Madagascar to South Africa Day 13 – Adina arrives in South Africa

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Thursday 20 October 2016

Hoisting the Sa courtesy flag.

Hoisting the Sa courtesy flag.

Some days drag – and drag – and drag. On board Adina the weather gods were telling us we were not finished yet. The winds switched, so we gybed. Then they switched again, so we gybed again. Then the winds increased and the seas built. We started going faster and faster. We counted down the hours. We knew the winds would blow strong for twelve hours and they did.

Night time finally came. Susie who can not only fix an electric furler produces a great menu too. We had got into the habit of cooking double portions while in Madagascar; one is eaten, one is frozen for passage. Out came her menu list for the final time. Sri Lanka beef curry cooked by Tom. We scoffed it down.

Your mind still plays tricks on you. A friend ahead had to wait an hour outside Durban harbour – no easy feat in wind and rolling seas with a current pushing you south. Some yachts have gone right on  past by not accounting for the strong Agulhas current. What will happen to us? We planned our route right inshore so we shouldn’t sweep past.

Then you have to park the yacht in the marina. Some people think world cruisers are experienced old sea dogs. They might anchor a lot but they hardly ever park their boats in a marina and you ask them and the honest ones will tell you they dread parking up in a marina.

We can see the harbour by 6am. Durban Harbour rules ask you to call them one nautical mile out. We elect to call them five nautical miles out. They answer and ask us to call them again one nautical mile out. Nice try!

Durban Port Control are being bombarded on the radio and even though our instruments show we’re in the lead to get in, we’re sure they will put a little yacht like ours to the back of the queue when it comes to money making cargo ships demanding entry and exit. We call 1.2 nautical miles out and they respond, “Please proceed to enter full steam ahead, there are other ships behind you”.  “Full steam ahead”.

We’re in, flat water, lovely, lovely flat water.

We stop and prepare Adina to berth her in the Durban marina. We call the marina to tell them we are ready. There’s a rubber dingy in our berth and they can’t find the owners. You slog your body and brains out for endless days on end to get all this way and someone has just left their dinghy in our much hard fought for berth.

Eventually we proceed into the marina and do the international yachts proud by heading up the narrow channel, spinning Adina round, reversing her and parking her stern to. Casually hand the lines over, thank everyone, and then run down below and out of sight celebrate nailing the parking!

It’s good to be here. It’s special for Tom having enjoyed his childhood growing up in South Africa. Tonight we will head to the Royal Natal Yacht Club and celebrate a little.

Our thanks to Des Cason, the man who supports yachts completing this difficult passage, who kept in contact with us and was a great person to bounce thoughts off along the way.

We now take a break; some time with Tom’s family in South Africa before we journey home to London to celebrate Susie’s father’s 70th.

Adina, you did us proud. Gin and tonic anyone?

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10 responses to “Madagascar to South Africa Day 13 – Adina arrives in South Africa

  1. Laurie Watson says:

    Congrats on the passage, and the Med mooring, great reading your adventure, enjoy your hard earned break, look forward to reading about the uphill bit !!

  2. Ros King says:

    I’ll have a Gin and Tonic please?!!

    Many congrats to you both for successfully completing your passage to Durban! Enjoy your time in South Africa and then UK.

    When will you be back on board to continue your travels?

    We are now based in Normandy for the winter and Musetta will be lifted out on 7th November in Port la Forêt, South Brittany for the winter. We will continue, slowly next spring!!….. Ros

  3. Roger Harris says:

    Well done indeed. Enjoy your well earned break.

  4. Mike from NZ says:

    You grew up in SA Tom? More beer and BBQ’s in future then and a little less of that gin stuff.

    Just kidding. My years in Spain taught me that tonic, ice and a slice during the heat of the day was as refreshing as lemon gelato and not to splash the gin in until the sun was over the yard arm unless you want to spin out and feel rather unwell.

    Not very pleasant when hooch and high sun meet.

  5. Sue from Haku II says:

    Yippee!! Brilliant finale to this leg. Well done. S

  6. Mary says:

    Tom – your home coming was different and made enjoyable reading. Well done and say hello to your dad and Kate for me but most of all give Ruby a big hug.
    Your mom would be proud of you.

    • tom_partridge@yahoo.com says:

      Thank you my lovely Aunty Mary! Shall do and we do miss Mum, I’m glad you think she’d be proud. Much love Tom

  7. Donal Kavanagh says:

    Well done Tom & Susie.

  8. Gary says:

    Congrats Tom and Susie

  9. Wendy 'n Ces Cunningham says:

    Hi Suzie and Tom

    It will take several weeks to grow our finger nails back to normal after reading the recent blogs describing your eventful trip along the South East coast of Africa. Now for a well-earned rest and no doubt a lot of socialising. Enjoy the break – but do not go soft on us – we look forward to following you back to the equator and hence to dear old Blighty. Hope to see you in Falmouth or wherever you make land-fall.

    Wendy ‘n Ces

    PS In case you take an extended break, Merry Christmas and a Hoppy New Year