Georgia to Cape Town

After selling our home in Utah we drove the 2500 miles across the country to Georgia to be close to my sister Tricia. She would be watching the girls while the boys and us went to South Africa to pick up the boat and sail it across the Atlantic.

On October 4th we started the long journey to South Africa. It took us 24 hours of traveling to get there. We first flew to Washington D.C. and then across the Atlantic to Zurich, Switzerland. Flying into Switzerland was beautiful! I wish we had more than an hour and a half there. We were all pretty tired after an eight hour red eye flight, but our next flight was even longer. It was 11 hours from Zurich to Cape Town. We arrived at 9 pm.


Once we got through customs we went to pick up our rental car. Unfortunately even though we had paid for a bigger car, all they had as a little compact. Even the security guard that walked us to our car didn’t think that all our stuff would fit. With a little Tetris skills we were able to get all our luggage and all the people into the car. It was now 10 pm, super dark and Ben had to drive on the wrong side of the road to find our bed and breakfast we booked for the night. Driving in another country is hard enough but adding no sleep, traveling for a very long time, driving on the wrong side of the road … it was a little scary. BUT we made it safely to our destination.

The next morning we woke up early and headed to Hout Bay to see our new boat and to meet our captain, Vince. The Hout Bay Yacht Club is located in the middle of a bunch of fishing boats. There was a lot of commotion when we got to the harbor, including seals laying on the docks and swimming all around the marina. It was really fun to see.

Hout Bay
Sunset from our boat

We met up with Vince and he showed us to the boat. It was so exciting to walk down the dock and see our new home for the first time. She is the biggest boat in the marina and sure stands out with her gray hulls. I was amazed on how much bigger she looked than in the pictures, not just on the outside, but in the cabins and the salon as well. Usually pictures make things look bigger so I was a little worried about the space, but it was actually perfect. We were so excited to finally be here in South Africa!

Now it was time for the work to begin. We wanted to finish things as quickly as possible. Our goal was to leave Cape Town in 2 weeks so we needed to hustle. The things on the list to do before we left were get a new water maker, build a solar arch, and restitch the trampolines and replace the ropes for the trampoline. We soon added bow seats to the list as well. Seemed pretty doable to finish all these projects in 2 weeks…. Well, things didn’t go quite as planned.

The solar arch went well. We had decided to move 4 of the 6 solar panels that were on the roof to a solar arch at the back of the boat to make it easier and safer to access the boom and the sails. Things are much cheaper in South Africa so we wanted to get that done here instead of waiting to do it in the US. That was the beginning of the drama….

Before the Solar Arch
After the Solar Arch

We had friends that were in Hout Bay that also got a solar arch and had no issues doing it at the marina. But the marina manager seemed to have it out for us. We got in trouble for grinding in the marina which turned into a whole slew of problems. We don’t know if it was because of the old owner of the boat or if it was because of something else we did, but he seemed to charge us for every little thing he could. We had an agreement that the original owner was going to pay for us to stay here, but the marina manager didn’t care and insisted that we pay even though we had a contract stating that we didn’t need to.

Well, that brings us to the grinding. The stainless steel workers were here putting everything together on the boat and were welding some pieces together. The next day the marina manager and the yacht club commodore came to have a chat with me. They took me to their office and interrogated me for almost an hour because of the grinding dust. They said that we had ruined half the boats in the marina. They asked me if I had insurance and I told them no (because we were still working on issues with our insurance which is a whole other story). Once they found out I didn’t have insurance their story started to change a bit. First they said that they needed a deposit of 10,000 Rands which is about $500 just to make sure I don’t skip town and not take care of the mess that we had made. I kept asking them how many boats were actually “damaged” and they couldn’t tell me. A few days later it came down to we just needed to pay for two boats to be cleaned, the marina manager’s boat and the commodore’s boat. That was all. Seemed a little fishy since there were other boats in between their boats.

Next was the drama with the water maker. There were so many issues with the water maker. We just couldn’t get it to work. We had electricians and the water maker guy here almost every day trying to trouble shoot it. Finally we found that the boat is wired for 110 which is great for us Americans, but the water maker is 220. So we put in another inverter into the boat to have 220 go to the water maker and to a few plugs to run the appliances we bought here. But the batteries and the inverter weren’t giving the water maker enough power. So we decided to power it with the generator, which worked but one of the pumps was overheating. We then discovered that the pump ran on 50 hertz and the generator was producing 60 hertz. We thought we had to wait a few more days to get another pump that ran at 60 hertz, but Ben had the idea of seeing if the generator could run at 50 hertz. The electricians played around with the generator and got is to run at 50 hertz and produce 110 power! Really all that means nothing to me but what it does mean is the water marker finally worked!! It can produce 160 liters of water an hour. We were able to try some and it tastes really good. Really it tastes like nothing. It’s crazy that there is something that can take salt water and make it super pure.

Those were the two big things that caused us the most stress. While in South Africa we did get new bow seats, stitched the trampolines and put on new lines, changed the boat name and just got to know the boat. We did have some fun while we were in South Africa. We celebrated Max’s birthday and went to Boulders Beach where we saw penguins. They were so cute! Max also wanted to go to a gaming shop where he got some new Magic stuff and Dungeons and Dragons. He is excited to get back to the girls so they can all play together.

Yes that is a penguin walking down the street!

One weekend we took the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain. It was so pretty to look out over the ocean and Cape Town. The cable car is one of 3 in the world that has a rotating floor so you got to see everything as you went up the mountain. That was probably my favorite thing we did while we were here.

Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain
Looking up at Table Mountain from the bottom
Sunset and Table Mountain on our drive home

We did have a lot of miracles happen as well. I had a follower on social media contact me because she lived in Cape Town and wanted to meet up. She ended up being an angel and took me grocery shopping. We got everything we needed for two months on the ocean and fit it into our little car! It took us almost 5 hours of shopping. She helped us so much!

Chantelle our angel!
Parsley, Basil, (we also got thyme and sage from Chantelle) and a South Africa flower

Our boat neighbor next to us also brought us some plant to have on our boat. It’s been really fun to have fresh herbs on the boat. I hope that I can keep them alive!

We also were able to go to church a few times while we were here. I love that no matter where you are in the world you can find “your people” and it feels like home. The spirit is the same no matter if you are in Utah or Georgia or Cape Town. Going to church lifted our spirits especially when we were in the thick of all the drama.

After all the drama it makes it a lot easier to face crossing the Atlantic Ocean. One guy told us that if your journey starts off with a lot of issues that usually means that it will end really smoothly. That’s what we are hoping. We are hoping that all the drama and issues happen now while we are on land and we will have a very easy 7000 mile sail back to our girls. The goal is to be there before Christmas. That will all depend on the wind and that we can get checked out of customs and immigrations with no issues.

We have enjoyed beautiful sunsets here
We can see Table Mountain from our boat every day

Through all of this there is one lesson that has become very clear. When you are doing what God wants you to do and you are about to have an amazing experience you are going to come up against resistance. That resistance is going to be stronger than anything you thought. These last three weeks have been some of the most trying weeks of our lives. Adjusting to living on a boat in a new country was bad enough without adding all the other drama on top of it. I do know that this is exactly where God wants us to be and that this experience is exactly what we need to prepare us for what is coming next.

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