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The coolheaded driver with his truck which lost its brakes this morning in Newlands. The driver maintained control as the truck gathered speed in reverse down a very steep hill. He steered it backwards into tree to stop it, narrowly missing my parked bakkie and the house where it stopped. Thanks to the skill of the driver no one was injured.


Yesterday I got an email from Renata saying that they had arrived safely in Cabedelo, Brazil and would send more details of the trip later. Cabedelo is Renata’s home town, so I suppose she is catching up with family and friends whom she has not seen for the many years Hout Bay was her home. Congratulations guys!

Good memories – enjoying myself on Dixi Rollar’s bowsprit last year!


Dates for recreational west coast fishing season announced

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica has announced the new recreational fishing season for west coast rock lobster. The new season will open on 15 November and close on 15 April 2010. From 15 November to 31 December this year, fishing will be allowed every day of the week, but from 1 January next year to 15 April fishing will be restricted to weekends and public holidays only. Fishing times for west coast rock lobster will be from 8am until 4pm and rock lobsters must be landed by 4pm. The bag limit is four lobsters per person per day and the size restriction is 80 mm carapace length.

No person catching west coast rock lobster with a recreational west coast rock lobster permit may sell it. Any west coast rock lobster caught, collected or transported must be kept in a whole state. A maximum of 20 rock lobsters may be transported per day, on condition that all the persons who caught such rock lobster are present in the vehicle, vessel or aircraft during transportation, and that such persons are in possession of recreational west coast rock lobster permits. West coast rock lobster permits will only be sold to persons above the age of 12 years. – by Nthambeleni Gabara, BuaNews


When I am not on Nolwandle, I stay in a flat (apartment) in Woodstock, Cape Town. Sometimes this is the view from my stoep looking ENE across Salt River, Ysterplaat, Century City and Plattekloof on the Tygerberg Hills, over which the full moon is rising. Click on the picture to see it in decent quality.

Nolwandle on her mooring at HBYC Marina. For some reason I like this picture – I think it is because of the chaos of the background.

Nolwandle’s engine is lifted by a crane to be re-installed after being reconditioned. Those who know the Elliot Basin will note Manuel Mendes’ innovative placing of Nolwandle so that the crane could access her. Photo by Peter, using his cell phone – quite impressive resolution for a phone – a Nokia E61i I think.

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.

Boats and Boxes in the Elliot Basin

These are photos of the engine running after being reinstalled. Also note the better quality of these photos which were taken with my new Olympus FE-310 camera. The photos in the last post we taken on my HTC Tytan phone – 8mp vs 2mp. The engine is a Yanmar 2QM20H, 25 years old but running perfectly. The next step is to take Nolwandle home to Hout Bay.

The front of the engine whilst running. Note the new fuel pump – the shiny gold thing to the left – the pipe attachments on the last one started leaking. Clearly visable is the attachment point for the hand crank and the chain which drives the crankshaft.

The new heat exchanger from the side and the fuel pump and secondary filter. The finger lift pump is partially obscured by the pipe from the water pump to the heat exchanger. The finger lift pump is not working, so I fitted the electric fuel pump to assist with bleeding the engine – without it I cannot get the diesel to flow to the furthest away injector.

Top of the Engine

The engine from the top showing the bleed points on the secondary fuel filter, and just before the two injectors to the right of the oil caps.

Nolwandle has been in the Elliot Basin, also known as the Layup Basin, for the past month or so. Manuel took the engine out. The engine has been out and been reconditioned by Southern Marine. It is a Yanmar 2QM20H. Clive and company have done wonders as can be seen by these pictures. The engine will be mounted back in Nolwandle next week on brand new mounts. Manuel is also adding insulation to the engine box, so hopefully she will be quiet and smooth. Click on the pictures to see more details and close-up photos.

More Reflections on Entering Gansbaai Harbour

There are a few other things I want to say about Gansbaai harbour, which I could not find space for in the previous post.

In “Nolwandle’s December Holiday Part 1” I described our difficult entry into Gansbaai Harbour. The “South African Sailing Directions Volume 2,” SAN HO-22, Fourth Edition, Section 7-7, Paragraph 50 begins,

“The approaches to Gansbaai are fraught with danger, and entry into the harbour should not be attempted without local knowledge.”

Well, we entered without local knowledge and survived! Facetiousness aside, I have a number of times gone through our steps and the various options open to us on that day. In retrospect the best approach may have been to go to Hermanus harbour which is about 15 miles away. Hermanus has serious problems with scend, but the sailing directions make no mention of it being difficult to enter.

Forward control cabin of the “Arno Louis”. This is used when fishing.

Paragraph 51 says,

“A rocky ledge over which the least known depth is 4.3 m extends for 0.5 miles in a WSW direction from near the head of the North Breakwater. The sea breaks over this ledge during moderate westerly or northerly winds or when even a slight swell is running. Breakers also occur over Langebank, another rocky patch 6 to 7 cables to the westward of the North Breakwater Head, where the least known depth is 8.4 m. Local fishermen start the run into the harbour with the lights at the heads of the North and South Breakwaters in line bearing approximately 083 degrees. This takes them over the tail of the first-mentioned rocky ledge, but clear of the other rocky patch. When any sort of sea is running, it is necessary for the skipper of a trawler entering to watch carefully for a lull before crossing the distrubed water at good speed. When strong westerly or northerly winds are blowing it is inadvisable to attempt to enter.”

When we entered, both the rocky ledge and Langebank were breaking. I found it very difficult to identify the North and South Breakwater lights and then get them in line. Partially this was because we arrived at sunrise and the sun was straight into our eyes. But the problem is also that the lights and their pillars/towers are not distinct.

On my second run I was able to use the notch, about a third of the way up Duinefonteinberg on it’s west side, as a guide. I noticed that this notch was in line with the North and South Breakwater lights. This notch is clearly visible in the this photo just to the right of Nolwandle’s mast.

After some observation during my time there, I would also suggest an approach a bit closer to the West Breakwater and a bit more from the south-west. A study of this Google earth map would seem to suggest this as well. If you are entering the West Harbour, I would alter course to run parallel to the West Breakwater wall once abeam the West Breakwater light. It seems to be deep right next to the wall. Once the entrance is reached turn hard to starboard.

Paragraph 53 says,

“Because of the persistent swell in this locality, heavy surf breaks right over the North and West Breakwaters when even moderate westerly or northerly winds are blowing. It is extremely dangerous to venture on foot along the West Breakwater under these conditions, so much so that access to it has been entirely barred to the public.”

This is true and not true. The swell often breaks over the West Breakwater, even sometimes when the southeaster is blowing. But it has not been “entirely barred to the public”. I went for a number of walks there and it is a favourite spot for fisherpeople.

West Breakwater

End of the West Breakwater. Note the fishermen’s bakkie and their fishing lines.

Paragraph 54 says,

“The spire of the Dutch Reformed Church at Gansbaai is conspicuous.”

I have yet to see this spire and definitely could not see it on entry. By the way the Dutch Reformed Church is English for the “NG Kerk” mentioned in the previous post!

Lastly I want to say thank you to Ou Bols, the owner of “Merlene”. I hope that I have spelt his nickname correctly and if it is correct I wonder how he got this name? “Ou” means old in Afrikaans and “Bols” is a type of brandy, so maybe it has something to do with that? I met him the second day that I was there when he came down to check on his boat. He was very friendly, quite happy that I tied up to his boat and we had an interesting conversation about fishing for sardines and the coming fishing season.


Click on a image to see it in good quality. All images are copyrighted unless stated.


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