Motoring to Saldanha
As suggested by Brent Gray, we left Houtbay at about 21H00 last night and set sail (indeed motoring) for YachtPort in Saldanha. First a couple of lazy turns in Houtbay harbor giving Martin the chance to stow all the fenders and mooring lines. then we slowly motored out of the harbor staying well clear of the known rocks and obstacles. We then slowed the boat to a crawl whilst fitting the speed impeller so that we can engage the auto pilot. But the damn thing did not register any speed and the auto pilot showed the one error after the other. After battling with this for a good hour, we decided to hand steer all the way and opened the throttle. And then the speed log registered our ground speed and it was then possible to engage the auto pilot.
Once around the formidable mountainous heads, I set the course on the chart plotter and engage the auto pilot. We listen to some VHF radio talk and learned of an oil drilling rig in our path which was under tow with a 1000 meter restriction. Martin took the first shift and kept watch whilst I tried to get some sleep. Laying down in the saloon, I listened to the sounds of the yacht as she was making headway, the drone of the engines eventually placed me in zzzzzzzzzzz land.
At 01H00, Martin woke me up and after updating me, ice cold and tired - he went to catch some much need sleep. There wasn't much for me to do other than keeping watch and be on the look out for marine traffic. Eventually, Cape Town's bright city lights disappeared over the horizon and at this stage we were about 25 nautical mile offshore. About 10 nautical mile from Dassen Island, in pitch darkness, I heard a whale blow very close to the starboard side of the boat. I guess that the whale was within 100 meters from the boat. This was unexpected and I was quite nervous about this as a collision with a whale is certainly no joke. Closer to Dassen Island, I changed to a north westerly course making sure that we give this notorious place a wide berth.
It was freezing cold during the night - fortunately the seas were now much calmer and there was very little wind. There were no other marine traffic but quite a bit of talking on the VHF channel 16. I watched the sky get lighter in the east and woke Martin up at 07H00. We both watched the sunrise as we motored into the Saldanha mouth. After a quick chat to Port Control on channel 12, we made our way to YachtPort where we moored without any difficulties and an end to another safe journey.