Thursday, February 21st, 2019
ARRIVAL CAPE TOWN
Just before sunrise we had the Cape of Good Hope abeam on starboard as the Picton Castle sailed north bound for Cape Town. The bio-luminescence in our bow wake and waves pulling with us was rich and magical in the inky dark. Seals came alongside to check us out. We could see their shape in the sparkly light green glow. The temperature had gone down to 15 from 25 in a day. A starkly clear sky and the loom of a rising sun put the Cape of Good Hope in silhouette with stars above in the black sky.
By 10:00am were off Cape Town in bright clear day underneath the dramatic tableau of Table Mountain. The harbour pilots were organised but there was some confusion about our berth inside, all prearranged we thought. But it was blowing increasingly hard making the prospect of maneuvering within the harbour somewhat dicey. A very strong SE wind was making up. A SE “Buster” is what they call it around here. But in we went.
Our berth was at right angles to the wind so it was a matter of getting the ship near the dock and parallel to it and keeping her so as the wind docked her for me. I told the pilot that we are going to slam the dock pretty hard. He asked me not to slam it too hard. I pointed out the with 45-50 knots on the beam I am not really in charge here. But I saw nice huge fenders to land the ship on. As long as we landed exactly parallel, we would feel a little sudden bump but would OK. We did, it was. The line handlers were in no rush but we got tied up. Then after a short pause in the wind right after docking, the wind really started to howl. But we were alongside the knuckle of A Berth in Duncan Basin at Cape Town, Tavern of the Sea. And glad to be so. Foaming blistering white caps covered this inner basin as the ‘table cloth’ of cloud spilled over Table Mountain, the locals all know that this means wind.
Towards: Cape Town, South Africa
Date: Feb. 13, 2019
Noon Position: in Cape Town harbour at “Berth A” on the knuckle, 33-54’S x 018° 26’E
Course + Speed: Alongside moored
Wind direction + Force: SE 50 knots and building
Swell Height + Direction: violent SE wind waves, white caps and spray
Weather: fair and clear
Day’s Run: 127 miles
Distance to Port: we are here!
Voyage: 19,895 miles