Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Mon 4 Feb 2013 20:47
This was potentially more demanding. 250 miles from Durban to East London with “absolutely no opportunity for a safe bolt-hole or shelter the entire way,” to quote Tony Herrick the knowledgeable local cruising sage.
As it was we picked the right moment to depart from Durban and a little flotilla of six boats made a successful dash for it. On JJ Moon we enjoyed sunny weather, a fair breeze and a four-knot current. It is a bit surprising to see the log reading 11.6 knots in beautiful conditions. In one 24 hour period we covered 226 miles, unlikely to be bettered, and the whole passage was over in 30 hours.
We are now anchored in East London at the mouth of the Buffalo River waiting for another southerly to pass.
To while away the time we have been to see the coelacanth. It’s what you do in East London. He’s stuffed now but when he was swimming around off this coast in 1938 he could trace his ancestors back in a direct line for about 400 million years. He was thought to have been extinct for 65 million years so is quite a celebrity although since he was trawled up cousins have been found in other parts of the world. Naturally, he has been given pride of place in the East London Museum and very smart he looks too. Perhaps not quite as awesome and frightening as some of the dinosaurs must have been but one has to remember that his ancestors were around long before those terrors got into their stride. So, “age before beauty” as my mother used to say in relation to something or other.
“Grib files” have been called up and consulted on every computer and tablet. The “Net” has been appealed to and has delivered prognostications half buried in mush and static. Great experts have reported by email. We think we shall be leaving mid-day tomorrow in the hope of getting all the way to Simon’s Town by the end of the week. If we cannot make it before the weather breaks there are places to tuck in out of the worst of it.