||L O G B O O K - by Michelle Philp
AH CAPE TOWN!
TUE 28th DEC - Part of the crew takes the train to Cape Town where we go our separate ways and spend the entire day exploring this beautiful city. The George Street Mall is a centre of attraction and bustles all day long with African street performers, street markets and craft stalls selling African handiwork, authentic face masks and carved stone ornaments. The African people are notable for their artistic skills, they produce some of the most beautiful, intricate carvings from various mediums such as serpentine and wood, weave colourful telephone wire baskets and can manipulate fencing wire to form pretty much anything you can imagine.
THUR 30th - We set off for the Stellenbosch wine region in the Western Cape Province. This is the oldest and perhaps most beautiful of the wine producing regions and our first stop is in Spier to visit the magnificent estate which encompasses beautiful grounds and vineyards with 17th century Cape Dutch style homesteads. Our other stops include the Delair and Boschendal estates where we take the time to sample some wines before heading into the pretty town of Franschhoek for a very late lunch! Stellenbosch town itself is interesting and has great character, having been established in 1679. It is the second oldest town in South Africa.
FRI 31st - By late afternoon the main street in Simons Town is closed off to traffic directly in front of the town square. This is the norm every year as the town prepares for a long night of street dancing. The crew have been invited up to the Murphys open house celebrations but Tony, Lydia and Sefo decide to remain close to the boat to keep an eye out for stray flares or fireworks that could land on Taus deck during the midnight display. Having been cautioned by a local yacht owner who had an orange flare land in his cockpit the previous new years eve and to this day still hasnt managed to eliminate the stains, we are not taking any risks! During the evening Michelle and Kristy set off to walk the steep flight of stairs that lead up from the town to Simons Kloof and are caught in a light drizzle part way. Taking cover in front of a real estate office they are invited to join in the office party where two police officers on bicycles had also sheltered. When they found out that the girls were trying to get to the Murphys home one of the officers flagged down a passing police car and had his colleague not only drive them but deposit them to the Murphys front door - now thats community service! Meanwhile, the town square and main street are crowded with revelers dancing the night away in front of a giant screen projecting images of new years eve celebrations around the world.
MON 3rd JAN - After two and a half weeks in False Bay we cast off at 7 am from the navy dock and say farewell to Simons Town. There is a strong 30 knot breeze from the south east and we motor out directly into it towards Cape Point. The seas are rough and Tau is totally awash with waves breaking high over her bow. These conditions do not get any better and as we sail out beyond the Cape, the wind picks up another 10 knots and makes things a little uncomfortable below the decks. Fortunately within two hours conditions change and the wind subsides to a pleasant 30 knots and the seas smooth to a calm. We are amazed at the diverse weather patterns in such a small radius. We sail on north towards Cape Town passing Haut Bay and taking in magnificent views of Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles mountain range running south of it, and the picturesque seaside suburbs of Kommetjie, Clifton and Camps Bay. The wind drops considerably for a few hours but no one seems to mind dawdling along as we are all enchanted with the scenery before us. We drop anchor in Granger Bay at 3.50 pm amidst jet skiers, speed boats, and day sailers and with helicopters and light airplanes streaming large advertising banners behind them overhead. But with the most spectacular mountain backdrop in the world directly in front of us we dont care in the least!