New Year 2011

Dick and Irene Craig
Mon 3 Jan 2011 13:51
The night of 26th December was very windy which meant not a lot of sleep
onboard the boats as the water crashed against the hulls, the lines jerked
and the boat shivered.
Once again our plans to do the bus tours and take the cable car to the top
of Table Mountain were thwarted. Despite the 35knot wind, the surrounding
mountains are topped with billowing, white clouds.
The hillside, where the fire had broken out yesterday afternoon, is black
and devoid of any plant-life.
David and Susan went away for a few days so we made sure that their boat
remained safe in their absence. Likewise, Michael and Basia were away for
the day and we checked the lines etc. regularly.
We had to readjust the fenders on our own boat twice. One near the bow of
the boat had somehow blown across another but with the wind blowing so
strongly, there was nothing we could do to rectify this. The port stern is
the part most at risk. Four of the new fender covers have been ripped,
caused by the constant jerking movement of the boat against the pontoon.
The gale force wind has been forecast to continue to blow until Saturday,
1st January. The local people assure us that the weather is not normal but
we have heard the same story everywhere we have been.
Dick replaced the light fittings in the main living area so that now it is
possible to read a book during the hours of darkness, without having to wear
a head torch. He has cleaned the bilges and bilge pump filters, tested the
new pump which we have bought as part of our belt and braces policy, changed
the oil in the generator, updated the accounts and filed all the
miscellaneous papers which had been increasing in volume.
I have started on the meals which I need to make and freeze, ready for the
next passage, should the conditions be such that cooking a meal from scratch
is likely to be an uncomfortable task.
Mo and Bev got back from Knysna, where they had spent Christmas. They were
due to stay on the boat until Saturday but had changed their mind, returning
to Cape Town to stay on board an ex WARC boat over New Year.
Despite the strong wind, having already made arrangements to be away Friday
and Saturday night, we enlisted the help of Michael and Basia, moored on the
other side of the pontoon from us, to check the safety of our boat during
our absence. We were pleased to have done so as that night the wind
increased to 70knots, blowing the roof off the marina office.
Bob and Ann, friends from the UK, who have rented a house in Fish Hoek,
collected us from the marina around 11am. Although they now live in Spain,
they spend the winter months golfing in the southern hemisphere.
Part of the deal for renting the house is to feed selected wild life which
comes into the garden. Chicken giblets for the mummy mongoose and her two
youngsters, bird seed for the peacock and the guinea fowl. However, not all
the guinea fowl, only the one without the crest. There was also a porcupine
but we didn’t see that. We had planned to do a night watch but in the
excitement of the New Year celebrations, forgot to do so.
We drove to Silvermine, part of the Table Mountain national park to walk the
Noordhoek circuit. The approximate time suggested for this circuit was 3
hours but miraculously we completed in just over 2 hours, including a brief
stop for a picnic lunch. It was too windy to stop for long. Before starting
the ascent, we walked across a bridge spanning a reservoir where a woman was
swimming in the reddish brown coloured water and people sunbathed on the
banks. In a couple of places we could see that the water was leaking from
the dam. As we climbed, the views were spectacular and included Noorhoek
valley, Long Beach, Hout Bay, Chapmans Peak drive and the Sentinel.
We didn’t see much in the way of fauna but the flora was quite lovely and I
recognized several different varieties of Proteas, Gladioli and various
types of succulent, colourful daisies.
Next day we drove to the Cape of Good Hope, where the Indian and Atlantic
Oceans are purported to meet, and to Cape Point. While in this national park
we saw bontebok, a kind of antelope, ostrich, lizards and baboons. One
baboon was carrying her baby under her body.
We climbed to the top of the lighthouse at Cape Point despite the strength
of the wind making it almost impossible to move at times. A notice in the
window of the office where we bought the tickets for the funicular railway
displayed a notice “We apologise for the gale force wind which is beyond our
We picnicked in the car, just off the beach at the Cape of Good Hope, as we
watched the black cormorants trying to fly in formation, against the wind.
That night we welcomed in the New Year with Bob and Ann.
The weather had changed. During the early hours of Saturday morning there
was an electrical storm, though I saw no lightening but it was still raining
when we left the house some time after 11am but by noon the sky was blue and
the sun shining.
We drove to Boulder Beach where we saw lots of penguins. So cute, not even
knee high. Pregnant at this present time, the females will be giving birth
very soon. We drove on to Kommejie and watched a multitude of surfers as
they paddled out to catch a wave and then surfed back in, some not
successfully. The water here was littered with huge amounts of kelp. As we
walked to the light house we saw a small tortoise which scuttled into the
bushes, then back, over Chapmans Peak to Hout Bay where the beach and sea
was packed with holiday makers..
As we made our way around the coast road, we had seen a huge stretch of sea
mist across the bay, stretching out into the sea. Soon after returning to
our boat, the sea mist had moved into Hout Bay and by 8pm, the entire bay
was enveloped and all but those tourists eating in the few restaurants still
open had disappeared.