Thursday, January 27, 2011

Finals at Walvis Bay.

There is a peaceful feeling around Catlyn. None of the inside turmoil I suspected, and the whole morning was spent taking stock. The fridges and freezer were unpacked and organised, the cupboards were repacked and all my glass ware and little precious things were safely bubble wrapped and packed away.
The engines were cleaned and we did a test run with them to see if the white smoke is gone. Everything looked great. We hoisted the main sail because we replaced the main halyard and siliconed the mast and the main was running smoothly up and down.
It is not easy to find good fruit and vegetables in Walvis Bay, but for an arm and a leg we got some. appreciate your country South-Africans! Mangoes are R20 plus EACH, little squashed avo's are up to R25 EACH, and 6 petite naartjies R40!

Tomorrow afternoon we hope for the wind to pick up and push us deep into the ocean, when we leave around 14hoo!
We are ready!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Leaving Walvis Bay soon!

It is really happening. We are planning to leave Friday afternoon, the 28 th of January, and it feels like the first leg of our voyage is starting. We are packing and scrubbing and... Today a diesel mechanic is aboard and Johan and Joe are peeking over his shoulder to learn. The oil is changed an injectors are replaced and hopefully the white smoke from the starboard engine will disappear.

Marco started with home schooling yesterday, and so far so good! I am doing washing at a friends house in a lovely big machine for the last time in a long time...Sputnik here I come! But thank God for angels offering their washing machines and tumble dryers and blue cars....

Soon Marco and I will start to learn Portuguese on our shifts, to be sure we order the right size steak in Brazil!

PS. To all the angels who crossed our path on land, thank you...

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Last stop in my home country for a very long time! Last time spent on my beautiful farm for a very long time! Last time combing the winter hair out of my dog's hair! Last time....

Janli is settled in her new home and life, having a taste of being a student, and Jaco is flying the kite of his life...high up the sky! Louis is playing the game, and the game is playing him...
So I am leaving three children behind and a dog....

and you.....

But I going to live and share this dream...with you!

Saturday I am flying to Catlyn, to her to take me dreaming....!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Training to be....

While I am relaxing on the farm I remembered that Joe and I went for some exciting courses at Maritime Training in Saldanha. Joe had fun on his STCW95, killing fires, running around with the heavy hoses. He also did an elementary First Aid Course and safety at sea procedures. The young men splashed around in a pool wearing thick immersion suits looking like red men from an alien planet.
I spent some time with Tiny teaching me the skills of a First Aider Level 3. What an extensive course with knowledge pouring in, and Tiny really putting an effort in equipping me with the necessary knowledge being responsible for the health of my people on our Yacht.

The next week I spent with Janine. I did the Ship Captain's Medical and learnt to do an IV, pushing needles through dolls all over. My surprise came one morning when I had to stitch up soft bloody livers, simulating somewhere on the human body, and tough pig skins as rough as Dad's heels! But that was not the end... For my exams a very friendly pig was awaiting me. Janine made sure that Miss Pig was badly hurt, and I had to stitch up fleshy wounds while she was grinning at me! For the next month or so, Spare Ribs wasn't on my menu.

But I did it, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, and then I could go off to Ysterplaat Medical Supplies, where Frieda assisted me to fully equip my medical bag. And now I do have the confidence of taking my family on this trip over oceans.

But we made sure we weren't the only clever people on Catlyn...Johan also did his Yacht Master and now we are in for safe sailing!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

saying good bye

...why do yachties say good bye so often? It is tough! We are always leaving someone behind...or someone is leaving us behind.... And now it is time for Janlie to go! She is ready to spread her wings into her own world. And I will be leaving you until the 23rd of January, because I will be putting soft white motherly feathers into her new little nest in Stellenbosch!


A beautiful town! With Willie's car we visited Swakopmund, and walk the beautiful strasse inviting tourist into every little shop and bakery. We enjoyed the bradchens and bratwurst. The Crystal Gallery is absolutely not to be missed! We stood next to the worlds biggest crystal, 14 100kg. So many amazing wonders hidden in the ground, in colors you can not believe are all in this gallery!

Reunite old friends

Walvis Bay welcomed us with Willie guiding us into his wonderful world... We said good bye to the Old Year and invited 2011 into our lives. We shared our lives on Catlyn with friends from long ago. Skipper Dad memoried back with his student friends from 25 years ago, Willie and Sakkie.

Willie took us deep into the desert..Namib Naukluft and we travelled the roads searching for the stately onyx. The moon landscape took our breath away, and in the heat of the day we climbed the Blutkopje. I couldn't stop my feet from running when we stopped for the amazing Welwitchia, the pre-historic plant, and I danced over the sandy desert in search for more and bigger. It's been such a long time since I had the privilege of running earth! Many Tafel beers later we stopped in front of a cave...our resting place for the night. A house built within a cave was awaiting us...we spend the night close to the San people of many moons ago. So many places, so many people....

After a good night's rest with the jackal crying and the people snoring, we explored the farm. John showed us the Bushmen art on the rocks, where little people were hiding from the sun. Before hitting the dirt road again, we swam in the cool blue swimming pool from Oasis, the German couple, Willie and Lilo, who also introduced us the night before to Ratzeputze...a cruel bottle of German schnapps. We stood in awe when the Kuiseb canyon opened in front of us. We were touched by the desert, the sand the rocks the stubborn plants surviving, and animals adapting.

But still....we were treated to such a delicious pot of paella. Orlanda, our new Portuguese friend surprised us in the desert with this delicatesse.

In the vast distance we could feel the desert, we could touch the wind, and we could hear the silence...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Towards Walvis Bay!

We searched for the 16 knot SSW predicted winds from two sources....but alas. We motored and battled on with the genoa trying it's best to increase our speed. Suddenly a thick arrow appeared on the radar while I was doing the watch...the Benguela Current was registering an amazing 9.4knots! It wasn't a mistake because from then on, we could follow the Current pushing us at a average 2 - 3 knots. The whole day and into the evening we suffered forward with the wind on the nose all the time, and our Skipper decided to cook us a hearty meal of chicken and rice with honey sweet pumpkin!

I was doing the grave yard shift and the fog was so thick I couldn't even see the Catlyn's bow. And then, the depth metre registered, 3,5m depth! On the radar I could see that we were about 4 sea miles from the Coast, and ahead of me was warnings of underwater rocks! Oh dear, are we going to sit on a rock like Noah's Arc soon? I tapped the metre but it only went a little deeper and then back to 3,5 metres. This was the time to wake up my Captain. We changed course for a while, went down to check the depth metre...and then all of a sudden we were on 70 metres again! I never thought that I would fear shallow water so much! Being on the sea and looking at the depth metre growing to depths of 330 metre so far, made 3,5m so fearfully shallow!

After a pitch black night wet with fog, Janlie awoke the crew with the smell of crumpets. Are we going to miss her when she goes to Stellenbosch soon!

Everything went smoothly except for the star board engine's fan belt going slack and white smoke seeping out. Luckily we are close to Walvis and our engineer can do his thing!

Just before 3 o'clock we sailed into Walvis, really looking forward to step on land. We felt so welcome when a big seal jumped onto Catlyn and showed us the way to the Yacht Club!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Finally Luderitz.

With the wind still blowing somewhere else, and definitely not where all the clever weather predictors have said....we sailed into Luderitz at about nine o' clock the 22 of December with the last fading light of the day, and still an exciting crew! This will be our first foreign Port of call, and Joe hoisted the Q-flag. I am sure it stands for quarantine, because we are still illegal in a new country, until we did the Custom and Immigration thing the next morning.

The next morning we slept late for the first time, or actually we slept for the first time in days... and then we went to get the paper work done. This is where we met our new friend Fritz, a VIP at the Customs office and he came aboard to count my bottles of red wine... And then he stayed and we made a friend. He showed us the very windy Diaz Point and we shared our Christmas with him at The Nest hotel for a lovely buffet. We found out the secret temptations in his life....lots and lots of cookies.

On a wind still day he chauffeured us to Kolmanskop and we walked among ghosts for a while....standing amazed at their ability to live a luxurious life, even with a ten pin bowling alley in a very brutal environment.

We made the most of our short visit, and Janlie took the opportunity to braid her hair for X-mas. When we sailed out of Luderitz on the 27th of December, we were leaving the most beautiful Lutheran church behind us, with the forecast of great Southerly winds ahead of us!!

Sailing to Luderitz Bay.

We left Port Owen, with Marco shooting an arrow with a good luck message attached and Joe blasting it away on our fog horn and the soothing sound of the gift from Allen, Sailing Away, on the speakers! The wind was generous and we had a great sail and a beautiful first sun set. But the wind only lasted until 3 o'clock the next morning, only to let the fog in and to gather the thick clouds hanging heavy over us for the next four days. Luckily the sea was good to us and offered us, three beautiful blue fin tuna on the lures. We couldn't resist to start cooking the rice for sushi!

And so the wind stayed away and the sun and we motored and waited for every breath of wind to try out the screecher or the genoa, just to shove a very heavy Catlyn forward. Again the sea blessed us with a yellow tail, just big enough for the pan, because the fridge was now full of fillets of tuna. We lazied away with books and Monopoly and Dominoes.....