We eventually took Nolwandle home on Saturday morning. It had been a long six weeks for her in Table Bay and Tabisa, Nolwandle and I were all missing Hout Bay.

Peter and Fay joined me for the trip home. We were planning on leaving Friday evening and enduring the rain and dark for the 20 nautical miles.

Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Green Point and its lighthouse emerge from the mist. The diagonal red stripes are very good at distinguishing it from the surrounding blocks of flats.

It was pouring with rain, but I had not reckoned with the fog. Peter and Manuel insisted that the mist was too thick, so we decided to spend the rest of the evening in the RCYC bar and leave in the morning. It was after a very enjoyable evening with the sailors of the Royal Cape, and a very tasty Portuguese Steak that we retired to sleep on Nolwandle.

Fay and Peter in the cockpit

Fay and Peter hide from Nolwandle.

We left at about 0830 – sunrise was at 0750 making it one of the shortest days of the year! There was a gentle 8 knot northwester blowing. We put up sail just before the breakwater and tacked across the channel to the buoy. We tacked again, now towards Green Point and made it to Sea Point on one tack, where the wind died. Actually I thought that at some point we would sail into some real fog, but it was not to be.

Off Sea Point it was on with the 22 horses and we motored till just round Duiker Point – about 3 hours later. Reviewing our progress on the chart, it was clear that we had a strong 2 knot current behind us, most of the way. This is normal in an northwester, when the usual Benguela current is conquered by the wind.

Fishing-vessel Fuchsia rushes past on her way home to Cape Town

As we approached what Cape Town’s sailors call Barker Rock – shown as South Lion’s Paw on the chart – a Taiwanese trawler came up close to us from straight astern. Later she over took us before turning West at the end of the traffic separation scheme off Duiker Point.

Taiwanese boat

Taiwanese trawler which harassed us off Camps Bay. Nolwandle strongly supports a One China policy!

After Oudekraal Fay took over the helm. It was her first trip on Nolwandle and she managed to overcome the tricky 3 metre swell and after an hour was steering very confidently.

Fay at the Helm

Fay on the tiller.

Peter took over as we passed the Oudeschip peninsula, using his NSRI experience to cut it close to the rocks.

Off Oudeschip

Submerged rock north-west of “Die Middelmas” (The Middle Mast), off Oudeschip (Old Ship). Note Llandudno, hide away of various dictators, in the background. Perhaps a Welsh sailor could tell us what Llandudno means?

Peter says that NSRI Station 8 regularly exercise in Maori Bay, the bay immediately to the north of Duiker Point, using the Boss 400 crane barge and the large granite boulders to practise evacuating patients and survivors. This is a very rough terrain ideal for their training. They have named some of the features of the area to help with their communications. In the picture below, the rock next to the Boss 400 is called Elephant Rock. They take a 10 metre rescue boat through the gap between the rock and Duiker Point. The water is deep – about 3 meters right next to the rock. Duiker Point is the western most point of the Cape Peninsula.

Boss 400 rock

Boss 400 crane barge, Elephant Rock and gap from the mainland through which a rescue boat can fit!

After Duiker Point we turned East and then it started raining. The wind came up and we let out the genoa and switched off the engine.

Vulcan rock roaring

Vulcan Rock roaring

Past Vulcan Rock there were two rowing boats poaching. Off Badtamboer, this literally means “Bath drum”, which may be a reference to the loud sound of the sea I guess, we switched on the iron horse and braved the speeding line of snoek boats to return to mooring 53, HBYC Marina.

View from Nolwandle’s deck – back on the marina.

It is good to be home!

Sunday afternoon aerobatics over Hout Bay.