Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Cape Point from  the sea
Cape Point from the land
Cape of Good Hope from the sea
Cape of Good Hope from the land

 We are officially around the Cape of Good Hope!!  It is one of the five great capes in the world, the others being Cape Horn, Cape Leeuwin (in south western Australia), South East Cape (Tasmania) and the South West Cape (off Stewart Island in New Zealand).  As I was goggling the names of the capes I came across this quote from Bernard Moitessier, a great French sailor, it says it all. 
A sailor's geography is not always that of the cartographer, for whom a cape is a cape, with a latitude and longitude. For the sailor, a great cape is both a very simple and an extremely complicated whole of rocks, currents, breaking seas and huge waves, fair winds and gales, joys and fears, fatigue, dreams, painful hands, empty stomachs, wonderful moments, and suffering at times.
A great cape, for us, can't be expressed in longitude and latitude alone. A great cape has a soul, with very soft, very violent shadows and colours. A soul as smooth as a child's, as hard as a criminal's. And that is why we go.

Our trip around the cape was very successful.  We left early in the morning and rounded the Cape at dawn.  We had to beat into the wind and waves for 10 miles so we motored, at the Cape there were very confused seas.  We were quite close and at one point the cockpit was covered in water and Barry and I were soaked.  As soon as we good we rolled our the genoa and were so flying northward at over 8 knots.  
Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope are very close together, in the past it was called the Cape of Storms until it was renamed when De Gama, a Portuguese sailor, discovered the sea route to India, when it was renamed the Cape of Good Hope.  The wind steadily died and I convinced Barry to bring out the spinnaker for about an hour then we motored until the breeze picked up in the late morning. I thought a pod of dolphins had come to visit but it turned out it was fur seals leaping out of the waves, we had to dodge the kelp beds and later on the dolphins came chattering around the boat.  
View from the boat as we sailed into Cape Bay.
 We sailed past the Cape Town coast, it was truly spectacular. Sydney Harbour in Australia was the most beautiful harbour I have seen but I must say Cape Town has the most stunning setting for a city I have seen yet.  The coast line is very rugged and homes are built up the sides of the mountains.  There are beautiful sandy beaches scattered along the coast, but the water is cold and at times great white sharks make their presence known. 
A "table" cloth forming, the view from our boat!!
We drove out to the National Park that encompasses the capes.  Brian and Dorothy from Tagish had rented a car and very kindly offered to take us out there, if you come this way it is an experience not to be missed.  
Proof I was at the Cape of Good Hope.
Some of the interesting flora in the park. 

We are busy working on the boat again,  I borrowed a heat gun the other day and was very enamoured with the ease at which I could get the old varnish off.  I want to get at least 7 coats on before we set off.  Today it is raining so it is a write off in the varnishing department.  We are getting itchy feet and are ready to go.  We hope to get out to Robben Island to see where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for so many years before we leave and there may be a peak that needs climbing.