Cape Town

Pearl of Persia
Andrew Lock
Sun 15 Dec 2013 11:57
Lat 33:53.9S Long 18:26.3E
I spotted Table mountain just as dawn arrived and by 6:30, alone on deck,
with Sussanne and Oliver sleeping below, the whole coastline came into view,
blue sky with the land in a shimmering golden haze. The sea was calm and
with the sails down, started to motor for the final few hours towards Cape
Town. All peaceful. Plenty of shipping around, many cargo boats and tankers
lying at anchor up ahead. The haze was gradually obscuring the coastline,
the visibility started to drop and with a start, I realised we were going
into fog. The ships disappeared, and we were left in our own world, nothing
visible at all. Radar back on and we crawled along with Sussanne and Oliver
both looking out. We passed within a few hundred feet of a cargo ship, the
radar blip warning us but absolutely nothing visible. We went along for an
hour or so, and then suddenly Oliver yelled out 'Wales ahead'. Thinking for
a moment my navigation had gone seriously wrong, then realised it was
'whales ahead' and all around us half a dozen whales swimming alongside,
blowing spouts and flipping their tails in the air. Sussanne screamed as one
brushed alongside....Oh my God, they're going to hit the boat.....and with
us almost stationary we watched fascinated as the huge animals gently swam
along with us, crossing in front of the bow and exhaling huge lungfuls of
air with a loud whoosh. Then just as suddenly they were gone from view,
disappearing into the gloom, but we could still hear them for several
minutes. Next moment dolphins were with us, zig zagging on the bow waves,
then they were gone and seals appeared, almost as if welcoming us. The
breakwater appeared, the fog turned to haze, Table Mountain reappeared and
the dock was ahead. We radioed for the bridge to be opened into the marina,
and within minutes we had passed through and were tied up, still full of
excitement at the reception we had received.