What a time. Today I picked up my lost baggage, full of boat parts, at the Richards Bay Airport, four days after my arrival. If any of you have ever had lost, stolen, or misplaced baggage, you have my sincere sympathy. It has been the most frustrating experience I've encountered in quite some time, and hope to never go thru anything like this again. I'll spare the ugly details, but let's just say we won't fly Qatar Airways ever again. At any rate, it feels good to be back aboard. Our son, Matt, has joined us, and he's unpacked to the starboard V-berth, although night off-watches are always in the salon anyway. Yesterday, he kite-boarded at Pelican Island, his first experience kiting in South Africa. He's off again as I write this, but I had too much unpacking and organizing to do to join him. Pictures of his kiting experience may be found at http://www.sailingalong.org. This morning we re-rove the halyards, replacing the chase lines. The sheets and furling line have been placed. The mainsail has been bent on and we still have the Yankee jib to hoist. There are lots of jobs to do before we go off exploring the game parks again, but things are definitely looking up. As an aside, lots of other international boats have arrived while we've been gone, and it's been good to meet old friends and make new ones. We've rented a car for a bit, so mobility has improved and we're getting around like locals...well, sort of!
In all our travels back to FL for family time, this was the roughest in terms of delays and missed flights; 60 hours total transit time! On the positive side, we did get a hotel room and meals comped at our last stop at Dulles airport in Washington. Suffice it to say, we wouldn’t choose Qatar Airlines again. Thankfully, our four checked-in bags did arrive with us in Tampa. Coming from the mild winter weather in Richards Bay and arriving to the summer heat and humidity of Florida, we know our time here will go way too fast!
It’s been a busy week both on and off the boat. Our sails were returned from Ullman Sails, Durban but we’ll forego putting them on as we’ll be departing soon for our visit to the USA. We’ve walked over to Tuzi Gazi Marina a few times (a 15 min walk) to see friends, as well as welcome Stuart & Sheila (and crew, Curtis) of sv Imagine into Richards Bay (from Madagascar). Anne, Lawrence and Lorecan are leaving for Jo’berg as their son, Ryaan, is getting married in about a week. We had a surprise birthday party for Anne, and actually managed to get everyone aboard without her knowing about it; more good times! Aboard, Jacques installed our salon table supports and is repairing a paint area on the topsides. We’re really cramped and crowded down below, as our packing begins both for a trip to the game parks as well as our visit home. All the aforementioned sails had to be brought down below as we're expecting very strong winds and rain to arrive during our weekend excursions. There’s hardly room to move around; getting anything, especially if it’s below any berth, is quite the exercise. Of note, we ate bunny chow for the first time at KNK Curries. For those of us who’ve never heard of bunny chow (that be us…), it’s curry (lamb, chicken or beef) placed into a hollowed-out ¼, ½, or God forbid, an entire loaf of bread. Not knowing any better, I ordered the ½ loaf; Sue showed admirable restraint ordering the ¼ loaf; OMG; it’s not for the faint of heart. Delicious, and we’ll be returning to KNK again (it’s at Tuzi Gazi). There’s usually some activity going on at the Yacht Club, and we’ve been to several braai’s (BBQ – remember?), another surprise birthday party, and just to hang out. We’ve arranged our rental car and accommodations for the weekend; more on that next.