Walvis Bay and Swakopmund

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Sunset in the Benguela current
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We left Cape Town on the 12th of January 2012 and arrived in Walvis Bay, Namibia just after midnight on the 18th. Because of light winds and some adverse current we had to motor much of the way, which is a little bit more than 700 nautical miles. It was cold at night, the coldest weather we have encountered since leaving Finland. The temperature is relatively low because of the north flowing icy Benguela current. The cold current generates rich wild life and we saw several wales, lots of birds and more sea lions than we have ever seen before.

"You should see the other guy"

This piece hit Kalle in the face
(These 3 photos by Elaine)

Rocky X
Our Finnish friends Kalle and Helinä, on s/y ELAINE had left Cape Town two hours before us, and each day we were in contact by the HF-radio. After a couple of days we heard that they had had an accident. Apparently an accidental gybe caused by a sudden squall had broken loose the starboard terminal of the main sheet rider track, which hit Kalle in the face. He had passed out and was guided by Helinä down below. After regaining consciousness Kalle said that he did not remember anything of the incident. Fortunately he did not suffer any permanent damages, but fractured ribs make life on a rolly sailboat very painful.
Walvis Bay yacht anchorage A floating garage Sea lion aboard a yacht
Sealions have taken over this cat Walvis Bay waterfront Walking the pelican

Namibia was a German colony from 1884, but was occupied by South Africa after the end of WW1. The country finally reached independence in 1990 (and a major role in that project was played by Finnish diplomat Martti Ahtisaari). We were warmly welcomed by the people at Walvis Bay Yacht Club (WBYC).

Fish and chips Downloading electronic charts
(These 2 photos by Elaine)
Line fish platter

Walvis Bay (Walfish Bay) is one of Namibia's two harbours, the other is Luderitz, which we passed by without stopping. It is surrounded by the Namib desert, which streches for more than 2,000 km along the coast. About 30 km to the north is an other town called Swakopmund, where we visited by car.

Above and below: Swakopmund waterfront

Just beforer arriving in Walvis Bay we crosed the tropic of Capricorn (around 23°26' S) and had therefore technically returned to the tropics, which we left somewhere between Reunion and Madagascar. However, because of the cold Benguela current it often feels quite cold here, temperature being usually between 18 and 23°C.

As usual, we had some needs for repairs and maintenance. Both our autopilots have been intermittently malfunctioning since Mauritius, but we have not been able to find out what is wrong with them. Again they were taken out of the boat (as in Richard's Bay and Cape Town), but no problems were detected on the benches of the work shop. So we just have to cross our fingers (again) and hope for the best.

Elias says he made this Big 5 decoration himself Trying to fix the autopilots

We are planning to leave Walvis Bay on Tuesday, January 29. Next stop is at the island of St. Helena, where we should arrive around February 6. Stay tuned ...