Posted by: powellpjc | February 9, 2013

South Africa, Western Cape.

I had a tough time getting around the Cape of Good Hope. Winds did not cooperate, but that is sailing and many men before me had more difficult times. Bartholomeu Diaz was the first to round the Cape, but Vasco de Gama was the first to make it to the Indian Ocean. The Cape of Good Hope is aptly named, a dramatic and dangerous blade of mountains sticking out into the Atlantic, but the furthest southern point of Africa is Cape Agulhas. Non-descript, but it is the physical division between Indian and Atlantic oceans. Enough geography, already.
I left Richard’s Bay with the intention of making Knysna, about halfway to Cape Town. I sailed for 5 days and got within 30 miles of the harbour entrance but the wind hammered me and I could make no forward progress. I beat an orderly but hasty retreat, all the way back to Pt. Elizabeth (about 60 miles). Hate going backwards in a sailboat. Discretion and valour being the call of the day.

Fishing boats will go out in any weather. I should know. I'm out there too.

Fishing boats will go out in any weather. I should know. I’m out there too.


It was rough enough where the oceans meet. I've been knocked out once, off the coast of Ecuador, and did not like the whole deal. Down below I'll wear a helmet. On deck, sometimes. The biggest worry for a singlehander is falling and all that comes with 66 year-old bones and steel decks.

It was rough enough where the oceans meet. I’ve been knocked out once, off the coast of Ecuador, and did not like the whole deal. Down below I’ll wear a helmet. On deck, sometimes. The biggest worry for a singlehander is falling and all that comes with 66 year-old bones and steel decks.


Waited there for 6 days for conditions to come round and then set out for Simons Town, on the Cape of Good Hope, about 1 hour train ride south of Cape Town proper. I’d lost my credit card in a banking machine in Richards Bay so I could not rent a car anyway, which was my plan in Knysna—so I could go paragliding up and down the coast. Showing up in a rental car office with a bagful of cash will not get you a car. One needs a credit card. I had new card sent to Simons Bay so all is good now.
A series of the booby, diving and eating fish, I hope.

A series of the booby, diving and eating fish, I hope.


After spotting prey he tucks in the wings and twists and turns in the Stuka dive.

After spotting prey he tucks in the wings and twists and turns in the Stuka dive.


Folding and twisting.

Folding and twisting.


On short final. No chance to change course now.

On short final. No chance to change course now.


He does not spear the fish on the dive but enters close enough to 'swim' with his wings to run down the sardine or anchovy, whatever is the catch of the day.

He does not spear the fish on the dive but enters close enough to ‘swim’ with his wings to run down the sardine or anchovy, whatever is the catch of the day.


Seas were big and wind was high. I hate sailing.

Seas were big and wind was high. I hate sailing.


Water temperature 15C, air temperature, 15C. Bring it on, baby.

Water temperature 15C, air temperature, 15C. Bring it on, baby.


Crepuscular rays. The sometimes go up and down.

Crepuscular rays. The sometimes go up and down.


Simons Town train coming, boss.

Simons Town train coming, boss.


Just so you know.

Just so you know.


Simons Town is blasted with wind 25 days out of 30. It is intolerable. I can stand the Canadian cold but the wind here (40 kts nothing unusual), even in a protected harbour, drives me bonkers.
Simons Town harbour on the Cape of Good Hope. I am there, somewhere.

Simons Town harbour on the Cape of Good Hope. I am there, somewhere.


Typical Simons Town winds in the summer. 40 kts+ Oy vey, already.

Typical Simons Town winds in the summer. 40 kts+ Oy vey, already.


The upper shore battery protecting Simons Town. Unused for decades. The Guns of Navarone, cape style.

The upper shore battery protecting Simons Town. Unused for decades. The Guns of Navarone, cape style.


Big barrel. Big guns. 3 in this pic.

Big barrel. Big guns. 3 in this pic.

But having a rental car gives a guy some freedom and I’ve been around the cape. Up Table Mountain, of course, into the wine country and today down the coast (east) to the paragliding sites in Wilderness. I did not fly but did kite my old glider, shaking out the Chilean dust and sand and making sure all is in good flying order. Met some locals and we have a coastal trip planned for tomorrow, 6:30 am. With luck it will be about 60 km but weather is nothing but chaos, as we know.
Went to Hout Bay on the Atlantic coast and saw a beached whale (Right whale, I think). There were 100 people trying to push it back into the ocean. I could not find the road to get close enough so just viewed from the mountain road. Maybe whales have strokes and lose their GPS? Maybe they just die and wash ashore. With the shore birds and seals, nothing will be wasted. The tide was going out and it was a lost cause. Darwinism at work.
I’ve applied for my Brazilian visa and it will be ready Feb. 13th, so I think I’ll be departing Cape Town about the 15th, heading north to the Namib. Luderitz and Walvis Bay, thence the S. Atlantic. May stop at St. Helena if it suits me (they have no harbour there but they have recently put in about 30 industrial strength moorings for visiting yachts.) Maybe some fresh tomatoes, too. If I don’t stop due to winds, I am heading for Salvador, Brazil, about halfway up the coast from Rio to Fortaleza. 3,400 miles. Piece of cake.

From Table Mountain, Cape Town, on a clear day. The main harbour.

From Table Mountain, Cape Town, on a clear day. The main harbour.


A modern, revolving, cable car. 1st class all the way up to Table Mountain.

A modern, revolving, cable car. 1st class all the way up to Table Mountain.


Table Mountain is an old chunk of fudge, seems like.

Table Mountain is an old chunk of fudge, seems like.


Red-tipped black bird, Table Mountain variety. So I'm calling it.

Red-tipped black bird, Table Mountain variety. So I’m calling it.


Table Mountain wild flowers.

Table Mountain wild flowers.

The Atlantic Ocean from Table Mtn.

The Atlantic Ocean from Table Mtn.


Looking down the Cape of Good Hope.

Looking down the Cape of Good Hope.


Typical Simons Town/Cape Town house. Most houses have 5 more runs of electrical wire to slow down the intruders.

Typical Simons Town/Cape Town house. Most houses have 5 more runs of electrical wire to slow down the intruders.


Cape Town should be called Cage Town. No house is without a walled compound and most have electrical wires on top of the broken glass concrete. Security is paramount here. The blacks are poor, poor, poor and desperate. All cars have shatterproof glass in every window to prevent the smash and grab traffic light stop thievery. The whites, without exception are pessimistic about the future of this gorgeous country. Prettiest place I’ve ever been, but trouble creepin’ round every corner. The country is going to hell, fast. ‘Rainbow Nation’, they call it. I’d call it ‘Dark Clouds Coming, Boss.’ Glad I’ve been here. It won’t be around for my grandchildren.

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Responses

  1. Great pics bro! Glad you made it around the Cape of Good Hopeless. Miss you xo

  2. very beautiful RSA. Didn’t realize ocean so cold. Happy cruising to BRA.

  3. Pink You made it! It’s all gravy now! Excellent news. Congrats on the rounding! Great update.

  4. Nice post Pete. I understand what you mean about the wind.. it gets bad here sometimes. Relentless, gimme snow any day! xox M


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