Tearing my hair out in frustration - still stationary in Cape Town!!!


        

An African heron (... a bittern? .... or a squacco?) flew on board "Nereida" off the west coast of Africa on the way south in October....    And the poor puffer fish put itself on my hook when I saw lots of tuna jumping around "Nereida" much further south and felt sure I'd hook one...!
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Comment added Wed 20Jan: "The bird in the photographs is a juvenile Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus) . Know the species well, mainly from Spain, where my friend Viggo Ree ring-marked dozens of individuals in the summer of 1971 (caught in the net at night).  The breeding birds in Europe spend the winter in tropical Africa."
(Many thanks to Per Aa. Mandt who emailed me from Norway with the info.)
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If you see a bald woman walking around the Royal Cape Y.C. here in Cape Town - it's probably me!!!  I can't believe I'm still here - I've got nowhere so far with resolving my engine installation problems, other than lots of emails back & forth with details of measurements, all taking time & to little point ... and all the time knowing there's an identical engine here in Cape Town just waiting to be fitted in my boat in place of the present one - which makes it all the more frustrating....

Time is passing by... I've lost my weather window for rounding Cape Horn, since even if I leave soon, it'll take probably over three months to reach it (eastabout) - by which time the Southern winter will be starting, days will be getting short and the weather worsening. (I'm looking at grib files of the weather around Cape Horn now - and thinking I should have been approaching it around this time.... grrr!!!)   I'm considering the options for my next passagemaking, on the assumption that I'll be able to leave sometime soon - as usual, I'm trying to be optimistic!   I'm looking at the possibility of getting to the start line of the Single-Handed TransPac Race from San Francisco, starting in June.  Having had to miss the race start last time, having lost my boat on the way north to it, it would be fun to do it this year and would fill in the time up to the end of the year when I could make a second attempt at a nonstop circumnavigation - maybe starting from the Vancouver/Victoria area in British Columbia.  A big question is whether to head to San Francisco from here eastabout or westabout ... and that really depends on weather considerations -  how soon I'll be able to 'escape' from here.

People here at the Royal Cape Y.C. are being extremely kind and friendly - it's a nice, sociable place to be 'stuck' in, although I must admit to a feeling of being 'trapped' in the marina, having rarely got out anywhere else during my time here due to various boat jobs I've been trying to get done (more frustration there!) or waiting around for expected email responses that have often come several days late - so no touring or visiting, just the occasional food shopping with fellow-cruisers! But next Wednesday, I've been promised a crew place in the 'Twilight Series' racing here at the RCYC on 'Thunderchild' - so I'll get out on the water!  And I did get taken out on a 39ft racing catamaran just over a week ago ...  Wow! ... We all got totally, thoroughly drenched in the big seas breaking over the open deck...!!!  Winds were SE25-30 knots ... and we were making 25 knots and touched 28knots - I've never been so fast on a sailing boat....!  Great fun... and a real tonic for me!

The plan was to walk up Table Mountain today (I have yet to manage a visit there) and ride the cable car back down - but that hasn't happened since I'd been warned not to attempt it alone, due to safety issues, and my would-be companions didn't turn up last night as I expected - so that's been put off to another day, hopefully.  But tomorrow, I'm being taken out by new acquaintances to visit part of Cape Town and then make for a beach a short distance to the north of here - the temperature is expected to soar to 35C tomorrow in the present calm sunny conditions, after the strong wind of the last two days.

More friends on boats are leaving Cape Town this coming week, headed for points north... St Helena etc... That's always painful for me, emphasizing how I'm stuck here... But I've just heard from Dutch friends (on 'Jade') that they've arrived in Simonstown from Richards Bay - so we'll meet and catch up on news - I last saw them face-to-face in Hiva Oa in the Marquesas three years ago, having crossed over from Mexico at the same time.

So now I'll head back to "Nereida" where I'm trying still to clean ropes - the downside of being in Cape Town is that the strong wind brings lots of fine, black grit which gets deposited on anything above deck - so it's a constant, almost impossible, battle trying to keep the boat and all lines reasonably clean.

Thanks to those of you who've sent supportive emails,  asking for an update & concerned to know what's happening to "Nereida" & me...

Bye for now.....

Written by : Mike

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