Sat 17th Nov07 - Safe arrival in South Africa at Richards Bay after 11 1/2 days on passage from Reun

Sunday 18th November

Today, the NE wind people need for sailing south has come - with clear skies and bright, burning sunshine....

I arrived on Saturday after an eventful sail overnight and during the morning.... Wind increased to 30 knots, with grey skies and rain as I closed the coast, and the seas built up correspondingly. What had happened to my vision of sunny South Africa, I wondered?? I was pleased to have my tiny stays'l hoisted in the strong conditions and made excellent speed with two reefs in the main, with the current helping.
The Richards Bay Port Control officer was very friendly and helpful as I approached, giving useful comments as I entered the harbour under sail alone. I had a lovely sail in lessening wind inside the breakwaters, as I looked for the channel leading to the International check-in quay. Plenty of people were around to help with my lines as I came in to the high concrete quay to tie up, relax and await Immigration & Customs clearance. Lots of international yachts around - and lots of people wanting
to chat to me, among them a boat from Perth who invited me join them at the marina braai (barbecue) nearby around 6.30 pm. They had plenty of meat, they assured me, as well as lots of salad!
Immigration and Customs finally turned up after 5pm and Jan & Ken ('Aquila') came by with fresh bread to chat and give lots of useful info - they're good friends of Jean & Ken on 'Renaisaance 2000' - cruiser friends from Canada (now in Australia) who'd put us in touch with each other.
The barbecue was a highly sociable event with lots of cruisers turning up & lots of new people to meet.

On Sunday, the Port Police came by at 7am to complete my check-in procedure - I would have been happy to stay asleep....!! Soon after, I moved off the concrete wall into an empty slip that Jan & Ken had spotted - far more secure and I was able to start rinsing the salt off the boat and organize my sails etc.
I'm getting plenty of useful info about the area and getting boat jobs & repairs done... I've a long list of work I'd like to get done here.

It was a lovely day of quite strong wind but blue sky - more like the sunny S. Africa I'd been expecting... but the air temperature is not that high - only 23C.

Written by : Mike

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