7 December 2017 Richards Bay, South Africa
It was a dull morning with light rain, so we pottered about tidying up. In the afternoon, it brightened up and we had a pleasant 10 knot wind from the ESE, so we took the boat out for a sea trial.
We’ve done a lot of work on the stern gear and the rudder - I’ve filed anti-singing edges on the propeller; we have a new bearing at the bottom of the rudder; we have a new cutlass bearing; I’ve had the steering cables on and off several times; I’ve had the steering wheel bearing assembly in pieces; and I’ve realigned the engine. Not to mention that we’ve had both forestays off and have the sails repaired.
After calling Port Control to inform them we were doing sea trials, we went out to the main ship channel through the port and motored up and down. Glenys ran the engine at a whole range of revs, from tick-over up to the maximum of 3,500, while I watched the engine and stern gland for any sign of vibrations.
The engine ran very smooth at all revs and there was no sound of cavitation or singing from the propeller, so the propeller appears to be in balance and the engine looks to be well aligned. We pulled all of the sails out to check them and then returned to the marina, happy that everything works - we’ll have more confidence in the boat when we finally venture out of port.
In the evening, “Red Herring” came around and helped us to eat the huge pork stew that Glenys had cooked up for our meals for the first two days at sea.
8 December 2017 St Lucia, South Africa
It was a lovely sunny day and we regret not being at sea, but the southerly is going to hit East London at 06:00 tomorrow, so we’d have only just made it and if something had gone wrong…
The next opening seems to be on Monday 11th, but there are lots of little lows popping off the coast at Port Elizabeth, so we’re not sure how far we could get. We think that we’ll at least head down to Durban.
To allay the boredom, we hired a little car again and drove to St Lucia, where we checked into a lovely Bed & Breakfast place called “Lodge Afrique”. We then went for a drive around the western coast of the St Lucia Game Park. There weren’t many animals in the southern part, despite going down a couple of gravel road loops, but things improved when we got to the most northern loop road, where we saw WhiteRhino, Giraffe, Cape Buffalo, BlueWildebeest, Impala, Nyala, Warthogs, etc.
In the evening, we walked to one of restaurants on the main road and had two enormous meals. Glenys had Bobotie, so she now knows what it tastes like and has modified her recipe - the minced meat needs to be courser and she's reducing the much sweetness.
9 December 2017 St Lucia, South Africa
We were up fairly early to go horse riding at 08:00. Again we had a fabulous time, riding in the Game Park amongst Zebra, Wildebeest, Warthogs and Impala. It’s amazing how close you can get to these wild animals when sat on a horse.
It was only a two hour ride, so we went into the eastern side of the St Lucia Game Park and drove around for a couple of hours, spotting the usual plains animals. By midday, it was getting very hot and the animals were getting scarce, so we retired to a restaurant in town and had some salmon sushi for lunch - very decadent.
By three o’clock, we were back on Alba, where it was blisteringly hot under a cloudless sky with strong north-east winds. At 17:00, the wind suddenly switched to SW20 as the next front came through and by dark, it was raining and blustery.
10 December 2017 Richards Bay, South Africa
It was a grey day with strong south-west winds, so we pottered about after breakfast and went to the cinema later in the morning to watch Justice League in 3D. It only cost 89 Rands (£4.50) each including a new pair of 3D glasses, which is a bargain compared to paying £12 each in the UK.
The weather forecast for the next week is terrible with small lows coming through causing the wind to switch to the south and back to the north every 24 hours. There’s no chance of getting to East London, so Glenys spent the afternoon looking to see if we can arranged to go horse riding for a few days next week.
In the late afternoon, I went to “Frieda” and played guitar with Frank, Karen from “Red Herring” and Swien from “LovindaToo”.
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