Oct 19 - Back aboard

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!

Oct 8 - Back in form!

This blog is back to the way it should appear, thanks to our Godson, Joseph, and his team of IT folks. Thanks, Joe, and it was great seeing you! Contact details for anyone needing IT help or website design: DuronMedia 219-916-8003 www.duronmedia.com

Sept 23 - Family album posted

In our latest picture album is a quick tour of the family; it's always great to see the kids and grannies!
Pic: Ty and grannies checking out locations
</

Sept. 10 Back to the USA

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!

Aug 29 - A special birthday!!

Sue's special day today. Even though it was windy, rainy and cold, she was thrilled to be waking up in a game park (if she couldn't be celebrating with family). Taking a thermos of coffee with us, we started the day off by driving around looking for more critters, but we guess the weather precluded many sightings. We then drove thru the Imfolozi area and stopped for lunch at the Hilltop restaurant. Good food, great views and very relaxing. There are also accommodations there, but we had booked ahead at the Emdoneni Lodge (www.emdonenilodge.com) in Bushland; a cat rehab center which provides care for cheetahs, servals, caracals and the African wildcat. This was just a fantastic experience. We not only learned a bit about these beautiful animals, but were able to interact with them up close and personal. If you've ever wanted to pet a cheetah or serval, this is your place to visit. The rooms were excellent, as were the staff, food and attention to detail. We could not have chosen a better setting to celebrate Sue's BD! Oh, and having that homemade birthday chocolate cake and an acapella "Happy Birthday" sung in Zulu harmony by the entire kitchen staff were memorable! Happy birthday, sweetheart, my Ketiah lady....

Aug 28 - Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park

We rented a subcompact from Europcar and braved the drive to the game park. Actually, beside it being a manual shift and having to drive on the left hand side of the road, we found the highways well kept and the signage good. We ended up purchasing the "Rhino Card," which allows discounted or free entry into various parks, resorts and tours; it's good for one year; cost wise, we'll come out ahead on our very next visit to the park. At any rate, the highlight during the day was seeing a pride of 8 lions feasting on what we were told was an old cape buffalo they had killed earlier. We spent almost an hour watching them; several of the younger ones frolicked around in the water as well. Two adults, and their baby, rhino came down to the river and were very close to the pride, but apparently they leave each other alone. What a great siting! There are various accommodation choices in the park. Due to limited availability, we stayed in one of the tents, but believe me, we weren't roughing it. The floors of the main tent were wood with throw carpets; the roof was double supported with steel pole supports and tie downs; the ensuite bathroom facilities were completely tiles; the separate kitchen facility had a gas stove, fridge/freezer, sink with hot and cold water, and completely supplied pots, pans and utensils. The outside porch had chairs and a picnic table, and we sat there and looked at the distant hills. An impala wandered around at one point, which was fine, but the very large hyena who came strolling around close by got our attention until he left to check out someone else's tent area. In the evening, we took a guided night safari. No driving around on your own is allowed after sunset, so we bundled up and sat high up in a specially built jeep with four rows of seats. Did I mention that the weekend turned out to be the coldest of the year and that Richards Bay had winds exceeding 45 knots? Well, expecting worse, we had secured Infini and weren't overly concerned; our tent was probably shaking more than the boat. We didn't get much sleep, as the window flaps were going at it and the noise from the wind was constant. This is a beautiful park with lots of wildlife, and we'll be returning again.

Aug 22-27 - Local happenings

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.

Aug 21 - New photo albums posted

Sue's posted several new picture albums. Enjoy!