To Port Elizabeth

Beez Neez
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Fri 20 Dec 2019 23:47
33:58.014 S  25:38.155 E
 
To Port Elizabeth
 
 
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Ready to leave at seven on this incredibly grey day, we had to wait for a very big girl to come in.
 
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Very exciting for Fred on Serafina as Porgy swung into place on two tugs. By the time we went past at seven thirty her door was already swinging open (that ramp can take a maximum of 500 tons). Porgy is a roll-on roll-off girl in the Wallenius Wilhelmsen fleet. She was built in 2009 by Toyohashi Shipbuilders in Japan. Her vital statistics are length 199 metres, hips 32 metres and her bottom is 8.5 metres, her GWT is 58,752 tons. She can spuddle along at 13.4 knots but can put in a full gallop of 22.3 knots, she is due in at Freemantle (Australia) on New Year’s Day. Meanwhile, our deadline to reach Mossel Bay is early Saturday morning before the weather window closes – again. We don’t fancy that as boats are rafted three by three against fishing boats and if there is absolutely no room we would have to anchor outside, not an option with the expected blow. So we have secured a berth at Cape St Francis forty miles on from Port Elizabeth.
 
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To our left the working girls who had helped Porgy in were getting themselves parked up.
 
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The crane to our right was sleeping peacefully.
 
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The waves coming along the breakwater looked a little unfriendly but we pulled out to find a gorgeous blue sea with big enough rollers as to be a pretty flat ride. The white dots to the right of the picture are birds paddling about.
 
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At ten we had Christmas Rock and Kayser’s Beach to our right.
 
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Today’s Happy Picture. Sunset went on for the longest time, the red glow on the horizon was there for over ten minutes.
 
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Bird Island made us smile. I took this sunrise picture at 04:16 after a night not really dark.....
 
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We began crossing the enormous Algoa Bay, lots of chums for me to watch, yay. The bay is up to 436 metres deep as we headed toward Port Elizabeth, our initial plan to round ‘the corner’ to reach Port St Francis became a no, no with the slight current against us we would not make it in daylight – office hours only. Two jets made a neat fly-by for us.
Joshua Slocombe in his book Sailing Alone Around the World wrote: The early Portuguese navigators, endowed with patience, were more than sixty-nine years struggling to round this cape before they got as far as Algoa Bay, and there the crew mutinied. They landed on a small island, now called Santa Cruz, where they devoutly set up the cross, and swore they would cut the captain's throat if he attempted to sail farther. Beyond this they thought was the edge of the world, which they too believed was flat; and fearing that their ship would sail over the brink of it, they compelled Captain D iaz, their commander, to retrace his course, all being only too glad to get home. A year later, we are told, Vasco da Gama sailed successfully round the "Cape of Storms," as the Cape of Good Hope was then called, and discovered Natal on Christmas or Natal day; hence the name. From this point the way to India was easy with the help of Arab and Indian fishermen. 
 
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We had been given permission to enter the port (the southernmost in South Africa, more so than Cape Town) so long as we waited for a lady and her working girls to leave first. No argument from us.
 
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Just before ten we let Allen take the lead on Nauti Nauti as he was only running on one engine – he was keen to get in to meet up with an engineer he had managed to source en route.
 
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The chum we waited for – Tommi Ritscher - passed us bound for Jebel Aii in the UAE, due in on New Year’s Day at 13:30. This five year old flying the flag of Madeira will average 17.8 knots and her vital statistics are: 256 metres in length, 38 metres across the hips and 9.6 metres below her.
 
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We entered Port Elizabeth by the breakwater, passing these cranes to our right, we would later learn one of them fell over in a big blow (PE is known as The Windy City), men had to dive to clear it at speed as it completely closed the port.
 
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 Chums parked all over the place and lines of working girls. Colour me happy.
 
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Nauti Nauti was dwarfed by Achilleas, currently being loaded with ore.
 
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We would watch her waterline go down over the next few days and then she headed to Singapore, due in on the 9th of January at an average speed of 11.1 knots. The wind gusts picked up so we loitered outside the marina until Allen and Patricia were safely moored, then the chaps waved us in to a berth three down from them.
 
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Plenty to keep me happy while I waited with fishing girls......
 
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.....and Bear got to see a train come in.
 
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One final circuit in front of the marina and in I went.
 
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Once secure I took in the ‘staircase’ we would be using........
 
 
ALL IN ALL DISAPPOINTED ABOUT THE STOP BUT SAFETY FIRST
                     SLOW BUT PEACEFUL HOP