A Sailing Adventure...
       Last Updated: 2019-10-23


                                           Durban to Bazaruto
Durban to Inhaca               Sun 13th – Wed 16th June 2010
Sunday 13th June 2010. We planned to leave at 08h00 but as we prepared Catatude’s Instruments the Navnet, autopilot and guages were not working. Iain from HQ Simegeror who came to see us off, helped Kev and finally Kev called Vee the Pertec technician on his personal cell and he came out to Catatude (can you believe it, there are still some dedicated people out there) and by 12h30 we were working and back on track.
Bongani (our boat washer and do whatever is needed helper) and Mandla (the chap who dived under the boat to ensure there were no barnacles or growth under the boat or on the props, depth sensor, speed sensor and forward looking sonar) waved us off and helped us slip our lines.
I called Durban Port control on channel 9, they had our flight plan and clearance on file, were very pleasant, and even wished us a good trip. It took us 40 mins to exit Durban harbour, behind a huge container ship and tug. 
We cleared the breakwater wall and put up the sails, and started on our adventure. We received many phone calls of well wishes from family and friends.
We settled down and passed the time chatting, reading and taking it easy. Just outside Ballito, Kev caught his first fish, a beautiful yellow fin tuna. We let her go as our freezers were full to the brim. He was very chuffed with himself. Sunday evening we took turns on watch and watched the soccer on TV after dinner. Well done, Germany, I wore the colours!
Around this time the dreaded sea sick monster decided to show his head. I spent the next 24 hours sleeping for 40 mins, leaning over the back transom rail for 10 minutes, and 10 minutes lounged in the cockpit for fresh air. I felt so bad for Kev, because I could see he needed sleep badly. I managed the 3am to 6am shift, so that he could sleep (at least my vomѐ spot on the transom was close by and the fresh air hatch provided some relief). Thank Goodness, for Woolies heat ’n eat they saved Kevin.
Monday came and with it the winds had picked up and brought rough waves. We had the wind from the front (northerly) at 20 knots and the current from the front at 2 knots, with the result steep swells with cresty tops to cross. We (or should I say Kevin) got through the next 24 hours and on Tuesday morning he was waiting with a stugeron tablet, Rehydrate in rooibos tea and marmite provita. He forced me to finish them and then voila within 1 hour I was right as rain.
We passed a shipwreck that we had flown over 4 years ago when we did the Gyro circumnavigation around SA. We were now seeing it from the seaside.
The weather was getting worse and we decided to head for the anchorage at Inhaca as a possible bolthole. The seas were monsterous, 40 to 45 Knots of wind and 6 to 8 meter swells with breaking tops. The wind changed to southerly (from behind) and we were averaging 10 knots. We slowed the motors down put up a small sail for steering, and Kev assisted the autopilot through the deep troughs and over the crests. Holy smoke, this is as close to hell as one can get.
By now we had just entered into Mozambican waters and Kev hoisted their flag (above our SA flag) as required. We passed the next few hours watching the huge waves encircle us as Catatude plowed through them without missing a beat. I must say that even though it was not a great position to be in I never once felt as if the boat couldn’t handle the rough seas or that we were in any danger of sinking at any time. I was however, exceptionally grateful that we were not in a monohull.
I told Kev that I had given up my cushy day job for this! We both just laughed.
At the southern tip of Inhaca, we were called on the radio by Yacht Gazza (who was our neighbour at Durban). The were on their way back to Durban and were caught in the same southerly gale. They confirmed our decision to tuck in behind the lighthouse for shelter.
Sunset was due at 17h05 so our priority was to try and get to the northern tip of Inhaca whilst there was still daylight so that we could anchor in 3m off the lighthouse and not get stuck on any sandbanks or coral reefs. Catatude was flying even with bare poles and we turned the corner after the shipwreck, and headed to the 3meter depth. We dropped anchor as the sun disappeared and although rolly, the seas were flatter and the wind was now behind the mountain giving us protection.
We settled down to a home cooked meal, hot shower and after phoning home on the sat phone, slept like babies.
We will spent Wednesday doing odd chores, filling the diesel tanks, getting a newsletter done, tidying up and regaining our strength. It is gloriously warm here although the wind is chilly.
Our plan is to move on tomorrow, once the seas have settled towards Inhambane.
Tonight we braai.
Luv L
Inhaca Island - Mozambique                Thursday 17th – Friday 18th June 2010
It seems we are to stay at Inhaca a few days longer, because of the weather and we plan to leave for Bazaruto on Saturday morning.
So, at anchor, and two full days off,  I assumed the routine would be something like : sleep late, have a lazy breakfast, sit in the sun room and read emails, lounge around reading, watch the soccer matches on TV, late lunches, feed the fish around the boat, afternoon power naps, sundowners at five on the trampoline and fancy dinners. 
Was I in for a rude awakening !    I can’t believe how often you have to wash dishes. You also have to make the bed, sweep the floor, wipe the counters, hang the towels outside to dry, constantly put things away. And all this without appliances? No dishwasher, no washing machine, no vacuum cleaner, no Gladys! 
I got through day one and thought, well, how hard can it be?, a bit of tidying up here an there, make the bed, wash a few dishes and then the day's your own and it wasn’t too bad. But then, on day two, I did all that and then I looked at the washing pile and suddenly I felt sea sick all over again. So much washing for so few days?
I broke down, (well my choice was dirty washing or dirty washing) and did the washing  by hand! And there’s an art (which I have yet to master) to balancing on a deck, holding pegs in your mouth, shaking out  and putting wet clothes over a thin rail in the wind, and then pegging it down before it blows off and into the sea. At least you get that satisfying feeling of “I got you” once the peg has pinned the washing onto the rail and is safely secure.
Thank goodness Kevin does the cooking! Imagine that, if I had to cook, we would be waif thin. Food is just not that important to me. When is someone going to invent the ‘take a pill meal’? Please hurry.
I know you are all laughing because I’m more of a corporate type girl than a housewifey type girl, and I bet you can't even imagine me doing these chores but sometimes you just got to go with the flow. So that’s my plan. I’m really making it out to be rather extreme, but for me its a big adaption. We will get past this small hurdle.
I’ve been thinking about my beautiful spoilt puppies, Salty an Pepsi. They would have been so sea sick in the past week and being tied down to anchor for 3 days they would have been very restless and unhappy. We made the right decision leaving them at Mom. Thanks Mom, I know you will give them as much love as I would have, if not more.
We have 2 neighbours at our anchorage. Two small fishing boats which came at the same time we did. I just feel so bad for them. They are full (at least 8 or 10 persons aboard) and they have a tiny single cabin. How have they survived with regards to water, food and shelter? Here I am moaning about washing and they have no washing to do! Its a wake up call.
Well, I’m quite excited to move to a new place to hang my washing up in, so I will write again in a day or two.
Were hoping for fair winds and calm sea’s.
Missing you all a lot (especially you Gladys)
Luv L
Inhaca to Bazaruto Island
Saturday 18th June 2010 to Tuesday 22 June 2010
This is what sailing is supposed to be. Plodding along a beautifully flat smooth sea with just enough wind to keep you cool, in the 26 deg temp.
At 08h30 we lifted anchor, as did our fishermen neighbours, and proceeded North. Up went the sails and we were on our way.
I got chastised for fooling around, laughing and being silly when we were putting the screecher up and for not taking the ‘sailing part seriously enough’. Hame, get it together girl.
We had lunch, and just as Kev was settling down to a power nap (yes, you get to do that whilst on passage, because of the night shifts) both the Fishing rods went zzzzzzzzzzzing. He jumped up, grabbed the one rod and screamed Mahi-Mahi, get the other rod.
I kept repeating “shame, you have to let them go”, while struggling to reel in the other rod. Well it all happened so fast, within a few minutes the beautiful Dorado was at the foot of the boat. Me yelling shame, shame and Kevin panting as the fish fought capture. I lost the fish on my rod (lets just stick to that) and got the video rolling. Kev promised to let him go. He was too fast, slippery and wriggly for a photo, anyway so Kev let him go. Thank goodness. Then the other rod went zing, and it all started over, but this time the other Dorado got free. They are beautiful fish, but I have always been against eating, catching or killing Dorado because  they mate for life. So if you catch one, the other is in the near vicinity and will follow its mate, and that’s when you are bound to catch the second. Think about that before you next eat Dorado! See the video (sorry about the quality).
We had an ebb current (one that flows in a circular route close to the coastline as opposed to against you) of 2 knots assisting us and with a bright moon which reflected in silver off the sea. It illuminated the horizon and we were averaging 8 knots.
The rod went again just after dinner and a small Skip Jack was caught and released.
We have decided to do 3 hourly shifts in the evenings, which is working well. I get to do the 3 to 6am sunrise shift which is very pleasant but the 9 to midnight shift is harder because ’magies vol, oogies toe’ effect sets in.
Our water maker is working like a champion and I get to shower as long as I like. We average about 200l per day. Sorry Ron, you must be disgusted, because you taught us to always, conserve water incase the water maker packs-up. To put your mind at rest we have two water maker’s onboard.
On Sunday, at breakfast I brought out the gifts the girls had given me for Kevin and we had a fathers-day brunch. He was quite tickled that he as out in the middle of nowhere and yet he could still celebrate fathers-day. Needless to say the Sat phone was very busy that day. I phoned home and wished my Dad, and confirmed that he had received the gift I had pre-booked for delivery with Net-Gifts before I left Jo’burg (one of the chores, on my list). We also had several dolphin and a whale drop in to say hello. If you look carefully at this photo, the dolphin has a fish in his mouth.
On Sunday at 18h00 the seas became lumpy and ugly, the moon disappeared and the wind picked up to 18 knots. It’s scary sailing at night when there is no moon and you have to put 100% trust in your instruments.
We watched the Soccer on TV between and Brazil and CoteD’Ivor and Italy v New Zealand. The saloon (a boat’s family room) is very, comfortable and the TV picture quality is excellent. The TV dish and decoder setup (you need 2) was one of the good investments we have made. Its not cheap but it keeps you in touch with the ’real world’.
I think I am part of the Bermuda triangle thing, because I was sitting comfortably on my late evening shift, bopping to the tunes on my ipod,  Genoa up (front  sail) scooping the 15knots of wind from behind, when suddenly the cross track error alarm went off (means the autopilot is confused and is basically crossing your planned path and if you are sailing close to the shore, like we were, you could now be sailing directly for land!).  The wind speed alarm went off and started flashing 58,2knots madly. Being the calm collected person that I am, I started trying to cancel all the alarm noise and Red warning bars on Navnet so that I could consider my options rationally. But they just kept coming back. I disabled the autopilot and tried to steer back on track manually. I cancelled going to the next waypoint and redid the goto waypoint. (computers also have bad days!) Nothing worked and the shore was getting closer (you cannot see it at night but the picture on your screen shows your boat heading directly for land.
Time to call in the big guns I thought. I went to wake Kevin and as calmly as I could not wanting to frighten him, said ’lovie, an alarm is going off and I can’t switch it off’. I rushed back to the helm and waited for him to come. I don’t know what he did but within minutes we were back on track. A gust had come up and fluck us sideways! (Fluck is my own word, past tense of flick).  A 58.2knot gust. Have you ever? In the middle of nowhere!  I had managed to find a small ’moz (Bermuda)triangle’. We dropped the Genoa and sat watch together for the rest of the shift. The rest of the night we dodged squalls that appeared on our radar.
The question is why on my shift ? God makes them and they pick me!
On Monday, we did the calculations and planned to pull out all the stops to reach Bazaruto by sunset at 17h10 so that we could have a good nights rest at anchor. We had more than enough fuel as we had been very conservative up to now, only running one engine at a time, if we needed to motor. Averaging 8 knots an hour Catatude covered the last leg in super quick time.
We reached the northern edge of Bazaruto and prepared to turn to port (left) between Bazaruto and Benguerra to reach the inner channel opposite Vilanculos. 
 The sea was very rough and you could see rocks sticking up from the seabed (this is two mile reef that we had dived at previously) and the waves were crashing around the reef. The charts are not accurate in showing where the reef is. Not Garmin, Not Maxsea or Navnet showed the reef correctly! We were just grateful that it was a receding tide, so that they were visible.  We made our way cautiously through the waves into the gap, with a depth of 1,5 meters below us (our draft (how deep our boat is) is 1,2m) into the calm bay. We used the waypoints Ian had given us and being the little champion he is, they were absolutely spot-on. (Thank you Ian, it made such a difference!).
Because we are so heavily laden (giggle, all my provisions and stuff and stuff) oh yes (and all Kevin’s diesel), and it was low tide, and the sun had almost disappeared, we decided not to chance crossing the sandbars to the planned anchorage, and went to the deep channel ahead of us and anchored in 10m of water for the night.
We had a early meal and slept HARD.
On Tuesday morning we made our way through the sandbanks using a satellite photo of the sea and Ian’s waypoints. I stayed inside by the PC and shouted instructions and Kevin (bless his soul) just obeyed. On some of the sandbanks we crossed, we had less than 20cm of water below us!
We dropped anchor outside the lodge amongst the other cats and here we are, after sailing 584miles (or 1082 kms) finally in 27degrees and the azure blue water! Our beautiful Catatude didn't miss a beat and brought us safely here.
I’m in a much better place than last week this time!
Luv you all madly
L       xxxxxxx

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