Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Join Date: May 2006
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Been a few years since I was up that way
Originally Posted by randyrhines
does have a red light, there are no beacons or lights
on the entrance to the channel just a green and red cans, in the dark of night,
i was watching my position on fugawi on my laptop with Gps
locater attached to a ubs port and taking my compass
heading off that, on tiller steered Catalina 27 "no autopilot
" i found the cans and got in the channel ok, but with out the laptop i never would have found it and ended up on one of the many shoals surrounding the entrance.
Seems to me that there is another channel further north that is lighted? Often times the best way to handle a problem is not to put myself in the situation in the first place. I have gone through Cape Hurd channel a few times and it does get pretty narrow in places and the rocks on either side are quite close and quite hard. I would not (as in never) try to enter such a channel at night only relying on an electronic chart on a laptop. As you say the laptop was bright and killed your night vision and what would happen if you took a wave on top right on top of the laptop when you were checking it?
If I was approaching the top of the Bruce Peninsula in the dark (possibly not avoidable because of the distance from Port Elgin (nice place btw), I would go further north and enter the lighted channel (big ships go that way and have for centuries). If I was in such a situation and there was no alternative channel available I would lay offshore for the night. Waves won't be as bad because the water is deeper. Good reason to learn how to heave-to with your boat. Even better alternative might be to leave Port Elgin nicely before dark and arrive at the top of the peninsula in the morning. Anyway, my thoughts as someone who gets increasingly cautious and careful the older I get - which is why I will be approaching the Cape of Good Hope in the, "there are old sailors and bold sailors, but ..." mode.
Reading your post made me think of an English sailor we met last year in Suva, Fiji. He tried to enter the channel through the reefs there at night when we was tired (singlehanded). The channel is not too wide but is lit pretty well and very large ships use the harbor. Anyway, he ended up on the reef and tore the keels out of both hulls of his pretty new catamaran. They recovered the boat and he is trying to get the money to repair
the damage - been over a year so far.
Big change in our status. we have decided that we cannot safely (in my mind) leave South Africa this season allowing for the time needed for my hand to recover from its injury. All typing is right-handed at this point. We will leave Ainia in SA and head north and west in the early southern summer ~Oct/Nov?
You can check OnAinia.blogspot.com for updates on our travels whenever I get around to it.