For the last two days we have been tucked up in Inhambane, Mozambique, sheltered from some strong southerly winds halting our progress south.
It looked a very nice place with long white sandy beaches and people enjoying their holidays. We had two sets of people pop by, some chaps on a jet ski, keen for a chat, and then some big South African fishermen telling us to come and have a beer ashore!
The anchorage was the most rolly we have ever been in by a long mile; the swell hooked around the headland which was providing our shelter from the wind and we rolled from side-to-side. A small move closer to the beach didn’t make much of a difference. Our stomach muscles are getting such a work-out – we will have six packs by the time we get to South Africa.
As ever it was a hub of activity on board with weather being the big focus, looking at our next steps, gathering advice from those who have been there before us. Des Cason, a South African who has done this route seven times before and runs a local radio net for sailors, has been a great help via email and we bounce ideas off him and he gives us top notch advice. Back in London we have Gareth Wear, a good friend who helped sailed Adina across the Atlantic in 2013, who is sending us South African coastal weather to help add to the think tank of the normal offshore grib files (wind forecasts) that we use.
We are unable to make Richards Bay on this leg but we do have two days in which we can make it to Maputo, Mozambique, before some big southerlies come up. There is an anchorage on the outskirts of Maputo tucked up under a lighthouse. Again, we will have to time getting to the anchorage as it is poor for northerly winds which we are using now to head south and only good for southerly winds so we need to go in as the winds switch. Another thing we are keeping an eye on is the strength of the southerly winds expected while we are at anchor. The forecasts for these have varied between 30-45 knots. We’ve only experienced those type of winds at anchor once before in the Caribbean. It’s a lot of wind, it will come sharp, fast and furious. So we need to ensure the anchor is dug in deep, lots of chain on the ground and we have a second anchor ready to go. That’s due Sunday night, so while you are settling down after your Sunday roast or maybe ‘braai’ or nice pizza think of us not staying awake, eyes glued to our instruments to see we are holding fast!
Other great news is our electric furler is up-and-running again. Several electric tests drew blanks so the tricky process of removing the motor took place and we found two seized brushes. A lot of work to sort them out, put it all back together and re-install it. Much relief and thank you to our respective families for your input and help.
We had planned our departure from Inhambane for 11pm, then moved it to 8pm and by 7.30pm we were off. The winds were due to drop and switch. They did neither so we jumped into the strong current and a moonlit night of waves all over the place and promptly took off. Great sailing! Early morning and the winds have flicked north and we are now goose-winging, making steady progress. Our minds keep wondering to the very end of this trip but we’ve said we must focus on the here and now, sail Adina hard, focus and keep going.
Guess what? We need 6 knots of speed over ground average to get in on time.