A heavy, wet, overnight fog in Table Bay made for a damp, eye-straining departure in the dark, early hours of Tuesday morning. I`d been so convinced that the equipment replacement I needed to ensure an uneventful crossing to Tasmania and onward was not set to happen that I was caught unpepared for the Monday departure I`d originally wanted - so as to get away S, despite possible nasty swells on Friday, to avoid having to wait maybe nearly a fortnight for the next `weather window.
After a few midday runs around the inner harbour to calibrate the new equipment, followed by a couple of big farewell hugs from Robert, who has been so very helpful with sorting out the electronics on board since my arrival in S.Africa in May, liaising with a supportive Raymarine in England, I left to get the departure formalities dealt with. Brian kindly took me around in the Royal Cape Y.C. `buggie`(small truck!) to speed things along - first over to the Harbour Authority`s Port Control Tower, then on to Immigration and finally over to S.A.R.S. in town for Customs clearance and to get the essential Clearance Certificate, ready for my arrival in Australia near the end of March....
But then a hiccup in my plans occurred, when the Customs Officer told me that they needed to inspect the new ropes I`d bought, for which I was claiming a tax refund... I`d brought along some jerrycans for filling with diesel so we agreed that I`d go with Brian to do that on the way back to the Club where they`d meet me - to go on board `Nereida` before returning with me to the Customs office .... All that took a time and I ended up walking quite a distance back to the Club again, with Brian having finished work and no longer able to help. It would have been an enjoyable walk in bright sunshine had I not been urgent to get on with so many outstanding jobs on board if I was to be able to leave that night.... Weather predictions I`d been regularly checking on were consistently indicating that my weekend weather window would not last much longer so it was nice of Eileen to come around at short notice to help me with my final preparations and to say ``Goodbye`` - friends had been planning on seeing me on Tuesday evening, maybe even Wednesday.... but the weather waits for no-one!!
The weekend before had been a very enjoyable one at the Club, with a `Summer Fling Regatta` over three very hot, sunny days of racing. I would have joined the crew on board `Lobelia` but, regretfully, instead worked hard into the late evenings, getting `Nereida` seaworthy - the boat still needed a lot of work to tidy up, stow things securely and sort things out on deck, although I did join in some of the evening socialising - especially on the last day when `Lobelia` were delighted to find they`d won their class against some top-notch competition! An excellent end to my stay at the Royal Cape, seeing their happy faces - `bubbly` all round!
So here we are in the Southern Oean once more, aiming to round the shallow Agulhas Bank as soon as possible - about two days of heading SSE before being able to turn and head East. The fog persisted well into the day, but eventually cleared, away from land, to give bright, mostly clear skies - and I was delighted to find us in regular company with the familiar ocean birds again - several albatross and white-chinned petrels ... even a white-rumped storm petrel passed by. To cap it all, there was a lovely sunset, with a full moon rising simultanously in clear skies in the East.