Cape Town Views #1

Hello from Cape Town, South Africa!

It’s been a week since I arrived here, and except for the actual arrival announcements, I know I have been missing from the news cycle. That’s because about a third of the time, I’ve been asleep, another quarter of the time, I’ve been eating, and the rest of the time … well, who knows where that went!

Bodacious Dream is sitting well at the Royal Cape Yacht Club. I’ve been able to wash the salt from her and make a list of work to be done, parts to be ordered and various other steps that need to be taken before I can take off again on Leg #2 of the Circumnavigation which will take me to Wellington, New Zealand, which is only about 7300 miles east of here! Many thanks to the good folks at the RCYC for hosting me and making me feel welcome there!

Royal Cape Yacht Club
BoDream at the Royal Cape Yacht Club w/ Table Mountain in the background

As curious fate would have it, we arrived just before the passing of Nelson Mandela. It has been an amazing experience being here during this time. There are many memorials in the various places I’ve gone, and most every shop or business has some recognition of him and the leadership role he played in the ending of apartheid in South Africa. I got quite a history lesson from a tour guide named John, when I went to see the statue at the entrance to the prison where Nelson Mandela walked free in 1990.

Nelson Mandela Statue
The Mandela Statue in front of what was at the time of his release in 1990 called Victor Verster Prison

This picture shows the gates of the prison from which he was finally released after serving 27 years, and the long road that he walked down which is symbolic of his book, The Long Walk to Freedom. John himself grew up during the years of apartheid and had been a teacher. He talked of the stranglehold that apartheid had on his country and the pressures he was put under as a supporter of Mandela, which forced him to leave South Africa, for the safety of his family. His stories brought history directly into our present day lives!

We also visited the beautiful monument to the Afrikaans language, which has roots from the three continents of Africa, Europe and Asia. It’s a striking construction from many angles with much symbolism in the bridging of the various languages of the early settlers in Africa.

Monument to the Afrikaans language
Afrikaans Language Monument

Cape Town is known for many things, but its signature symbol is Table Mountain, the flat top mountain that is the beautiful backdrop for the entire city. This bustling and cosmopolitan city of 3.74 million people has many facets to it, from the large commercial shipping harbor which hosts ships from around the world, to the busy waterfront, to the World Cup Stadium and many other areas … all of this happening under the watchful eye of Table Mountain.

Cape Town can be a very windy place as the prevailing South Easterly winds come from the Indian Ocean where they are blocked by Table Mountain, and so forced to blow either around the sides or over the top of it, which creates interesting wind patterns around the city. They also create a phenomenon of great natural beauty that’s known as the “Table Cloth” on Table Mountain. As warm winds are forced over the top and into the higher altitudes, they condense into clouds that settle on top of the plateau and then flow down the sides until they reach the warmer air and dissipate into thin air. It makes for a beautiful scene. Here’s a short video of the Table Cloth in action!

The Table Cloth descends over Table Mountain

So, it’s back to work on Bodacious Dream here and looking ahead for a good weather window to depart Cape Town and head to New Zealand. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the journey so far. There’s more to come from here as well. Today, I took a trip to the actual Cape of Good Hope and visited a Penguin colony. More on those travels in a couple of days.

Earthwatch ArticleEarthwatch Extras from December 10, 2013 

Also, Earthwatch Institute ran a feature story this week about me and about the Circumnavigation with an emphasis on some of the citizen-science projects we’re managing with their help. It’s a pretty cool article, that can be found here.

Best to all of you!

- Dave Rearick