leg 4: Simonstown to Cape Town
On Sunday 30 September 2018, Irene left the marina in picturesque Simonstown for the last time. We’d had an extended break from yacht life whilst Denzell did his final two months of work in Dubai. It had also been an emotional time saying goodbye to friends and family back home in Natal and a strange feeling to know that we would not be coming back there to live again. Home would be Australia for us now and an adventure getting there.
Both our engines had had a complete overhaul whilst we were away so the first boat job was a sea trial to test the engines. We had only a few days to get this done as there was an excellent weather window for getting around Cape Point to Cape Town coming and we wanted to take it. We ended up having to go out in a decent wind and choppy sea to run the engines in so that we could do the first oil change before leaving for Cape Town. There was some seasickness followed by a docking fiasco thanks to a heavy wind blowing in the marina by the time we got back. As much as I’d enjoyed our time in Simonstown, I was keen to leave the cold wind and rocky dock behind.
We had some friends join us on board for the day sail around to Cape Town, Stuart with his two daughters and Christian visiting from Singapore. We headed out at 4am into a small swell which is not a very comfortable state of affairs on a catamaran. Seasickness meds were handed around to all the kids and myself as well. We sat out on deck wrapped up in blankets against the cold cape morning and watched a spectacular sunrise at Cape Point. As soon as we rounded the point the swell was running with us and suddenly it felt calm and comfortable. We caught two and a half Sada Sada, a species of Tuna (Katonkel as called in the Cape) whilst rounding the point, the half thanks to a cheeky seal who found himself an easy breakfast. We fried them up for lunch whilst sailing gently past Hout Bay flying our massive gennaker. Even with the biggest sail out we couldn’t find enough wind and had to motor most of the way, but it was a beautiful day to be out on the water and we were happy to have chilled weather for getting around the notorious Cape of Storms. From here on its only West to Australia, quite an exciting feeling.
We motored into the harbour around 3pm and radioed the swing bridge and lifting bridge to open for us to enter the V&A marina. It was the first really summery day to hit Cape Town and the waterfront was packed with people so I was happy to have a smooth docking experience for once. With table mountain in the background the V&A marina is really quite spectacular and incredibly convenient for stocking up for our Atlantic crossing, so we decided to stay here until our weather window for moving up the coast instead of moving around to the Royal Cape Yacht Club. We had a fabulous week socialising and catching up with friends. Checking out however was not the greatest experience. The procedure is to first check out of the V&A marina and then also at Royal Cape Yacht Club, they insisted that we move the yacht from the V&A marina to their marina and pay a berthing fee but couldn’t show us any procedure that officially said we needed to do this. Noonsite, although a wealth of information, is not a source of official procedures! After an argument they eventually agreed to complete our paperwork without moving the yacht. Next step was Port control, which was relatively painless but unfortunately Denzell left his pen there, which caused a problem at immigration. The immigration official refused to help us and wanted us to walk back to the yacht (not close) and fetch another pen. Eventually his colleague relented and lent us a pen so we could complete immigration and proceed to customs. Customs then requested paperwork that had been retained at immigration so we had to go back to immigration to fetch that paperwork. Luckily they are in the same building. So beware, if you ever need to check out of Cape Town, take multiple pens with you and set aside a full day for visiting four different buildings in different parts of the port.
We proceeded to the Ferryman’s Tavern for our last dinner whilst an ominous eerie fog rolled in.