Going north

JJMoon Diary
Barry and Margaret Wilmshurst
Mon 18 Mar 2013 13:12
We are heading seriously north, at last.
We left the V & A marina yesterday at about 1400, passed through the bascule bridge and the swing bridge, which have to be opened specially, through the fishing basin and the Victoria Basin, across the outer harbour and into Table Bay.  We were very reluctant to leave South Africa, Cape Town, and our friends Kathie and Dave on Sunflower.  It was a good job it was a bright, sunny day to keep our spirits up.  Kathie and Dave are heading into the interior of Namibia by air while we make a determined effort to put in some northing with JJ Moon.
The first 24 hours has been OK – bright sunshine yesterday afternoon as we passed inshore of Robben Island, overcast and a little thin fog this morning but no wind to make use of.  We have been motoring with a little help from the mains’l.  We believe the breeze will fill in from the west or south-west later in the day and we can stop using up precious fuel.  We are heading towards Walvis Bay, Namibia’s main port about 750 miles north of Cape Town.  We shall not be there long enough to enjoy much exploration but we are told it is a good place for a stop-over. The theory is that from Walvis Bay there is a better wind angle to reach St Helena.
We are currently in the Benguela current, which runs north along this coast at between a half and one knot.  It all helps but the water is cold, hence the fog.  Some of the current water has spilled round from the Agulhas and some has come up from the deep south.  It is cold enough at night to need a blanket on top of the duvet.  But the passage has been enlivened by a small school of dolphins, several seals and a proper whale.  In this context “proper” is not a technical term like “right” whale but an attempt to differentiate between doubtful sightings a long way off at the insistence of a clear sighted fellow crew member and a good look at an animal 150 metres away swimming in the same direction as us.  He was a good specimen, unidentified until we can get on to the web, but even in our enthusiasm we found a touch of sadness because he was towing a small fishing float and appeared to be tangled up in some free fishing gear that didn’t belong to him.  We wished we could help.