Friday, February 5, 2016

YOLO in Hout Bay Jan 2016

Hout Bay lies between Simon's Town and Cape Town.  We used a weather window to get out of False Bay and Simon's Town as the strong winds make it impossible to get out until the wind abates.  We like Hout Bay as there are several places within walking distance to shop here and it seems to be a hopping tourist destination.  And we can catch a bus to Cape Town if needed.  Along one of the roads in town we spotted this sign.  The rare Leopard Toad is also the symbol for the cult wine "Splattered Toad" from Cape Point Wineries.  It's a nice quaff, too.
The steps the dock hands built for us to get off/on the boat at the marina in Hout Bay.  They lashed it together and to the finger pier so it wouldn't fall over when stepped on.  We just climb over the life lines and step down onto the box, then down on the lower step and then the dock.  Not something we'd want to do when inebriated.
The view from our salon door, looking back at the big fishing boats rafted up behind us.  They are pretty close and it was a tight turn to get into our dock position, but Jason did a fine job and the marina manager was impressed we didn't crash into the dock as so many others had done trying to fit into this space.
Looking across to the walkway to get out of the marina.

Looking down the dock at Hout Bay Marina.  Our section is pretty new, but there are some really old pieces of wood on the walkways elsewhere here.

 Looking out towards the entrance to the marina.  The wind and waves can howl and roll, but we are nice and quiet in here.
  The line we caught on the propeller as we came around the Cape of Good Hope.  It's still all twisted up on the prop. Jason got in with two wetsuits on to cut this off once we were safely docked in the marina.  A local loaned him a full wetsuit to wear for the task.

 A local fur seal lounges on one of the finger piers.

Ah, basking in the sun.  Several locals have trained seals to jump out of the water for fish pieces and they have them come onto the dock and pet them while folks take pictures.  Then they pass the hat for donations to pay for food.
 When the fishing boats come in, there is much jostling and honking in the bay as they all head for a spot to unload their catch.  Inside the fish building, there are men and women wielding knives and fish scalers and cutting up the fresh fish for sale or processing.  These heads were just outside the door as we walked past.

 Clouds blowing in over the beach at Hout Bay.  Clouds here are fun to watch as they form right in front of your eyes, much like stage smoke.

 This Beach House is being swallowed by the beach as sand dunes blow up alongside of it.  They can't keep the sidewalks here clear to walk on and the mini drifts form with every wind.  Front loaders try to take some of it away, but they dump it upwind on the backside of existing dunes so the wind finds it and moves it again.

 A side car motorcycle convoy passed us as we walked to the grocery store one day.  We've seen vintage motorcycles, Harleys and now these sidecars in tours around this country.
 The cloud forms and flows down the side of the mountains here.  Table Mountain has this same formation and they call it the tablecloth.  The cloth flows down the side when the wind blows.

 An old coffee roastery at a tourist spot at the mall here.  This historic building has been around for over 100 years.
  This square in the branches of a tree was said to represent two lovers who wanted to join their lives.  The branches met and stayed together, like the lovers.
This old boatshed is another historic building attracting tourists at the mall .  The original owner would only sell the building if the buyer gave him the same amount of corrugated tin along with the sales price so he could build himself another building.  The buyer knew it was an expensive deal, but he agreed and moved this building to this site and put it back together.

 Jason reading about the boatshed next to a new artistic gallery of African art.

 A seal swims by between YOLO and the fishing boats.  There are quite a few seals in the harbors and marinas here.

 Jason on the bow of Skebenga, the local yacht he joined for the Wednesday night races here.  They took line honors and first place for a change.

 Jason tying up the bow to the dock after the race.  Others were in sweat shirts and shorts, but Jason had his full foul weather gear on.  He went out and bought himself an orange rubber suit like the fishermen wear the next day  Now he'll look like a giant carrot.

 A look at up the hillside behind the marina at part of the town of Hout Bay.  Hout Bay covers the entire bay in this area and the workers have little to choose from in accommodation.  There are some very expensive homes here, even a real, newly-built brick castle.  You can just make out the brown brick of the castle up on the hill in the center. On the other side of town, a shantytown has sprung up that has grown up the hill to the national park.  I watched a fire burn from the top of the shanty town for over an hour a few days later.

 We walked around the shanty town to get to a feed store where Jason wanted to buy some lanolin.  He thinks the stuff may prevent barnacles from growing on the prop, so we walked about 6 km to find the place.  It was the only place I've seen mung beans since I got here, so I snapped some of them up.  They also had arnica gel, a substance good for rubbing into bruises or sore muscles to help them heal faster. We found lots of goodies at this farm store.
 This fluffy, scruffy looking chick wandered up to me.  He wanted to be petted.  A little girl had a fun time holding it in her hands while stroking these strange feathers.

 In the center you can see a brown and white turkey in full display of his plumage.  He was all puffed up and strutting in circles even though there was no female turkey in sight.  Only goats and ducks.  The goats jumped onto the roof of the little doghouse sheds and promptly began to nibble on the shingles.
When we finally went in to Cape Town to clear out of South Africa, we took the bus in and had to walk a long way to the port.  We then had to trek almost the entire length of the port to go to the Harbour Masters office on the 11th floor of the Port Control tower, much like an airport control tower, except the vessels are ships instead of airplanes.  Still, they run it like FAA, keeping watch over all the movements of the ships.  While walking along, we passed these gigantic spools of cables, probably meant to be submarine cables of some sort, but were awed by the size of the cable and spools.
 A view of Table Mountain and part of downtown Cape Town from the Port Control tower at the port.
 Looking another way towards more of the central business district and the waterfront of Cape Town.  A beautiful, sunny day with little wind.  Would have been a perfect day to go up on the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, but we were already pretty high up and had a grand view of the city and surrounds.
 Looking across the waterfront to the ocean towards the southeast.
 A big sailboat race was getting ready to commence and lots of yachts were coming out of the harbor and putting up their sails.
 Note the helipad on the front (or back?) of this ship.
 Once cleared out, we returned to Hout Bay to relax after the stressful shenanigans of Immigration.  They insisted we have a letter from the Harbour Master stating there was no availability for us in the harbour and we should be allowed to clear out even though our yacht was still in Hout Bay.  The official rule is that all yachts MUST come to the Royal Cape Yacht Club as that is the ONLY place where yachts can clear out of South Africa.  Except that the yacht club had no space for any more yachts, much less for catamarans!  We had a letter from the RCYC confirming there was no space for us. So, Immigrations tried to foist us off onto the Victorian and Albert Marina, a very expensive marina in the middle of downtown Cape Town, but we told them they didn't have space for us either.  Immigrations insisted that we get a letter from the Harbour Master, too, to make sure we couldn't come tie up along the container wharf to clear out.  They wouldn't stamp our passports until we produced the letter from the Harbour Master and sent us walking down to the Port Control tower to get it.  A very long walk on a hot sunny day.  Without the Immigration papers, Customs wouldn't give us our clearance papers that the next country would ask for.

The Security Guard in the Port Control tower had to wake up when we walked in.  She tried to call the Harbour Master's office, but claimed there was no answer.  She was pretty useless.  Luckily, a woman pilot walked in and we asked her for help.  She told the security guard what the correct number was to dial on the weekends and she talked to a Port Control person she knew and explained our predicament.  She took us up to the 11th floor and turned us over to her friend for help.  We all had to be breathalyzed just to get into the elevator as nobody under the influence is allowed in the building.

The Port Control lady scolded Immigration for sending us her way as they know the Harbour Master doesn't work weekends and she couldn't provide the letter.   She called the Harbour Master at home and explained the issue.  He sent her an email with an example of the letter we needed and she printed out a copy for us after changing the ship name and date to suit YOLO.  Without her help, we would've just left the county without clearing out as so many do; they can't tolerate the hassle and problems with trying to get to Cape Town.  Still, Immigrations tried to tell me he needed 'the original, not this copy' of the letter.  I told him it was the original and when he noticed the colored stamps, he agreed to accept it.  It had been printed in black and white and he was looking for the colored letterhead of an original.  We persevered and got our clearance from Immigration and moved twenty feet to the Customs window to get the final bit of paper we needed.  Nobody was there.

The security guy lounging in a chair in the area pointed at the number to call if they weren't available; he wouldn't let us use his phone and I wasn't going to use my few rand left on mine, so he pointed to a radio and said we could call them on the radio.  We got a garbled response that another man interpreted to say they'd be there in ten minutes.  We waited and were rewarded with exit papers.  Another yacht was clearing out on this Sunday, too, as the RCYC told them that as of Feb. 1, the rules would change and they'd be better off to clear out before then.  God help those who follow and don't have a clue what the new rules are!

We returned to Hout Bay on the bus.  The next morning, there was a school of jellyfish pulsing by the boat.  This one isn't really hanging onto that thing in the water; it is a partial reflection of a bit of metal from the boat above it.

 These jellyfish were anywhere from four inches to two feet in length.

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