Zebra sails in the East Cape easterlies

Wed 5 Dec 2012 11:19
Wednesday, Dec 5th, 2012, 12.30 Ships time, 10.30 GMT
Position 34:13S 25:30E Off Recife Point.
Delighted to be back at sea at first light this morning, with a reasonable forcast for the next day or two, and we will see how far we can get. Getting out of Port Elizabeth involved a motor slog into the wind, but now we have dodged the rather ominously named Thunderbolt reef, off Recife Point, and we have squared off and are making good progress east. Sadly there is no current to help us, but no counter current either, so we must not complain. All sails set just now but it will be windy later, and we will douse the mainsail. This will afford an uninterupted view of our new Zebra sails:a permanent legacy of our visit to the filthiest Port in the World so far. We got the Manganese dioxide off most of the boat, but the furled forsails just soaked the stuff up, and where exposed, each sail 'wrap' is now black. All the halyards and sheets were also black, but we have removed these and washed tham all: now they are a uniform grey, but at least don't stain our hands. Yesterday I had the sails down and tried to wash them too, on deck, but this stuff is better than 'Dylon!' Time is a great healer, and my rage has settled somewhat. A Finn, in the boat opposite had new sails and new canvas work, and he has not been out of the YC bar since finding what the stuff had done. A Kiwi boat also had new sails, but black sailcloth. They were very smug until they lost the rugby match!
Geoff and I have been promenading up and down the Tourist beaches waiting for weather, and calming my mood. Geoff has his man bag, and we are received with odd looks as we stop off for coffee and cakes at the beachside cafes! This area of Town is clean, and not unpleasant, although the coast itself is flat here and uninspiring. Again excellent supermarkets (a Spar, of all brands, got up like Waitrose), and excellent food at the YC: last night to celebrate our departure and my wedding anniversary(!), I had snails, a fish combo (hake and calamari) and lemon cheescake. So I really deserve Mal de Mere this morning, but touch wood we are both well, and looking forward to lunch (cheese sandwiches, to lower the tone)
The YC is efficient too, last night with the restaurant packed with office Christmas party folk, there was a power failure, candles suddenly everywhere, and not a falter in the service. An odd boat, decked out like a funfare, was just leaving the harbour and we had a fine view, noting the name 'Calamity Jane' So we googled this name and got all the info: a cable laying vessel, and live updates from the ship even gave us a weather forecast. We oldies still find the internet amazing
Will update tomorrow, weather permitting, best wishes to all
Richard and Geoff.