Michael and Susan left Florida in 2007 aboard their Westsail 43 INFINI to fullfill a dream of full time cruising.
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.
Pic: Where to go when you arrive?