Tuesday 19th July 1312 Local Time 1112
Is there anyone out there?
It is now a couple of months since we have seen a
yacht at sea. The last time was when we saw a yacht with a family aboard about
400 miles or so south of Chagos in May! That was over three thousand miles back.
It is a big ocean but I guess there are very few yachts making this trip at this
time of year. The shipping activity where we are
has been lighter than I expected and generally sailing well outside our line.
I should have mentioned it, as we are here in South
Africa it but it was Nelson Mandela's birththday yesterday. His 93rd. The whole
country were celebrating this event. In my view no celebration or testimonial
would be sufficient to do justice to the contribution this man has made to
humanity in the last century. In his life's experiences there are great
lesson's for us all. Last night we were able to tune into South Africa FM a
radio station and the DJ was holding a phone in requesting peoples'
personal experiences with Mandela. He forbade any political discussion or
comment at the outset and cut one or two people off when they tried to make
comment. Like the book "Conversations with Myself" compiled from
several factual written sources
the personal comments of a cross section of the
countries population last night gave us a look inside the person, behind the
persona. And it confirmed what a giant of a man this is. Big enough to stop his
presidential cavalcade to the great frustration of his security in a rural area
and offer a woman help fixing a puncture. Big enough to do the small individual
things on a one to one basis that several people related on the show. One
comment last night and I am sure a sentiment repeated often in the country in
the past few days struck me as the key to South Africa's future.
"We all owe it to Mandela to make South Africa
work". Like everything else in life if each individual does his bit then the
whole will truly benefit.
In an aside to this but by way of example, when
Craig and I were sailing to Durban knowing we would have a hard passage we
discussed, understood and agreed the principle of safety. That is if each one of
us takes care of himself from a safety perspective, with a zero tolerance for
accident, then the whole ship would be safe. Personal responsibility. A concept
unknown to many who think it is the HSE or the government who will keep them
safe. They think it is someone else's responsibility, not their own.
Like the economics and wealth of a country - it is
simply the sum of the output of each individual - less the overhead of
those who do nothing to contribute ........... anyway where were we, yes
Coincidentaly I am now reading Mohandas (Mahatma)
Ghandi's "The story of my experiments with truth". Ghandi seemed to discover his
purpose in life too in the struggle for equality and fairness in South
Africa. His incredible life story
demonstrates again how an ordinary human can become a great human by taking
personal responsibility and making personal sacrifice to achieve what he wants
to achieve and what he believes is right.
We are now 20 miles to the east of one of the
worlds great capes. The seas here can be treacherous, however today the sky is
blue, the sun is shining there is 5 knots of wind dead ahead of us
and sadly it looks as if we will have to motor to round the Cape of
Good Hope....... There is a heavy frontal system heading towards us
on Thursday so we must get into Capetown by tomorrow to avoid being caught
out here in that. Apart from anything else I think it would cost me a
We have now crossed the equator three times on this
journey and the first crossing was celebrated by jumping off the bow and
swimming across the equator. The water temperature here is now 16 Centigrate and
this is the province of the Great White and Tiger Shark so Trish will have to do
it this time.
How to celebrate rounding? Well first lets get
round. We have learnt that we can take nothing for granted out here.
With the flat seas there is quite a bit of wildlife
to be seen. Most interesting so far are the sealions. We are thirteen miles
offshore and yet they are out here performing away. They bizzarely are popping
up beside us as we go past "spyhopping" us. I think they are saying "what on
earth are these idiots doing down here at this time of year?"
Sometimes they are swimming like dolphins with backs surfacing. But
the best yet, is one we just passed who was lying on his back just along side
us, with his two fins in the air. Trish said he was scratching each fin in turn
but I am sure he was giving Trish a round of applause for reaching this
Encountering wildlife always grabs her interest and
brightens her up even on the most miserable of passages though why she should
prefer to look a wild sea creatures instead of her skipper is beyond