Across False Bay

Pringle Bay to Simon's Town

After a very blustery, noisy, 35-knot kind of night, we waited until dawn to leave Pringle Bay. We had some problems getting the anchor down, so it followed we'd have problems getting it back up. It was really, really stuck. With persistence and the help of the engine and the helmsman, I finally signalled “I can see it” in anchor-speak and we headed out of the bay, the notch still providing runaway freight train bullets of wind to speed us on our way. We raised only the staysail and waited to see what the wind would really do. In the meantime, despite the wind, the sky was clear and the sun coming up behind the mountains was astonishingly beautiful. At one point, it looked as if one of the peaks was erupting in volcanic fire.

volcanic sunrise

Once away from the shore, we thought we'd lose the wind, but we didn't and it came from all directions  in big spurts. 8 knots SE, 35 knots E, 10 knots W, 40 knots NE. A 47-knot gust from the SE had us heeled to the starboard gunwale, but it quickly passed and we were moseying along at 3 knots again, too lazy to put up the main for so little wind and such a short sail. We cinched in the staysail to minimize the rock and turned on the iron jenny. The forecast indicated the lightest winds for the day would be before Noon. It was only a 20 mile sail and arriving in the calm after the previous night's bluster was very appealing.

Then the dolphins appeared, which of course, added some pizzazz to the morning after a weary night. They were everywhere. Long-beaked common dolphins were under, around and beside Nine of Cups in big numbers and they were here to play. We counted a dozen or more at one point and then more appeared and then more surfed in on the following waves. They put on quite a good show and kept us occupied for most of our short passage across the bay.

dolphin surfing

We spotted Simon's Town's outer breakwater where a South African naval ship was just heading out of the navy base assisted by a tug. We entered into the inner harbor and circled for awhile, getting all our lines and fenders ready for a port-side marina tie-up. We'd called in advance and the efficient Simon's Town marina had e-mailed us the layout of the marina and our berth number, so we knew where we were heading. We were surprised to see our friend's catamaran, Leu Cat, tied to an outer berth. A submarine was anchored off the port-side wharf.

submarine neighbor

The yacht basin was calm, but tight on space. We made our way slowly to our berth, passing Kittiwake, another friend's boat, along the way. A young dockman was waiting to help with our lines. What a luxury! We made fast to the dock. All tied up and tidied up, I put on the kettle for a cuppa. We sat in the cockpit on a warm, sunny South African morning and sipped our tea/coffee and though tired, we planned our day: Check-in with the marina and False Bay Yacht Club, hot showers and lunch at Bertha's, a bustling seaside restaurant we could see on the wharf. And then maybe, a nap!

berthas for lunch

It doesn't escape us that this is Easter Sunday. It's an Autumn holiday south of the Equator, signaling winter ahead, not the rebirth of Spring. Kind of hard to get your arms around the seasonal differences sometimes, but don't fret, there are chocolate bunnies galore in all the shops. Happy Easter!

choco bunnies