Ha! We got ourselves a seat on the first row. A cannon fires and the Capetown to St Helena race has begun Why leave? Just stay and enjoy the beauties of South Africa. No, it is time to go, the race is ON, I must face the ocean, this is what I have to do. Understood, but you can do that also later, why go now?…No, see you South Africa, it is very hard to leave…
- Malaka Queen in Capetown, our destination! Here we are at the most southern point of Africa only 2000 miles from Antarctica, all the way from Tanga Tanzania via Comores and Madagascar through the Mozambique channel and Agulas current along the South African coast. The southern atlantic ocean will bring us to St Helena, Ascension and after crossing the equator the Cape Verdes Islands. The Capetown to St Helena race starts here on Dec 27 and it would be good to go at the same time.
- Simonstown to Capetown is the final leg of this journey to South Africa, all the way from Tanga Tanzania via Comores, Madagascar and Mozambique. Pulled the anchor up early in the morning, Malaka Queen races towards cape Good Hope on a strong westerly, katabatic winds are now in our favour. Bye Simonstown, see you again. After rounding cape Good Hope the steady westerlies turn into northerlies.
- The plan for this leg was to sail to Port Elisabeth. Lucky again the weather improved on the way so it was now possible reach Mosselbaai. Being close to the shore from time to time it was possible to download the latest GRIB files. GRIB files give detailed local weather information in chart form - wind speed and direction, rain and wave height- according to a weather model. So very helpfull to see how the model thinks the weather is going to look like but this is not a weather prediction, only a experienced weather man like Des can interpret them.
- Umadum stays 1 month in Durban to spend time with friends and Malaka Queen will continue its journey to Capetown. Lets hope there is a weather window, I want to leave Durban ASAP. The next leg is challenging: 255nm to East London and no place to hide when a low comes… I imagine riding the Agulas current as sitting on the back of a mad crocodile (not that I ever did that;-).
- We stay 2 weeks in our paradise Bazaruto Island because it is so nice but also because we decide to skip the first weather window to repair the mainsail car of Umandum. Most of the other sailboats leave so even more paradise for us. In the tropics we do not see any change in barometric pressure except the daily heating of the sun. Here the barometer really makes sense: if the pressure falls rapidly a low is approaching!
- Bazaruto Island is a big sand dune on the east side of the Bazaruto archipelago of islands and reefs. The entire area is a nature reserve. To reach the anchorage on west side we must pass a narrow channel between 2 reefs. The dunes protect against high winds except northwestherlies. all ships waiting for a weather window in the lee of Bazaruto Island When we go ashore some guys welcome us with a big smile at their local bar.
- The next day Des informs us that we can go, at least the 700 miles until Bazaruto Island in Mozambique. Our speed must be minimum 5 knots as there is a south westerly low expected in a few days. That should be no problem if we find the south going Mozambique current which gives us a “push” in the good direction of 2 knots. There are several strategies, one is to find the Mozambique current first by going west before south, a detour but finding the current early makes up for extra distance.
- The sail from from Russian bay is magnificent, there are many beautifull islands on this route and many cruisers explore this area. We glide gently on a steady seabreeze. When approaching Majunga which is at a major river mouth the water turns red! This is the sad result of cutting and burning the forests in the inland. Now there is nothing left holding the soil in place so every time it rains the fertile soil washes away and rivers turn red.
- We relax in the nice garden of a good restaurant near the port of Nosy Be. My friend asks: so whats next for you? I say: I hang around in Craterbay marina in Nosy Be for a while. She says, why don’t you go to Russian bay, your friends of Umadum are there. They go to South Africa. You know them well and I already asked them to contact you, it will be nice to see them again.