It’s been a few weeks since an article was posted. Cape Town has been a non-stop adventure from the moment I got here however, these stories will be discussed in articles to come.
Catching Up has been sitting in Knysna since it’s splash in August. With the final fit out and testing taking place, Catching Up never left the Knysna lagoon apart for the photo-shoot with the Knysna Yacht Company. Mum and Dad flew down specifically for the passage, however, due to abhorrent weather conditions around Cape Agulhas, the passage was delayed for another week. Our expected departure soon arrived on Wednesday the 10th of October. All was on track until Tuesday when Malcolm the delivery skipper approached me and informed me that due to worsening weather we were departing at 17h00 that day. I quickly got into action to prepare our yacht for the passage. I ran to the shops to get meals for the yacht while Grant from Knysna Yacht Company decided to provide catering for the yacht. After a long day of preparations, two last minute guests arrived on the yacht. Dave and Iolanda, boat owners of sister ship SV Impulse decided to join us on the passage. We loaded them up along with Andre, our sailing instructor and Malcolm and set sail to the Knysna Yacht Club Dock bound for Cape Town.
As the sun started to set, we settled in for what was going to be a very long night. The swell caused big waves to crash against the side of the boat, the resulted in Dave, Iolanda and I suffering from the effects of seasickness. I managed to hold it off by lying down and falling asleep until 3am, when I heard that Dave and Iolanda were not as fortunate as I was! Malcolm and Andre were nice enough to struggle trough the entire passage ensuring that one of them was awake for watch at all times. Having never done a night crossing before, it was very reassuring knowing that we had two highly skilled sailors on board with us for our maiden passage. As we continued through the moonless cloudy night, bioluminescence trailed in the wake of Catching Up. The first night passed and soon dawn was rising behind us with the Western Cape off to our starboard/right side.
Day 2 on the ocean was much more exciting. The ocean calmed down greatly and the wind was no more than 16 knots off our port/left forward quarter. The wind angle didn’t give us much of an opportunity to get a sail up, however, as the morning progressed the wind began to slowly pick up again giving us a more favourable sailing wind angle. We raised the sails and started picking up a few knots and dropping our time to the next waypoint. Dolphins would come up and play off the bow and just as fast as they arrived, would skirt off back into the deep blue waters. Massive whales would be seen breaching and their spouts going off. The amount of nature on this passage just blew my mind. The wildlife kept us busy for a few hours in between navigating, looking out and just listening to music. Catching Up was well stocked so there was no shortage of food to snack on during the long watch throughout the day. As sunset was approaching, Catching Up achieved her first major milestone … she passed the southern most point of South Africa! Cape Agulhas separates the Indian and Atlantic Ocean. As the sun set, Catching Up crossed into the Atlantic Ocean. The next time she will be back in the Indian Ocean will only be in approximately five year’s time. After the celebrations were complete it was back to the long night watches with ships pinging up on the radar screen. After a while we could see the lights of Hermanus off in the distance before I left my watch period and went to bed.
Waking up on Day 3, I walked outside to see the most amazing sunrise off the Cape Peninsula. The crew enjoyed their morning fruit while taking in the stunning views. The day progressed and soon the more populated suburbs of Camps Bay and Clifton appeared. As we approached the bend of Sea Point and the Green Point lighthouse, we could feel the strong Cape Town wind giving us its welcome. Malcolm quickly got on the radio to contact the Cape Town Port Control requesting entry into the Port. As we prepared the vessel for berthing, Malcolm was back on the VHF requesting the Swing Bridge and the Bascule Bridge to lift up allowing us access to the V&A Waterfront. It is surreal sailing into Cape Town, one of South Africa’s biggest cities and the tourist capital of South Africa. There were tourists lining the banks taking photos of Catching Up entering the Waterfront Harbour after her maiden voyage This just gave me the most this amazing feeling of accomplishment.
The passage went off without any hitches. Catching Up handled her maiden voyage perfectly well. The ocean was calm enough for an amazing passage given our initial grim weather outlook. Our passage was timed perfectly with major milestones happening during daylight hours unlike our new friends on Wanda Rose who arrived 2 days later at 10pm. Leaving Knysna was an emotional experience for me, however, Cape Town has brought a whole new adventure to the table. Looking back on this passage, I am so glad I had the opportunity of being part of this amazing experience, especially arriving in Cape Town for the first leg of our around the world adventure.