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All that water!
Orgonite gifting by boat - Part I
The Vaal River
After the Zambesi orgonite tour, the boat had come home in a battered state. The pontoons were leaking and the starter mechanism of the engine buggered. So essentially it was not in a usable state at all. I had the mechanical pull start replaced by an electric starter and the whole boat re-pontooned. Both interventions together cost more than the original boat, but I was hoping that now I would at least have a fully reliable vessel for my future expeditions.
The boat at the end of the Zambesi tour - kind of deflated
All these repairs took from June to August while we were also away in Germany during the whole of July. So finally in early September it was about time to try out the newly refurbished vessel on the Vaal River.
The Vaal together with the Orange is one of the 2 major rivers of South Africa. Like most African rivers it is only navigable in parts.
The main navigable stretch goes through one of the main industrial areas of South Africa, the so called Vaal triangle.
The Vaal triangle - Vereeniging, Vanderbijlpark and Sasolburg
Most of the really heavy industries like chemical plants, refineries, petrol synthesis from coal, steel mills and the like are concentrated in that area.
We had busted it from the land side as much as possible, but most of the large industrial compounds are access controlled.
Busting the river as it meanders through this highly DOR-polluted area seemed like a good thing to do.
Unfortunately despite all the money invested the boat was to give me more trouble than expected.
Our first family outing to the river in early September was a big disappointment.
The engine did not run at full power at all.
We broke it off after doing a few kilometres at 9-10 km h.
I went back to the workshop and the guys could not find anything wrong.
So after a lot of fumbling and checking, I went back to the river alone, hoping that all would be fine.
Unfortunately the problem persisted. But being there already, I decided to do at least what I could at that slow speed.
So off I went at reduced speed
The sky looked oppressive when I set out. I went down to the Lethabo power plant, one of the many coal fired power stations in South Africa, situated directly on the river.
Lethabo power station
Same view on way back
On turning back, I could see first cumulus clouds forming
A faint hint of cumulus cloud building up
This was to continue all the way back. The sky was starting to look more and more enlivened during the afternoon.
more cumulus building up
starting to look good
railway bridge over the Vaal
The river banks are intensively utilised for water sports and recreation of all kind
The nice thing about boating is that one can experience totally different aspects of the landscape and see things that are normally not accessible by road.
I really liked that contemplative aspect of my lonesome slow outing.
Old water work on the Vaal
Another architectural monument of early industrialisation
Now the clouds became more and more articulate
Long stretches of the Vaal river banks are still looking astonishingly natural
And this one was looking brilliant too
A truck must have gone through that railing - Oooouch!
Finally the sky was becoming more and more luminescent as it was building up for a nice late afternoon thunderstorm
The blue dots along the course of the river are the water gifts dispensed on this trip.
Going out to sea
We were planning to use the boat on the sea and in order to do that, the engine problem had to be fixed of course.
When I started out for the Zambesi tour in May, I was of course completely ignorant and naive about boating because it had never been my hobby.
I may have been on a boat a few times before but without knowing much about the intricacies that amount to something like "good seamanship" in their sum total.
First the engine problem had to be fixed.
I brought the boat back to the guy who had done the electrical conversion and it turned out that one of the magnets on the flywheel had come lose from that 2nd hand part and attached itself to one of the stator coils so that the motor only fired on one cylinder. That of course explained the lack of power.
Then I learned that in order to launch a boat on the ocean it had to be certified as seaworthy.
That meant buying a lot of safety equipment like signalling flares, fire extinguisher, and a lot more little things, life vests, a capsize bottle to store all the stuff for it to remain dry in case one flipped the boat.
I also realised that I would have to pass some sort of skippers exam in order to be allowed out.
All this put me on a steep learning curve.
While normally I am quite critical of all the state interventions and regulations, I must say that the stuff I was forced to learn was quite useful and in many ways eye opening.
After all, the sea is a very powerful thing and should be treated with great respect.
Nevertheless, due to time constraints, I was not able to do my skipper's exam before we went down to the South Coast of Kwa Zulu natal in order to start our coastal gifting programme.
You may remember that I have been pursuing the project of necklacing the southern tip of Africa with orgonite for a while. So far we only managed to do the stretch from Durban up to Bazaruto Island in Mozambique by booking ourselves onto a cruise ship.
The envisaged sailing trip from Durban to Cape Town never materialised and generally it seemed that obstacles were thrown in our way again and again.
Hence now the idea to take matters in our own hands finally and do it in small segments with my own little boat.
This optimistic map I published after the Bazaruto cruise in March 2006 -
The total project of "neck lacing southern Africa" comprises about 4000 km of coastline. We're lagging behind but we will get there.
So off we went at the end of September with the boat in tow.
Access to sea barred - Having some fun on the Mtamvuna River instead
I was soon to find out that without the skipper's licence I was not allowed to launch anywhere and that sneaking out anywhere from a river estuary undetected was virtually impossible.
So I decided to do at least the practical side of it and enlisted for a surf launching course of 3 days that ended in a practical exam.
Again, I must say that I'm grateful for what I learned in that course. The Indian Ocean has a big swell coming all the way up from the Antarctic and breaking on the beaches with at least 2-3 metre breakers in fine weather and much more when the wind is high. Even though the instructor overdid it a bit with his constant cursing and abuse, I'm glad for every little bit that he taught me in those 3 days. Most of the time I felt very stupid of course and that was obviously also his impression. (LOL)
At least after that and with the endorsement of the course instructor, the control tower in Shelley beach allowed us out.
So at least we had not come down in vain and finally managed to do a stretch of some 200 km .
On the Zambezi trip I had adopted the tactics of studiously throwing out 1 TB or dolphin buster every 1 km to which I have adhered ever since on these outings with my small boat.
On the cruise ship to Bazaruto we did one every 10 km as the distance was much further and we could only carry a limited number of orgonite devices on board.
We were lucky to see some whales broaching close by and schools of dolphins as well as plenty of flying fish (or sail fish more correctly)
Here are some impressions from those 2 outings
Whales, whales, whales! Too bad that digital camera always clicks with so much delay...
Look at my three pretty seafaring girls:
The proverbial blue hole did indeed form again - we have gotten used to that kind of confirmation
The weather was not too nice and the swell quite high most of the time
We had brought along a CB which we pointed from the balcony of our apartment
We would later hide it in the dense coastal forest, protected by a swarm of wild bees (I got about 10 stings while placing it there)
The South Coast busted - the flag is a CB of course
The Vaal Dam
Getting back, I returned to the Vaal once more, this time to the giant Vaal Dam which is in fact the main water supply of the greater Johannesburg region.
Getting ready for the Vaal River again
A little incentive for the kids - the tube ride
Vaal Dam busted on a stretch of 60 km
To be continued....