Sailing the Wild Coast started from Mozambique. From there we sailed our catamaran to South Africa. Durban was overwhelming – friendliest people, concrete skyscrapers, tasty food (a lot of tasty food!), wildlife and a yachtie paradise. After 3 years we were able to stock up with essential things for the boat – dyneema lines, lots of spareparts, even a very light washing machine for our lite catamaran, reparing sails and so on.
After 3 months in absolutely welcoming Durban with tears in eyes we left our new friends and set sails to East London.
The run from Durban to East London on oue catamaran wasn’t pleasant. I was creepy worried to sail this time, knowing the forecast. I knew, that behind the breakwater, there are white caps with green water by the background light. And then a deep and blue abyss. Whistling and Howling.
And it was. Beating against the swell from outgoing south-west storm. Up and down, up and down… many hours. And the body does not relax for a minute… Then the northeast wind picked up and up. Really BIG WAVES.
After 38 hours at sea we arrived to East London and achored in the calm and good protected waters of Buffalo river, waiting for the next weather window. The most dangerous part of the Wild Coast done. Now we can exhale and relax. Even hearing the howling of the Southwest storm which came from the roaring forties.
And again a waiting game. Waiting and monitoring the weather information from Des Cason, hoping for northerly and then easterly winds. (We made an interview with Des Cason “How to sail in dangerous weather” – you can watch in on Umadum Sailing.
The reason for such fanatical care whilist you are sailing the Wild Coast is the Agulhas current, one of the world’s great ocean currents. It brings warm water down south from tropical Africa and it runs at speeds of up to 6 knots, where it flows over the 200-meter contour. The real danger begins when the wind blows from southwest and it blows against the current, creating high, steep, breaking waves. 10 meters waves are common, and giants run over 20 meters.
Finally we got a 48-hours weather window and went out half an hour before dawn, I reported on the radio Port Control East London, Port Control East London, this is Sailing catamaran Umadum, we’re leaving East London. Uniform, Mike, Alfa, Delta, Uniform, Mike.
This passage is tedious… we had only 48 hours to reach Mossel Bay, the next port, until a new south-west storm arrives. And on this leg the wind was playing with us – wind, – no wind. We must move with an average speed around 7 knots not to be caught by the next southerly storm. So this leg we did a lot of motor-sailing, even if we hate it. And we dived into this swell, knocked on it and swayed from side to side and from bow to stern… I even got a long-forgotten seasickness for several hours.
Finally – Mossel Bay, an internationally renowned the Great White Shark watching spot. Sure, we went for a cage diving with the White Shark Africa team and with Craig Ferreira we made a film “Eye on eye with the Great White Shark”
Then again – waiting for the next weather window. Sailing aroung Agulhas cape. Bye-bye Indian Ocean. Hi to the Atlantic! And with the first light arrival to Simonstown in False Bay. Here we felt like we’re at the end of the world. The cries of seagulls, the ringing of bells and the smell of eucalyptus.
It’s the border between The Roaring 40’s and The Cape of a Good Hope.
And the clouds are crawling down from the Table Mountain and going down to the Antarctica. Like the whales.
The wild life around the Cape is fantastic – seals, sharks, birds, dolphins, penguins, but it’s time to leave for the last South African port – Cape Town. We rounded the Cape of Good Hope, e.g. Cape of storms with nearly no wind and dived into the cultural life of Cape Town.