Lockdown begins…March 2020.

Lockdown and (no) cruising. This post was written a while ago , since then I have re-done and updated sections of my blog so I thought I would post it anyway. Good one for the memory bank!

It has been a while since I wrote a blog post, although I do keep things up to date on my Facebook pages (Nikki Gee or sailingandsunshine, please join me). A lot has happened since we arrived back in South Africa after our semi (I say semi because there were some really good times) -disaster in Brazil. We spent a few days with friends and then went back to Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town to our own beloved yacht. What bliss to be home.

Took some visitors and friends out for a sail, just a couple of hours over the weekend and it was fun. Decided to do a trip to Dassen Island which is about 8 hours of shitty sailing (on the beam, very rocky and rolly).

Dassen Island -lighthouse completed in 1893.

My mind was fine, I knew I was safe but my body reacted instinctively and I threw up most of the way. Got settled in the bay at Dassen Island and spent a blissful 2 weeks there. Whales joined us occasionally, a bit nerve-wracking in the beginning but once we got used to it, so beautiful, we kind of expected them every day. Local fishing boats supplied us with massive amounts of crayfish, truly blessed to feast on such a luxury. We moved on to Slippers Bay, further up the West coast of South Africa, a 14-hour sail which was absolute perfection. Nice steady wind, sails up, dolphins showing off for us, too many whales to count, simply glorious. Dropped anchor as a perfect full moon popped into the sky. Dinner on deck with good South African wine, soothing gentle slapping of waves against the hull, and millions of stars twinkling down at us. Cannot imagine being happier anywhere else on the planet. Spent about 2 weeks in the bay. Very convenient to be able to tie up alongside either the fishing boats (where we got water into all the tanks and managed to do 3 loads of washing in our machine) or along the jetty at high tide and go ashore for wine and groceries. Pleasant weather, lots of sunshine, pottered around not doing much, enjoying the rhythm of being back “home”.

One nasty night, serious wind, and unfortunately the mizzen sail was ripped off, a pity because we keep her up to stabilize the boat. After a day of rolling about we decided to head back to the river in Port Owen, the place we had sailed away from on 1 September last year, never dreaming we would sail back in there one day. However, Captain Mike had finally sold Waggis, his 35-foot steel boat for the full asking price and we needed to go and check her out. The new owner, a very nice German dude, asked Mike to do some necessary repairs and renovations, compensation in Euros, with the shit exchange rate we have here this was a no brainer.

So the 2 boats were tied up on a private jetty, we have the power needed on our boat for all the necessary tools and equipment needed. Let the games begin! We did not realize the extent of the repairs until we started cutting away the rust, a steel boat is tough as nails but you have to seriously keep your eye on her, ALL the time. It is still a work in progress. Over the past 2 weeks, there has been plenty of welding, sanding, epoxying, and swearing going on. The painting would have started today, (un)fortunately it is raining……

Easter Sunday and it’s raining and the only place I want to be is tucked up warmly with my Easter eggs and homemade moonshine. Have I mentioned the still?? Without our foresight, we would probably have strangled one another by now! Our so-called lockdown stock lasted 8 days….and the original 3 weeks have just been extended by another 2… I believe the most searched entry on Google in South Africa at the moment is “How to make homemade alcohol. Fast.” True story!

It is not at all strange for us to be in lockdown. We are only allowed out for groceries or medicine. No exercise, walking the dog, nothing! We do still swim around the boat occasionally (usually as a result of too much moonshine actually) but it’s getting cold now. We are used to being on the boat for weeks on end when we sail or anchor out in the bay, doing our own thing. We provision for 3 or 4 weeks quite regularly and have a watermaker onboard. We have new batteries and solar panels so we usually have enough energy. Life goes on as normal. And I feel guilty because of that. I feel for the people who are isolated and alone, with no family or friends popping in. Selfishly I also wonder how this will affect our cruising plans. We are in no hurry, don’t get me wrong, but will it be the same, will countries accept cruisers as easily, will there be restrictions on all of us that wander the oceans? I am horrified, yet at the same time fully understand, some islands refusing entry to cruisers in an effort to protect their inhabitants from this virus. What of the cruisers that were turned away with no fuel, water, and barely any food? So many stories, some good, some not so good. The world as we know it has and will change forever. I do love the fact that the Earth has time to breathe. To rest and rejuvenate. That family is forced to spend time together, certainly, in this day and technology age, we do not do enough of that. A time of reflection and compassion.

Be kind and be safe.

Moonshine Mike and Nikki.

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