Unfortunately we didn’t get in the water yesterday due to high winds and the fact that the crane company we hired turns out didn’t have a crane available cause the one they were gonna use broke down, but we delay no longer today is the day. Crane got here half an hour late which worried us a bit but it did finally make it, the winds were blowing in the right direction and seas were relatively calm. It took a good hour or two of preparation as the crane checked, and double checked many things to make sure nothing would go wrong and then after much deliberation we got strapped up and were lifted up and although it was quite spooky hearing the sounds of the ship groaning from being lifted up nothing broke and the boat was lowered into the water with both Tim and Len atop it. After an inspection of the interior Len and Tim found no leaks and the crane let go of Misschief and Misschief started its engines and it was off.
Brody, Nastya and I planned to use the dinghy to board the ship once it was in but instead they decided to go straight to our destination without us, so we made the decision to follow after them with the dinghy as opposed to deflating it and putting it in the car. We had some real troubles starting it because Tim was the only one who had practiced starting the engine and we had only briefly watched. Eventually some of the workers that helped get the boat in the water came over and walked us through it and thanks to them we got it going and we were off. We managed to catch up to MissChief at the Bluff Yacht Club as they were trying to find a place to moor. Unfortunately our planned spot to dock was being taken up by another vessel so we had to instead moor to two buoys for the day. Now we’re going to have some beers and some braii to celebrate finally being in the water.
Last night it finally happened, the permits were there, the route was set, the police were ready and the journey began. At exactly 6pm we rolled out and started to leave Pietermaritzburg in a convoy of two police cruisers and four blocker cars. The first leg of the journey was the most difficult as this involved getting out of the town and onto the highway, which proved difficult as police from Pietermaritzburg didn’t block off the road ahead of time and we had to deal with oncoming traffic trying to get by our boat, police escort and all. We even ended have a large truck literally just run off us the road as instead of stopping for the police or all the people yelling he just tried to barrel through us and we narrowly avoided him, fortunately we didn’t take any damage and we didn’t get stuck, it just delayed us a bit to straighten back out and get going again. After slowly moving through town at 10-20 km/h for over half an hour we managed to make it onto the highway and thus the road-rage began as the highway was too skinny at this point for anybody to pass, so the the entirety of the traffic was slowed down to our ~30 km/h pace and people were not amused. We had many people try to drive around us by driving on the dirt beside the highway but most fell back as soon as they saw the police lights but a couple just slammed the pedal down and flew by us and it wasn’t worth the cops time to chase them down.
After an hour and a half of this we pulled off to our rally point where we would switch our Pietermaritzburg police escort for a Durban police escort. We looked at the highway we just got off and saw the many lights of the bumper to bumper traffic that we had caused. We had some food while we waited and when the Durban police arrived they were much more professional about everything and set us up in a more optimal formation for the worsening weather conditions. Was much more smooth sailing with them in charge and the highway got wider as we closed in on the city allowing traffic to start passing us. Then we reached the toll bridge which was the most dreaded part of the trip, the measurements were made ahead of time that we should fit but only barely. We managed to squeeze thru but only just and we got lost a good scrape of paint on one side from it grinding past the concrete. After that the weather started to clear up and things become a lot easier and at around midnight we made it! We were finally at the docks we got taken off the truck and back on our supports and now its only a matter of waiting for a crane to put us in, which hopefully should take us no more then a few days.
Yesterday afternoon we moved out of the yard and to the side of a nearby road to prepare for the move day. Maybe a simple sounding task but with such a massive boat this proved a much harder task then anticipated. We started moving early in the morning and quickly ran into many problems. First off the truck cab was running into the side of the boat whenever it turned, so we had to remove the truck panels on the side of the cab. Then we had the whole mud problem making turning a nightmare as the wheels would turn but the truck would just slide forward regardless, pushed by the weight of the boat weighing it down. Then we ran into the retainer wall of the koi pond and with how heavy the truck is you cant turn around so the workers had to smash the corner of the retainer wall to not damage the boat. With many obstacles we managed to eventually make it out of the yard and as it moved along the dirt road a nearby neighbor let out his dogs to see us and it was quite nice petting all the dogs.
As we finally parked we got up on the boat and got ready to make dinner as it was past 5. Then we were interrupted before we could start making anything by a group of people wanting to take a look at the boat, and then another group of people after that! We were happy to show them around the boat as they were quite friendly people and when they saw our food out they apologized for interrupting our dinner and invited us over for a Braii their family was having in a bit. We gladly accepted this offer so me and Brody headed over nearly immediately with some beer to go socialize with these folks. They were very great hosts and it was quite a fun time talking to them.
The next morning I was quite groggy from staying up most of the night on guard duty(we no longer had the luxury of an electric fence surrounding us) and Grant, the host of the Braii from yesterday invited us to come to church with him. Although we aren’t religious folk Brody and I were happy to come along and experience a South African church. It ended up being a pretty good time and many people there wanted to hear about Canada and about our plans of sailing across the Atlantic. Past two days have been exciting and hopefully tonight will be no different as we will begin our journey to Durban harbor.
Today we finally found out for certain that the boat is going to be transported to the harbor this Sunday night! We got the boat all strapped up today and we had the truck driver come in and slide himself underneath us so we’re ready to move when the big day comes.It took all day but we’re finally all saddled up, although its a little nauseating walking around the boat right now cause its on a slight slant and whenever you move you feel the boat moving a bit. Overall though today was a good day.