First Sail leg from Cape Town to Walvis Bay/Namibia

Posted on 23 April 2009

Ahoi everyone! We survived the first 5 days out on the Atlantic Ocean sailing from Cape Town up the coast to Walvis Bay/Namibia and were quite glad to see land again- Yippieh!

For most of the South African team, the first days are rather blurred as we were busy overcoming our seasickness and trying to get used to the daily routines on board of a tall ship that includes day watch (cleaning the deck, fixing sails, painting etc.), navigation watch (look out, being at the helm steering the ship) and night watch as well as working in the galley (preparing food 3 times a day for ca. 50 people).

As it is an educational sail voyage – ‘class room on board a ship’- we also have 3 hours of school work for our young South Africans where they follow up their own school curriculum, but also participate in Sociology and Seaman ship classes together with the Canadians.

Unfortunately, I got very seasick myself for the first 3 days – even had to avoid kitchen and food as the smell just made me ‘feeding the fishes’ immediately and therefore I was quite exhausted and sleeping most of the time. Teaching our two youngsters from Khayelitsha that passed Matric already and therefore get special sessions on computer, writing and other life skills, was therefore not an easy task for me. Actually, we all three had problems sitting inside the class room focusing on work as we quickly felt dizzy and often had to take short breaks in between to make it through the sessions.

For all that reasons, we obviously all got very excited when arriving in Walvis Bay, even though the industrial port where we had to anchor for the last 4 days as well as this whole little town is not really a beauty. Disappointment was also written on all our faces when we realized that nearly all was closed as it was Easter Monday and Walvis Bay nothing more than an unpretty ghost town. Swakopmund, a germanized town up the coast surrounded by sand dunes, was a very attractive alternative for the next day, where we could enjoy internet, nice cafes and restaurants, friendly Namibians and of course, the beach!

The last two days, we all got a guided tour program by a very energetic and passionate local woman called Charlotte who is quite famous in this areas for her community tours. The first one was a cultural township tour where we had the chance to get to know families from the different tribes like the Herero (who in 1904 were nearly all killed in a genocide committed by Germans), Himba (the ones who cover their whole body in red dust) and the Nama (close to the Bushmen with the amazing ‘click’-language).

We also visited a kindergarten in the township Mondesa outside Swakopmund (Apartheid also left its scars in Namibia) before we spent the whole afternoon with 3 different activities as part of a so-called CARE community project of the Canadian team. While some of the team were putting up a greenhouse at a primary school and the other ones keeping the pupils occupied with lots of fun games, I joined the cooking group to prepare cheese snacks, mexican wraps, delicious apple cake and chocolate cookies together with students from a small college. We all got together in the end to enjoy the fruits of our labour and everyone was just absolutely excited about this amazing day that left us with so many positive impressions.

Yesterday, we had the chance to experience the Namibian desert nature with its extraordinary Welwitschia plant that is very rare to find and which can get old as many hundred years, Furthermore, we saw the so-called moon landscape with its dark canyons and finally had the chance to enjoy some sand boarding fun down the beautiful sand dunes close to the beach of Swakopmund.

Today, we will set sail early afternoon for our 2nd sail, this time for 10 days to St. Helena, an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that we pass on the way to Brazil.

For more information, please check out our weblog:

Next news then from St. Helena 🙂

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