Location: Richards Bay, South Africa
Dear avid blog readers,
Today started with the process of letting us in the country, and finally, let us off the boat after our passage. Customs and immigration here keep changing their minds as to how they want us to get cleared in. This has caused our wonderful Captain Ian to end up playing a long game of cat-and-mouse with the immigration officers between Argo and their office since our arrival yesterday afternoon. The first move of the day was made following their directions of “bring everyone to our office” that was told to us last night. We all put on our Sunday-best, making ourselves look presentable for the first time in a week. Only after the first group of us reached the office (a taxi ride away) that they changed their minds once more and decided that it would be best if the process of immigration occurred on Argo. So back we come. This time, we, passports, and immigration are all in the same place at the same time. A note of appreciation to Ian and Tina for handing this logistical nightmare, whilst still organizing BA. Finally, we are allowed in the country!
Tina and I then left the crew to do a wonderful job at BA; the boat is truly looking and smelling (most importantly) great. This is all I know of how the rest of the day went for everyone.
Our job whilst away from the boat was to provision, obtaining the vast quantities of food that we consume (photo of our shopping list above, side note: this is a “small” provision). We spent many an hour moving aisle to aisle looking for all the wonderful food that South Africa is providing for us. Looking for Gluten Free mixes and flour through to vegan alternative and all the rest, it became crystal clear that South Africa 1) doesn’t do dietary restrictions with any great effort, and 2) is definitely a country raised on beef, with zero ideas of what vegetarianism is. After some expert searching (asking), we were pointed in the direction of the small but surprisingly impressive selection of GF cake mixes and Quorn substitutes (so fear not parents everyone can eat). Whilst wandering around the grocery store with our six shopping carts filled to the brim, we attracted, as always, quite a large amount of attention. Along with this comes the usual questions we get “why so much food?”, “what are you doing here?” and “are you having a party, can we come?”. Behind all of these questions is a genuine intrigue as to what we are doing, which always opens us up to getting to describe our amazing adventure to people all along our journey. Everyone we spoke to today was especially kind, interested and keen to also share their story of South Africa and the current political/economic climate. If the rest of our time in South Africa continues, in the same way, we will most certainly have many many stories to share about everyone we’ve met here.
Once our shopping was done, the adventure of finding a taxi large enough for all our food began. This ended in the usual way… two taxis it is. The task of provisioning is not completed by this point, but once we are back by Argo, we have 29 other hands to help. The whole crew sprung into action and began immediately squirreling food away down below, under bunks and into bilges. Argo can consume more food than all of us put together. That’s the general gist of provisioning for 31 people.
After all this food came on board, Ruben, as you can see, become progressively stronger. As pictured above