Cape Town and off to Luderitz, Namibia….yet again!

Cape Town and off to Luderitz, Namibia….yet again!
May 18th, 2013 (Eastern Hemisphere)

We were able to get out of the V&A Marina on the 0930 bridge openings. There are two there. The Bascule (which in French means draw bridge) and the Swing Bridge. This is a long walkway that is spun 90 degrees along it\’s entire length to open. The tourists waved, so did we and with a call to Cape Town Port Control said our good byes.

Now, I\’m back tracking a bit as I forgot to put this in the blog where we left Cape Town the first time.
Every time I undertake a long voyage, I either have the rig (mast, boom and all it\’s wires) professionally inspected or do it myself. I always however like a second set of eyes on it. When in Indonesia last year, friend John Wolstenhome of \”Mr. John VI\” took a look and gave me a good report.

As we were about to leave on a 5000 mile (7500 km) trip, I has Associated Rigging do the inspection. They found a small crack in our staysail tang aloft. I\’ll put it in the photo log when I catch up. Anyway, they fixed it and we were then … good to go. Unfortunately due to our steering failure and \”boom, boom\” we had to return. I thought Associated did a great job the first time and was happy to have them do the boom repairs when we returned.

Yesterday was a typical get away day. Everything was ready to go. HOWEVER, the day before was anything but. I have rarely come across Immigration officials who are an intentional pain in the rear; but we found her…

When Nikki and I went to clear Immigration, she asked us where the boat was? Our clearance paper said, the \”V&A Waterfront\”. She informed us we needed to move the boat 3,000 meters to be \”inside\” the Port Authority or she couldn\’t check us out. No one has been told this in years! She wouldn\’t budge. Now it sounds easy enough to move the boat but think it through. Power cords, water disconnects, all the dock lines, two bridges (each way!) and negotiating a small tight anchorage and docks at the Royal Cape Town Yacht Club. And, we weren\’t their slip tennant, so we would have had to A) Find a space which is very tight there and B) Pay fees, etc. C) NOT be able to go back to the V&A. Hence, this was no small matter and would have taken most of the day.

The Marina Mgr at the RCYC was very creative and assured Immigration that we were \”too large\” for their current dock space (which was true BTW!) and is why we were at the V&A. \”Oh, she said, if they\’re too big for your docks, then we\’re allowed to clear them\”. This wasted about 3 hours and several layers of stomach lining. The day before we leave on a long trip is like getting the Space Shuttle ready. One hick-up and your aborted for who knows how long? Remember: Winter is Coming and we had a weather window issue. Further, Immigration should have cared less where the boat was; it\’s Customs who want to be able to inspect if they want too. They almost NEVER do. This was a first for the V&A management. They say, they\’ll try and get it fixed. Another boat we know came in the Immigration office right behind us. They were 60 miles north of Cape Town. Guess what they got told! They are still there as I write and will be for at least another 7-10 days now due to the weather. This is the kind of stuff that makes cruising unpleasant and it was totally a power play and as they say in the UK; \”Jobs-worthiness\”….. Nuff said…

We had lovely weather for our departure and from Dessen Island (about 35 miles north of Cape Town), we sailed all night in 10-15 knots of wind. We gave it up once we could no longer maintain 5 knots boat speed. The swell is up due to big Southern Ocean storms, but fortunately, they are not near us! US Sailing Vessel \”OZ\”, Steve and Pat are about a half day ahead of us. We made first contact this morning with the SAM HAM Net which assists we boaters in weather across the Atlantic. Once across the pond, we\’ll be able to get the Maritime Mobile Nets which will do the same from the other side.

So, we\’re back to motoring for the moment, expect to be in Luderitz on Tuesday afternoon….
I think I hear a song?….:-)
Scott and Nikki