Wow, what a whirl wind of emotions and excitement. After seeing land yesterday and getting buzzed by the Navy helicopter I was already in a very hypo, excited state......... so, when I rounded the last bend and this little 6 person tender arrived with the crew from SV Delos on-board….. I was just a tad over excited. It was so good just to see some friendly faces. These guys and girls had putt putted out of the harbour in their tender to follow me in. After a few loops of the boat and some footage capturing, they cruised along with me until the Sea rescue came along.
Dressed in red, in their inflatable rescue craft, 4 lovely looking gentlemen arrived to escort me into the harbour. I unfortunately didn’t have a detailed chart of the area, so we had requested an escort to make sure that I didn’t come to grief in the last mile of the journey. As we started into the bay the tender from SV Delos followed along. I lowered the storm sails that I had flying on my jury rig and started preparations for docking.
Remember, when I underwent that fuel transfer with M/V Far Eastern Mercury my Morse cable (the cable that allows me to select the gears in the cockpit) seized up and prevented me from being able to go in to forward gear. For the rest of the trip I have been needing to change the gears directly on the engine itself. This means that I need to climb below to the engine, take off the engine cover, change my gears and then rush back up to the cockpit to steer the boat. Not exactly a safe way to dock a boat. I really didn’t want to do any further damage to Climate Action Now than what the poor girl had already suffered, so the plan was to have the Sea Rescue vessel tie up alongside and become my propeller. I can then steer the boat into the dock. They also become the break.
After much deliberation as to what is going to be the best way to conduct this i.e., should I be port or starboard side, a fantastic idea was formed by one of the Sea Rescue boys. How about we put a man in red (they had on a red wetsuit as part of their uniform) and put him in the bowls of the boat to act as my Morse cable. Fantastic. This was a great plan. We devised some hand signals as the engine is quite loud with the cover off and I was going to be able to simply drive the boat in. We did also tie the Sea rescue craft alongside just in case.
As I was approaching the dock, there was this smattering of people there and a large pink sign with an awesome 'Welcome Lisa' written on it from the Women Who Sail International Group. A large ship started blasting its horns and everyone started to cheer. Yes, I was here.
A few minutes later and after one of the first lines ashore was almost tied up to early, nearly causing me to spring back off the dock, I had safely secured Climate Action Now alongside in Cape Town Harbour. While this was a completely unplanned stop, it was such a relief to have arrived after 80 days at sea and all the recent stresses that I went through. I was safe, my boat was still floating and within seconds I was handed a bottle of champagne which was well enjoyed.
This little group of people that I had never met before in my life surrounded me with hugs, cold drinks and smiles. While I was on the dock making new friends the fantastic crew at the Sea Rescue asked me if there was anything else that needed doing. I was like, well the last things left to do is just put the sails below. So, after coming out to assist me, all these young men in red started to un-attach my sails and pop them below for me. This was such a nice gesture and a welcome help as it also meant I was able to stay on the dock and finish that champagne that we shared around.... Win win.
An hour later with the boat squared away I was whisked off to a pub for a much-deserved burger and beers (plural). Finally, after a few hours I was adopted into my new foster family home and given an amazing room to stay in with a big double bed (oh the space) and an awesome on-suite with a shower and all. The next thing I was given the WIFI code……… Heaven.
Whilst I was tired, mentally I was still so excited to be here that I ended up staying awake until 1am just reading all the amazing comments of support on Facebook and website. (I was not able to access these at sea) This just filled me up with love for all your motivational and inspirational words, Thank you all for coming along on this amazing journey with me.
When I awoke in the morning, I was fed lots of amazing foods, including fruit, which tasted oh so good. Then it was off to the boat as I was yet to clear into customs. There was a shipwright and rigger due to the boat to help start the ball rolling on the repairs before the Easter long weekend. Today saw lots of conversations and schedules started and tomorrow is all about the deep clean of the yacht and the unloading of over 1200 milk bottles collected by the Albany community.
I would just like to make a special mention of a few people. Firstly, Linda Frylink Anderson of Sailing in My Sarong fame, who was instrumental in arranging my welcome into Cape Town all the way from Australia. What a great job she did. Thanks Linda.
I would also like to thank the V & A Waterfront. These guys are not only giving my boat a home, they have also run me around all day today in the golf buggy. They have managed as well, to find me a whole hall that I can use for the time that I am here, so I can store all those milk bottles and sails etc.
Now it is all starting to catch up to me. I feel like I am starting to fall asleep as I type, so I will bid you adieu and go and get some beauty sleep.
Good night all.