On my night watch the wind played funny tricks. Twice I found the sails aback and was obliged to turn a complete circle to windward before they eventually filled again. Some freak cyclonic disturbance no doubt, due to the proximity of the land.
The sea turned much warmer and considerable phosphorescence was observed. Our wake appeared as thick white line astern and they(sic) wavy trails of the dolphins sparkled around us in the dark sea.
Apart from Slang Kop Point Lighthouse, which shows 4 flashes (white) every 30 secs, and can be seen from a distance of 17 miles, there are three other lights which may become visible should we be lucky enough to make our landfall during the night, viz:
In the event of bad weather coming up on our approaching Cape Town we can run for shelter under the lee of Robben Island, as recommended by the Lords of the Admiralty.
The situation, therefore, is, this morning:-
The noon fix, however, gave us a jerk, as we found ourselves exactly 55 files due North of our D.R. position, in Lat. 34°S, 125 miles due West of Cape Town. The Agulhas and Benguela currents have now entered into our calculations with a bang. The skipper decided to wear ship immediately but now it is too late for us to hit Cape Town without tacking, even though we are working the auxiliary "all out" in an effort to do so. To add fuel to the fire the wind increased during the afternoon to force 6/7 and backed two points, which allows us, at best to steer a NNEly course. We were soon obliged to stop the engine and shorten sail considerably and the skipper 'drove" Penelope, like I have never seen him do before. He remained in the cockpit from 14.30h onwards without a break. "Penelope" running with lee gunwales awash, close hauled to starboard, making heavy weather but 6 knots under great reduced canvas.
A tempestuous night.