First Night back at sea. 33 08 South 07 17 East

First night back. Always takes a bit of getting used to.

I’ll paint a picture. The wind which was up to 25 knots earlier has softened
down to 12 knots. I’d reduced sail to 2 reefs in the mainsail and genoa
preparing for the expected increase to 30-35 knots i.e. a truckload of wind.
Now we’re underpowered and Aretha is slopping around uncomfortably on the

Nichola was the first faller earlier – feeling the seasickness – after
popping some Stugeron she went to our cabin to rest. Bluebell was next. Then
Columbus. Then Jani.

Paul and I were left sailing and nursing Aretha through the waves. Willow,
decides to pick up the hoover and with the expertise of an adult hoovers up
the bread crumbs in the saloon – she just wanted to be involved and help.

Now, its 20:00 and all are sleeping (except Willow) – I think its going to
be a long night for Paul and I especially when the breeze fills in to that
35 knots *(around 3am). I’ve long discovered now that if suffering from
seasickness rest and fluids are the only answer – don’t try to push through.

So, we’re at sea and have some 1500 miles to the tiny Island of St Helena in
the middle of the Atlantic. It’s population is only 4,000 people and we are
told the first ever airport there will open this year – until now, getting
there by sea has been the only way to get there.

We stop in St Helena for 3 days and then set off on the 2,000 miles or so en
route to Salvador de Bahia in Brazil before working our way up the Brazilian
coast to the Caribbean.

It’s hard to believe its 2016. We set off from the UK on August 20th 2014
and have had one complete calendar year away at sea. Its hard to take in
what we’ve experienced, seen and done. The last month in Cape Town has been
no exception.

I think I recall I last blogged as we sailed down the East African coast
from Richards Bay to East London, then from there we sailed to Mossel Bay
before finally making landfall in Cape Town on the 2nd December. Cape Town
is without doubt my favourite landfall in the world and it’s nickname the
Tavern of the Seas is well deserved. This has been the first time on this
circumnavigation that I’ve sailed into the same place as I sailed into on my
previous circumnavigation back in 2000. As we rounded the Cape of Good Hope
early in the morning with calm seas and a beautiful sunrise it brought back
many memories and we were grateful that the “Cape of Storms” was kind to us
with benign weather as we sailed up the Cape passing whales, dolphins and
seals just about everywhere.

Our home for the month (our longest time in any one place since leaving the
UK) was the V&A Waterfront – a truly stunning first world development (in
sharp contrast to much of South Africa). It felt like we had our own private
marina sitting underneath Table Mountain, with access directly to the
Waterfront and wildlife all around – especially the African Fur Seals which
regularly hopped onto the pontoons to laze in the sun.

The month has flown by and in next to no time we are back here at sea and it
feels like we have barely scratched the surface of South Africa. Some
highlights spring to mind:

1) Meeting up with Victoria & Devan – friends from Weybridge in the UK –
their daughter Caitlin was in the same class as Bluebell at school – they
now live out here in Cape Town. I think that our children probably stayed at
their house more than they did on Aretha. They adopted us and showed us so
much of Cape Town and met so many of their friends – Garth, Birgit, Chris,
Daleen, Uv. Just so much fun going out for meals, winelands tours, parties,
car racing, kids activities. A truly unforgettable time;

2) Staying at the Easy 5 Guest House with the 3 children while Nichola was
on a course in the States for 10 days. Some great time to play and have fun
with the kids. The low point was Bluebell falling on her head and spending
the afternoon in casualty (she’s fine now) – the highpoint, Willow learning
to swim – she decided she was going to and just went for it;

3) Taking a bus tour around the City with Columbus – the highlight was Table
Mountain and finding rock dassies – its hard to convey just how excited he

4) Taking a tour of the Townships with Bluebell around Langa and Khailesha.
Seeing the local witch doctor and Bluebells miraculous recovery from her
“not feeling very well” when asked to tell the witch doctor what was wrong.

5) Christmas Day with the World ARC yachts – dishes provided by each boat
and the afternoon playing games in the sun .along with a visit from Father

6) Nichola’s birthday – a picnic in the sun at Constantia with Nichola’s
parents, Sheila and Laurie (who’d just arrived the previous day) and
Victoria and her family

7) Taking the children for surfing lessons at Muizenberg and stroking
Cheetahs at a wildlife sanctuary

8) Penguins on Boulders Beach

9) Getting Aretha up to date – new rigging, complete sail refresh, new
cushion covers and mainsail cover, anti fouled hull, servicing the engine
and generally bringing her back to A1 condition

10) Meeting other friends – Peter an old school friend and his family, Tim
(Columbus rugby coach from the UK) and his family and their friends, Cindy
who we met in Jerusalem some years back and her partner, Max’s friends.the
list goes on

11) Spending time with Max – sad though to wave goodbye to him after a great
3 months together – without doubt the longest we’ve ever spent together

12) New Years eve – arranging a braai (bbq) on the pontoon for all the World
ARC yachts followed by a party on Makena.

I’m not even scratching the surface here. In short, an incredible time and I
know that all of us were very sad to leave. Africa is well and truly under
our skin and it’s a place we will return to.

So, onwards.

Yesterday we were rejoined by Paul and Jani who sailed the Atlantic from the
Canaries to St Lucia with us. Really great to have them back onboard and
looking forward to sharing the next stage of our adventure with them.

For now, its time for watch change and some rest. More to follow.

Have a fabulous day everyone,

Team Aretha back in the Atlantic Ocean, Out.

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  1. wow I am just so in awe of you all, and your experience and journey is just so amazing and I really hope that 2016 people step outside their comfort zone and do something they always wanted to – life is too short and it is there to grab with both hands and enjoy. Casper you and your family with be reliving this experience for the rest of your (long) lives xxx

  2. Happy New Year to all! Good to hear that you had such a good time in Cape Town. I hope that all have by now recovered from the mal de mer – I’m not surprised that The Old Salt didn’t succumb (born to be on the water). Have a great sail to St Helena – I look forward to the next blog. Best wishes to all John

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