Atlantic ocean

Bluenote: Hell, or the weather in Cape Town

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The weather was fine, with a strong wind, giving more contrast to the colors of the subtropical Mediterranean vegetation that exists in this part of the world. The well-known species from our regions mix harmoniously with the flowering ‘flamboyants’ at this time of year. Agapanthus are a delight on the roadside, with their little pastel blue heads which sway in the wind. Everything delighted me and seemed to be a good omen for meeting up with my man, George, again aboard his catamaran Bluenote; I had just landed in South Africa. They were waiting for me in the Simon’s Town bay anchorage. We were to the east of the Cape of Good Hope. The wind got up to 50 – 55 knots, and continued all night, calming down slightly in the morning. We weighed anchor, and headed towards the Cape of Good Hope. When the first Portuguese sailors discovered it, they called it the Cape of Storms, then later it became the Cape of Good Hope, because they always had ‘good hope’ of arriving in the Indies. Bluenote plunged, dived, recovered in a very rough sea. Once round the headland, we resumed peaceful life aboard: observing the flocks of birds flying just above the waves, a moonfish at least 90 cm in diameter, and off Hout Bay, the sound of blowing announced the presence of two whales - we were even able to admire their tails. Table Mountain was clearly visible. Majestic. Protective. On the following two days, we saw it suddenly covered. The wind hurtled down from it at over 60 knots, blowing from the Antarctic; it caused a very dense fog bank, which we then saw spread out like a screen hiding the Table. ‘The devil spreads out his tablecloth’ the old sailors used to say when they discovered this phenomenon, as the top of the mountain was hidden, with the edges of the ‘cloth’ falling down at the edges. Just like on a table. Huge. With steep sides. Five hours later, heading for St Helena, we had lost visual contact with the land: no more landmarks, just the sea. We left the devil’s tablecloth behind us…I hope!

Who: Alexandra, Marthe, Georges.

Where: Cape of Good Hope

Boat: Looping 15 m

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