Touring Simon\’s Town & Cape Town, South Africa…..
February 18-24th, 2013 (Eastern Hemisphere)
After our lovely greeting by the cruising community to assist our docking at False Bay Yacht Club, we were moved over to the inner wide berths for multihulls. This was a mixed blessing. It did get us out of a lot of the wind, but the surge was legendary. It was THE surgy-est dock I\’ve ever been at and that includes when Cindy and I were in Puerto Vallarta. (Skye will remember from her visit!). The upshot of all this, was in our roughly two weeks there, three dock lines were either so badly damaged as to have to be replaced. One actually snapped. Well…they are nine years old.
We hired a car and set off for Cape Point and it\’s better known twin, The Cape of Good Hope. The Cape of Good Hope is considered to be one of the \”5 Great Capes of the Southern Ocean\” and will be the only one I\’ll actually go around. They are all noted for their potential rough weather; Cape Horn at the tip of South America, being the most notable.
It was a very dramatic area and had monuments to both Vasco de Gama and Bartholomew Diaz. Diaz was the first European navigator to actually get around the Cape of Good Hope. The \”Cake of Good Soap\” as it\’s known locally is also called the \”Cape of Storms\” for the violent winter storms that can come out of the Southern Ocean. South of here, there\’s nothing but Antarctica. The views were dramatic at Cape Point (Diaz Point), but the more well known Cape of Good Hope was almost a bit of a disappointment. A photo would speak 1000 words and of course as you all know, I\’ll be posting photos!…..one day…:-) There are lots of Baboons in this area of the country and a beach which has 100\’s of African Penguins. We enjoyed it all.
The next day, Alexandra and I did the gorgeous \”Chapman\’s Peak Drive\”. It\’s only 7 miles, but rivals the Pacific Coast Highway of Northern California in it\’s sheer beauty. The \”drive\” is well maintained and has precarious vertical sides with chain linked rock fence to protect the cars and people against the non stop rock rain from above.
There are men who\’s job is to do nothing, but pick up the rocks that get through the barriers. One section has an incredible \”cut out\” right into the mountain. It\’s sort of three sides of a tunnel wrapped around you with the view off to \”The Sentinel\” in Houk\’s Bay and Atlantic Ocean. We stopped along the way and took lots of photos and enjoyed the pure scenic beauty of it. Again, the famous 1000 words by a few photos. After the end of the drive we came upon the road up to the cable car at Table Mountain. This we would save for tomorrow as today we went to the V & A (Victoria and Alfred) Waterfront Marina and Mall.
The V&A is a nice, (COMFORTABLE NO SURGE) marina. It is \”USA Prices\” as to staying here. The mini mega yachts of Cape Town all live here and it really isn\’t very big. We had a lovely lunch at the Bascule Restaurant and met with the Marina staff to let them know when I\’d be bringing the boat around from Simon\’s Town (about a 50 mile trip). The marina setting is spectacular in that the entire marina is surrounded by multimillion dollar town homes with incredible views; most notably, \”Table Mountain\”. It\’s also nice to have the view of the harbor (commercial and tourist boats) as well as very easy access to the V&A Mall which \”has it all\”. Very up market, lots of nice restaurants, etc.
The next day, Alexandra and I drove around the southeast side of Table Mountain and went to the base of the mountain to take the cable car to the top. First, it was another beautiful, clear day. Second, it was PACKED with people. This is considered one of the \”new seven natural wonders\” of the world. It is South Africa\’s most visited tourist destination. Parking was a nightmare and while Alexandra was in the queue to get on the cable car she was stung by a bee. She is mildly allergic, so we weren\’t sure how she would be, but tough as ever, she rallied. No anaphylaxis which of course is the big concern, but she did get a bit dizzy. NOT like Alexandra!….to be \”dizzy\” that is.
The cable car itself is very much like the one in Palm Springs, California. It rotates 360 degrees as it goes to the top, carries about 60 people for the 4-5 minute ride. The view on the way up and from the top is nothing short of breathless. Once at the top, we had a small snack at the restaurant and went to walk the trails and see the views. You can see from the airport in the Northeast to False Bay in the Southeast and all the way around the clock. Hout Bay (where Chapman\’s Peak Drive is) is viewable with the spectacular peaks above it known as the \”12 Apostles\”. Think sheer vertical cliffs running down to the sea. For the adventurous, you can walk (more like scramble) up the trail which takes between 2-4 hours depending on your fitness. The nice thing is, you can then ride the car back down!
Alas, all good things must end and Alexandra would be off to the UK for a new job assignment. Doing secret projects for the UK Government. She could have told me, but then she\’d have had to kill me. At least this way she\’ll have a boat to possibly return to one day!….:-)
I drove Alexandra to the airport we had a big hug goodbye and we\’ll definitely stay in touch. She was great crew, company and a fine chef!…. I\’ll remember our 1000 mile sail together round the bottom of Africa forever….
Scott awaiting Nikki to arrive tomorrow…..