I wrote previously that it was “beginning to feel like winter” in Cape Town, but now it actually is winter. Folks in the southern hemisphere don't stand on ceremony and wait for the solstices and the equinoxes to signal the beginning of the season. Nope, they conveniently jump into it on the first of the month. June 1st … it's winter. December 1st, it's summer. Just as well, I can never remember if summer … I mean winter ... begins on the 20th or 21st of June anyway.
Winter here means rain and cold temperatures and, believe it or not, snow in the mountains a bit further inland. It is definitely cold and raw. We're not talking sub-zero temps and we're not worrying about the water around us freezing or anything. It's just a bone-chilling cold that you can't seem to shake … outside and inside the boat. This morning it was 4ºC (39ºF). Luckily, with shore power available, our little electric heater does an adequate job of keeping the chill off although it's always a competition to see who will be up first in the morning to turn the heater on. Leaving our warm flannel sheets takes sheer will power.
The weather seems to come in spurts. We watch the GRIBs as high pressure areas overtake lows and the fronts move along quickly. Our view of Table Mountain varies from cold and clear to cold and opaque. The tablecloth seems to be in place more often than not. Foggy, misty mornings are frequent and the deck is always wet in the morning. We rarely leave the boat for any length of time without our rain jackets. The first trip to the clubhouse in the morning is downright painful. I'm into T-necks and warm socks and fleeces and sweatshirts and gloves … and that's inside the boat!
The days are short – 10 hours of daylight now and still decreasing. When it rains and the skies are grey, it seems the days are even shorter. We find ourselves getting up later and going to bed earlier. With the cold and darkness, we're in bed reading by 9pm. We're definitely sleeping longer hours … kind of like old bears.
We had, of course, no intention of being here this long. We had a schedule … we really did. Originally March was our departure date from South Africa. Then, since we didn't arrive in Cape Town till April, mid-April became the new departure time. Repairs delayed us significantly, as you know, and here we are “sitting in the dock of the bay watching the tide (and warm temps and good weather) roll away”. When we finally do leave Cape Town, at the end of the month, the trip promises to be a cold one … but happily, we'll be heading towards the warm.