leg 6: Dassen Island to Saldanha
Picking up the anchor was interesting this morning as it was well lodged in the kelp. In retrospect we probably should have dropped it in the sand just ahead of the kelp bed. We’re learning as we go. A pleasant morning sailing in gentle winds and relatively calm sea then turned into an afternoon of quite strong wind and a bumpy sea coming into Saldanha bay. We called up Port Control to request permission to enter the harbour and they told us to proceed as there was no other traffic in the port today. We thought it a bit odd that there was a massive cargo ship entering the port at the same time as us as well as a fishing boat going out, but then thought nothing more of it as we negotiated our way to the yacht club moorings in an increasing wind. We’d phoned ahead to arrange a mooring buoy at the yacht club but when we arrived we couldn’t see any free moorings. A guy from the club kindly came out to show us where to find our buoy, weaving through all the moored boats in his nippy little tender whilst we tried to follow in our significantly bigger craft without hitting anything. The wind was really getting stronger and this was my first ever attempt at picking up a mooring buoy. Denz had talked me through it though so I was reasonably confident, all I needed to do was hook the tag line between the main buoy and the smaller second buoy and then pull it up on deck and clip our mooring line onto it. Sounded pretty simple. Except it turned out that there was no tag line between the buoys, and the howling gale was really adding to my stress level. I missed it the first time but the wind blew us back over it pretty quickly and I managed to hook something on the second attempt. Took some effort to clip us on but we managed and then breathed a sigh of relief. That relief was short lived as we immediately noticed we were dragging. The moorings are also incredibly close together here so we were very quickly getting very close to the boat behind us. Another effort to unclip us (noted we really need a better clip system) whilst Denz held our position with the engines and then negotiated our way out through the maze of boats whilst also not driving over the mooring buoy with its bits of loose rope hanging all over the place. We dropped the anchor and poured a stiff drink.