Day 2, Year 6 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Date: Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Weather: Overcast and WINDY-SW Gusting to 30
Location: International Wall, Richards Bay, South Africa

The BAD is that we don’t have a space at the Zululand Yacht Club as we had been led to believe we would have. The GOOD is that the Tuzi Gazi Club, just next to us here at the International Wall, does have space. The UGLY is that the coal dust that falls on the boats here is horrible, especially when there are SW winds with no rain like yesterday and today. On Sunday afternoon when a neighbor loaned us his hose, we used the water to wash off all the salt and Windbird was squeaky clean. Today she is dusted in a fine black powder that runs like mud when water is applied. Yuck! But we just have to deal with it by getting to a dock where we can easily attach our own hose and constantly wash down the boat, especially the canvas. We thought Cochin’s air was dirty, but it doesn’t even compare to this. And the other UGLY is that it is not easy to get boat parts here and if you can get them, they are expensive. We visited what we think is the only chandlery in Richards Bay today and we didn’t find the things we need. They are checking into ordering for us, but it seems strange that there is so little here in terms of boat parts compared to anyplace else we have been (except for India) on our trip around the world.

But that said, we have to keep reminding ourselves how lucky we are that we are here and we are safe. As we are learning the stories of the boats around us that came here in the past couple of weeks from Mauritius and Reunion, and we are really, really thankful that we went to Madagascar and came across from there. One boat we met in Chagos and went south to Mauritius and then made the crossing from Reunion to South Africa lost their steering and had to use their emergency tiller for days, have a shredded headsail, got salt water in their engine due to the high waves, and finally had to be towed in here. A smaller boat right behind us no longer has a dodger because it was flattened by the high waves. The horror stories just keep on coming and we are feeling more and more thankful that we were not scared away from Madagascar by stories of rampant theft and government instability. There is government instability but it is moderately under control and theft just wasn’t a problem. We had to make sure we kept things locked, but at no time did we ever feel unsafe. Unfortunately, that is not true here. Richards Bay is better than most of South Africa, but the crime rate is sky-high and we don’t dare wear a backpack or carry a camera. All of the housing here is surrounded by tall brick walls topped with electric wire and that is topped with razor wire. I’m getting the idea that you are much safer in the game parks with lions and leopards than you are on the streets of the cities in this country. At least in the game parks, you stay in your car and view the wildlife through the windows. In the cities, you lock yourself in your car, but at any stop a window might be broken and anything on a seat might be taken. Everything has to be stored in the car’s trunk-out of sight. I know we will enjoy seeing the beauty of the country, but already I feel like I can never let down my guard. Here in the harbor area, the presence of port security is strong and we have heard of no security problems here. So at least we are in a safe area far away from trouble and we will be super careful when venturing out. I’m really hoping that we will be venturing out early next week to visit our first game park and I’m really looking forward to that.

101026 Day 2a South Africa–Tuzi Gazi Marina
101026 Day 2b South Africa–Zululand Yacht Club