From Malcolm’s Desk – December 2011

It’s hard to believe that the end of the year is already upon us. A warm welcome to our many overseas visitors! We have had an influx of international yachties en route for the Cape, possibly because of all the dangers in the Red Sea. One of these was the intrepid 16 year old Dutch girl Laura Dekker traveling the world solo on her boat “Guppy”. She arrived in Durban after 47 days at sea from Darwin, Australia.

COP17 CONFERENCE:

There has been a major increase in police and other official department activities around the Marina due to the COP17 conference that is taking place. We apologise if anyone has been inconvenienced but we have no choice but to smile and co-operate. It will be over shortly and we are sure things will then return to normal.

BAD WEATHER:

A reminder that after heavy rains a lot of boats take on water and do not have bilge pumps. This can cause the boat to sink! It might be an idea to check your boats and dinghies after heavy rain to prevent this.

The recent deluge came at the right time – they should bring all the COP17 delegates to the Marina and Harbour area to admire all the interesting items in our water. Some of the international boaters have been absolutely horrified with what floats around here.

UNMARKED DINGHIES:

After numerous warnings, all the unmarked and unidentifiable dinghies are being removed from the water and are going to be put in the dinghy-park at the end of PYC’s yard. If your dinghy is one of these it could end up in the yard where you will have to name and mark it, and re-float it.

NO WAKE ZONE:

Please remember the Marina is a “no wake” zone and keep your boat speed to a “safe speed” (and be on the look-out for boats maneuvering into or out of their moorings).

THE DISNEY FAMILY:

Gillian recently had a chat with our ‘resident’ Ozzies on board “Muneera”. Nick grew up about 5 minutes walk from his local yacht club (on the water around the bay). He and Andrea met there at Sandy Yacht Club inMelbourne, where the Disney family sailed regularly. Before their girls were born, the friendly couple traveled North and North-Western Australia for five and a half years by 4 wheel drive (complete with a boat on the roof) and their dog. They ‘swagged’ it (i.e. slept on the ground on a sort of roll-up or double sleeping-bag made out of canvas).

When Ella was about 13 months old they took her to an Aboriginal community for a while in Northern Central Australia (a part you can only drive to in the dry season). Andrea says she thinks every Australian should live in a community like that for a month just to give them a touch of reality. They went mud-crabbing with the local people who were fantastic hunters. (“All you could see was a little bubble in the mud but the next thing they’d put a spear down and up would come a crab!”) They were considering doing it again but then decided to buy the yacht and set sail instead.

Nick sold his business and this facilitated the purchase of “Muneera” (a Nauticat 44 made out of fiberglass, with teak finishes) in the Seychelles, where they stayed for about three months. They then sailed to Madagascar (where they spent almost four months. Whilst in Mahajanga, Nick contracted a serious stomach bug). From there they came down the Barreines Island group across to Bassas da India, and Mozambique, before arriving here in February this year. They are not sure exactly what they are doing next but they are not in any hurry to go home! They plan to spend Christmas in Durban and when they’re ready (and the new engine’s in!) head for Cape Town; after that St Helena (probably via theNamibianCoast) and from there on to Brazil.

Ella (12) and Millie (10) are attending a local school here, where they are learning Afrikaans and Zulu and enjoying interacting with kids their own age. While traveling they work off an Australian correspondence school called Distance Education. They give them a bit of notice and get their curriculum 6 months in advance. This is filled in and posted back to Australia. They haven’t had to do it in the second half of this year as they’ve been getting a great education here (stricter than schools in Australia!) Their school report gets scanned and emailed back to Distance E. The girls excel at Geography and Andrea says they have learnt a lot more about stuff like security than they would have if they had stayed in Australia. They are definitely more street-wise. The hardest thing for the girls was the lack of interaction with peers, as not many families with kids their age sail the route they have come, which is why making friends here has been so great for them. Facebook and Skype are useful for keeping in touch with family and friends back home. (Nick’s parents did come over here for a visit some months back).

The Disneys are passionate about their boat because it is their home. Nick says he thought he knew a bit about boats but has since learned heaps more and tries to do everything himself, to keep costs down. They worked for 20 years to pay off their house. Rental income from that keeps them going and they aren’t big spenders. They are not really looking forward to getting back to Suburbia and the 9-to-5 and right now enjoy the fact that they don’t have a deadline to be anywhere else.

Andrea summed it up thus: “We just thought, let’s live life now rather than waiting until we’ve retired or before our kids get too old” (and the fact that she’s a Cook by profession must make her the perfect travel companion for Nick and the girls!)

You can keep in touch with the Disneys via their sailing blog (which hasn’t been updated since their time in the Seychelles, but which they plan to update prior to departure from our shores: www.muneera.com.au

This includes some lovely photos of the family and their much-loved “Muneera”)

  With best wishes for the Festive Season,

 Let’s keep it Safe and Happy,

 Regards,

Malcolm

 

 

 

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