Voyage to African Marine Waste Conference
Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) organised the first African Marine Waste Conference held early in July 2017, at the Feathermarket Hall in Port Elizabeth. As BOAZ is collaborating with SST we really wanted to be there. SST contacted Getaway Magazine re the intended voyage, to see if they might want to offer a free trip for four, from Gordon’s Bay to Port Elizabeth, on BOAZ. Within a few days of the offer appearing on their website they had over 180 replies. We had about a day to select four. Some sailing experience was a requirement, and most essentially an ‘immunity’ to sea sickness. The southern Cape coast in winter is no place to put your susceptibility to the test! One applicant, Nic Van Rensburg, flew down from Johannesburg the day the offer was listed on Getaway’s website, without waiting for any selection process! His determination got him on board.
After many phone calls to suitable candidates, and eliminating those that could not get leave, or for other reasons, Simone Fick (who also flew down from Pretoria), Fiona Scott-Berning and Andrew Van Zyl were taken on as crew. Andrew arrived the day we sailed.
We arrived in Mossel Bay after an easy sail with light winds and relatively calm sea, but had to motor all the way. The first night got all in sea trim, with any motion sickness problems sorted out by morning. We anchored in the same spot that Bartholomew Diaz chose in 1487, and within a few hundred metres of the replica of his ship, now in the Diaz Museum, since 1987.
Despite water temperature of 16 degrees, conditions were perfect for a swim and a chance to inspect the marine life. Mossel Bay Yacht Club allowed us to give a talk about our mission to the African Marine Waste Conference, and also a fresh water shower for the salty crew.
Next port was to be Knysna, which meant a midnight departure from Mossel Bay to arrive just before high tide at the Knysna Heads. This can be a dangerous entrance through the narrow gorge, especially with adverse tidal flows and heavy seas. Wind conditions were mild, but a heavy sea was running, so lifejackets were required and a steady fast approach on the leading line.
Knysna Yacht Club gave us a warm welcome, and again an opportunity to talk about the objectives of Sustainable Seas Trust. Being moored to the Club jetty was no hardship!
Next stop was Plettenberg Bay, where we anchored in the bay near to the hotel. It was the beginning of the school holidays, warm and peaceful.