Nelson Mandela sculpture

The sculpture of Nelson Mandela changes as you walk down the path to stand in the middle of the benches


Superted V Blog & Photos November 2015

1 Nov - Friends from our Secunda days (30 years ago) Pat and Maurice came to visit us in Durban - had a lovely day with a buffet lunch at the Royal Natal Yacht Club. Both the point YC and the Royal Natal were very friendly and helpful and the meals so cheap it was hardly worth cooking (that's my excuse anyway!)

4 - 12 Nov - Pat and Maurice put together a circuit of Natal for us - we started with a couple of nights stay with them in their lovely home in Worlds End near to Pietermaritzburg and a sightseeing tour of the area including a visit to Nelson Mandela's capture site (sculpture shown in heading above). The route up from Durban to Pietermaritzburg took us through some great coutryside including the valley of 1000 hills - I had forgotten just how beautiful South Africa is and nothing seems to have changed much out 'in the sticks' since apartheid finished. After a relaxing couple of days we headed up to Cathedral Peak in the Drakensburg for some great hiking in fantastic scenery. From the Cathedral Park hotel we did a short hike up the uMlammbonja valley to the Ribbon falls on the first day then a strenuous hike up to the Mushroom rock at 1850m and after searching for the track behind the mushroom rock (instead of through it!) we finally made our way along the escarpment to 2000m at Tarn hill before heading back down via the Ribbon, Albert and Doreen falls . A troop of baboons and a huge secretary bird crossed our path as we hiked down from the escarpment. The whole area is incredibly dry - on the way to Dundee, we were saddened to see all the locals waiting at the roadside with whatever containers they could get to collect water from the water tanker as it drove around. Maurice had organised a guide to take us around the battlefields near to Dundee - Blood River where the Voortrekkers defeated a Zulu army, Isandlwana battlefield which is the site of the biggest defeat of the British in Africa and finally Rourke's Drift where the mission station was attacked by the victorious Zulu army - a small British garrison defended the station and 11 Victoria crosses were awarded to the defenders. Long but very interesting day. Whilst in Dundee we visited the Talana museum - the site of the first battle of the Anglo Boer war (Oct 1899) but also a major coal mining area (no longer producing). Our last couple of days were spent in the Hluhluwe game reserve - went on an organised early morning game drive - and a couple on our own and saw lots of wildlife despite the lack of water - the river is completely dry. Even in the hotel we were not able to take showers but were provided with bottles of water! We finished off our trip with a visit to Richards Bay where many cruising friends had stopped before heading back to Durban to wait for a weather window to go south.

13 - 23 Nov - Durban centre was a short walk from the marina - a vibrant, noisy, colourful city   with lots of stalls along the streets selling anything from bananas to mobile phone accessories. Whilst we were there we had 2 south-westerly 'busters' came through - with 8m waves outside the marina - no shipping movements - you certainly wouldn't want to be out at sea in one of those! It's a tricky coastline to sail down - imperative not to have a SW wind against the Agulhas current - our cruising guide reads: It is a known fact that giant waves occur on the South African Coast in the Agulhas current region, where southwesterly gales prevail against the southward flowing Agulhas current....The weather patterns play a major part in that the most dangerous period occurs when cells of low pressure are moving along the coast in a northeasterly direction. These lows are a regular feature of the eastern seaboard area and it often happens that during their passage the wind can change from a near north-easterly gale to a south-westerly gale, sometimes in a matter of minutes. The southwest wind than reinforces the existing waves generated by a short choppy sea, which acts directly against the Agulhas current. It is the interaction between the strong south westerly wind and the strong south flowing current which at times can reach 6 knots that creates monstrous freak waves, of which the charts warn; “Abnormal waves of up to 20 metres in height, preceded by deep troughs may be encountered in the area between the edge of the continental shelf and twenty miles to seaward thereof.” So you can imagine we wanted to get it right!! After much deliberation we set off for the 280 mile passage to East London and in the end burnt a lot of fuel but had a comfortable trip with no massive waves!

25 - 28 Nov - East London - we anchored off a very friendly yacht club up the Buffalo river - very protected and quite busy with car carriers, cargo ships and cruise ships! The YC members had organised a braai for visiting yachts and a run into the main town to get diesel replenished in cans - very helpful crowd.

28 - 30 Nov - Our next passage was another 280 miles down to Mossel Bay. We had great winds from behind and a very fast first day (214 nm) but rather slowish second day with very light winds but great positive current all the way down.

                         Position on 30 November S 34.10.63 E022.08.548









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