Day 362, Year 5 South Africa At Last!
Date: Sunday, October 24, 2010
Weather: Totally Overcast and Drizzly; Winds ENE to NNE 15-25
Latitude: 28 45.868 S
Longitude: 032 04.708 E
Location: International Wall, Richards Bay, South Africa

Passage Statistics:
970 miles in 7 days, 22 hours, 5 minutes (190 hours, 5 minutes)
Sailing Hours-139 hours + 30 minutes
Motor Sailing Hours-50 hours + 35 minutes
Average Speed-5.10 Knots

We are safe and sound in Richards Bay, South Africa. And I don’t think I’ve ever been this glad to reach a destination. All the hype about what a dangerous passage this can be if the weather turns on you certainly kept us a little on edge. And we still have to get from here south and around the Cape of Good Hope in a month or so. But for now, we are going to put that out of our minds and count our blessings that we made it with no major problems and no threatening weather-just aggravating weather at times. Another cruiser walked by just after we arrived and said, “Looks like you are all in one piece. Most of the boats that come in here are in pieces.” We owe a big thank you to Graham at the South Africa Maritime Mobile Net, to Roy on the Peri Peri Net, and to BUOY Weather for keeping us well informed about the weather. That information allowed us to make decisions that got us here safely, even if it was a bit slow. Our passage from Chagos to Madagascar was our fastest ever, traveling 1466 miles in 219.5 hours, or 9 days and 3.5 hours. This passage was one-third fewer miles but it took almost the same amount of time. We are just thankful that Windbird and Constance both made in one piece. And after almost a thousand miles, Constance pulled in a mere 30 minutes after us. Our boats are amazingly well matched.

When you arrive in Richards Bay you are directed to go to the International Wall next to Tuzi Gazi Marina. Usually you can tie to the wall, but when we arrived this morning there was ‘no room at the inn.’ So a fellow cruiser who was tied to the wall invited us to raft up with him. Constance then rafted up with the boat in front of us. You have to stay on the wall until Immigration and Customs give you clearance. We had heard that Customs can be very slow about coming, but Immigration came right away and Customs came later this afternoon. It was the easiest check-in we’ve encountered anywhere in the world and didn’t cost a penny. We are all checked in and can leave here and go to the Zululand Yacht Club, but we need to talk to them first and we can’t get a phone card in this area. We are in an industrial area with a few small restaurants next to the wall. From here, it is too far to walk into town, so that is tomorrow’s job. We will take a taxi to a shopping center where we can buy a Sim Card for our phone and another one for our wireless modem for getting on the internet. In order to send this log, we will go to the little restaurant right in front of us. If you buy their cheap beer, they offer free wireless internet. Sounds like a good deal to me!

101024 Day 362 Arrival in Richards Bay, South Africa