Waiting for the weather

Dick and Irene Craig
Thu 2 Dec 2010 13:43
We arrived Durban and tied up in the marina around 10.30am on Friday 26th
November. John from Tzigany, and Hans and Emmie from Drammer took our lines
thus making our arrival so much easier.
Moe and Bev washed the salt off the boat then went ashore after lunch. Dick
and I stayed on board doing those little jobs that need to be done.
Next morning we talked to Tony Herrick at Cruising Connections, the local
guru regarding the passage from Durban to Cape Town and the man in the know,
when it comes to forecasting the south westerlies. If you are planning to
sail along this deadly coast, do get hold of his pilot book, Southern
African Cruising Notes. His website address is www.cruisingconnections.co.za
According to the current forecast, although there was a small window on
Monday, it didn’t look as if we could get away before Thursday. Not a major
problem for us but for Tzigany and Chessie, who have already been here in
excess of a week, this is not good news; particularly as Tzigany has two
friends who have flown over for a month from France and have already spent
two weeks sitting on a boat in a marina.
Dick and I walked downtown to Victoria market in glorious sunshine. It took
in excess of a couple of hours to get there, wander around the market and
get back to the marina; pushing our way through the crowded pavements, we
only saw two other people with white faces.
The shops that lined the streets reminded us of those in Mauritius but were
generally twice the size. The streets were lined with traders and hawkers.
The market was no longer as I remembered it but then, nor was the entire
We were back on the boat for lunch and would have gone out again during the
afternoon but it started to rain and continued to do so for most of the
Sunday, we went to the food and drink exhibition where at least three or
four separate areas had famous, celebrity, African chefs demonstrating the
preparation and cooking of meals. Their cookery books were on display and
available for purchase and if you were prepared to queue then you could even
get it signed by the appropriate celebrity.
There were demonstrations of all sorts of cookware and product, both edible
and non edible. Free samples were in ample supply.
Quite a number of different wine makers were giving wine tastings and there
was at least one supplier providing whisky tastings and another giving
brandy tastings..
We departed with a goody bag full of free samples, as well as a bag of
wholemeal flour, which I had purchased from one of the stands. As we walked
outside, we were greeted by rain.
The taxi which we had called, on chasing up, told us that they weren’t
coming so we approached another which had been parked outside the exhibition
for at least half an hour. He told us he was not available but did call and
get another to collect us. Meanwhile, he went back to sit in the dry, inside
the van with the mobile ATM while I sheltered from the rain in his taxi..
It rained most of the night but did stop long enough next morning for the
washing to dry.
Dick went ashore to get some bits for the boat. The steering on the
starboard side had seized and a new universal joint was required. This took
all morning as the rod he needed to retain was rusted inside the original
universal joint and needed to be cut out and then ground out. A huge thanks are in
order here to Nick at Seaport Supply, THE LOCAL CHANDLERY, www.seaport.co.za , for providing the driver to
run Dick around, it would have been impossible without them, many thanks Nick.
The rest of the day was taken up with jobs on the boat.
Tony Herrick now thinks that the weather won’t be suitable for us to leave
at all this week so John and Jenny from Tzigany, along with their friends,
Nick and Peter, flew to Cape Town. We put a splitter on the source of our
electric so that the batteries on their boat would remain topped up during
their absence. They had been using their generator for that purpose while on
We have had a lot of problem with the electricity. Sometimes it is fused on
the boat, sometimes at the box and sometimes the whole pontoon is without.
Because we have had to use such a long cable, with various splitters etc to
join, it is difficult to ascertain if the problem is on the boat, caused by
water getting into our equipment or relates to the source. This causes a
great deal of frustration, especially when someone else just unplugs us.
One day we had no water to the boats and although the problem was reported,
it was 24hours before it was available again. Apparently, there had been no
problem with the supply, other than it had been switched of at source, just
before it reached the marina.
We took a taxi, in glorious sunshine, to Durban botanical gardens, which has
been open for 160 years and is now run by the municipality, on a
shoe-string. Entrance is free. The shortage of funds was not in evidence as
we walked around the well maintained gardens. There is a lake where such a
variety of birds were swimming. We spotted a pair of Egyptian geese with 4
chicks which must have hatched within the last 24 hours.
In the reeds at one end of the lake was a small red bird. In the huge trees
nearby, gigantic white birds which looked a bit like pelicans but were
probably storks or herons, flew back and forth to their massive, untidy
nests. Ibis wandered around the grassy areas, unfazed by the dozens of
children, playing on the grass, admiring the goslings etc.
There was a lily pond, a sunken garden, a garden for the senses where you
could feel different textures, smell different scents, taste different
plants. The orchid house was beautiful and the flowers were set in a
beautiful garden adorned with water features. There was even a garden where
plants, some indigenous, but now considered to be weeds, were planted.
Various sculptures blended into the attractive, beautifully laid out garden,
with its many special features which also enhanced the natural beauty of the
There is a tea rooms, a visitor centre, a nativity, set out just in front of
the orchid house and a Christmas tree. The Christmas tree, not far from the
lily pond and the nativity, was conical in shape and made up of what
resembled artificial grass. It seemed a little incongruous in such a
beautiful garden.
We called a taxi to take us to the revolving restaurant but after waiting
for 20minutes, a lovely lady named Christine came to our rescue. She drove
us back towards the marina and then on to the restaurant. Christine is one
of the voluntary guides at the Botanical gardens and has lived in South
Africa all of her life.
We met Hans and Emmie in the restaurant, where we dined like kings, as the
vista changed by 360º during the course of our leisurely lunch.
That evening, there was an electrical storm immediately overhead, for about
an hour. The electricity went off for a while but fortunately came back on
without any interference from us.