Cape Town _______________________________________________________________________________ Newsletter – March 2007 Editor: Gavin Cosgrove - Phone 465 0850, Fax 465 0851, cell: 072 930 7558 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com www.tba.org.za _______________________________________________________________________________ "At the Helm" (Commodore's Report) Greetings, The time has come to put our money where our mouths are. Our first regatta in a long time starts in early May and your support will be greatly appreciated. It starts on Friday evening of the 4th May with a bring and Braai plus a one man band sponsored by the Royal Cape Yacht club. This event is jointly run by the TBA and RCYC and replaces the Easter regatta largely due to falling entries at a time when families wish to go further a field on their long weekend. Saturday evening we will have two bands playing, firstly an Irish band some of you will remember called "Pickled Wully",(previously in error we called them the Pickled Willy band). The second band is "Private Stock" which is a rock band so bring along your dancing shoes. For boats and skippers / owners from other clubs there is added incentive in that you get free moorings and membership for a week before and a week after the event. Remember that you as a member are responsible for the actions of your guests and that they must be signed in every time they come to the club. Gavin Cosgrove our rear commodore has cleverly organized a pursuit race from Hout Bay to Cape Town jointly with the Admirals Cup rally entrants to attract more boats from that area and it looks like we will have a fleet of 23 boats from there alone. Now that's a good start. What is a classic boat you might ask... well muiras for starters are considered classic and most boats of any class, which were launched twenty five to thirty years ago? Wooden boats of old are what we dream of having on this regatta but if she is new and build of wood bring her along. I'm thinking in particular of a yacht called "Moon Shadow" which was launched about six months ago and is of Red cedar cross strip planking most of which is painted but the transom is vanished to prove she is of wood, a real beauty. You might have noticed that I refer to boats all the time and that is because weather steam, wind, paddle or powered by petrol, diesel or electric from a canoe to a large vessel as long as its considered a classic they are most welcome. The delay in sending off our newsletter is due to us wanting to give you updates of our forth coming rally. From time to time you will receive emails of events and meetings to come to keep you informed. So keep an eye on that there computer. While on the subject I must say that Gavin being a busy man has one hell of a time keeping up with the newsletter and is appealing for help. Come on you computer buffs and volunteer, its great fun. Bring along your family and friends to join in the fun. I look forward to seeing you all, Barry Wolf. _______________________________________________________________________________ "Scuttlebutt" (General Skinner) A new set of Regalia is being produced so please bring your chequebook to the next meeting. I am particularly pleased to note that several XXXXlarge Golf Shirts have been ordered. The new "Museum" has opened at the Waterfront, and Captain Jack Clarke will visit it and give us his feed back for next months News Letter. Your editor has recently purchased VEGA. She is a six-meter class and has been partially restored by Percy Elston. Percy and Jen have moved to the USA and I have taken over this labour of love. (I hope to live long enough to see this job complete). I will give you some pics and more detail in next month's issue. "Bright work" This month's "Clever Trick" earns Roy Mc Bride a bottle of wine. Talking to the skipper on the Etap berthed next to 'Flying Cloud' and discussing internal engine corrosion from sea water coolants, I was told of a simple quick near free 'quick fix' Fit the diverter valve to the salt water Jabsco Pump as you suggested as an emergency bilge pump, then when back in harbour, route the free end of the pick up pipe to a bucket of fresh water, open the valve and suck clean fresh water into the engines salt water system! You will have to work out how many litres you will need but once this is done, its just the same amount each time. With fresh water in your system the chance of salt water corrosion is gone. Another valuable tip from the same yacht, is to use Hydrochloric Acid to clear blocked sea water loo/toilet pipe salt build up, it may take a day or so but will eventually just wash out as a fluid, not sure what the fish will think of this one though? If your "Clever Trick" is published, you will be presented with a good bottle of wine and a TBA Key ring at the following Monthly meeting. So lets have them sent by e-mail to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org _______________________________________________________________________________ Iron Bark from Galapagos to New Zealand - by Annie Hill Part 1. We arrived in New Zealand in early November, it's nearly March and I still haven't written to you about our passage across the Pacific. It's about time I did, so here goes. I last wrote to you from Galapagos and a wonderful place they were, too. Initially, Trevor was a bit reluctant to go there, because we'd heard stories about being charged high fees for entering and for permission to enter the National Park area. However, I had always wanted to go there, so in the end Trevor agreed that it would probably be money well spent. When we arrived in Wreck Bay on San Cristobal, we went over and had a yarn with Ron and Kathy on Vilisar, a Canadian wooden boat anchored nearby. They looked like a 'low-budget operation' and we guessed that they would know how to pay the minimum of fees. In fact they told us that if you only stayed a few days, the Authorities really didn't seem to be bothered about you and so long as you didn't bother them, they wouldn't bother you. This turned out to be the case insofar as we were concerned and when, a few days later, we were anchored of Villamil on Isabela, the harbour master actually went to the effort of warning the yachts that he intended to take a tour of the anchorage the following morning. We took the hint and left at first light the next day. One of the pleasant surprises in Wreck Bay was that the prices were very affordable. Indeed, more than affordable. Trevor and I went for lunch one day in a tiny restaurant, with only 2 tables. It was obviously a place used by the locals and was selling hamburgers, for which I get an overwhelming urge about once a year (but only for a real one). We went in and ordered one each, together with a large bottle of beer. Because nothing was made in advance, that bottle was about finished by the time the hamburgers came, so we ordered another beer to drink with them. This was a bit of an issue and the owner called down her son and packed him off down the street to buy one from a neighbouring bar, because she had no more left in the fridge! The hamburgers were large and delicious, complete with salad on the plate. When we came to settle up, the whole lot cost us $5.38. I was sure that we'd been undercharged and asked her to add it up again, but she was correct! We'd have ordered another beer, if she'd only had one ready, but felt that she couldn't be making much profit on them! You won't be surprised to hear that for me, the highlight of the Galápagos was the wildlife. From the moment we arrived, the animals were a delight. In Wreck Bay, friendly sea lions would play round the boats for hours. Convinced that we were there for their sport, they dived under the hull and climbed into the dinghies. Some even got aboard the yachts, and one catamaran's crew had a distinct sense of humour failure when they woke up to find 4 sea lions lolling around in their cockpit! Our dinghy was too tippy for the larger sea lions, but several young ones managed to get in. Generally, it was only the females and young ones that tried these games, but it was quite astonishing how agile even the big bulls were. In the harbour were several 60 or 70 ft fishing boats, with flying bridges some 20 ft above the water. When we passed, we often saw sea lions sunbathing there, along with pelicans and boobies. The boobies are quite astonishing, with bright blue feet and legs: natural show-offs, they would pose obligingly for the camera. Because of the cold current that comes up from S America, there are also Penguins here - on the Equator! These were more camera shy and I suspect that most of us took numerous photographs of water swirls where a penguin had just dived. Ashore there were the various birds, including the famous Darwin finches. (It was noticing both the similarities and the differences in these birds that inspired many of Darwin's ideas on evolution. However, this didn't happen when he was actually in the islands, but some years later when he was studying his collections.) These birds have all evolved in separate ways from the same progenitors. Their specialisations are extreme from the one that uses a stick to make holes in cactus in order to obtain its juices to the one that has developed a beak capable to pecking through the skin of fledgling birds to draw their blood. Seed eaters, insect eaters, nectar eaters have all evolved different beaks to fill niches in the ecosystem. Equally interesting are the giant tortoises, which vary from island to island, often quite considerably. These animals are very endangered: not only were their numbers reduced drastically by the sailors, who used to take them away by the hundred and use them for meat (they can live for months without food and water; the sailors used to stow them upside down, where they couldn't turn over, and keep them like that until they wanted to eat them), but their eggs have for years been a favoured delicacy. In addition, there are now wild goats, horses and cattle to trample the eggs, wild pigs, dogs and rats to eat the eggs and cats and dogs to eat the hatchlings. There are several sanctuaries where tortoises are bred, but one or two subspecies are probably not going to survive. Fortunately, after 15 or 20 years in captivity, the tortoises can be returned to the wild, now large enough to be predator proof (man apart), but unless more urgent measures are taken to eliminate the introduced predators, it's unlikely that they will ever breed successfully in the wild again. I also loved the marine iguanas, which Darwin, with typical Victorian prejudice, likened to 'imps of Satan'. These are remarkable animals: they spend most of their time ashore, basking in the sun, but feed under water. They are not swimmers; they simply walk through the crashing surf and continue on their way until they're under several feet of water, where they wander around munching on seaweed. When they've eaten sufficient, they walk out again, clinging with sharp claws to the rocks when the surf tries to drag them back under. They too, are considered tasty snacks by many introduced animals, but seem to be surviving surprisingly well. The Galápagos are not islands that have separated from landmasses, such as New Zealand, but are brand new growths, thrown up by volcanic eruption. This is one of the reasons why their evolving wildlife is of such interest. All the animals (with the exception of man's introductions) have arrived 'accidentally'. The assumption is that most of the land animals arrived on some from of raft, debris from a large flood; a fallen tree - that type of thing. What is still a puzzle is how so many tortoises arrived, especially as they have evolved into quite distinct sub-species, which does not suggest that they have travelled from one island to another. An interesting recent discovery has been made by a couple who have been studying some groups of finches on one island for about 20 years: these birds are specialising and evolving even as they watch them. Evolution can, in fact, be a fairly rapid process. Ron and Kathy had told us about a day out that we could take from Villamil, where a truck drove you up to the volcano and stopped at a place that had horses. You then rode for a couple of hours right up the side of this enormous volcano, left the horses and hiked the last bit. This seemed like too good an opportunity to miss, especially as it only cost US$20 a head for the whole day. About a dozen of us assembled together one morning and off we went. The drive alone would almost have been worth it because it was astonishing how many different landscapes were packed into such a short distance. From the dry, rocky coastline, we drove through a cactus filled landscape before rising through lush rain forest, finally emerging in green, well-wooded country. Here we took to our mounts. The horses were nice little animals, but there were a few concerned looks at the accoutrements: the bridles consisted of a length of polypropylene rope wrapped over the ears and round the lower jaw before ending in reins. The saddles were some sort of pad, with a bit of loose padding held on insecurely with leatherette. Stirrups were home made on rope strops. We could already feel tomorrow's discomfort before we mounted. But these saddles proved to be a great surprise - they were superbly comfortable and I don't think anyone felt sore the next day. The ride was a delight and as we came to the rim of the volcano, the view was incredible. This crater is apparently the second largest in the world and is about 15 by 20 km. Wisps of steam were rising from it, and although there has been no serious eruption for many years, we were told that there are frequent minor ones. It was many hundreds of feet to the bottom, which was almost entirely covered in black ash - all that you needed to realise that it was still seriously hot down there. In due course, we dismounted and wandered through a desert of volcanic rubble. The colours were lovely, with oranges, ochres, reds and browns mingling with the blackened, scorched rock. High up we stood, looking across the end of the island over green land to the blue sea. As we stood and gazed in the hot sun, it was all very beautiful. We sat and ate our picnic lunches before walking back to our horses. When we got down to Villamil, we went to visit the tortoise sanctuary. A winding boardwalk took us through a mangrove swamp where shocking pink flamingos were feeding. Iguanas lolled at the entrance, piled up in sociable heaps. Birds and butterflies flew around. The sanctuary itself was fascinating and provided a pleasant home for the giant animals. They lumbered happily about among the trees, munching blissfully on the fresh vegetables put out for them and dozing in the sun. The babies were stacked in racks, several layers deep, staggered to catch the sun. Their little cages had water bowls and had just been filled with fresh lettuces. As soon as they were large enough, they would be put into pens and in due course, some would be released to the wild. It was sad to think that all this was necessary, but reassuring to see that it was happening. The real danger for the Galápagos is that they are vulnerable to politicians' decisions. More than a few Ecuadorians feel that they should be allowed to go and farm the islands; tourist companies would like to expand their operations; people already there want to enlarge their farms and other businesses. I think that it's fair to say that the best thing that can happen to the Galápagos is to have a strong, well-regulated eco- tourism industry that brings in a lot of hard currency. No animals = no tourists; many animals = many tourists. You don't have to be an Einstein to work this one out. Many of the islands are off limits unless you have permission to visit; some are completely off limits. The kudos of visiting the former is a reason to keep the situation as it is. We can only hope that the Ecuadorian government does not bow to pressure to ignore the fate of the indigenous flora and fauna. We left Isabela on 20th May, sailing along the island for a while, enjoying the scenery and wildlife, which included some beautiful rays. Then we headed off in a SW direction, towards Mangareva in the Gambier Is. We had decided to go there, rather than the more usual Marquesas, for a number of reasons. It was more off the beaten track and Trevor had never been there. Trevor was worried about the no-nos in the Marquesas - tiny insects that bite savagely. Having seen what happens to me when I've been bitten by black flies and mosquitoes, I don't think he could face the thought of an Annie ravaged by no-nos and needing sympathy! It was a difficult decision for me to make, having heard so much about the spectacular beauty of the Marquesas. We had a superb cruising guide for the Marquesas, but lacked even adequate charts for Mangareva. However, we did have Warwick Clay's South Pacific Anchorages and could print out charts from my laptop via an old copy of C-map, so we lent our Marquesan cruising guide to friends and set off southwest. Our luck had turned: we left the Enchanted Islands on the back of a fair wind that stayed with us until the day we arrived at Îles Gambier. Day after day, it drove us steadily along, with records days' runs and over 2000 miles sailed in the first fortnight. Occasionally we would have to reef the mainsail; quite often Iron Bark wore her topsail, but our hopes of a record passage died with the wind in the final few days of our passage. _______________________________________________________________________________ "Shore Leave" (Social Calendar) Our next Social event will be the Rally on 5 & 6 May. Barry has given some detail in his report. We will email more info as things progress. _______________________________________________________________________________ "From the Crow's Nest" (Editors' Bit) Every time I produce this News Letter, I realise what a splendid job Mike Young did when he was burdened with this task. Each publication was always out on time and was filled with interesting topics. I tried in vain to convince the Committee and Trustees, that a quarterly News Letter would suffice and just when I thought I was getting somewhere, Captain Jack Clarke reminded me that I had made a commitment to the TBA to produce this Newsletter each month. This was a rather sobering reminder but it made me realize how fortunate we are to have people like Jack Clarke who are so committed to the conservation of our Maritime Heritage. I realized too, how easy it would be to let things fall apart and loose this heritage that is so important to us and the generations to follow. Most voluntary organisations have the bulk of the work done by a few of its members and unfortunately, the TBA is no different. This puts an enormous burden on a handful of people and leads to stagnation. I hope that we can be different by getting each member to participate a little more. Why not try the following: 1. Set a goal to introduce one new member by the end of June 2007. 2. Make a commitment to attend each Monthly meeting and enjoy a glass of wine and some great fellowship. 3. Commit to identifying three Traditional boats and the owners for our National Data Base of Traditional Boats by the end of June. 4. And most important, help this poor soul with content for the monthly News Letter. I look forward to seeing everyone on the 4th, 5th and 6th of May. This Rally is going to be a good one.