Christmas in Cape Town

Dick and Irene Craig
Mon 27 Dec 2010 12:53

In the marina, there appear to be three seals, two of which spend most of their time sunbathing on an inflatable wave breaker. From time to time they frolic in the water. They are the centre of attraction when the tripper boats pass them on their way back and forth to the quayside. Holiday makers lean over the side of the boats taking photographs of the seals.
We arrived back at the marina around 6pm from Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. By the time we had loaded the wine onto the boat, we were all quite worn out. We had a wonderful weekend and David did all of the driving so must have been more exhausted than the rest of us.
We knew that the wind was due to come up and it was blowing quite hard as we drove past the beach from whence the sand was being blown across the road. David and Susan on Voyageur adjusted the lines from their boat to the pontoon. We did likewise and Dick had to crawl along the finger pontoon as the wind made it quite perilous to stand. That evening and during the night, the spray from the sea whipped across the boat, the wind howled, shook the boat, jerked the lines and made for not a lot of sleep. Fortunately around 4am the wind dropped and when we got up the sun was shining, the sea was calm.
I had my hair cut, highlighted and blow dried, only the second time since we departed our home port in Spain, at the beginning of last August. Dick had a Chinese full body massage but by the time we had stocked up on a few provisions and carried them back to the boat, any benefit from the massage was long gone.
As soon as we got back to the boat, Dick had to take the outboard off the rib and take it to the Yanmar dealers for a service. I made him a sandwich and he took it with him and I spent most of the afternoon indexing and storing away the provisions.
Tuesday morning was a very hot and sunny day and we went with David and Susan into Cape Town and visited Green market, wandered around Long Street and generally admired the old buildings which had been retained and well maintained.
We lunched at Panama Jacks, not far from the Royal Cape Town Yacht Club, where we ate lobster and langoustine at amazingly affordable prices. Then we had another successful but lengthy visit to Seaport chandlery, to purchase more essentials for the boat, before ending up at the Victoria and Alfred waterfront. Here we admired the street entertainers, popped into the mall for some items not generally available in the supermarkets. From a table at one of the fashionable cafes, we relaxed outside with a drink and watched the world go by.
Whenever you park the car, in a car park, official or unofficial, on the street, anywhere but a multi-storey, when the time comes to collect it, a local appears from nowhere for the “obligatory” 5 Rand for looking after the car.
We had planned to get the open top tour bus on Wednesday morning and to take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. Unfortunately, the mountains were covered in cloud and there was mist almost as far as our marina. The sun eventually burnt off a lot of the mist but it wasn’t a day suitable for what we had wanted to do so instead, we spent the day doing necessary jobs on the boat.
We have been waiting for the arrival of a goose-neck, from Sparcraft in France, calling the local dealer on an almost daily basis, to check on the delivery. Imagine our consternation when we received an email from the dealer mid afternoon on Thursday 23rd December, telling us that the parcel had arrived but the office would be closed between 24th December and 11th January. Fortunately, Charles, the local yachtie who is coordinating work for a number of WARC boats, came to our rescue. He ascertained that the dealer was already closed for Christmas but because he knew the brother of the owner of the dealership, he should be able to collect the package in the New Year before we depart Cape Town 8th January.
We bought two snoek from the days catch, each weighing about 2Kg. They have now been cut into meal-size pieces and frozen.
Christmas day, Bob and Ann, some friends from the UK, who also now live in Spain, though spend the winter in the southern hemisphere golfing, came to the waterfront to join us for lunch. We were relaxing on Tzigany, imbibing champagne and nibbling on air dried ham from France, when Bob and Ann arrived. Bob felt quite sea-sick just walking down the pontoons which were moving around quite a bit due to the movement of the sea in the 25knot wind.
David and Susan had booked the Queen Mary room at Mariners Wharf, a fish restaurant on the waterside. The food here is good and the restaurant is always busy but on Christmas day it was full to capacity, with people still queuing to get in at 4pm. We had been told by the restaurant to arrive at noon and had been a little concerned that we would be eating early and rushed out for a second sitting. This was not the case at all. By the time the first bottles of wine had been consumed and the starters were brought, it was nearly 1 o’clock. The waiter was a cheerful, helpful, white South African who was enjoying himself as much as us. It was almost six o’clock as we left the restaurant and wandered down to Voyageur to continue the fun.
Boxing Day was another day full of fun. I cooked a traditional English style Christmas dinner and John and Jenny from Tzigany and David and Susan joined us, bringing with them a beautiful bouquet of pink roses and a bottle of pink champagne..
The tripper boats were still operating over Christmas, the glass bottom boat doing an hourly turn around, spending no more than half an hour away from the dockside. The boats are packed with tourists. As the boats leave the quay, we can hear the passengers being welcomed aboard and then warned of the strong wind, with advice on how to stay dry during the excursion. I am not sure that with so many passengers on board, everyone will be able to move away from the waves breaking over the boat.
A further attraction, as the boats motored out through Hout bay was the hillside fire on Boxing Day. Helicopters flew continuously over the blaze, depositing “sacs” of water on the fire. The traffic tailed back for miles. The air was full of smoke, soot and ash, as was our boat. Eventually, the fire was put out and the fire fighters were able to leave.