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Fri 23 Nov07 - Communication problems.....

Just a quick note from Richards Bay - where I'm struggling to overcome computer & emailing problems....Radio will not connect to shore station so no Winlink or Sailmail that way.... and I've been trying to get land connections via either my cellphone or a separate USB cellphone network modem - but whatever I try to do I'm getting 'silly' messages... or my PC decides to go into a never-ending loop, getting nowhere... I'm still working on that & making use of Internet cafe but that's not as simple
as having the computer directly connected to the Internet....

I'm still in the Tuzi Gazi marina but expect very soon to move over to the Zululand Yacht Club a short distance away (in fact, I just got a phonecall from Jenny at the Z.Y.C. to say there's a slip available there for me now so I'll move over this weekend). Both places are very sociable with weekly 'braais' (barbecues) but to get from one to the other is again a matter of a short taxi or car ride out of daylight hours - it's not safe to walk between the marina & Y.C. at or after twilight..... "This
is Africa". (A phrase more normally used rather like "This is the Caribbean (or Mexico)" to shrug off delays and problems getting things done here ...often simply abbreviated to "TIA"!!)

I've still got a long list of jobs not dealt with but took advantage of an offer to join some people for a day-tour by car out to the Hluhluwe/Imfolozi Game Park on Wednesday (Hluhluwe is pronounced Shushui!!!). That was excellent and I was impressed almost as much by the unexpectedly beautiful, green, hilly landscape as by being close up to a pair of enormous white rhinos (hoping they were too sleepy to bother even thinking of charging us!!) as well as plenty of giraffe, nyala, impala, kudu, wildebeeste,
zebra, amusing warthogs & big buffalo. Lots of birds everywhere also, including tawny eagles. I always seemed to be hearing lots of birdsong everywhere - which is always nice after a long time at sea.

It's lovely to see the small grey & black vervet monkeys roaming freely on the grass nearby.

I had a nice simple meal at the Y.C. last night - just 20 Rand (at R14 to the pound sterling!) The taxi ride to get there was the same price but it's R45 to get into the main shopping centre at Richards Bay - it's a good taxi ride away, although other boaters with cars often offer a lift which is just great. The alternative for shopping is the smaller Meerensee - that, I gather, is within reasonable walking/biking distance but I've not got there yet.

It's been very overcast, with heavy rain yesterday & overnight, due to the present SW wind - lots of people are hoping for a 'weather window' on Sunday (the expected Wednesday one having vanished) - they want to move down the coast with a following NE wind.

I'd better get to the chandlery/Internet to send this off & then get on with some of those boat jobs.... my fridge is still shorting out, as is my shore-power connection(I've rigged up a direct shore-power connection to the battery charger, bypassing the usual boat connection)

Written by : Mike

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