In the early hours of the morning Dad woke me up and we quietly raised the anchor on Catching Up. We carefully navigated around the yachts in Bequia and rounded the corner to make way to St Lucia. We already decided to skip the island of St Vincent due to time constraints. What I noticed about these passages that if you stay on the leeward side of the islands (the Western side), you get a much smoother passage.
Shortly after helping dad get going, I went back to sleep for the duration of his shift. 3 hours later I took helm as we were in line with St Vincent. I watched for hours at the isolated spots of lights on the island imagining what it would have looked like during the day. I returned to sleep for 3 more hours as dad came back up.
After a lovely long month exploring Grenada it was time to sail north to bluer waters. We cleared out in Carriacou and did a short sail (5miles/ 1 hour) to Union Island. Union island is one of the southern most entrance points for the Grenadines. What was was unique about Union Island was the little anchorage was almost a water Roundabout/Traffic Circle. In the centre of the anchorage is a giant circular reef with a channel surrounding it. We found a tiny sandy spot off what’s called roundabout reef and Dad and Dantelle went ashore to clear in. Soon enough they returned to come collect us and take us ashore.
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.
Having lived most of my life now in Australia, South Africa has become a holiday destination. Before starting this adventure with the yacht, I didn’t know a place like Knysna existed. I thought all the Western Cape had was Cape Town and the rest was just little towns dotted along the coastline. Most of my experience of Cape Town was in Stellenbosch so when it came to Knysna I had no expectations or idea of what was to come. I have to say looking back now I can safely say I was so far wrong, it’s laughable.
Landing in Knysna I started looking at this town as more than a tourist destination where people stop over for the night, soon it became a home. Faces became routine, people became friends and locations became familiar. Little by little, life began to settle and the weeks started to roll past. After writing about my first week on-board Catching Up, I quickly began the process of trying to figure out what to make next, what to film and what to write about. I started filming early in the morning and soon the marina would be alive with activity. Standing on the deck of Catching Up trying to capture shots, person after person would walk past her and say their morning greetings as they began their day. Local workers would stream in with their tools all prepared to tackle that issue that they’ve been struggling with for the past week. Four legged friends would be rushed down the jetty to the patch of grass for their first bathroom break for the day. It was just a flurry of movement around Catching Up as we slowly began to blend in. I continued trying to attempt to capture the perfect shots but life just seemed to get in the way.
Days would start with a coffee, a quick clean up before Malcolm, (the delivery skipper and all round handyman for the Knysna Yacht Company) arrived. From there onwards over a coffee we would discuss the days activities, who would be coming down to the yacht to do what and the snag and extras list that he had been working through. The morning would move on with countless faces appearing on the boat. Peter Abbot would arrive early and stay late working on wiring and connecting power to all our creature comforts on the yacht. Peter would provide true words of wisdom as he carefully and meticulously conducted his work making sure to focus on the primary task. He would bring such positivity to the workers on the boat and really brought the overall on-board mood up in the busy days. One of the assistant workers Sheldon would spend his days on the yacht doing odd jobs, paint touch ups and help run wiring. He would bring his lunch with him, sit on the back of the yacht enjoying his sandwich. This became a common occurrence throughout the week while I was on the yacht. Conversations would continue day after day as they blended and transformed with new topics. These conversations made it so hard to say goodbye to the people in Knysna as we cast off and set sail for Cape Town.
It’s been officially one week at the time of writing, living on Catching Up! The week has gone insanely fast and even this article had been placed in the background.
Flying down to George already started with a delay. Arriving at the airport with my luggage limit maxed, I was so excited to take the massive step of the adventure and move down to the boat. After getting all checked in and arriving at the boarding gate, I patiently anticipated the arrival of our aircraft. Boarding began and we got fas far as the boarding ramp before hitting all stop. There we waited for half an hour as the plane was cleaned and prepped for the flight. Finally we got to board and just as boarding was completed we were informed of a further 30 minute delay due to some overheated brakes on the plane. After take-off, I got chatting with the flight attendant. It turns out the flight was delayed for an hour due to the previous pilot having had a heavy foot with the brakes and overheating them.
Arriving almost 2 hours late we quickly drove down to the boat where I started the mammoth task of unloading all the stuff I’d brought down in my baggage. While unpacking, Grant Boshard from Knysna Yacht Co came down to discuss the action plan for the next few days. I was informed that we would be having a camera crew on board on Tuesday for a few hours to do some reshooting and then have a full day of film shooting on the Wednesday. We agreed to help Knysna Yacht Co do a corporate film and marketing shoot with Catching Up being the flagship of the company for the shoot. The film shoot on the Tuesday was only supposed to be a quick few hours however, it turned into a whole day ordeal.