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Sunday, November 27, 2011

November 27, 2011-Mossel Bay

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Fishing boat in Mossel Bay

Mossel Bay is a fishing port, as are most of the ports on this coast, filled with rugged seagoing vessels and working boats which come and go on a daily basis. There is little provision for cruising yachts and we were lucky to find a place to tie up. In fact the port’s first response was to turn us away.

“You must anchor outside the port,” we were told by the voice on the radio. It was ungodly rough outside, exposed to the fury of the Southern Ocean, and we knew that anchoring outside would not be pleasant, probably not even safe, in the open anchorage on a lee shore and with poor holding.

There would certainly be no respite from the rough ocean or rest for us there.

I looked at the port control building and the row of blank windows and I was angry at the faceless men inside who would send us back out into the ocean. It was clear they just wanted us to go away, and any trials we might face after leaving was our concern, not theirs. At that moment I did not have a warm place in my heart for Mossel Bay.

But then they relented and we were allowed to stay within the port and come alongside the fishing jetty. Not a great berth with its high concrete wall and relentless surge but we were thankful for it.

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Mossel Bay

We remained on that wall for a week and then we were able to move to the marina, where we are now, and today the wind still howls and the rain pours down but we are snug and safe.

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Sea Lion

Despite the days of bad weather and the tight conditions in the port we have come to like Mossel Bay with its clean air and clear water with the sea gulls wheeling overhead and the sea lions cavorting in the port. The salt air smells good. This is an honest, working man’s, port and the town on the hillside behind the harbor is charming with its old buildings and quiet streets and on a sunny day, and we have had several, Mossel Bay is beautiful. Even the harbormaster, who spoke sternly to us on the radio that first day, has turned out to be an OK guy.

When I talked with him about the rigors of sailing this coast and the need here for more yachts to be able to find shelter he said he would always find a place to accommodate yachts in bad weather but it was tough with the numbers of fishing boats and other commercial ships here. OK, fair enough; at least he is trying. We shook hands.

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On a sunny day the deck gets a good scrub

Now that we have a marina berth and wheels, (we brought the car down from Port Elizabeth yesterday) we can stay here for a couple more weeks and enjoy the nearby area before sailing on to Cape Town.

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On the the Garden Route

Click here for more shots of Mossel Bay

Click here to see our Sea Lion friends

Click here to see photos of the Garden Route from Port Elizabeth to Mossel Bay

Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Mossel Bay, South Africa

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