leg 7: Saldanha to Port Owen
Our plan originally was to spend a few days in Saldanha so that we could complete a few boat jobs we hadn’t got around to in Cape Town. But after the mooring fiasco of the previous day we decided to move around to Port Owen instead. Keen to get going we left early and again radioed port control, this time there was no answer. After repeated calling we eventually got an answer from Cape Town port control which was a little confusing until they informed us Saldanha was on a different channel. Suddenly it made sense as to why there was so much traffic in the port yesterday when port control had said it was clear, we had actually called Cape Town accidentally by getting the port control vhf channels mixed up. Oops.
We had a really bumpy time getting out of the bay and around the point. There’s a lot of water that drains out of the langebaan lagoon here and that creates an unpleasant chop as it meets wind and current. Callum and I both felt really seasick and it didn’t set a great tone for the day, we saw a pod of Heaviside Dolphin though as we came around into St Helena Bay which is quite a special sighting and that lightened the mood considerably. They are like little torpedos in the water. The wind didn’t let up and by the time we started looking for the entrance to the Berg River it was a lot more breezy than was ideal. Denz did a superb job negotiating us up the river and into the quite tight marina. I did a less than stellar job of lassoing the poles as we came up to the jetty, clearly not part of my natural skill set, and we unfortunately did hit the dock. Luckily no major damage though and once we were secured it was great to be able to step onto land for a bit. We took a walk down to Charlies Brewhouse for some dinner and a few litres of craft beer.
We ended up spending 10 days in Port Owen waiting out gales and huge swell, but we put the time to good use fitting our new wind generator and running new cables for our solar panels. We have so much electricity now we hardly know what to do with it! There was also plenty of socialising at the Yacht Club, everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming and we heard lots of useful advice for our Atlantic crossing.
When we finally got a decent looking weather window we moved out of the marina on the high tide and tied up to the holding jetty in the river for our final night.