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Maiden voyage

The time has finally come for us to set sail for our maiden voyage.  We have worked out a navigation plan, and we have started to monitor the weather.  Our plan is to sail to Luderitz, Namibia, some 460 nautical miles north of Cape Town along the west coast of South Africa.  We’ll spend a few days there, and then we’ll sail north to Walvis Bay, about 200  nautical miles along the infamous Skeleton Coast. Finally, we’ll turn west and cross towards St Helena and Brazil.

We can’t believe that three months have gone by.  We have never been bored during this time, we worked hard to make our boat blue water capable for the ocean crossing.  We feel so blessed to start our adventure from such an iconic place like Cape Town.

The people we met here are incredibly nice, and we hope to meet them again in the future.  They are one of the reasons why this town is really special to us now.

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Just two days before our departure, we received the 14 boxes that we shipped from California, containing all our belongings.  It took 3 months instead of the promised 4 weeks.  We just chose the worst possible company, a scam.  I thought I would never see those boxes again.  But we managed to trace them in Valencia Spain, and thanks to an old high school friend who now lives there we managed to get hold of them and get them shipped here.  So for us Christmas came earlier this year!

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Checking out of the country is very easy, but it takes some time because there is a lot of bureaucracy involved.

Unfortunately the Port Authority requires you to get a berth at the Royal Cape Yacht Club to check out of the country.  This marina is very inconvenient and expensive, really not worth staying there.  If you visit Cape Town by boat, we would recommend you to stay at Cape Grace marina.  It is just as expensive as the RCYC but it’s a walking distance from stores and restaurants.  You can find all the contractors you need to fix or make improvements to your boat, and the marina staff is very nice.  And, most importantly, the marina is very well protected from the south east gales.

However, if you stay anywhere else other then RCYC and you want to check out of the country, you need to get a letter from RCYC saying that they didn’t have a berth available for you and that you don’t owe them any fees.  Then you need to get a letter from the marina you’re staying, saying that you have paid your fees.  You need to show these letters to the Port Authority so that they can clear you out.  Finally you have to visit Immigration and Customs.  It’s a rather complicated process, but people have been very nice with us.

So we did the provisioning, filled the tanks, had a very pleasant dinner with our friends, and on Saturday December 15th we departed.  Crossing the swing bridge one last time made me very sad for a moment.  But as a mariner, you need to get used to thinking ahead, so my mind was already on those 460 nautical miles between Cape Town and Luderitz.

Oroboro to us is the best boat, we prepared her well, and we trust her.  Goodbye Cape Town, goodbye South Africa.  We will be back one day.

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