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?