Christmas Preparations in Richards Bay
Preparations for Christmas
In Richards Bay
Almost all of the international yachts have left here now on route to Cape Town for Christmas, and some for an early start to the Caribbean in January but we have chosen to stay put for three reasons.
First the weather for taking on the challenge of the coast from here to CT improves as the southern summer moves on, indeed already we are starting to see the first multi day window appearing from this Thursday onwards, so we’ll see how that works out.
Secondly, as far as the Corona Virus is concerned we feel we are vulnerable to it and the nearer one gets to centres of population the greater the risk. Sitting in a marina surrounded by city buildings and busy lives for a lengthy period of time compared to this rural and very quiet area would not be sensible.
Thirdly, the cost of mooring Zoonie would be four times what it is here; so we look forward to maybe a week or so there to see the sights if they are still open and prepare for our voyage northwards and we are both deeply looking forward to that.
You can see from the photos what a lovely place this is. Zululand Yacht Club started life sixty years ago and has a big footprint on this corner of the lower Mzingazi River which has been canalised in our area before it enters the vast waters of Richards Bay. It is a very active club in numerous ways. Socially I can imagine there is a vibrant social calendar when the club is not in the restraints of a pandemic. The kitchen produces tasty and cheap meals, although they need to include at least one item for vegans and vegetarians. The dinghy sailing side flourishes for the youngsters and keen racers and Wednesday evening bigger boat racing is popular. In the attractive grounds around the club there are picnic areas, outside bars, numerous braai spots for BBQ’s and a great play area with robust and colourful climbing areas and a swing boat made from an old Optimist dinghy which is much enjoyed by the youngsters. We have seen people coming along for a refreshing swim in the clean pool and are tempted ourselves when we are happy there is no risk of infection in our tick bites.
On the up river side of the club is a big boatyard with lots of workshops, some show lights in the first floor windows which suggests people may stay there if they are from distant homes. Lots of the boats are live-aboards doing essential work before resuming their travels or just getting ready for the new season here. I love the busyness of this place full with people who love sailing and know the fun and challenges it provides and who are bringing their children up to enjoy it too and lots of local employees working on boatyard machinery and moving craft around, building new little storage sheds, inspecting the pontoons, fitting a new earth cable in our area so our mains electric could be restored. We are so lucky because when the electricity went off we just went back to offshore mode, with our gas stove kettle and 12 volt lights. At least we don’t need heating here, it is 34’ during the day and around 27’ at night! Running the engine for nearly 2 hours each day was tedious but it wasn’t for long.
So with the knowledge our next few weeks would be spent largely on board, after all how can the club plan its usual events over Christmas when they know they may well be put in stricter lock down, we started to look inward, to enhancing Zoonie’s interior and our cultural lives.
The first thing was for me to clean her saloon settees, which I knew needed it because of what happened when I was chatting to Emily recently and accidentally tipped my glass of water on the settee seat. I grabbed a tea-towel and mopped it up and the towel came away dark brown. Not having cleaned them before, in nine years of ownership, six years living aboard, oooh dear, I tested a small area with some Vanish pre-soak stain remover and you can see the difference can’t you. So now I just have the other settee to do.
Then we were shopping and as we entered Checkers Supermarket this lovely display of growing Amaryllis was staring us in the face. The one we have on board is called Miracle, from its label, and it is so big and beautiful it really enhances Zoonie’s saloon. I talk to it and it even tells us when it is thirsty by leaning to one side. Rob has decorated the saloon with tinsel and lights and it looks lovely at night with the lights on.
We popped into the Media Centre and bought the box set of Sherlock, which we are thoroughly enjoying, three seasons of Reign for £21 which will be added to our ebay pile at a later date as it is too pitiful to waste ones time on, who knows it may even make a small profit, and three other films. But even better than bought media we both now have the BBC Sounds app on our phones and we can listen to all and any of the BBC broadcasting live. Last Saturday we tuned in to Graham Norton’s penultimate programme with the BBC. This access is a revelation to me. TV would use too much internet and radio means we can be working and moving around while listening.
The cultural enrichment goes on……We have both linked our phones to our Wonderboom speaker and managed to copy all our iTunes library from the old Dell computer which does not do Bluetooth, on to the current Samsung which is now able to play them through the boom, so we can now play our choice of music from the BBC, from our old library and from Spotify on our phones. Also we can play the sound of our films and series through the Boom too. It’s overwhelming!
We wrote out Christmas postcards for family this year and were hoping there would be some lovely wildlife stamps to go on them. We know that other countries make good money from the colourful stamps they sell and with the beautiful Hoopoe being the national bird, one of which we saw on safari, you’d think they would do the same here, but no just a very boring slip of paper detailing the transaction.
The other day I heard from Erling in Norway to say that the book ‘The Cruise of the Teddy’ which Rob and I worked on in lockdown has now been published with Lodestar Publishing in hardback and digital format and I am in talks with Rachel Atkins of the Self-Publishing House side of Fernhurst Books with a view to using her professional services to ready my book for publication and worldwide distribution. When I mentioned the wordcount of 170,667 words there was a pregnant pause at the other end of the line. Guess there’ll be some editing to do!!
That’s about all for now except to say that we are both recovering from African Tick Fever. I finished my antibiotics yesterday and Rob started his. He has a nasty bite between the nail and skin on one of his toes that went septic(k!) and so has antiseptic cream, painkillers and ab’s in his armoury of medicine. I am pretty much covered with little red bites that have now gone hard in their lurid process through life.
So we are keeping an eye on you all over the festive weeks and we wish you a very,Very, VERY Happy Christmas knowing you will make the best of things, and we hope the New Year brings an end to the worst effects of the virus and to the restrictions that have limited the freedoms we are used to. Take care and stay healthy and thank you so much for reading. xxxx