Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The new stadium from the water. 
Just so you know that cruising is not all fun and games I will give you an idea of the last few days in Durban.  The marina is full and the holding in the anchorage is not great. In South Africa at this time of year there are systems that come out of the southern oceans, they roar around the Cape of Good Hope and up the east coast.  It is very important to time your voyages so  that you are not caught in the Aguallas current which flows south along the east coast when there is a big south westerly blowing. Wind against current is just ugly  and you get choppy short seas, 20 meter waves have been recorded on this coast.  We have been stuck at anchor in a poor anchorage for over a week.  There were 17 boats stuck, in a small space, so boats are closer than normal and the anxiety level is ratcheted up.  One boat was continually dragging, we think his anchor was not big enough.  One day he left his boat and it started dragging backwards onto another yacht whose the owner was also ashore.  Four boatloads of cruisers got together and we had 2 dinghies on the back moving the boat forward, another dinghy with the biggest motor to push the bow back and forth. when the wind caught it. and there were 2 men on the bow pulling up the anchor.  We re-anchored it, saved it from a collision.  Thank heaven the dragger found an spot to tie up in a marina 10 miles up the river and left the 
Durban's Convention Centre
The next day the wind really kicked up and we were stuck on the boats.  The boat beside us had a lot of windage and in the gusts, which were up to 50 knots he would veer sideways in an alarming manner and head towards us. His dinghy was tied up on the back and looked like it would take off, the whole front of the dingy was out of the water only the heavy motor at the back was stopping it from flipping.  Barry sat up on deck for 4 hours from 1700 to 2100 in the rain and wind watching to make sure we weren't going to drag.  We only had about 20 meters of good water behind us, so if the anchor let go we would have had to be very quick to get the engine going before we went aground. The wind just howled in the rigging and the boat would heal over in the gusts, that had never happened at anchor before. That was the second blow we had experienced in 4 days.  
Very interesting mural
Yesterday a whole bunch of boats left for points south.  It was very disheartening for me to watch everyone leave.  Barry did not think we could make the next anchorage before another southwesterly would hit.  We got a break though, a space at the marina opened up due to all the boats leaving and we are now tied up to the dock.  Tagish is tied up beside us and tomorrow we are heading up to the Drakensburg mountains to do some hiking and sight seeing.  We couldn't leave the boat before because to the danger of dragging.  There is supposed to be another window opening at 0200 on Sat. morning so hopefully it will stay open and we can head south soon.