05.12.2009 - 05.12.2009
Walvisbaai was covered in a surprising grey layer of mist, and it had rained a bit during the night. It was also, if not cold, then much chillier than expected and on my previous visits. My grand plans for shore, inevitably, came to nothing. Most estimates had us coming into the dock around 5-6am the following morning, which would have been perfect. Instead, we were in early (a good thing in most terms) at 23:45, a particularly useless time for me. I have been to Walvisbaai a couple of times, and that prior experience tells me that midnight on a Sunday is not necessarily the best time to visit. With the possible exception of a 24hour garage, a bar or two, and maybe a brothel, everything would be shut and the streets empty.
And so I went to sleep, amongst the rattle, noise, shouting and lights that accompany any port stop. I was up early the following morning to watch the loading and inquire as to it's progress. The Chief told me around 6, that we were due to sail at 9, and that pretty much, was that. Regardless of when we would actually sail, and both of us expected that it would be later, the captain would not be able to allow me leave to go ashore due to lack of time and formalities: the ship sure as heck would not wait for me if the cargo was complete and I was not back onboard.
And so I had to scrub my shore ideas. Instead of going ashore, I just watched for a few hours as the containers were loaded and the harbour crew buggered about. It was, indeed, a later departure than expected, and by the time we left, our projected 8hours alongside had taken 12, and we had been in sight of Walvisbaai for over 48hours. This delay may affect our schedule, but it might not. There is a lot of water, weather, wind and current to pass before we reach Vigo, and lots of opportunity to catch up time, or, indeed, be further delayed.
But finally, and happily, we are not back at sea and have nothing but open water ahead of us for the next 10days or so. I can't wait.