Posted by: powellpjc | December 23, 2012

Into Africa

I sailed from Nosy Be, Madagascar to Richard’s Bay, South Africa. No stops (officially). I did stop in Russian Bay (strangely, no Russkies about) for 2 days so as to get the hell out of Hell Ville and its thieves, house flies and no streetlights. For the last supper I had a great cheeseburger (2nd night in a row) and asked for extra order of French fries, as only an ex-French colony can make. Ate ‘em all. Next morning on the sail over to Russian Bay I swore I’d never eat another French fry. When you’re not feeling well all you can think of is the plate you ate last which perpetuates the misery. A human failing, I think. The fat slowly absorbed and I came around.
Rested and recuperated in Russian Bay and made la Rosa ready in all aspects for sea.

The killer FFry meal. And the world's largest cheesburger, as I see it.

The killer FFry meal. And the world’s largest cheesburger, as I see it.


A couple of Malagasy boys looking for anything. I gave out a couple of t shirts and they were happy as hell,

A couple of Malagasy boys looking for anything. I gave out a couple of t shirts and they were happy as hell,


I was Santa Claus come early. I gave the old gal some funky sunglasses and she was over the moon.

I was Santa Claus come early. I handed out a duffle bag of t-shirts, food, toothbrushes, toothpaste, books, pens, paper–the usual. I gave the old gal, beside me in the pic, some funky sunglasses and she was over the moon.


These young folk have not seen many white men. I must look very strange to them. Well, I am very strange.

These young folk have not seen many white men. I must look very strange to them. Well, I am very strange.


My first chameleon. A lady, I think.

My first chameleon. A lady, I think.


The big Zebu. Madagascar beef on the hoof. Looks like one the holy cows from India. Brahma? The hump is pure fat and a delicacy served at weddings and Christmas. Not sure how the Zebu likes that whole idea.

The big Zebu. Madagascar beef on the hoof. Looks like one the holy cows from India. Brahma? The hump is pure fat and a delicacy served at weddings and Christmas. Not sure how the Zebu likes that whole idea.


Still northern Madagascar, west coast. This is the water collection system. Natural filtration from the hills and about 1 km from the village. Washing clothes in the  cement pens and drinking water direct from the half bamboo pipe. Women's work. The boys are out fishing.

Still northern Madagascar, west coast. This is the water collection system. Natural filtration from the hills and about 1 km from the village. Washing clothes in the cement pens and drinking water direct from the half bamboo pipe. Women’s work. The boys are out fishing.


Now this gal is carrying about 3 gallons on her head back to the village. That's 30 pounds. Don't slip, sweetie.

Now this gal is carrying about 3 gallons on her head back to the village. That’s 30 pounds. Don’t slip, sweetie.


The mangrove coastline at sunset. Good mud holding for my anchor. And peace like you would not believe.

The mangrove coastline at sunset. Good mud holding for my anchor. And peace like you would not believe.


The little village I visited and handed out the Santa gifts.

The little village I visited and handed out the Santa gifts.

Had beautiful first week of lovely sailing. Then the first gale hit (well, near gale—34 knots of wind in wrong direction.) Blew me off course and covered boat in salt spray. 36 hours later we were back making way so I hosed down the cockpit to get rid of some of the salt.
That night 2nd near gale whacked me right on the nose. Salt everywhere again. Soup for dinner. Sometimes for breakfast too. You can’t cook properly in monster waves. There is a current running south (the Mozambique Current) so an opposing wind makes for dandy waves.
On a couple of good days I saw the ‘Green Flash’, something I’ve considered a Californian hippie hoax for my whole life. Then I saw a picture on the NASA website of the green flash so I keep my eyes open. One needs a cloud free horizon, a higher pressure system to the west and dry air. The green flash occurs for less than a second and is whitish green. Green light is refracted more than other colours and thus is the last we see, 8 minutes, 19 seconds after the sun has set.
You will never see it unless you are on the shore of an ocean facing west or on the ocean. I therefore apologize to the pot-smoking hippies of Malibu and Southern California in general.

My general route from Russian Bay, Blown sideways a couple of times, but that is the wonder of sailing. You've seen the Bacardi ads. Just like that.

My general route from Russian Bay, Blown sideways a couple of times, but that is the wonder of sailing. You’ve seen the Bacardi ads. Just like that.

17 days out Russian Bay and I make Richard’s Bay at 3 a.m. and drift, staying 20 miles offshore waiting for sunlight. Big ships anchored out there too, and some drifting, waiting to unload/load but I stayed clear.
At false dawn I fired up the engine and with current of 2-3 knots behind me entered the harbour at 8 a.m. The harbourmaster gave me vague directions on where to go but when I got in tight to a marina a friendly Swede guided me to a berth and with his wife helped me dock. It was tricky, tight and crosswind. No bumps or dents. I bought them a couple bottles of wine—a small price to pay for the help.
I am going to pull out to repair the damage done to the bottom anti-fouling paint when we were stuck in Thailand marina but must move over to the Zululand Yacht Club to do it. About a mile away. Very friendly folk there and they will drag me out on a dolly/railroad deal. It will only take me 4-5 days to fix things up, change a zinc or two and then take a slip in their marina. I expect to stay until late January. There are many game parks around here, the food is great and cheap ( a 1 kg T-bone, 3” thick) with glass of red and veggies cost me $15. It gave me one dinner and two breakfasts.

Sport fishing is big here and I swanned up to a couple of the skippers at the marina and ended up with 5 kg of fresh mahi mahi, tuna and rock cod. Can’t keep it all so I will make some new friends. Had the mahi last night—shashimi, baby—and fried up the rest for brekkie. Pete’s living large.
The fishing clients take home what they catch, the skipper and his boys take home what they catch and there is often plenty left over (for Pete), especially when they go marlin fishing. A lot of bycatch with that big billfish.

White South Africans are big. Huge guys. Nice guys. Helpful and interested. They are, to a man, unhappy with the ‘new South Africa’—after the Apartheid rules were rescinded in 1990 or when the blacks won over the government in 1994–the election won by Nelson Mandela. In my mind, one of the world’s most ineffective leaders. Jailed for 27 years and released in 1970. How can you lead your country from a 6′ cell? Married to a torture-killer wife, Minnie, and her henchmen, the ‘Mandela United Football Club’. The infamous burning necklace—car tire around the neck and set on fire was their trademark.
Enough of politics.
Not many pictures yet but they will be forthcoming. And a few I missed from N. Madagascar are above.

This is my intended route from Richard's Bay unless weather forces me in to one of the ports. One must check in with Immigration, Customs and Police at every stop. What the hell is that. If you go from Thunder Bay you don't have to check with immigration at Winnipeg. The 'New South Africa'.

This is my intended route from Richard’s Bay unless weather forces me in to one of the ports. One must check in with Immigration, Customs and Police at every stop. What the hell is that. If you go from Thunder Bay you don’t have to check with immigration at Winnipeg. The ‘New South Africa’.


I’d like to stop at Kynsna (Nas-na it is pronounced) but the entrance is tricky if there is a westerly blowing. We’ll see. It is the paragliding mecca of SA and I’d like to pull out my wing and see if the cockroaches/mice/rats have left me anything to fly with.
Pete

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Responses

  1. Love the pics bro. Very kind of you to play Santa to that village…making me verklempt already. Miss you and love you. Cath xo


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