It’s been a while since we posted a blog. The last several days have been a blur of activity. Earlier in the week we worked on getting the boat ready for the Atlantic crossing, which is always fairly involved. Pura Vida is becoming seaworthy once again, but only now that Dallas has sealed several more holes that someone a bit lacking in common sense drilled through the hull many years ago. In addition to the ones in the engine rooms that led to having the motor mounts replaced, he’s sealed some below the sink in the galley that had begun to allow quite a bit of water through and into the port bilge. At least we have this time to take care of such things.

In the evenings, we have been hanging out with our new friends here in the marina. There’s something going on nearly every night of the week, and even when we don’t plan to be involved, it sometimes just works out that way. For example, we came back from running the other evening, had showers, and were walking back from the yacht club when a local fisherman came in with the catch of the day – about 25 large tuna! He began to sell them near the yacht club, and before we knew it, we had purchased a fish and were having a braii with our French friends aboard S/V Le Reveur du Jour. We get along really well with these guys. We had met one of the young men, Thibault, in Durban when he was alone on the boat, and now the captain has returned along with two other friends, all of whom are engineers. The name of their boat (translation: Dreamer of the Day) is a reference to a quote from Lawrence of Arabia: “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” That is what they have been doing this year since purchasing their red sloop in Singapore and sailing it across the Indian Ocean.

french gusy Romain, Thibault, and Pierre from S/V Reveur du Jour

fish Tuna prepared by Pierre on the braii in a foil pouch with veggies and white wine (fish en papillote)

Another dreamer of the day that we have had the pleasure to befriend is Marisa. She is the Argentinean female skipper who Dallas provided with mechanical assistance back in Christmas Island. She is probably in her late 60s and is a lovely, very bright woman. We had her over for dinner the other night and learned that she got into sailing later in life after a long career as a psychologist. She was seeing a sailor who assisted her in turning the rusty hull she had purchased into an ocean-going vessel. Five years later, he decided not to go sailing, so off she went on her own! She has had crew along the way and will be joined by an Argentinean friend for the passage to Brazil, at the end of which she will have completed her circumnavigation.

Knowing that we were getting ready to leave South Africa behind ourselves, Dallas and I began to talk about things we had yet to do from a tourist perspective. Dallas noted that given that 90% of the SA population is African, our experience thus far had been “very white”, so to speak. I totally agreed that to broaden our experience, we should go for a tour of a local township. I looked around online and found the Kopanong B & B in the township of Khayalitsha, about 45 km from Cape Town, and booked a tour and one-night stay for Wednesday. Friends of ours from S/V Opportune (Norwegian skipper with an Ozzie woman crewing) decided to join us, and with some difficulty, we made it there via minibus from Cape Town. Mpho at the B & B had told us to give our phone to the driver of the minibus, and she would tell him where to drop us off, but the driver was a little irritated because he had to go out of his way. Nevertheless, he waited until we were in Mpho’s custody before driving away because he was concerned about our safety. In case you haven’t guessed why, we were pretty out of place as four white people in a township of an estimated 2 million Africans, many of whom live in shacks made of corrugated tin. However, we had an amazing experience at Kopanong, never felt as though we were in any danger, and would absolutely recommend a township tour and stay at Kopanong to anyone coming to Cape Town. I could go on and on about our experience, but Dallas is planning to write a blog devoted to the subject, so I will leave it at that.

township Common sights on our township tour

We returned to Cape Town Thursday morning and met up with our French friends for a hike up Table Mountain. It was a sunny, clear day, but the wind was whipping at 30+ knots, which made the climb especially interesting. We literally had to brace ourselves during the gusts! It was a pretty challenging climb at the pace that the skinny Frenchies set for us, but we were surrounded by interesting plant life and views of the city below, and within an hour and a half we had ascended 3,000 feet to the top. The views from the top were gorgeous (especially Cape Point), and although it was too windy to sit up there totally exposed, we had a nice picnic lunch in the lee of the rocks before making our descent.

d at top

Atop Table Mountain

blown away Getting blown away

We had planned to return to Simon’s Town last night, but we ended up going out on the town with the French guys instead. We shared a lot of laughs over dinner and drinks. Another highlight of the night for me was dancing at the Jo’Burg bar. This was the first chance I’d had to dance in a place full of Africans (rather than European tourists), and not only were they amazing dancers, they were really warm and welcoming to this white girl.

Today it’s blowing a gale again, as is very common for this area during this time of year. But as far as I can tell, it’s one of the only strikes against the Western Cape. I’ve been blown away by this place in more ways than one. Unfortunately, though, it’s time for us to move on. We’re watching the weather and will set sail when there’s a window (preferably less than 30 knots!), probably early next week.