Cape Town
One of the New 7 Wonders of the World

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White Christmas - a cloud blanket over Table Mountain
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Happy New Year 2013

Boxing Day 2012, at the top of Table Mountain, with the crew of s/y Elaine

Cape Town is a great city, with unusually grand views. As I am writing this report in early January 2013 we have already been here over 3 weeks and done the usual must-do-trips. The weather has, for most of the time been favourable, but it is unpredictable, which we found out on New Years Eve, when our trip to Robben Island was cancelled because of strong winds. It was blowing up to 50 knots all day and most of January 1st also. Changes of plans because of strong wind is something one just has to get used to in Cape Town.

At the top of Table Mountai. The island to the left above is Robben Island, where Mandela spent 27 years in prison.
The yacht club is behind the break waters far right on the photo below.
The Table Mountain National Reserve is marketed as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World

Robben Island is, of course, where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison. Today it is a museum ("a poignant reminder of the high price of freedom") and a national monument. But on New Years Eve the winds were blowing too strong for ferry connections. A few days earlier, on Boxing Day, the weather was in our favour when we took the cable car up to the summit of Table Mountain. That attraction is closed both on windy days and on cloudy days.

75% of the crews of Elaine and Scorpio surrounded by 100% of South Africas Nobel Price Laureates.

The old harbour has been developed into an enormous tourist attraction with many restored national monuments, a wide array of entertainment options and 3 malls containing 500 shops and countless restaurants. It is said to be the the greatest tourist attraction in Africa with 25 million visitors per year.

  People-watching at the waterfront  

We went on driving tours to the Winelands (see A Wine Tour to Stellenbosch) and around The Cape Peninsula, where Chapman's Peak Drive certainly rates as one of the top in the world, snaking along the cliffs high above the ocean.

Cecil Rhodes Memorial Royal Cape Yacht Club Rust en Vrede vinyard
Hout Bay, where many cruisers stayed with their yachts over the holidays

The whole Peninsula can easily be explored in one day by car, but if you would like to try a number of all the recommended restaurants along the way, you would have to do several trips. The southernmost point of the peninsula is Cape Point, but this is not the "place where two oceans meet", despite some slogans displayed there and the name of the restaurant (apparently sponsored by the Two Oceans Winery). Just to the west of Cape Point is the better known Cape of Good Hope. See previous story regarding the locations of these capes and of Cape Agulhas, the true southernmost point of Africa.

We rented a car and went to see The Cape from the safe side.
However, they told us we were not safe from the baboons.
The ostriches didn't give us any trouble.

Above: Cape of Good Hope seen from
Cape Point.
Above left: Standing at Cape Point
Left:: Fishing boats in Hout Bay

In addition to Royal Cape Yacht Club (RCYC) in central Cape Town (or City Bowl, as it is called) there are two other yacht clubs which offer moorings (when available) for transient cruisers: False Bay Yacht Club (FBYC), in Simonstown on the False Bay shore, and Hout Bay Yacht Club (HBYC) in Hout Bay on the Atlantic seabord. On our driving tour we stopped in both places and met several international cruising friends.

As always, when arriving in a marina after a longer voyage, there were a lot of maintenance issues aboard Scorpio to attend to. This is part of the cruising life style naturally, but this time we had to deal with the annoying memories of Port Elisabeth also. In the photos below I am taking advantage of a calm day trying to wash off some grime. We haven't been able to take off the sails for cleaning yet, it has been too windy.

My hands got this dirty just from handling
the line of a courtesy flag. I continued the
cleaning of the mast and rigging.

We still have some repairs remaining before departure, particularly our autopilots need some attention as well as the main alternator. It has been difficult to get hold of any contractors the past weeks. They are all running around like chicken, mainly because it has been the holiday season and particularly because of all the ARC-yachts, who are getting most of the attention. The ARC-fleet is leaving on the 5th of January and we hope to get some work done after that.

We plan to set sail for Namibia around the 10th.