The wind is in from Africa….. (Joni Mitchell)

24 November 2012 (Eastern Hemisphere)

Dear F&F,

Well…it’s been 10,000 miles this season! Wow… Lots to reflect upon.

We arrived here on the 20th in a blustery Northeaster of 20-25 knots. We did see a 38 knot gust here in the harbor at Richard’s Bay on the night of the 21st. We’re all checked in, we have internet and phone. We’ve gotten the boat in the slip where Beach House will be for a few months while I’m back in the UK/USA. Nice to be able to go to a restaurant too!

We’ve found our “boat guy”, Hebron (a local Zulu chap), who works on lots of boats here at Richard’s Bay. Geoff and Chris from “Shambala” highly recommended him.

I was very lucky. AS A COMPLETE COINCIDENCE, the boat across the dock from me had the fuel polisher guys up from Durban today. They only come a few times per year without huge travel fees. $220.00 US later, I’m clean and polished down to 1 micron. What a bonus! They are all about installing the “Algae X” system. I may consider it. The fuel was black for awhile while being polished. Apparently, in either Indonesia or Nose Be (or both?), the fuel companies added paraffin to the fuel. This saves them money, but causes the fuel to turn brown and is not good for the diesels. It has a much heavier smell to it too. So between the water/dirt/paraffin, this may be my “power problem”.

The fuel guys said it could easily cut performance by the 1/3rd I’m seeing. The mechanic wants to check my exhausts on Monday. We may go for a boat ride to see if “Mr. Fuel” made a difference. I still need the alternator fixed and major oil/filter change. I replace the impellers, belts, etc. “Sunflower” got in yesterday noon. And a good thing. It blowing like stink outside right now. This will all be gone when I “go around” the 900 miles to Cape Town in Jan/Feb. They say then, that motoring is just as likely as sailing. Apparently, it’s unusually wet/windy here for this time of year. The sailmaker arrives Monday to take the main and genoa to Durban, they come up here once/week. (Quantum Sails).

We’ll be going 1 hour north to Cape St. Lucia where hippos roam the streets! Upscale town too! Then a Hippo/Croc river tour. Don’t mess with the Hippos or the Cape Buffalo. They kill more people annually than all other animals combined. They are not aggressive and they don’t eat meat. It’s a problem only if you threaten them or scare or corner them. A local up in St. Lucia, recently had his leg taken off by a Hippo whom he startled. They really do roam the streets at Cape St. Lucia, especially around dusk.

After our Monday afternoon and evening at Cape St. Lucia, we’ll drive to Umfolozi Game Park on Tuesday which has everything in terms of animals in high density except big cats. We can easily do the whole place in one day. It’s only an hour and 15 minutes from here. We’ll do Kruger National Park upon return in January. It takes about 3-4 days to do that park. An 8 hours drive each way. It has all the big cats.

We’re cleaning and decommissioning…. Happy Thanksgiving to all in the USA!

KIT, Scott and Naturally Nice Nikki…..:-)

A little bit of stress for the end of the ride…..

19 November 2012 (Eastern Hemisphere now on +2 UTC)

Dear F&F,

We left Linga Linga yesterday morning and had no trouble getting out of the estuary. We headed south into the SSW head wind, but it didn’t seem too bad and we found the current. Unfortunately, we soon lost the current and the seas and wind built right on our nose.

Eventually, we gave up the pounding and headed toward Inhaca. A look at the weather showed we have 48 hours to get to Richard’s Bay if we proceeded, but a few issues have come to light.

First, BOTH engines are only giving us 75% power. I don’t know why? I have changed both sets of filters on both engines and turned on the priming pumps. No more than 2350 on each engine. Second, if we don’t get to Richard’s Bay on this weather window, we might be stuck at Inhaca for a week!

We also have not reacquired the current… Paul Teanby of Peri Peri sent me coordinates and I wrote one down wrong. So, with our course adjustment we should get back into the current in about 5 1/2 hours. My calculations of 6.5 knots gets us to Richard’s Bay well ahead of the weather event. But then Murphy was an optimist!

As long as this engine speed can be maintained we’re good. The wind should start to come back up behind us (currently we have none), late this afternoon. By then, we hope to have found the current and we’ll take it right to the beach. With those to good things hopefully to come, we should be good. Do you hear a little trepidation in my voice?….:-)

Okay, the last 200 miles of the previous 10,000 may be the hardest. Let’s hope not!

KIT, Scott and Watch Commander Nikki

Linga Linga, Mozambique…..

17 November 2012 (Eastern Hemisphere), now UTC+2

Dear F&F,

Ah the best laid plans! We thought it would be easy to anchor at the Light House anchorage here in Inhambane Bay, but no such luck. The NNE at 25 knots makes the anchorage a lee shore and it would be horribly uncomfortable. We have come inside the bay and are anchored here at Linga Linga (which I suspect means long or big tongue). The peninsula we are on looks just like a long tongue. This spot would not be good for a SWesterly, but we’re tucked in close and the winds are supposed to be Southeasterly which we should be okay with. We came in on the rising tide with Des’s waypoints which were spot on. We never saw less than 10 feet (3.1 meters) under the hulls and that was only briefly.

We’re here due to the expected strong Southeastly tonight. It will have solid 25 knots and going directly against the Mozambique current which was 1.5-2 knots outside Inhambane Bay. This same current will give us a great sleigh ride once we get going tomorrow early. The rising tide will be about 1.5 hours before high as we leave this river estuary. We’ve a good track on the chart plotter and expect no dramas… That’s saying a lot on this trip!

Yesterday, we had the STARBOARD engine’s “V” belt brake. No drama replacement and away we went. We still have 3/4th of our fuel tanks full too and 66 liters in reserve.

Once we get going tomorrow, we will make BEST TIME to Richard’s Bay directly and will hopefully be there by the end of Tuesday the 20th. There is expected a much stronger SWesterly on the afternoon of the 21st at Richard’s Bay and we want to be tied to the dock by then!

Hopefully, a nice night’s rest and away we go!

KIT, Scott and Nikki (Welcome to Africa!)