July 21 - To the game parks

Lawrence, Anne & their daughter Lorecan (sv Sea Shoes) picked us up at 0500 and we drove to see the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Wildlife Parks. These lie in the Zulu Kingdom and are characterized by vast, beautiful hills, fauna, birds and animals. The "big five" can be seen here, but there are lots of other interesting species to enjoy as well. We saw the following: giraffe, white rhino (the Parks are a white rhino conservation area), cape buffalo, nyala, dove, glassy starling, forked tail dronga, ducks, European swallow, monkey, tambourine dove, warthog, Burchell's zebra, kingfisher, scimitar, ground hornbill, bobo, finch, yellow crested bobbit, wildebeest, lilac breasted roller, tassled eagle, cape vulture, kudu, speckled thrush, bee eater, impala, natal robin, korhaan, Burchell's coucal, yellow bellied bilbo, African rock python, velvet monkey, black rhino, frankelin, inyala, elephant, baboon, and the wooly crested stork. Our hosts had been to the Parks numerous times and were informative guides. If we had rented a car and had just gone to the Parks, we would in no way have appreciated all that we saw and photographed as we did today with our friends' running commentary. We packed a picnic lunch and thoroughly enjoyed our company and surroundings. A wonderful day and a great introduction to South African wildlife!

July 18 - New Picture Albums Posted

We spent the morning doing tons of laundry and Sue's posted lots of new picture albums. Enjoy!

July 17 - A busy day

We walked from Tuzi Gazi Marina over to the Zululand Yacht Club to check it out. There was plenty of room there for Infini, so we ate breakfast and started back. We were stopped by Lawrence, a fellow cruiser, who befriended us and was kind enough to spend several hours of orientation with us, including food shopping and internet and Sim card stuff. What an introduction to Richards Bay! The channel leading to the YC has silted in and needs dredging, so we had to go at high tide. Of course, the wind came up just in time to blow us around; what else is new? With an adverse current and 17-20 knots of wind, Infini was backed into her slip to have the bow face the SW winds. It actually went fairly smoothly, and Lawrence was there to catch our dock lines. We've had hot showers (yes!), ate a chicken and greens salad, and the wind was blowing outside. We're in slip D-13, and all's well.

July 17 - A long night's sleep

We turned in at 1830 hours. Actually it wasn't as simple as that. Let's take it from the beginning...We raised anchor at Inhaca at 0530 and had a time of it getting away from the current of the cape. We motorsailed for hours, and by that time had only a light wind, so decided to spend the diesel and get down the road before the weather changed. Hours turned into most of the day, but a northwest wind came and we were doing 6-7 knots. Our strategy was to stay 1-2 miles east of the 200 meter line on the run south, and we finally found favorable current, sailing 7-9 knots and barrelling along as the wind reached a steady 25 knots with gusts in the low 30's. Keeping the wind aft of the beam, we rolled a bit under our double reefed main only, but were finally able to put out a bit of jib as the wind backed a bit more to north. Infini loved the conditions; we looked out for whales. By daylight we were far enough along to consider that we'd reach Richards Bay in the daylight instead of our usual night arrival. After calling Port Control on VHF 16, we switched to working channel 12, gave our particulars, and were instructed to go to the international dock for clearing in. We can't tell you how good it felt to go thru the breakwater at 1430 hours, in good visibility, with a bit of jib flying, the Perkins going, and doing 5.5 knots, knowing we'd be tied up before dark. There seemed to be no room for us anywhere, and a fellow cruiser waved to us to tie alongside the concrete wall at the very back of a long U-shaped channel where the only free space was; the worst possible place to try to get out of! Our bow was about 10 feet away from the end of the U-shape. However, we had arrived! No damage, no drama, good health, strong boat...it was all good. Port Control said they'd contact Customs and Immigration, so we met the two cruisers who helped us tie up, tidied up a bit, and tried to stop swaying; you know that drunken sailor walk. The Immigration Official showed up and couldn't have been nicer. While he was doing the paperwork, a commercial dive boat worker came by and asked us to move out as one of the work boats was coming into that slip where we were! We only thought we were going to settle in; the problem was how to get out! We had his smaller work boat help our bow around, the worker pushed our stern off the wall as we swung around the narrow channel, and we were off again, again looking for somewhere to tie up. Willie, ZE5WE, a HAM radio operator who had been following us down the coast on the SAMM net and who had helped us tie to the wall, motioned for us to come raft alongside his boat, Charlotte, which was on a narrow side tie at the end of the dock, and we did so without problem. Shortly after, the Customs Official showed up and came aboard for formalities. Again, very pleasant, no drama; take the Q flag down! We're here, we're cleared in; welcome to S.A.!! The sun set shortly after all that, we ate a bit and went to bed for a long night's sleep...who would have thought we would spend 12 hrs. in bed! All's well aboard and Team Infini is quite happy to be here.

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July 16 - Safe arrival in Richards Bay

We arrived in Richards Bay after a fast trip down from Maputo. All's well, and we're already cleared in. More later.

July 13 - Inhaca

Pos: S25deg57.639min/ E032deg58.586min. We motorsailed around to Inhaca, anchoring at low tide in 16' water with a 3 meter tidal range. For those following us, we used the following wpts to go across the shallows: wpt S25deg52.3050min/ E032deg53.3977min to wpt S25deg53.3458min/ E032deg55.7950min. We saw nothing below 29'; but depth will depend on the state of the tide when transit occurs. Our charts were way off, sandbars change over time, and there was a bit of guesswork involved, but no drama. There's protection here from the southerlies, and we're staging to head south when the expected northerlies come thru early Tuesday. All's well aboard.
Pic: Anchorage off Cape Inhaca. Good in S & SW winds.

July 12 - Isla Portugueses, Cape Inhaca

Pos: S25deg58.844min/ E032deg54.135min. We had a cloudless day and night, but the wind dropped to variable and we had to motorsail about 10 hours. The north wind of 20-25 knots finally came up at 0200 this morning, the Perkins went to sleep, and we had a double reefed main and partial jib out, purposely limiting our speed to about 6-6.5 knots to ensure a daytime arrival in Inhaca, which is just outside Maputo. We then did a bit of exploring and anchored behind (alongside) Is. Portugueses with good protection from the expected 30 (read 35...) knot northerly wind expected later today. We'll be here a few days waiting for favorable weather for our next stop, Richards Bay.

July 11 - Boisterous day and night

Pos: S24deg51min/ E035deg00min. We departed Inhambane and had strong southerlies all day and night of 25-30 knots, with higher gusts. We short tacked down the coastline, staying 2.5-8 mi offshore. Rough weather; heavy seas, and tiring. This morning, the wind has moderated a bit, but we don't have a sustained weather window to get to Richards Bay, so will be going to Inhaca (approx S25deg58min E032deg54min), just outside Maputo. There's good protection from north or south winds there in two different spots, and we plan arrival tomorrow morning. All's well aboard.