The waiting could stretch the patience of a saint. The worst part is that you are tied to the boat. Taking a road-trip or going exploring is out of the question. After all, if the wind suddenly changes then you have to leave. But when you finally do leave, when at last you head out onto the open water the wind whipping past your face feels like freedom.
We had a window. We finally had a window and the last two WARC boats left in Durban, Matilda and Southern Cross were taking it. It was a big enough window we might not even have to stop in East London, a town that every WARC boat had advised that we give a miss if possible.
For weeks we had heard stories about the horrors of Cape Horn. Treacherous rocks, capricious winds, the “Wild Coast” where boats couldn’t find a port in the storm for hundreds of miles and worst of all the Agulhas current . But we had also been hearing another tale entirely from other WARC boats.
We set sail on a clear morning. Taking the other yachts advice we sailed out, and out further, and further looking for the elusive Agulhas current. Now the current can be disastrous for boats if it is going against the wind and it is all-but impossible for small yachts to sail against it. However, when the current is in your favor then watch out. We had heard tales of 4-7 knots of favorable current, the ocean giving the yachts after-burners and whipping them down the coast.
We didn’t find the famed 7-knot favorable current, but we did make excellent time down the infamous “Wild Coast” shooting past East London and Port Elizabeth. Would we really make it to Cape Town in one shot!?
We were balanced on the edge for a day, maybe even two, but the answer was no. If the current had been a smidge more favorable we might have made it but no dice.
We sailed through the razor-sharp cliffs guarding the entrance to Knysna’s marina 4 days after leaving Durban. Clean, orderly, Knysna (nice-na), a charming cross between a tourist haven and retirement community, was vastly different from the jumble of cultures, communities and ways of life thrown into a bag and shaken that made up the vibrant city of Durban.
As much as I wanted to leave that city, I did miss Victoria Market, the bunny chow, not to mention our new friends at Bluff Yacht Club. But that is travel. You always miss something of the places you leave and hopefully love something of the new places you discover. Whether you’re traveling in space or mentally, the important thing is not to stagnate, right?