Monday, September 6, 2010
First, the wind quit again and we found out that the hydraulic pump that drive the rudder has seized up and we have to steer by hand when we don't have enough wind for Firmin to work well. And I am not going to wait for the wind as I want to get to East London as quickly as I can.
The wind eventually came back, first quite strong, then weakening by the hour, but still strong enough for us to use the windvane and make good speed.
Then at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, all of a sudden and without any warning, the wind switched abruptly in a matter of minutes from NE to SW, which is in the nose, and building up to 30 knots. I was quite concerned, because we are right in the middle of the area where the freak waves can build up and especially if the SW wind were to freshen up even more. I checked the barometer, but it remained steady, which is a good sign. Anyway, to play safe, we ducked inside the 200 meters depth line and continued motoring. Those last 35 miles seem to last forever. Eventually, we got to inside the breakwater of East London around 3 in the morning. Surprisingly enough, Port Control answered us at the first call and directed us to tie up at Latimer's Landing, wherever we could. Which we did. And then slept heavily until 9. After we woke up, I called again Port Control to find out about formalities to clear in.
Well, it turns out that almost no sailboat makes it directly to East London from Reunion or Mauritius, and they don't really know what to do. The Port Police, next door to us, tries to call Immigration, but there is a civil servants strike going on, and it seems that we won't be able to get anything done on Sunday. But we can go to town and do whatever we want, no problem. In fact, on Sunday, everything is closed and we achieve nothing.
On Monday, it appears that immigration is not in a hurry to come, so we are told to do what we need to do and then tell them when we are back. So, we went back out to town, and finally managed to get a cell phone and an internet connection via a 3G broad band USB stick all set up. When we return to the boat, the police told us that immigration can't come, but if we would come to the police station with our passports, they will put some stamps on them.
The weather which is nasty today, as forecast, should ease up tomorrow afternoon, and we plan on leaving at the end of the day and head for Mosselbay. Apparently, it is very rare, we are told, that a sailboat can make East London to Capetown in one leg, so we will probably spend a couple of days in Mosselbay which we believe will be a lot nicer than East London.
Posted by Papy Jovial at 1:01 PM