leg 5: Cape Town to Dassen Island
The morning of our departure dawned grey, chilly and generally foreboding. I was keen to stay cozy in the luxury of the V&A marina for a while longer. But after a cup of coffee things looked better and we called up the swing bridge control to open the bridge and let us out. After clearing the two bridges we then radioed Port control for permission to exit the harbour, only to be rapped over the knuckles for not calling them up first. After safely negotiating the harbour exit we waved goodbye to Table Mountain and set sail for Dassen Island where we planned to anchor for the night. As we passed Robben Island a pod of dusky dolphins came to frolic in our bow wave much to the kids delight. We had a beautiful and uneventful sail for the day and arrived in the anchorage at Dassen in the late afternoon. Time to test out our new anchor, we dropped it over a bed of kelp and Denzell put her astern to set the anchor securely. Unfortunately we’d made a rookie error and left our fishing lines out whilst executing this manoeuvre, so Denz had a chilly swim to unwind the fishing line from our propeller. Luckily it all came out pretty easily though and it’s unlikely we’ll forget to wind our lines in again.
We weren’t allowed to go ashore here but Denz took the paddle board to get a little closer to the shoreline and saw a healthy population of penguins amongst the masses of pelicans. We heard later that the pelican population exploded here due to the birds finding an easy food source at a chicken farm on the mainland. When the farm closed down the pelicans started eating the baby penguins on the island instead. This in turn decimated the penguin population. Volunteers from the mainland come to the island daily now to chase the pelicans away from the breeding penguins.
A spectacular sunset in this wild place really set the tone for the start of our adventure. We set all our anchor alarms and had a peaceful nights sleep to the crackle of the sea lice type creatures cleaning Irene’s bottom.