Biggest City of KwaZulu-Natal

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Vasco da Gama memorial
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Durban is a big city with a population of 3 million people. The first European to arrive was apparently Vasco da Gama, who landed at christmas and therefore named the bay Natal, about 500 years ago.

view chafe

We managed to get a berth at the end of one of the 350 metre long docks at Durban Marina. We were lucky; several other international cruisers had to anchor outside, which requires the use of dinghy to get ashore. Also, the weather was quite challenging with winds up to 45 knots from ever shifting directions made staying at anchor less pleasant.

As always after longer passages, we had some maintenance issues to take care of. One of them was to find out why our main halyard had almost chafed through. On my two trips up the mast I got a great helicopter view of Scorpio and the rest of the marina. The reason for the damage to the halyard was apparently a sharp edge at the battcar track. This is strange, as it has been there for 20 years, with no chafe before. However, the mainsail is new (Rolly Tasker 2011), so maybe there is a small change at the angle from the head. As a temporary measure we put a short piece of reinforced hose around the halyard just above the head.

There are two yacht clubs located at the marina; Point Yacht Club (PYC) and Royal Natal Yacht Club (RNYC), both established in the 19th century (when Stanley found Livingstone - imagine). They offer two weeks of free membership to transient cruisers, giving access to all their facilities: restaurants, club rooms, showers, swimming pools etc.

RNYC even gave us a bottle of sparkling wine as welcome present - good timing, as it happened to be Henrik's birthday.

Before we went sight seeing around Durban I contracted a local diver to check Scorpio's zinc anodes, which had been on the shaft for close to a year now. He found them almost completely gone and replaced them with new. It took 15 minutes and cost me (labour only, the zincs were from our own inventory) about €20. Good deal!

New zincs under way The old zincs were almost gone

Welcome to Durban by RNYC

Again, we had two wait several days for suitable weather to continue our journey south and had ample time to turn tourists again for a few days. We visited uShaka Marine World, a 16 hectare theme park, which includes the 5th largest aquarium in the world. The underground aquarium is cleverly designed under 5 shipwrecks with its entrance through a grounded phantom ship.

Left to right:
On a bus tour with Kalle and Helinä of s/y Elaine.
Evidence of crime: most shops and restaurants are heavily fenced.
Sign spotting: "World Toilet Summit!"

After two weeks in Durban we finally got a short, 2-days, weather window. Lets see how far we get, was our plan. It would depend on wether we would find the Agulhas current or not.

We found the current indeed: two days later we anchored in Port Elisabeth, almost 400 nautical miles to the south, having made a speed record of 14.3 knots and a 24 hour distance record of 248 nautical miles.