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MISTO

s/v Misto is a Nautitech 442 Catamaran we bought in 2013 and have so far cruised the US East Coast and Caribbean. This blog will document our progress from November 2016 as we start on a round the world voyage.

“Misto” is short for Mistopheles, the magical cat from the musical “Cats” and we are looking forward to her taking us on many magical adventures.

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January 14-15 2019: En Route to St Helena at last

Underway at 4am, we found ourselves in conditions with almost no wind and so we had to motor for much of the first day. We were surrounded by Cape Fur Seals and also saw a whale ahead of us. Eventually on the second day out the winds started to fill in and we even put a reef in for the evening. The South Atlantic seems to be a welcome change from the Indian Ocean with its nasty seas and ever changing winds. Here, the seas are kinder with long swells and the winds more consistent, although we have to get around the South Atlantic High before the Trade Winds really fill in. We are just about in communication with the rest of the fleet, being able to make out some boats on the daily nets. It’s still over 1400nm to St Helena so much can happen, but perhaps we will make up some time on the fleet, especially those who opted for a stop in Walvis Bay.

January 1-13 2019: Farewell Cape Town

The new year was a blur of activity as we prepared to depart Cape Town on January 9. Our crew, David, arrived from North Carolina in the USA and settled down on board. We had some late alterations made to our new Genoa, that was a little long, and our new sailbag, that was a little small, and a great WARC cocktail party rounded out our stay.

We departed with the fleet on January 9 in light winds that became brisker as we headed out and around Robben Island. We were flying our gennaker when suddenly there were two loud bangs and our bowsprit broke off the cross beam. With quite some effort we partially furled the sail, lowered it and could then see that there was a significant piece of aluminum that had torn off. Reluctantly, as we were not sure if here was any structural damage, we turned back for Cape Town.

This time at the request of Associated Rigging, we went to the Royal Cape Yacht Club, where they expertly repaired the damage in a day. However, now the weather was against a departure and so we had to spend another few days enjoying Cape Town and Stellenbosch. So now we are ready to depart again and looking forward to rejoining the fleet.

December 11-31: Kruger Park and all around South Africa

Our trip to three high end game lodges on the west edge of the Kruger Park was simply amazing. First we flew on Federal Air to an airstrip in Sabi Sabi near to Leopard Hills. This camp had just been refurbished and our suite, right next to the restaurant and with an unobstructed view over their dam was just beautiful. We even had a private plunge pool on our huge deck. There was a resident hippo, George, in the dam and elephant, buck and warthogs were frequent visitors. The game drives with Cal, the ranger, and his tracker Mo, were great and we saw elephant, leopard, buffalo and lion as well as many other animals. The food was out of this world, although there was too much of it! Leopard Hills gets the prize for the best accommodation and hospitality.

We moved on by road north towards Timbavati. At Hazy View, we broke our journey to visit Elephant Whispers. Here it’s possible to get up close and personal with elephants that have been rescued. It was simply a beautiful experience to be able to touch and interact with these gentle giants.

We arrived at Kings Camp just in time for the evening game drive. Here Grant, Donald and Revelation were able to find all the big five. We saw many leopard and lion and herds of elephants with babies. In fact many of the animals had young and it was lovely to be visiting the park in spring when it was turning lush and green. The trackers, Donald and Revelation, did an amazing job of seeing spoor and then tracking down the animals. Kings Camp is an older more traditional style of camp and the thatched rooms looked just like Out of Africa. They are in the process of renovating the rooms. Kings Camp undoubtedly gets the prize for game viewing and we were completely spoilt by the incredible number of animals that we saw here.

From here we flew on a small 4 seater private charter flight with Tzaneen air up north to The Outpost in a concession right in the north of the Kruger Park. The Outpost rooms are called Spaces and only have one back wall. The remaining three sides have blinds that can be opened up to allow you the illusion of being part of the bush. It was very hot here at this time of the year but the rooms are situated to get the afternoon breeze. Samuel, the Bird Man, was an incredible ranger who could identify birds by their calls and was very passionate about his work. Here the main attraction is the scenery and the bird life and this lodge would definitely get the prize for these attributes.

Now it was a charter flight to Tzaneen and on by car to Haenertsburg to visit Jonathan and Jane. This tiny village is a picturesque place in the Magaliesburg mountains. I had forgotten the beauty of this region and it was lovely to visit here again. From here we drove to Johannesburg and flew to Durban. After a quick trip north to Richards Bay to collect Ros’ new South African ID book, we enjoyed a couple of nights in Kloof with Ross and Linda. On a misty morning we drove South to Kidd’s Beach, just south of East London for Christmas with Rob and Eleanore. This is another small village that has retained a wonderful community spirit, despite being a holiday destination.

Now we meandered down the Garden Route, stopping in Knysna, Wilderness, where went paragliding again, George and Franschhoek. Here we enjoyed a day of wine tasking on the Wine Tram. And so it is back to Misto in Cape Town for New Year with the spectacular fireworks at the Waterfront to see in the New Year. Our new sails and rigging are installed and we are looking forward to a test sail in the next couple of days, and sorting out a few final issues.

Looking back, 2018 has been a year full of really incredible experiences and one that will hold marvelous memories for years to come. Most of all it has been wonderful to rekindle friendships and make contact with people who really became family to us when we live in South Africa.

1-10 December, 2018: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg

With Misto docked at the V&A marina in Cape Town we were able to turn our attention to jobs and meeting old friends. We found Southern Ropes and bought new lines to replace almost all of our running rigging. Manufactured in Cape Town, we were able to replace our lines with technical line at a fraction of the cost of the US. Of course it all had to be fitted, so that occupied us for some considerable time. Howard spliced some of the lines, but we eventually returned to Southern Ropes with some of our purchases to ask them to do the splicing, and we will collect them again in the new year.

We arranged for the dinghy to be repaired as it was now leaking badly and definitely needed attention. Associated Rigging came and re-measured for our standing rigging, and that got started before we left for Port Elizabeth. We took down all our old sails and generally tried to leave the boat in an orderly fashion so that the new sails could be fitted with a minimum of fuss, while we were off traveling around South Africa.

We had a wonderful evening with Tony and Jean Crawford, our old friends who now live in. Cape Town. It was a superb opportunity to start playing catch up on 20 years of news.

On December 6, we caught an Uber to the airport and set off to Port Elizabeth. Incidentally, Uber has become huge in Cape Town and it proved to be the best and most economical way of getting around. The Safair flight to PE was uneventful and we soon found ourselves meeting up with Carolyn and Dudley Greenshields, along with Carolyn’s mum, Sheila. While we were in PE we started to deal with some of our admin tasks, going to the Sanlam office and SARS, the South African tax office. Although the bureaucracy is slow, we found everyone to be polite and helpful. We stopped briefly by the Yacht Club and it looked as if this would have been a reasonable stop over for us on the way to Cape Town, and we enjoyed a relaxing walk on the boardwalk along the ocean’s edge.

On December 8, we continued our journey on up to Johannesburg, this time on Comair (British airways). In Jo’burg we saw three sets of friends, Vanessa Meintjes along with her husband and delightful 10 year old daughter, Gavin and Eileen Drysdale, and Pete and Angie Gyngell. In all cases it was a lovely opportunity to reminisce and catch up on the doings of our various families and friends. Here too we continued to try to deal with some admin at our bank and other institutions.

Jo’burg was the most changed place that we visited. The amount of building that has taken place renders many places unrecognizable, and still there is clearly not enough accommodation, or business space. Shopping malls like Sandton and Rosebank have expanded and many new shops seem to have sprung up. In truth we decided that this was not a place that we would want to spend time if it was not for visiting friends.