Monthly Archives: July 2012

New sails and Geocaching

Well it’s the weekend! Time to relax and not have to do anything to anybody else’s schedule for the first time in a couple of months. This evening I’m going to cook myself a proper meal for the first time in months too. I’m totally fed up with eating snacks and restaurant food.

This week was mostly concerned with getting settled back into Cape Town life. Finding the best route for the morning drive to work; which I still haven’t found as each time I have tried a potentially new track the journey has been disrupted by an accident or something else slowing down the traffic. Probably better to stick to the main drags that I know fairly well even if a little longer.

Pelagic Australis at the East Pier in front of Table Mountain

Work on ‘Pelagic Australis’ is progressing well. We have Gamje’s team of painters at work preparing to re-spray the pilot house, the windlass is away getting new bearings, the Refleks heater has been taken out and given a new burner pot and coil, a lot of interior paintwork has been touched up, all the radiators have been taken out and cleaned out, a chest freezer has been installed in the forepeak ready to contain some ice-cores from a project on South Georgia next season, the old Fleet 77 satellite comms antenna has been removed along with an old radar and a Sat C antenna to make way for the new FB 500 satellite antenna and Iridium OpenPort systems, the Bombard C4 tender that was eaten by a leopard seal last season has been to the inflatable boat doctor and declared a right-off so a replacement is on the way etc. etc. the list goes on.

I paid a visit to Quantum sails on Wednesday to discuss the requirements for the new sails for ‘Morgane’. Quantum’s Warren and I looked at the old sails, which had been brought over on ‘Pelagic Australis’ and discussed a few slight modifications and finalised the choice of cloth, batten pockets, slide system, reef points etc.. Work has already started on the new Main sail and the two headsails that I am having made will follow.

View across Cape Town from below Devil's PeakThis afternoon I decided to have a look at what geocaches might be located around Cape Town, that I could visit. I found four on Table Mountain withing a 500m radius of my apartment so went out and found two of those this afternoon. If you are a hiker or otherwise out and about, wherever you are, and have not discovered the activity of Geocaching yet check it out. It can add an extra dimension to an afternoons hike or actually give you a reason to go somewhere new. There are many types of caches to look for some are easy to find, some have cryptic clues, earth caches will teach you something about the environment you are in.

Piriapolis to Cape Town

I arrived in Cape Town today, Monday 23rd July 2012, just after 1pm. Skip picked me up at the airport took me to my apartment for this season where we dropped my bags and then straight down to the Shozalosa dock to see the status of the work on Pelagic Australis. The hire car was waiting for me outside the Aquarium and after a quick visit to Woolworths in the V&A Waterfront to pick up some basics for the fridge I headed home to crash.

I departed from Piriapolis, Uruguay, around 3:30pm on Saturday after a quick lunch with Laurence and Eliza from Imperial Yachts and Henrick the skipper of “Oya”. The restaurant was busy, and service slow, and we were worried that we wouldn’t get served before I had to leave but Piriapolis being a small town it turned out the the bus driver’s wife was our waitress and she called him to find out exactly what time I had to be at the terminal and gained me 15 minutes grace.

I had booked a seat on the Buquebus service direct from Piriapolis to Buenos Aires. The buses converge on Montevideo from various parts of Uruguay just before the sailing times for the ferry. Emmigration from Urugay and immigration to Argentina are completed at the same desk and the ferries seem to be treated as Argentine territory with prices for snacks etc. all in Argentine Pesos and grudgingly in Uruguayan pesos if you ask. At 40 knots the ferry crossing only takes about three hours.

In Buenos Aires I got a taxi to my usual hotel, a cheap place near the port, it is really a short walk but I had heavy bags so grabbed a cab for which I obviously paid too much for such a short trip. Sunday morning I took a stroll along Ave. Florida to see what had changed since my last visit a year ago; not much except that there are many more beggars, whole families of beggars in some places, and many dodgy characters offering black market rates to change US dollars – a sign that CFK’s economic polices are not all she says they are perhaps? I browsed a book shop and saw a recently published geographical atlas of Argentina so had a flick through it to see what it said about the Falklands. It was surprisingly free of BS, of course the Falklands were marked on the map as “Islas Malvinas (ARG)” and there were some stats on populations, imports, exports etc., but what caught my eye in the commentary was the statement “The recent discovery of indications of hydrocarbons in the area has heightened tension between Great Britain and Argentina” – no shit! Oh and the book shop had a large display advertising “Fifty shades of Grey” seems to be quite a bit of fuss going on about that around the world!

After lunch and a much longer cab ride, for not much more money than the previous evenings short one, and I was at Eizeza airport checking in. There has always been a small memorial to the Argentine servicemen who fell in the Falklands war there just outside security but that has been revamped a bit with a bunch of fabric banner posters depicting images from the war and various propaganda.

Not much to report on the SAA flight from Buenos Aires to Johannesburg, there was a short delay in Jo’burg which I took advantage of to pick up a new SIM card for my mobile, then a short two hour hop to Cape Town.

Time to catch up on some sleep.


For some time now I have slowly come to realise that Facebook is not a very good way for me to communicate with my friends, family and followers. When I am at sea I don’t have any access to Facebook, something that my 24/7 internet equipped friends don’t seem to fully grasp. That fact that I can usually send and receive email without internet access seems to fox a lot of people. I’ll write a post on how I send and receive email from the boat at a later date.

The fact that I can make blog postings etc. appear on Facebook but not actually have Facebook access myself causes what could be called communication discontinuities. People leave comments on the Facebook version of the blog entries, and write me messages on subjects that would be far better put into an email expecting instant answers whilst being oblivious to the fact that I can’t read their prose.

On the other hand if people comment on my actual blog I will receive the comments via the email system on the boat.

Without Facebook people will be forced to actually write to me directly and will have to think about whether or not to use the email address of the boat or send the email to my regular email account where it can wait for my return to civilisation.

So whilst Facebook might be a good way for friends and family to follow my wanderings (both mental and physical) it is not a good medium for two-way communication, in my circumstances. This coupled with several concerns I have with how Facebook and various apps within it can harvest data on users has lead me to the conclusion that it will make life simpler and more efficient for me if I close down my Facebook account.

I’ll continue to monitor it and may come back to FB if I think the issues have been solved; but from sometime soon I’ll disappear off FB. I am working on having these posts appear in a FB app page called, or course, Tweed’s World…. but that could take some time to get working smoothly, and I am not sure that I can do it without having a FB page hmmmmmmmmmm.

I’ll continue to use Flickr as my primary online photo site. I will of course include photos in the blog postings if I have a shot that justifies the bandwidth. I’ll take this opportunity to ask that my friends type me an email with their news now and again to my usual email address which I can monitor from the boat. If you don’t have my contact info you can use the contact form on this site to get to me and I’ll get back to you with what you need to know.