The horizon lights up, wide sweeping arcs of brilliant long flashes of lightning touch the surface of the sea. The deck of the canoe vibrates with the rumble of the thunder surrounding us.
The breadth of the systems here is extremely large, like the continent of Africa; the weather is also terrifyingly beautiful, and somewhat sinister to behold. Warm air migrating from the African plains merges with the cool air of the Indian Ocean, producing very large and powerful weather systems, such as this one that interrupted our progress south towards Richards Bay. Such a stark contrast to the tropical weather I am accustomed to in Kona Mauka, the kind of weather many of us are familiar with no matter where in the Pacific we call home. Here, we are trapped by lightning, thunder, and gusting winds throughout the night, our crew huddled under our awning, which we have dropped low to the deck to protect us from the sideways-blowing wind. Our shelter resembles the shelled back of a turtle, legs and head drawn in to protect against the elements.
The weather has settled now, and we anticipate leaving this anchorage once we complete a few maintenance duties this afternoon. Our plan is to transit the length of the bay, anchor at its edge, and depart for Richards Bay early Sunday morning, weather permitting. If we are fast, we should be there Monday afternoon.
The crew eagerly anticipates arrival into Richards Bay. We talk about cold drinks, hamburgers and steaks, creamy milk shakes and ice cream, and doing loads of laundry. A bath is next on the list, with sleep somewhere further down – we don’t want to interrupt the sleep cycles we have become accustomed to, and our plan is to continue to stand 8 hours of daily watches throughout the leg to Cape Town, even while we are at anchor.
So – a few more hours of maintenance and then the plan is to push off… Hopefully the next update I send will be from the comforts of a seaside hotel room, or at least much closer to one.