On the 11th of December last year I started part 2 of my winter cheating master travelling plan. Destination ? Cape Town, South Africa.
A heavy snowstorm in Istanbul delayed my flight for 5 hours. By then I had already taken about 8 flights and seen many different airports.
Delayed flight? No biggie. Standard procedure: Sit down and entertain myself. But whatever I do. DON’T fall asleep. Because I’m too paranoid to miss my flight (This deep rooted fear stems from the traumatic experience of missing my flight the first time I was going to travel alone).
By the time we took off for Cape Town (CT) my eyes were burning and I fell a sleep straight away. When I woke up, I caught a glimpse of Africa.
-Heart flutter followed by a slight panic attack-
What was I thinking, flying to the motherland all by my self !?
Arriving in CT I was speechless and really did not know what to expect.
As I collected my bags and walked out of the baggage claim area I was very relieved to see my friend Julian standing outside waiting for me.
I got my rental car and I followed him to our appartment in Milnerton.
On the way there I was in awe of the sun setting behind Tablemountain and the vast landscape around me. The view was breathtaking.
It could have been the view or the fact that I was driving on the left side for the first time but I missed the exit to Milnerton so I got off at the next one and waited alongside the road until Julian drove by again.
With my windows rolled down I was taking everything in when this lady and her male friends walked passed my car. She stopped, looked at me and as I started to smile and greet her she said with a dead serious face:
“you know I can rob you right now ?”
-Smile gone. Heart flutter followed by a slight panic attack-
You have got to be kidding me ! Was this the way my trip was going to start!?
Luckily she only warned me to be more careful and walked off.
If I could have double locked and tinted my windows then and there I would have! That was my This is Africa (TIA) experience number one.
TIA experience number two followed soon after when got to the house. Our roommates had lit the BBQ and it was time to braai!
After the first week the heart flutters and mini panic attacks subsided. I felt so comfortable there and came to love CT and the lifestyle there.
My goal in CT was to improve my wavesailing but more specifically to get over this fear I have for jumping. I wanted to learn Backloops and pushloops The conditions were absolutely amazing the first 2 weeks I was there. And this is when I did most of my sailing.
In CT the wind picks up in the morning at Milnerton and then moves down the coast to Sunset, Big bay, Haagkat, Melkbos etc.
Our appartment was right at the water so this way I could either start my day out sailing in front of the house or catch a late session until dark. Over the next 5 weeks I would have some amazing sessions, saw seals and dolphins and sailed with great and talented people.
My most memorable wavesailing was in the first week when we decided to go and sail at Cape point. This is where those big bad babboons hang out. Honestly, I was frightened by them. While we were sailing they opened our quiver bags and took the masts out. One attacked one of the guys as the monkey mistook the tobacco he was holding for food. Safest place? In the car. Doors locked. Babboons aside, that session was great. The water was light blue and only 4 of us were out on 3-4 metre waves. I was fully powered on my 4.2. The first 20 minutes I was quite intimidated but when I watched my roommates ripping it motivated me to try harder and go for the more critical sections of the wave. What a rush this wavesailing was !!
About a week after, this amazing swell was forecasted to hit cape town.
From the kitchen I could see it was completely flat and windless out at Milnerton. I doubted whether the conditions would actually get better.
Over the course of just a few hours I was mindblown to see the conditions change from flat water to proper overhead waves and 30kts wind.
What a session I had in my back yard! At this point I was used to the waves and getting washed. I was bottom turning on this wave when I felt this overconfidence creeping over me. As I was going for the top turn I realized I was going to get eaten by the lip so I let go of my gear. The wave pounded me, my overconfidence and my kit. My mast was broken and I was left
de-rigging my kit with hanging shoulders. Never underestimate the power Nature!
The swell lasted right until Christmas. During this time I had some great sailing at big bay as well. I really enjoyed this spot because a lof my sailing buddies would be there. And to me windsurfing is all about sharing the experience on the water. Yes it would get really crowded and you could get run over every now and then but that wouldn’t bother me. Sailing there during sunset would be beautiful. I got the hang of some stalled forwards there at big bay and one day before christmas I even landed a backloop.. the first one I tried. However the second one I crashed pretty hard and some people thought I was going to hurt myself with my kamikaze pushloop attempts.
Freestyle wise I had some great sessions in front of the house and at the freestyle lake. One day we decided to go to Langebaan which was a 1,5 hour drive. Everything was fine when all of a sudden.. 30 minutes into our drive something explodes and smoke comes from under the hood of the car.
My car had let me down. And I had to get it towed. Luckily our roommates were behind us and we could drive with them. I’m glad this session turned out to be one of the best ones I had there!
On one of the lastdays of my stay there we had the Robben Island dash. We would sail from Big bay to Robben island and back. 25 of us waited all day and finally dashed out to sea at 4 o’clock. I was fully overpowered on 7.0 but little did we know there was this windline that would make all the sailors drop in the water one by one. Here we were floating in between big bay and robben island waiting to get picked up. I held on to Lena Erdil and her equipment for dear life! Okay it wasn’t that bad. But still the thoughts of sharks swimming under you is quite scary.
On the windless days I did quite some sightseeing. I would just jump in the car by myself or with my sightseeing partner in crime, Wiebke and explore.
The day Mandela was buried I experienced this tribute to him at the Grand Esplanade. I felt and saw first hand how much he has meant to South Africa. For Christmas we hiked up Lion’s head with a group of 25 sailors. Another day I walked the long route up Tablemountain with my roommates. 3,5 hours was gruelling. I felt like giving up and laying on a rock in my misery for many a times. But it was so totally worth it ! I Drove along chapman’s peak. Visited local markets at hout bay and the old bisquit mill. Wandered in town and stumbled upon the company garden’s. I even travelled to Namibia via Durban to visit family. The list goes on.There is so much more I could write about and so many things I haven’t done and can’t write about. I felt like I could live there for a while. Who knows.
In the end I didn’t land all the moves I wanted to. But I did get over my fear of jumping and really start to get the hang of it. Now Just got to practice more.
Wavesailing training.. To be continued.