban..kind of like Gotham City on the beach. Surfed the piers(Dairy?) and the breaks just North of Cave Rock were super good when I was there...stoked for you...hope you get a chance to surf J-Bay on your way south. Got your post card...awesome...

    Al and Halleh

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