In the early hours of Friday December 31st Sea Dragon cleared dock lines and set out to sea- where she and crew are best. Dale found a window in the gusting wind as was able to push off the concrete sea wall, and get through two narrow draw bridges on his way out. She is now out with her five crew, making best possible speed to the north.
We are also lucky to be following the old mariners greetings of “fair winds and following seas”. The team has the wind at their backs and a north bound current to carry them up to Walvis Bay. Dale estimates a four day transit – which would put them in late on the 3rd or early on the fourth.
Leaving the relative lush conditions of Cape Town, the coastline will change dramatically. Despite going north…and toward the warming equatorial sun, the water will get cooler. This is one of only a few tropical coasts to harbor penquins- due to the upwelling of deep cold water. This is much the same as California. Also similar, what should be massively productive waters, are subject to intense fishing pressure and depressed stocks. The land, however is another story. The “skeleton coast” as it is known is one of the most intense deserts in the world. There are areas that receive virtually no rain. Life does abound with elephants, lions, black rhino, gemsbok (oryx), springbok and a host of reptiles and birds. The sustaining water sources are periodic floods from the interior, and most importantly, fog. Thick ocean air rides inland and soaks the little plant life and any other surface in a daily dew. This gives animals a slight, but predictable source of water.
With good conditions, Dale and team will be in Walvis Bay to meet up with the full expedition and start this important leg back across the South Atlantic Gyre.