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Rounding the Cape of Storms Previous Log
Date: 22 November 2008 Next Log
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Calm Before the Storms - Last minute preparations for the passage.The Indico Project is complete!

3 months and about 15000 km after squeezing through the Torres Straits, we rounded the Cape of Good Hope on the South African coast and slipped into the lee of Table Mountain. I have now sailed 72% around the world.

The night before, we rounded Cape Agulhas, Africa's southernmost point and the true divider between the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and cool currents of the South Atlantic. That night, during a sudden squall of 25 knots, the water became ablaze, the phosphoresence glowing all around us and illuminating the wave tops, eeiry white horses galloping by in the black night.

Follow me to the cape! Meditation complete, hiking down from Mauritius' highlands back to the boat.A week earlier, we reached the African Continent farther up the coast at Richard's Bay after crossing the Mozambique Channel, which separates Madagascar from Africa. The channel offered up some of the most aggressive sailing one can experience with high winds, huge seas, and salty spray stinging your eyes as it dumped into the cockpit again and again. I wore my foul weather gear for 24 hours straight, spending 12 hours outside in the cockpit, alternating between steering and sail trim, then clambered down the companionway before falling asleep on the floor, fully clothed with not much more than a handful of crackers in my belly.

The Mozambique Channel - Get your game face on!In the delirium, a smile crept over my face. This is the sort of thing we dream of an ocean crossing to be full of, although it rarely happens in this age of minute-by-minute weather forecasting and pinpoint navigation. The smile quickly faded to something a little more slack-jawed and drool-covered. After 4 hours of dreamland, it was back outside to relieve the helmsman and watch the sun rise and take a first glimpse of Africa, a thin but lumpy shadow on the horizon.

An Ocean of Challenges.

A Growler; Always take the approaching wave on an angle, or everyone down in the cabin will get airborne and lose their breakfast.The Ocean has been one of the biggest challenges in my life; somewhat physically but mostly emotionally. The stress of constant travel, confinement, and separation from loved ones wearing me down, but the solace and serenity of the ocean, no matter how rough the weather gets, is a source of comfort. It's familiar now. It's hard to take anything the ocean throws at you personally.

Being at sea changes people. Maybe it's the constant company that makes our tempers run short with eachother. For me, my temper blows when I'm given instructions for mundane jobs. I don't care what the best way to stitch up my underwear is, and I don't care what the consequences are of not doing so - I can live with my mistakes or buy new underwear later.

The Daily Grind - Winching in the Genoa SheetIn fact, one thing I have learnt is that making mistakes and learning from them is one of the finest things in life. I only learnt that from making the mistake of not wanting to make mistakes. Now I make them with zeal!

We came for the Braai!

We are staying in Cape Town until January, a good opportunity to see the countryside and learn more about the cultural struggles that still exist. My partner Alison whom I haven't seen in a year will be visiting for 2 weeks - so I will be in very good company for the holidays. I hope you all are too!

2 Oceans Down!Hopefully I will post a couple more blogs about South Africa before long. I have already seen that this is one of the most fascinating countries on the planet. It is the friendliest place I have experienced, yet still seems remains strongly segregated amongst its citizens. Politically they have achieved great things in the past 15-odd years, but it will take a much longer time to eradicate bigotry and strife. Will they ever?

2 Oceans down, 1 to go! Bring on the Atlantico Project!

Our boat will be crossing across the Atlantic in a race sponsored by Heineken, leaving on January 2.

All the best from Table Bay,

Life Begins at 10 Knots
Sunrise to the East
A new continent to the West..
African Coast at First Light
The Motherland appears on the horizon.
We came for the Braai!
Zulu dancers greet us at the docks in Richard's Bay. Long live Zulu Pride!
Cape of Good Hope
The legendary Cape Point.
All hands on deck!
Rounding the Cape is a team effort. From left: Zach, Cody, Cap't Andreas, and me.
Approaching Cape Town
Table Mountain at Sunset
The view from the yacht club, each night.
Indian Ocean Beard-Growing Contest
The Top Three Participants (aka the only participants - Zach, Clive & Alex) line up for the judges in full plummage.
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