Catching up on my sailing log, Durban, South Africa

You know it’s kind of funny, when I’m at sea and I have no distractions, I’m pretty good at keeping up on my sailing narrative. But when I get to shore and start having lots of tourist activities, I get further and further behind in my updates. I’m still at least a couple more blogs behind in pictures and timeline but I thought I’d catch you up on our location and sails.

This past week we left Richard’s Bay and headed for Durban. I had driven down the week before and spent a couple days in Durban with a friend so I was already familiar with the town a little. The sail down was about a 24 hour sail but we motored most of the way. We left around noon and arrived mid morning the next day.

Durban Marina is a crowded marina. We ended up in a slip with a bigger boat than ours where the only way we could get in was our boat moored, Mediterranean style or butt-in, and the other boat in bow first. There was no electricity and it still cost us $150+ for the few days we stayed. There was some confusion as we were told in several occasions that the marina was free for 2 week when in fact only the yacht clubs have free membership. The marina itself was expensive in comparison to where we were in Richards Bay which was free for up to a month.

Durban is an interesting town. As with many of the other South African metropolitan areas, a lot of people have left the downtown areas. This has left an opportunity for the people from the townships to move into the cities and there is definitely an anxious feeling downtown, more so than it might have been a decade or more ago. South Africa has had a surge of racism in response to apartheid years ago and it’s a challenge for the remaining white people to find jobs, so many are leaving the country, unless they are unable to. I’m not saying that all whites have left, there are many who remain, however many of them are trying to leave and would given the right opportunity. Their future here is limited. Not that everything is hunky dory for the rest of South Africa, either. The struggle for survival is real and palpable in the faces of most of the people we run into.

One of the coolest things we saw in Durban was a Nautical Museum that had a bunch of older boats in it. It was setup for an audio guide, but unfortunately there were no headphones, another symptom of how things were organized and complete at some time in the past but now everything is in disarray since certain people have taken over. It cost us a whopping 10 Rand to get into the museum so I can any really complain, but I could have learned so much more had I a guide, even an electronic one. There were two older tugboats and a military vessel. The things that fascinated us about them were the huge steam engines in one and all the different quarters for the different ranking personnel on the boat. There were pipes running from the engine room to the steering wheel with metal shapes foe speaking and listening on each end. There were pressure gauges and levers to push and pull. We can limber all around the motors and it’s not the kind of museum that would last long in the US because of all the places we could have fallen or got trapped, but I really enjoyed all the old gear we saw.. Here are some pics I took in the museum.

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