Saturday, January 16, 2016

Back to the boat Dec 2015

Our car rental time was just about up. We'd been gone for nearly three weeks, visited seven countries (South Africa, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, and Lesotho) and we were heading back to YOLO.  We were in the heart of the school holidays now and knew that most of the accommodations from here to the coast would be full.  The availability goes down and the costs go up during the time from mid-December to mid-January here.  Seems everybody travels and book up all the cheap places to stay.  So we scouted for a room when we came into a town in the early afternoon.
This room below was our new low in cost.  We paid 400 Rand for the room with the double/queen bed and our en suite toilet and shower.  We'd originally agreed to a 170 Rand room (the only one available) without the shower and toilet, but the receptionist showed us this room that was suddenly available too.  We upgraded.  We loaded and unloaded the car through the window next to the bed.  It was fine, but the lights in the shower didn't work.  No big deal.  We were the only whites in the place, but had no issues.  We found some new fast food restaurants in town that were hopping and grabbed dinner there.  There were no restaurants in this town and we called it an early night.
A long-tailed blackbird flitted about in the mist.
They look like red-winged blackbirds, but the tail was twice as long as its body.  Reminded me of a Dr. Seuss figure.
We were still seeing pretty scenery as we headed for the coast and civilization again.
The little towns and villages started appearing more often.  A lovely little valley here, but up close the homes looked pretty shabby.
We were stopped at a traffic roadblock.  The police were checking every vehicle.  As Jason handed a policewoman his license, he asked what they were looking for.  "Warrants" was the reply.  Seems they have a lot of people with outstanding warrants and they stop everyone to check as there were no side roads to escape off onto.  There were busloads of people milling about as their bus driver must've had a warrant out on him and they were temporarily stranded.  Police blue lights flashed as their cars zoomed back and forth from the town to the jail facility, taking prisoners and ferrying them away as fast as their cars would travel.  They let us go on our way after making sure Jason wasn't a wanted man.
We decided to haul YOLO out for a touch-up paint job and to get new zinc anodes put on.  Since it was all underwater work, we needed to be hauled out.  Zululand Yacht Club was virtually next to Tuzi Gazi Marina, so we motored over on a Wednesday afternoon and had to take a berth for the night so we could be hauled at high tide Thursday morning and just sit on the trailer for the weekend before being plopped back in.  We had to back into a space between two other catamarans.  You can see some of the black smudges from being tied up to the wharf in Richards Bay.
 YOLO the day before being hauled out at ZYC.
 One of the haul out guys from in the water.  They had to go underwater to make sure the trailer was positioned properly to lift us out and to place pieces of wood between the trailer frame and our hull to level out the boat.
 YOLO being pulled out by the tractor at Zululand Yacht Club.
 Looking through the escape hatch in our cabin to the underwater view of YOLO on blocks of wood on the trailer.
 All the filthy fenders from our time on the wall at Tuzi Gazi in Richards Bay.
 YOLO out of the water, but the keels are dangerously close to scraping on the ramp.
 The gooey growth on the prop.  Yuck!  No barnacles, but some slime and this stuff.  It came off with the pressure washer.
The black smudges before we were hauled out. Wherever the fenders rubbed, we had black.
 Tracy and Bill from Zephyr watched us get hauled out.  Here they are seeking a bit of shade while they talk to Jason.  It took the entire day for us to get hauled out and set up.  Jason and I were trapped on the boat the entire morning while the guys tried to get the wood pieces set properly to haul us out.  When the tide started to recede, the boat started to settle and they had to hustle to get the wood in before the boat sat on the metal trailer.  That wouldn't be a good thing.  They hunted all over the yard for enough wood to put us up high enough on the trailer.
The keels were still too close to the ground, so the workers had to lay planks in front of the tires to raise the trailer as it moved slowly over the ground.  Place a plank, move the trailer a little bit with the tractor, pull the plank out and reposition it in front of the tire again so the trailer could be pulled a few more feet by the tractor.  They did this over and over and over until they got the boat up the ramp, onto the flat yard and then backed into a space where we could sit for the weekend.  They could've just put some more air in the tires to raise the whole trailer a few inches, but this process took hours instead.  Welcome to the brain trust working in South Africa.

 While we were sitting there, the yard manager suggested he could polish out those ugly black marks. He asked if he could try to get one off and if he could, were we interested in having them polish the hulls?  The final price we negotiated was incredibly cheap for the job and we agreed to have the outside of the hulls polished and waxed while we were here, but only if he could get the job done before we were scheduled to be put back in on Monday.  Only three days to work.  They set up scaffolding and went at it!  They got the black marks off and did a fine job of polishing the sides.  We had a shiny white boat again!
 We took our shiny white boat back to the concrete wall at Richards Bay.  We cleaned all our fenders before we left ZYC and hoped to only be here for a short while before leaving to head south.  Jason wedged us into a corner of the concrete wharf and we finished up our preparation to head south.  I still didn't have my refrigerator working, though.   Jason had taken the door off before we left on our driving adventure and it was still off as we prepared to leave.  I had to retrieve my bag of food from the restaurant cooler and hope the food would last in the cooler bag until we could eat it.
 You can see how tightly we are wedged in between the little blue boat behind us and the yacht on the other wall.  The yachts behind the blue boat are rafted three deep, the innermost one with a mast laying across it sticking out even further into the fairway.  Getting out was going to be a trick.
We helped our friends, Jim and Linda on Chesapeake, get out of their slip in the marina on Christmas morning.  Our Christmas present was a weather window to finally move south!  We scurried to get ready enough to get going.  We had to board Chesapeake to help them retrieve an anchor in the fairway; they'd had to put out an anchor while at the dock because the docks at Tuzi Gazi were in such terrible shape that they wouldn't remain in place in the winds.  Jim dropped us off onto another boat and headed out to anchor.  
Jason tightened the little blue boat's lines to keep it farther back from us.  Friends helped us with our lines to maneuver ourselves out of the tight place and we headed out to anchor for the night, too.  We'd cleared out on the day before and intended to leave Christmas night.
We're off to Simon's Town at the Cape!

No comments: