A Week in Gordon’s Bay, on the False Bay Coast

Standard
Image

The GB on the mountainside in Gordon’s Bay stands for General Botha and not Gordon’s Bay.

Image

The Annual penguin Waddle passes Through Gordon’s Bay

Image

Children having fun

Image

Mark fitting the rough draft of the Hard Dodger on Jerrican

Image

Jerrican lying comfortably tied up in Gordon’s Bay Marina

ImageImage

Jerrican has been tweeked, measured, fitted and spot painted during our stay in Gordon’s Bay. The purpose of our visit here has been to have a few odds and ends done to the boat. Our Boat Builder come “go to man for all things “boat”” lives in Gordon’s Bay. A jaunt across the bay from Simon’s Town and a stay was an attractive option. Jeremy has commuted back to Simon’s Town this week to work, leaving me on the boat to oversee things and to explore Gordon’s Bay from the perspective of a visitor/tourist/Cruising Yottie.

This is what I have discovered about Gordon’s Bay.

1) It is windy windy windy windy in summer! 52 knots across the decks in the marina one evening. The South Easter Wind piles up behind the mountain, builds pressure and then races down in the form of a Williwaw, dumping the full force of its energy onto the small bay below. Most mornings the bay is beautiful and calm, but the wind picks up in the afternoons. The locals find my dismay at the wind funny! They shrug their shoulders and say that the calms in between make up for the small inconvenience of a Williwaw. “Besides!”  they say “52 knots is nuuuthing (Safrican for nothing), the other day we registered 85 knots, it blew the gunnals under the jetty in the marina and the roof off the Hotel”

2) There are a lot of Taverns in Gordon’s Bay! In fact Taverns out number coffee shops and any other kind of shop! I suppose this is where the locals hide out when the wind is crazy?!

3) Zest is an amazing restaurant, on the beach front, which serves really good food. We had a meal here as a treat and enjoyed the food and the artisan ale.

4) Children on school trips splash and scream and have loads of fun on the beach, as they do everywhere. But the beach in Gordon’s Bay is exactly right for children. The water is calm and shallow and the strange black rock formations contrast with the blue water.

5) There are really really old Milkwood trees which provide shade and wind protection. Milkwoods are protected trees in South Africa and were found all along the False Bay Coast historically. Few have survived the man urge to cut them down for “braai” wood, but here they have and they are lovely.

6) Evening walks along the coastal path is a well supported local activity.

7) The large anchor with the letters GB on the mountain side stands for General Botha and not Gordon’s Bay?! Fancy that? General Botha is the name of the Navy College in the Gordon’s Bay harbour. I understand that this is where Naval Officers are trained. Apparently some years back a few were commissioned to install the letters in white stone on the mountain. It must have been a mammoth task!

8) The annual penguin waddle walks through Gordon’s Bay at this time of year! Happy Penguin Waddlers, walk through Gordon’s Bay, on their way to Simon’s Town bringing attention to environmental issues along the way.

9) The people in Gordon’s Bay are friendly and clearly love their village!

A Month of Living as a “Grotty Yotty”

Standard
South Easter over False Bay

South Easter over False Bay

Boats attract visitors, of which there have been many over the past month. Visitors have fought their way down the last “finger” at False Bay Yacht Club, fighting screaming South Easter Gales to come and say hello. We are most grateful for the time and effort as these visits have made the transition from land to sea easier. The South Easter Gales have not been exceptional or strange, they are quite normal for the summer months in False Bay. I remind myself that they become so much more noticeable when you encounter the breeze in everything that you do, from brushing teeth, to cooking, walking and sleeping. Our top gust recorded in the marina one evening was 48 knots.

One of our visits was by Frans and Anita Joho. They circumnavigated on their Dix 43, “Blue pearl”.

Frans and Anita Joho visited us on SY Jerrican.

Frans and Anita Joho visited us on SY Jerrican.

Frans and Anita's route

Frans and Anita’s route

We first heard about them when they completed their circumnavigation. It was seeing “Blue Pearl” and reading about their travels that alerted us to a Dudley Dix design as a possibility, so, in a way they are responsible for our choice of boat!  I marveled at the irony as they sat drinking tea on Jerrican! Fran’s and Anita are building a new boat and have moved to Cape Town for a year from Switzerland to do this. They gave us much valuable advice which was most welcome.

Other visitors included friends and family! The most remarkable was a visit by Mom with her friends Rose and Genie, along with their husbands. Having enjoyed lunch and a generous amount of wine at Neptunes, the club restaurant, they braved the marina which was rippling like an an earthquake outscaling the Richter Scale, during a truly humungus South Easter Gale. There was much hilarity as they clawed their way along the jetty to the boat and clambered on board, hip problems and all! Their enthusiasm was so infectious and inspiring.

Another visit was by M and M who enthusiastically hunted down some mussels for a mussel feast on a rainy day!

M and M on a weekend visit, cooking fresh mussels.

M and M on a weekend visit, cooking fresh mussels.

It has been a busy, interesting and happy month. SY Jerrican has become a home. There is still much work to be done, but we have been assured by cruising folk that it never ends. March is the month that the South Easters begin moderating and the flock of cruising yachts who pass by the Cape set off again across the Atlantic. The marina looks quieter now and emptier as the foreign boats have begun to leave. We have set our departure date for the 27th of December but will sail locally to “learn” the boat. We are going to need all of this time to complete our interior work.

We sailed across False Bay over the weekend to the small harbour at Gordon’s Bay where we will be for a week longer as our boat boulder has a snag list to attend to and is designing a hard “dodger”. His workshop is closer to Gordon’s Bay than it is to Simon’s Town. We sailed two up in a 25 knot breeze with full Main Sail and Genoa, at a comfortable 8 to 10 knots which was most pleasurable.

Reaching across False Bay

Reaching across False Bay

From my Galley window

From my Galley window