Day 10 at sea, and we’re speeding along at 6 knots heading North by East. Which would be really good, except that we don’t want to be going North by East, we want to be going West North West. Our destination, as it seems to be about 90% of the time, is almost directly down-wind of us and although there is a decent 15 knot breeze, if we try to sail deep down wind it is not enough to keep Bob’s sails full as she rolls back and forth in her characteristically violent fashion.
I suppose I can’t really complain. The first 6 days of this passage were glorious. Calm seas and a gentle wind just aft of the beam propelled us along beautifully. It was like tobogganing on a never-ending slope of powder snow. The cold Benguela current which runs north up the west coast of Africa kept things chilly. Hats and coats stayed on for a few days. But it also gave us clear skies and steady winds, with no squalls or thunderstorms or any of the other nasties that are common in the tropics, and become more-so the further west one travels across any of the world’s oceans.
1150 miles out from Cape Town, with nearly 600 remaining to St. Helena. When we get there we hope to have 3 or 4 days of rest and sight-seeing and then we have to push on towards Brazil. Fingers are crossed that the wind either picks up or shifts one way or another. I’m also hoping we can buy some green food in St. Helena. We’re starting to get low now and it’s a long way to Brazil eating canned and dried stuff!
In early 2002, a South African farm kid by the name of Hendri decided to go to sea. He came from the province of Free State, right in the heart of South Africa, where water is a rare and valuable commodity. He knew land, sheep and Africa. He had a solid education and a wealth of experience with farm machinery. He’d sailed occasionally on a man-made reservoir about 100km from his home, but it was no ocean. He didn’t know the sea. He only knew that he wanted to know the sea. So one day he
Wow! Madagascar has been quite the roller coaster. It has both exceeded all expectations and been hugely disappointing.
The sail South from Ile St. Marie was really quite idyllic. We hopped from one beautiful anchorage to the next for the first few days and spend two nights anchored in the lee of a gorgeous offshore reef that was reminiscent of Beveridge and Minerva. Perhaps naively, we didn’t expect to find such places in Madagascar.
Sitting out in the middle of the Indian Ocean with a storm bearing down on us, just holding our breath and hoping it will go away. The forecast models still can’t agree on where this cyclone is going to go or what it’s going to do. Some say it’ll go West and sit over Northern Madagascar. Others say that it’ll go South and cut across our track about 400 miles to the West of us. Either way, we’re faced with sitting out here for four more days, doing nothing except watching films, reading books and trying not to be too nervous. There is an alternative though.
Officially the Indian Ocean cyclone season starts in November. This year, apparently, it’s spot-on!
We got an email yesterday. To paraphrase:
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there’s a cyclone forming and you’re headed right for it.”