Much to our pleasant surprise, we reached Lüderitz (LEW-der-its) in 77 hours. It was 486nm ... Royal Cape YC Berth 25 to the mooring in Robert Harbour, Lüderitz, with an average speed of 6.3 knots. You really have to love a town with an umlaut in its name (ü – those two little dots above the u). The forecast for several days of southerly winds was unusual for this time of year along the southwest African coast, but was most welcome. Hooray! The ride had its ups and downs, but all in all, it was a very reasonable, albeit cold, passage. And here we are, in a new country already.
Our last day at sea was fairly benign. The day started grey and bleak and continued that way until we neared Lüderitz port. The Namibian coastline is tan, washed-out and barren. The desert meets the sea here with ever-shifting sand dunes … some of the largest in the world. Through the grey overcast, we could make out a band of sunlight which hovered just above the shoreline. It expanded as we neared Lüderitz. By the time we rounded Dias Point and its scenic lighthouse, the sky was blue and it was warm and sunny.
Sea lions, dolphins and African penguins greeted us as we headed into the bay.
We contacted Port Authority and asked quite formally for permission to enter the harbor. The answer was “Okay! Call with particulars when you're anchored.”. We proceeded into the harbor and based upon a previous cruiser's notes, looked for a mooring at red marker 9. Well, it was actually red marker 8, but we figured it out. The wind kicked up as we were attempting to pick up a mooring … of course. The mooring buoy was tangled in a rat's nest of very large lines, so heavy I couldn't pick it up with the boat hook. We made three attempts at plucking it from the water and I finally lassoed it with a big bowline. We wrestled it aboard with much sweat and frustration. David used rolling hitches to attach two lines to the 2” slimy hawser. We found out later that it was reserved for a fishing boat and they picked it up with a grappling hook and a windlass. I didn't feel so badly about our inadequacies after hearing that.
By the end of these mooring maneuvers, the deck and the crew were covered in green slime and various, unidentified sea critters oozed and skittered along the scuppers. Yuck! By 1700 (5pm for non-sailors), we were secured and tidied up. We were more than happy to go below, clean up, relax and call it a day. End of passage! Phew!