Days of Thanks

Less than 900 miles to go to Cape Town, and things are looking all right! We started on this direct line to Cape Town several days ago, racing ahead of a cold front. We rode those winds forward until they passed us by. At that point, the breezes shifted to the opposite tack and we rode those for another few days before they dropped us off here early Tuesday morning. In the dark before dawn, the winds began to weaken and the seas began to calm which made for more comfortable sailing for a change, until they dropped off so much as to make it pretty slow going. The high pressure that was pushing the cold front had finally overtaken us and left us with only occasional minor gusts of wind. However, this isn’t so bad, as there’s a particular strategy commonly used when arriving in Cape Town, South Africa.

Cape Town, known as the “Tavern of the Seas” for its rich and raucous history as a ocean port sits at the point of land known as the Cape of Good Hope, which is one of the windiest areas in the world. The winds persist from the south and southeast around the Cape and can make for a very lively arrival. So, the idea is to get as far south as possible so that we can approach Cape Town from the southwest and have the heavy southeast winds hit us perpendicular on our beam. Currently, we are on a port tack heading southeast down to about 37 Degrees South latitude. From there, we’ll proceed east riding an approaching front before a second expected front helps us begin the final turn to Cape Town.

36.43976S, 4.14354E 36.43976S, 4.14354E

With any luck, we’ll approach in the late afternoon and evening on Tuesday next, getting to the coast after dark when the winds have lost their “thermal enhancements” (which add speed) and quieted down for the evening. This will give us the chance to work our way up the coast to Cape Town and arrive before noon when the “Cape Doctor” is scheduled to  arrive. They call the afternoon wind the Cape Doctor because it blows away pollution and cleans the air. Anyway, it is a wind that picks up every day at about noon, thermally enhanced by the valley behind Table Mountain, the crowning mountain jewel above Cape Town.

Table Mountain - Cape TownTable Mountain above Cape Town – Think I’ll know it, when I see it?

So, a quiet evening here on the South Atlantic, moseying along at 4 to 5 knots. Tomorrow will likely be the more of the same and then we’ll start all that crazy stuff again.

It’s coming on 7 weeks since leaving Bermuda and I’m sure I’m starting to show signs of it. I take a picture of myself every so often, so I can see what I look like. Today’s picture shows me with a much longer beard and mustache, tired eyes and “sunny” completion –  but bedraggled looks aside, I’m feeling pretty good, a bit tired, yes and certainly looking forward to getting to shore soon to take in some of Cape Town’s legendary attractions. I know a hot shower and a cold beer are two of the top attractions on my list.

Thursday marks Thanksgiving in the United States. Those of you who know me or have followed me a while, know that Thanksgiving is a pretty special day for me – my favorite holiday of the year. For me it is the occasion to gather friends from everywhere – to laugh, sing, tell stories and share a bountiful meal. For the past dozen or so years, my house has been the gathering spot for this event. However, this year I won’t be in attendance … but my sister Nancy is flying in from Texas, to host the event for me at my house, and I’m sure it will be filled with just as much fun and warmth and chatter as ever! Here is a shot from last year.

TG 2012Indiana Thanksgiving 2012

While I won’t be having turkey with all the trimmings, I am fortunate enough to have some of the best freeze-dried chicken breast around and a few still crispy Ritz Crackers that will do me just fine. I’ll finish up my repast with some Hershey’s chocolate kisses and a few special liqueur-filled chocolates from my friend Joe Harris that will partly displace the longing for that pumpkin pie I love so much. And lest you think I’m all alone out here, remember there’s Franklin and Bodacious Dream, two of my best friends are with me … and of course, in my heart and memories, there are all of you.

So, to all of you, I wish you a great Thanksgiving, a chance to share your past year’s successes and to express “out loud please!” your gratitude for dear family and close friends. These are indeed the moments of our lives.

Life is a grand adventure, live it all, live it always!

– Dave, Bodacious Dream and Franklin!
36.43976S, 4.14354E