At Durban

Well we ended up spending 2 weeks in Durban having expected to be a couple of days. Waiting for weather – the pundits say you need a 48 hr window for the next stretch of 240 nm to East London and nowhere else on the coast to stop in between. We never seem to get more than 24 hrs or so of favourable conditions, you might manage with 36 hrs but 30 would be tight, and if the wind turns strong SW against you and against the current the conditions can quickly get nasty. So we waited, very frustrating.

Durban is a big city, and a big port, quite scenic but the harbour was filthy with litter. People were really friendly and helpful, the marina personnel, the yacht clubs, the chandlery that fetched you to and fro in their car, and especially the boat yard. Rob Bowman heroically replaced our sea cock that developed a leak, diving under the boat to fit a bung before changing it (apparently he’s an ex Navy diver). However the place does have security problems. The area immediately by the marina and the yacht clubs is safe, there are lots of police around, but you are discouraged from walking anywhere from there, you have to get a taxi to go even 500m. Durban has a magnificent beach and promenade, also safe and lots of police there, also the big malls and no doubt the posh hotels, so long as you go by taxi. I did get a taxi to the beach on Saturday to do the local 5k Park run, among 1000 other runners it had to be OK, but just weird not being able to walk places. We were strongly advised not to wear any jewellery so we put on the watches that came from Lidl, can’t get the wedding ring off.

So we spent a long time looking at weather maps and commiserating with other yachts that we met and trying to get jobs done on the boat. We did manage a guided historical walk and visited the Maritime museum – interesting that of the 3 big ships to view there (2 tugs and a naval vessel), one was built in Port Glasgow, one in Leith and one at Camper and Nicholson’s in Gosport.

Finally the great day came when weather gurus Chris and Des said we had our window to leave. Everyone rushed around doing the forms and visiting Port Office (twice), Customs and Immigration – and this just for a trip down the coast within the country. And on Friday we left, along with a whole Armada of yachts.

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