Never walk alone - 10. Chapter 10
A bit of fun in the sun.
With the prospect of only a short sail, and then a day at leisure, there was no urgency to get going in the morning. Andrew and Ryan were up at 07h00 doing a quick tidy up, plumping cushions, wiping down surfaces and vacuuming the saloon and aft deck floors. Ryan also took advantage of being tied to the dock to attach a hose and wash down the outside decks with fresh water to get rid of the dust and salt. Andrew then got to work in the galley, having decided to have a late brunch.
To appease initial hunger pangs, he filled a large airpot with coffee and a smaller one with hot water which he left on the counter on the aft deck outside the galley windows. He also left a bottle of good quality instant coffee, a selection of teas, sugar, sweetner, milk and a bowl with some buttermilk rusks. Then he mixed up a batch of blueberry muffins and popped them into the oven to bake. He found Ryan, asked him to take the muffins out when the timer dinged, and told him he was going to the bakery.
When he had been out on deck earlier, the heady aroma of baking bread had filled the air. So surmising that a bakery was close at hand, he set off, following his nose and within two short blocks, he was rewarded with the sight of a small shop advertising 'Freshly Baked' on a sandwich board on the sidewalk.
Rubbing his hands in glee, he entered the shop and his face broke in a huge pleased smile. In his opinion, the place was a little bit of heaven, with loaves of bread on racks, still radiating warmth as he passed them, a large square table in the centre of the room, filled to overflowing with baked goods and a glass-fronted counter at the back displaying different mini tartlets and cake slices. By the time he left, he had three bread loaves of various kinds, three dozen miniature pastries, two dozen cocktail croissants, two dozen cocktail sausage rolls and two dozen mini tartlets. He strolled back to the yacht, where Ryan's eyebrows disappeared into his hairline when he saw Andrew walking towards the yacht.
"Good grief babe, they saw you coming. I think you probably bought an entire days worth of business for them," he commented.
Andrew glared with a mock scowl and then grinned.
"Couldn't resist. You'll probably won't be shy eating your fill."
"You know me too well. Do you need some help?"
"Thanks babe, that would be great. Just take some of these packets. That would help. Then I can get aboard with no hassle. All I need is to fall into the drink with my arms full."
"Isn't there something called water pastry?"
Andrew glared at him again.
"Funny haha! Now are you going to help me or not," handing some of the packets across the rail. Ryan took the packets, placed them on the saloon roof, then reached back to help Andrew on board. Just then, Donna and Craig appeared from the cockpit.
"Morning you two, what's going on?, enquired Donna.
"Morning , Andrew smelled freshly baking bread this morning early, so he went looking for the bakery. He didn't just find it, I think he bought it!, replied Ryan grinning and ducking his head as Andrew took a swipe at him. Donna and Craig broke out in giggles and Craig said, "I get the impression it's never a dull moment with these two around."
Donna looked at the them saying, "Well, I can't really speak for Andrew, I don't know him well enough yet. But where my little brother is concerned, yes never a dull moment. I just hope his bad habits are not rubbing off on Andrew."
Looking at Andrew she nodded to the packets. "Can I help you with that."
"Thanks Donna, if you can grab the packets on the roof, then I can get some grub on the way. Have you had coffee yet?
As Donna was busy gathering the packets, Craig replied,
"No not yet. We came up from the cabin and heard your voices outside."
As they moved into the saloon, Andrew explained,
"Okay, we're going to do brunch today. Hence my trip to the bakery," looking pointedly at Ryan. "I've got coffee in the large airpot on the counter in the cockpit, as well as tea and hot water and all the fixings.
There's also some rusks to nibble on until we eat. There should be some warm blueberry muffins as well. Will that keep you going until about 10ish? I'm just going to put a selection out on the table in the saloon, we can keep the aircon going to keep it cool, and everyone can just have sometging whenever they feel like it through the day."
"That's fine with us.", replied Donna
"And it's fine with us as well. We heard you as we were on our way up," said Paul as he and Marie appeared from below.
They all went into the cockpit to get something hot to drink. Andrew poked his head around the coachwork.
"Ryan, babe, I think we must get going. It's going on for nine already."
"I was just about to unhook the shore power. The aircon will turn off until I switch to the generator."
"Okay good. Can I get you some coffee?"
"Coffee would be great, thanks. Right, done! Can you and the guys help with the lines?", Ryan asked Andrew.
"Yeah, no problem. It's time they started learning! Paul, Craig let's start making sailors of you! I think Craig and I can go onto the dock. Paul you stay here. We'll let go the bows first and toss the line to you, Paul. Just leave the line on the deck, we'll sort it out once we're clear. Ryan will pulse the bow thruster to push the bow out, away from the dock, then come astern slightly to give us some slack on the stern lines, where we do the same as the bow. Ry will keep her close so that we can hop on board. Everyone clear!"
Andrew looked up as applause was heard, and glared at Ryan. "Not bad for a novice himself. You're a fast learner, babe. Couldn't have explained it better myself".
The whole manouver went without a hitch and they were soon motoring away from the yacht club. Andrew showed Paul and Craig how to coil the lines and how to store them and the lesson for the day was complete.
They all went back into the cockpit and helped themselves to coffee and tea. Andrew poured Ryan a mug of coffee, received a kiss for his effort, and went back to the galley with Paul and Marie following and offering to assist. The three of them made short work of the food prep and within an hour an impressive spread was arranged on the saloon table, consisting of cold cuts and cheeses, smoked salmon , cream cheese, a bowl with chicken mayo filling, sliced tomato, cucumber and red onion, breads, rolls and the cocktail croissants and a range of pickles, relishes and sweet preserves.
Andrew covered it all with a damp cloth and with the aircon on full, slid the saloon door closed as he moved back into the cockpit.
"Okay guys, food is on the saloon table. Just do your thing whenever you want to"
Andrew looked around him and realised that they were pitching and rolling a little in the swell. A twinge of concern rippled through him and he looked at their guests.
"How are you all feeling? This is what we meant about erratic movement."
Craig looked up and said quietly,
"To be honest, I'm not feeling that great".
Andrew looked up at Ryan.
"Babe, is there any way we can lessen the pitching and rolling? You know more about the science behind it than me."
"The swell is coming from the side and slightly behind us. That's what's causing the movement. The only way to minimize it is to take a more direct course straight across the bay, so that the wind is more on our stern. The swell will still be slightly from the side, but the ride will be better. It just means we won't be following the coast as planned."
"I think we must do that. We have a couple of queasy guests, I fear. I'll get something to help, while you change our course."
Andrew went down to the master cabin, collected some tablets and some patches, the returned to the saloon, where he gathered up some Coca Cola, water and plain crackers. He returned to the cockpit, handed out tablets and patches to those who wanted. Then he diluted the soda and handed each of them a glass.
"Take the tablets now with a little of the cola. Then stick the patch behind your ear. I'll leave the crackers here. Nibble on the crackers and sip the cola. It won't work immediately, but it will help. Also, look at the horizon. Your inner ear can't get a handle on the motion. If you keep looking at the horizon, your brain tells the inner ear what is going on and it will settle down. Frankly, I'm impressed this is only happening now. It might also help if you go and sit on the deck in front of the saloon windows. It's closer to the centre of the yacht, so the motion won't be as bad. Ryan has already changed course and I can sense the motion is already not as bad."
Craig stood up saying, "I think I'll go sit on deck. At least if I do get sick, I'm close to the side," he said wanly. Donna stood up as well.
"I'll go with him and keep an eye on him." and they moved out and forward, then sat down together on the deck.
With the change in course, Ryan was able to reef the mainsail and fly the spinnaker. Once the spinnaker was up, the change in the yacht's motion was dramatic. Forward momentum increased and the pitching and rolling diminished to almost zero, even with the swell still being slightly abeam. Sailing with a following wind and the spinnaker up was the most comfortable way of sailing. More importantly, within an hour, Craig advised that he was feeling much better and returned to the cockpit with Donna.
They all snacked on the delayed brunch, as it was almost noon, and were soon relaxing in the cockpit. The satellite weather had indicated that the water temperature was warmer off Muizemberg than at Strand, and so that was where they were headed. An hour after eating, they arrived off the beach at the town and dropped anchor just beyond the breakers. The dinghy was deployed, and wary of sharks that were known to inhabit the bay, they just inflated the towing tube and tethered it to the ski rail of the dinghy. The tube only had seating for three, so a roster was drawn up so that they all had a turn with everyone, including Andrew and Ryan.
Ryan took control of the dinghy and when it was his turn on the tube, Andrew did the honours. They attracted a bit of a crowd, both on the beach and in the water, with a gaggle of surfers and other watercraft, floating around yacht, admiring it, and observing the antics of those on the tube. Needless to say, the afternoon was a blast, and by late afternoon, they were all exhausted. Everyone had been snacking off the table all afternoon and it was now seriously depleted. After his last spin on the tube, Andrew cleared the table, saving what he could and binned everything else. By the time the others returned to the yacht, the saloon was back to pristine and Andrew was making a large jug of sangria for sundowners. Paul and Craig helped Ryan wash the tube with fresh water, deflate it and store it back in its locker.
Ryan walked over to where Andrew was laying out glasses and slipped his arms around Andrew's waist, propping his chin on Andrew's shoulder. They stood like that for a while before Andrew turned around in Ryan's arms and put his arms around Ryan's neck, looked at him and said, "What?"
"You know me too well! Um, okay, the guys think you need a break and have suggested that, instead of you cooking tonight, we take the dinghy, run to the beach and get some pizza. Then come back. We can't all go ashore, we need to stay with the boat, but we can get some take out."
"Were they worried I would object? Not at all, I would appreciate it. And pizza sounds just perfect"
With a bit of internet surfing, they found a pizzeria close to the beach and phoned in the order via Paul's mobile phone, with instructions to deliver to the beach. It took a bit of explaining, but eventually it was all arranged. Six pizzas and six tiramisu. Delivery at 19h00, on the beach, with Paul's mobile number and paid via credit card.
They all showered and changed, drank the sundowners as they watched the sun go down and then Ryan and Craig got ready to collect the pizza. Paul was watching the approaches to the beach with binoculars and saw a van with the pizzerias name on the door cruising along the beachfront. His mobile rang and turning on the speaker, he answered.
"Where are you? I don't see anyone on the beach," the voice with an Italian accent said.
"That's because we are not on the beach, we're off the beach!"
"What do you mean you are off the beach. You said you were on the beach. Now you tell me you are off the beach," said the voice, starting to sound agitated.
"We aren't on the beach. Look out at the water. What do you see?" asked Paul.
"Eh, I see a boat. A yacht. That's all."
"Well, that's us. We are on that yacht. A boat will be coming in now to meet you."
"You shitting me! I'm delivering pizza to a yacht and a boat is coming to fetch it?"
"That's right, they're leaving now. You will see them coming towards you."
The dinghy appeared in the binoculars view and Paul watched as it powered through the surf and run up onto the beach. Craig got out and waited as a man approached him with an insulated bag and a box. They walked back towards to dinghy, where the man handed over the six pizzas and the box. Craig pushed the dinghy off the beach, clambered in, and Ryan turned and headed back to the boat. The pizza delivery guy, just stood there watching them head back to the boat, with a bemused expression on his face, then returned to his vehicle.
The dinghy arrived back at the stern, the pizzas and the box with the tiramisu were handed over the rail and Craig assisted Ryan to get the dinghy stowed in its cradle.
Although everyone had ordered their own pizza, they we all laid out on the counter and everyone could eat whichever pizza they wanted and they disappeared very quickly.
After dinner, Andrew flipped the TV around to face the seating in the cockpit, and they watched a DVD. At the end of the movie, Andrew brought out the tiramisu and coffee and they relaxed with soft music playing in the background with their guests enthusing about the yacht and the great time they had had. It actually turned into an early night, as they were all weary after the day in the sun and by 23h00 the guests had all retired to their cabins, with just Andrew and Ryan securing the yacht for the night. Then, locking the security gate between the aft area and the saloon, but leaving the saloon door ajar, they too retired for the night although both knew their slumber time was short as they would be weighing anchor just five short hours later.
Tomorrow night, they would sleep in their king size bed and Belle Catherine would have completed her maiden voyage. They also knew that the hard work was about to begin.
They raised anchor just after 04h30, wincing at the noise the anchor chain made as it rattled into its locker with Andrew on the bows washing the chain with fresh water as it came aboard. The outgoing tide and wind had pivoted the yacht on its anchor chain, and she faced almost directly out of the bay, as if knowing she was finally going to be home. The wind was just strong enough and favourable enough to fly the spinnaker, and they cruised away from the beach in majestic style, spinnaker billowing out ahead of them.
They made good time and dawn found them approaching Cape Point, the most southerly part of the peninsula. Andrew went down into the port hull and knocked on Paul and Marie's door.
"Apologies for waking you, but we thought you may want to see this part of the trip. The sun is just coming up and we are approaching Cape Point and Chapmans Peak and it's going to be quite spectacular."
"Thanks Drew, yes, we'll be right up.
Andrew the knocked on the adjacent cabin door and repeated his message and getting the same response, he went back to the galley and put on another pot of coffee and opened a box of rusks to snack on until breakfast.
Soon their four, still slightly bleary eyed, guests ascended the steps from below. Donna appeared first and came to an abrupt stop as she stepped into the saloon, her eyes opening wide.
"Oh wow, this was definitely worth getting up early for", she breathed, as she took in the view out of the saloon windows. She moved out onto the aft deck, with the others following, greeting Ryan as they walked into the cockpit, with Donna commenting,
"Gee little brother, how are you going to survive with such incredible views around you while you work? The Med was probably very similar in parts".
Ryan grinned at her.
"It's a tough life, but somebody has to do it. Seriously though, it's pretty spectacular isn't it? To be honest, this my also my first time seeing this part of the peninsula from this perspective. It's simply awesome!"
Andrew brought out the hot refreshments and rusks, and they just sat and gazed at the passing vistas on the right hand side of the boat, all pointing out sites that seemed interesting. They sailed past the entrance to Hout Bay, then paralleled Chapmans Peak Drive. Andrew stood up to start breakfast and was told to just do something light and easy.
He took three small packs of smoked salmon out of the freezer and set them aside to thaw and cracked a dozen and a half eggs, added some cream, beat the mixture and set it aside. Then, the diced a mango, a small papaya and a banana, added some halved strawberries and a handful of blueberries and drizzled over some honey and a freshly squeezed orange. He took the goblets that he usually does the sundowners in, and layered the glasses with fruit, muesli and Greek yogurt. He drizzled more honey onto the yogurt , sprinkled a bit of the muesli on top and added a sprig of mint. Placing the glasses on a tray, he grabbed some spoons and took the breakfast parfaits out to the aft table. With much " Oooing" and "Ahhing" they all took a glass and tucked in. Then he brought out some juice glasses and some fruit juice which he placed on the table. He sat for a while eating his parfait, then returned to the galley.
There, he heated up a pan, added a large knob of butter and poured in the eggs, turning the flame on the hob down low. He sliced up some spring onions and added it to the pan, along with salt and a grinding of pepper. Then, keeping an eye on the eggs and giving them a stir every few minutes, he made toast and buttered it, keeping it warm. With the eggs almost ready, he sliced the smoked salmon into strips and chopped some fresh chives. Then, placing a slice of toast onto each plate, he spooned creamy scrambled egg onto the toast, topped the egg with slivered salmon and chives and finally added a grind of black pepper. Placing a knife and fork on each plate, the took the plates out to the table.
Craig looked up and commented,
"And this is a light breakfast! I call it a feast!"
"Well, thank you Craig. I will admit, when I think 'light', I think 'quick and easy'. And to me, this is quick and easy".
The table got very quiet as ever one tucked in and very soon, the table had been cleared, the dishwasher packed and humming, and everyone was sipping on a mug of coffee.
One by one, they began drifting down to their cabins to freshen up and change for the arrival into Cape Town.
The view drifting slowly past was changing yet again, and more buildings and houses could be seen as they approached the outlying suburbs of the city. They cruised past Llandudno and the renowned Clifton Beach, with huge mansions overlooking the ocean. A number of figures were spotted on balconies, with binoculars observing them sail past. Then it was on past the suburbs of Camps Bay and Sea Point, with its myriad apartments and hotels, before sighting Green point and the beginnings of the Waterfront precinct.
Up to this point, they had been on the spinnaker, but now, to enter Table Bay and approach the harbour entrance, Ryan had to turn to starboard, right, and he realised that they might lose wind in the spinnaker. He made the turn, and the huge sail flapped for a few seconds, before filling again, this time positioned off the starboard bow. The yacht's speed through the water dropped slightly and the motion changed as they sailed almost parallel with the swell, past Granger Bay towards the harbour mouth. The approach to the harbour mouth would entail another turn to starboard, which meant the spinnaker would have to come down, as the wind would be coming at them almost directly ahead. This meant motoring the rest of the way. Ryan completed the turn, then engaged the port engine.
"Drew, I need you," he yelled.
Andrew appeared at the saloon door and looked up at him, grinning.
"Yes, babe, I am well aware of your need for me," causing guffaws of laughter from the seating area, and Ryan to blush, "What can I do for you."
Ryan grinned back down at him.
"Thanks, I'll get you for that," accompanied by further giggles from the peanut galley. He glared at them.
"Would you keep us on this bearing so that I can get the spinnaker stowed. The wind is almost southeast, so it will have to come down, and we can't use sails in the harbour anyway".
"Tell you what! Why don't Craig and Donna come sit here and do the honours. I'll be here, just in case. But I'm sure they are capable of steering a course," suggested Andrew, glancing at them.
Ryan repeated the look, then nodded. "Okay, you two want to come up here and take a seat?"
Both Craig and Donna quickly stood up and climbed up at the helm, and sat down, while Ryan moved to the bows to deal with the spinnaker.
"Okay, " Andrew said, indicating a dial with a reading on the dashboard ahead of the wheel.
"This is our present heading, to take us into harbour. Craig, if you turn the wheel, you will see the figures change. See that? Now turn the wheel back to the original heading. Good. Now just keep us on that heading. Easy!"
The initial look of trepidation on Craigs face was replaced by a grin that lit up his face. He was like a child with a new toy. After a couple of minutes, Andrew said,
"Donna, you want to try?" She nodded, chewing her bottom lip.
She put her hands onto the wheel and turned it, watching intently as the numbers changed, then turned the wheel back to where she started and stared at the numbers as she kept the course as needed. After a short while she handed the wheel back to Craig and just sat watching as he steered them closer to the looming rock of Table Mountain filling the view ahead. Ryan returned from lowering the sail and took Andrew's place when he went to sit with Paul and Marie.
"Hope you don't mind that I asked Craig and Donna? I'm sure you two will be sailing with us more often. With them being up-country, I thought it would be a good experience for them. You'll have plenty more opportunity in the future. Hopefully quite soon"
"Nah, it's all okay, we understand. I certainly hope we can do this again soon. She's a fantastic boat and it's been an absolute blast." remarked Paul.
Marie nodded, smiling. "Yes, she's beautiful. She actually feels like an extension of the lodge. Don't you think so, Paul. Maybe it's the similar colour palette. Or maybe it's just your influence, Drew. I'm not quite sure yet."
"Thanks, Marie. I just wanted her to feel familiar, a part of....something."
"Well, my friend," added Paul, "I think you've succeeded, and then some. She has the same feel of homeliness and sophistication as the lodge. It has something to do with the overall decor, but the biggest thing is the fact that you, and Ryan, are involved in it. And it's that personal touch that makes all the difference".
"Thanks mate, for your comments. I'm, no, we're extremely happy with her. She turned out much better than we had ever hoped"
Donna rejoined them, also commenting on the fabulous time they had, and thanking Andrew for the invitation.
Craig stayed at the helm with Ryan who seemed to be explaining things to him. A few minutes later, Ryan contacted the port control and requested permission to enter the harbour, which was promptly given after being told they would have to wait for a liner to enter the port ahead of them. The huge white ship gleamed off to port, slowly turning towards the entrance. Once the liner was stern on to them, Ryan motored a bit closer, following the ship through the entrance. The ship slid straight ahead, then turned to port to position for docking at the cruise terminal while they swung round to starboard and headed towards the entrance to the Waterfront Marina. Ryan radioed the marina control and requested entrance which was granted and their berth number provided.
In order to get into the marina proper, a swing bridge had to be opened to allow them access via a canal that separated the harbour from the marina. The bridge was also too low to pass under, due to the height of the mast. Ryan turned to port and the swing bridge came into view. He lined them up with the canal, the bridge swung open, and they slowly motored past the bridge, into the canal and then into the marina itself. An attendant was indicating their berth and Ryan slowly motored towards the the berth. The marina berths were laid out in Mediterranean fashion, with the boats tying up with the stern closest to the dock.
Ryan pivoted the yacht around, using the bow thrusters, then slowly moved astern towards the dock. They had attracted a large group of spectators, probably due to there not being many bigger yachts in the marina. Andrew stood on the top step of the port scoop with a mooring line, which he tossed to the attendant when they were close enough, who quickly tethered the rope to the bollard. Ryan held the yacht in position as Craig, observing Andrew, stepped onto the starboard scoop and tossed that rope to the attendant, who repeated the action on a second bollard. Then, using the remote control, Ryan dropped the anchor from the bow, then slowly moved astern until they were positioned close to the dock and he was sure the anchor had dug in. This was to prevent the bow from swinging back and forth by pivoting around the stern. Andrew then secured the mooring rope to the port cleat, before doing the same on the starboard side. Then Ryan shut down the engine. They were home.
Thank you all for reading and your previous comments and reactions. They are much appreciated.
I will try to upload some photographs of the yacht and possibly some interior shots as well in a future chapter.
Happy reading. Keep safe!
Any comments, good or bad, will be gratefully received.
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