This journey of 15.000 nautical miles around Africa started on September 20, 2018 in Tanga Tanzania. It has now ended with the wonderfull family gathering in Israel and an impressive 4 day tour through Jordan. Also there is no more sea to go more east, so lets go west again! The estimated maximum for this passage from Israel to Tunesia is 21 days at sea. Time to leave Herzliyya on June 3 for our destination port Tunis.
- While sailing to Israel from Kemer we can already hear the Israeli navy calling every ship that enters Israeli waters. When it is our turn they call us and a long conversation with the navy follows as they want to know every detail of the ship and every crew member on board. 10 miles before Herzliyya a small navy boat appears from the heavy fog and comes alongside for a visual identification.
- Our fastest passage ever: 1062 miles in 8 days, from Bizerte Tunesia, Malta, Crete to Kekova Island in Turkey. The first day of the passage a strong east wind is against us but then the prevailing west winds take over and the snow covered mountains of South Crete appear already after a few days of sailing. good food keeps a sailor going a few visitors came for a good rest snow on the mountains in South Crete a first view of Turkey A beautifull anchorage in a hidden bay on Kekova island.
- Everything is prepared. All paperwork is done but the prediction does not seem favourable. Still I decide to leave Gibraltar now: my eldest son gets married and the flight to the wedding is booked from Tunesia.So far so good. Our first passage on the Mediterranian sea starts with a little breeze from the East so the course past Europa point is set in the direction of Malaga. Then a tack in the direction of Marocco to cross the busy shipping lane.
- The challenge to go to Europe: sailing at least 21 days close haul for more than 2000 nautical miles against the tradewind from Mindelo on Sao Vincente, one of the Cape Verde islands, to Gibraltar at the entrance of the Mediterranian sea. The weather on route to Gibraltar can be unstable this time of year and the wind not favourable. It is not possible to get an accurate weather prediction for the next 21 days so it is a bit of a gamble too….
- The kind lady of port control checked us out on Friday as our plan was to leave Ascension Island on the Sunday for our passage to the Mindelo on Sao Vincente, one of the Cape Verde islands. This will be our longest passage so far, 1700 miles in a straight line, more than 20 days of sailing. We will go north first crossing the doldrums, the zone around the equator where the tradewind will change from south-east to nearly zero then turning to north-east.
- Welcome to Saint Helena! the anchorage is directly on the ocean The small island St Helena is a rock rising up sharply from the 5000m deep ocean seafloor in the middle of the southern atlantic ocean. It was discovered by the Portugese and ruled by the Dutch VOC before it became an important Brittish overseas territory: before the invention of motor driven ships all North going sailing vessels called at the island to provision.
- 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…
- 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.