Sailing Yacht SEA BUNNY

Christmas 2015 and New Year 2016 newsletter

Our activities since the 2014 news letter

We made it! We crossed the Indian Ocean and are now in South Africa. Other highlights included a 2-week ski trip in Austria and our first significant incident in which Sea Bunny was damaged.

Click here to view a PDF version of the news letter as sent by post (fewer pictures).

Happy Christmas 2015 & a Prosperous New Year

Sea Bunny finally left SE Asia this year, passing through the Sunda Strait between Sumatra and Java on 25 June and is now in South Africa.

After spending Christmas in Phuket again we headed north to Koh Phayam for the New Year, meeting up on the way with John and Judy (Kalypso). The visit was necessarily short as we needed to get down to the Singapore area for our trip to Europe which this year included a 2-week skiing holiday in Austria (our fix of cool weather) as well as the usual visits to family and friends.

Anak Krakatoa

A couple of weeks in the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club marina enabled final shopping for the Indian Ocean. We were remembered from our 2008 visit and made very welcome, despite the rolly berths. At the end of May it was time to move on again to transit Indonesia and enter the southern hemisphere again. To enter and anchor near the edge of the crater formed by the explosion of Krakatoa (1883) in darkness required the use of a triple split screen showing chart, depth and radar was very eerie as anchoring depths are within 50 m of the shore. This was upwind of the active forming peak of Anak Krakatoa (Son of Krakatoa) that emerged from the sea in 1927 and is now 189 m high.

Calling card

From Indonesia it was a 4-day passage to Australia or, to be more precise, the Australian island group of Cocos Keeling. We expected to find replacement working for our fridge waiting for us. However, as Australia Post don’t seem to acknowledge the existence of that part of Western Australia, it was not to be and even now it has not got back to the supplier. Here it is the custom to fashion a record of the visit out of flotsam so Sea Bunny did her bit.

A 14-day passage, fairly rough with up to 35 knot winds and 4 m seas, took us to the laid back island of Rodrigues, where we enjoyed several walking trips with the crews of other yachts as well as the hospitality of island residents.


The main island of Mauritius was next, a 2-day passage away. Here we attempted to get our radar, which had failed on the passage to Cocos, fixed. Unfortunately the local Raymarine agent had neither the skills nor the equipment to achieve this but nevertheless charged us significant amounts in respect of the parts that failed to fix the problem. The unit was shipped to the UK and returned to us, fixed, at our next stop. A day at the races was very enjoyable, being treated as honoured foreign guests by the Turf Club. While we did some car touring in Mauritius we much preferred the charm of Rodrigues.

La Fournaise

From Mauritius it is a 19-hour voyage to France (Ile de la Réunion). Réunion was the highlight of the crossing. The small island has spectacular mountain scenery, remote areas with no roads and an active volcano. We could happily have stayed longer than 4 weeks but we needed to get to South Africa before the cyclone season, which technically starts in November.

The ocean charts show a current (the South Equatorial current) with a speed of 1-1.5 knots heading westward from the area of Réunion and south of Madagascar before it turns southwards as the Agulhas Current on hitting the African continental shelf. This is a gross simplification – there are numerous eddies and countercurrents, many of which we found. As a result of these we only just made it to Richard’s Bay ahead of a “monster” cold front bringing 70-knot southerly winds. We had to motor hard for the best part of 3 days to maintain speed to achieve this.

Broken marina

When we arrived in Tuzi Gazi Marina a gang of crews from other yachts were on the dock to welcome us and we were tied up and in bed by 0200. At 0500 the marina pontoon to which Sea Bunny was attached collapsed, trapping her between two finger pontoons, both of which had rotated to gouge the hull until she could be released and moved two days later when the wind had moderated. We crawled up the partly submerged finger pontoon to the safety of an hotel.

A few days later, when we had left on a trip to a game reserve the local, large, pilot boat lost control, ramming the boat next to us and forcing Sea Bunny into a motor cruiser on her other side – causing more damage. In pitch darkness and pouring rain other yachtsmen made all vessels safe. Thankfully no-one was injured when the yachts were pushed up over the pontoon.

Zebra & foal

Despite these setbacks, we have been enjoying some touring – game reserves (4 of the “big five” sighted, but no leopards), battlefield sites (Zulu and Boer wars), bushman cave paintings and even a trip across the mountains into the kingdom of Lesotho, with stops at the highest pub in Africa (2873 m) at the top of the Sani Pass while touring the Drakensberg mountain range.


We are now waiting for a suitable break in the southerlies to enable us to get to Cape Town to join friends for Christmas.

On the family side – Susan is delighted to have become a great aunt with the birth of Emily to Simon and Susie.

In 2016 we hope to visit Namibia, cross the South Atlantic and be in the Caribbean by May or June.


We send our love and the compliments of the season to you and yours.

Susan & Richard


Some more pictures from the year


  • Launching a New Year lantern for good luck - Koh Phayam, Thailand
  • The Hippy Bar, Koh Phayam, Thailand
  • Strong Grandson! Highcliff, UK
  • Unusual marina visitor, Puteri Harbour, Malaysia
  • Sunset, Direction Island, Cocos Keeling
  • Mid-ocean ice cream - all the way from Singapore!
  • Indian Ocean sea-scape
  • Coastal scenery - Rodrigues
  • Our four grandsons
  • Giant tortoise - Rodrigues
  • No scrubbing the hull in this marina! - Reunion
  • Rainbow across the valley - Cirque de Cilaos, Reunion
  • Cascade de Langevin, Reunion
  • Trou de Fer from the air - note the helicopter
  • Cirque de Marfate - Reunion
  • Trou de Fer from the lookout - again, note the helicopter
  • Eruption and lava flows, le Volcan, Reunion
  • Nile crocodile - iSimangaliso Wetland Park
  • Hippopotamus - iSimangaliso Wetland Park
  • Collapsing marina, Tuzi Gazi, Richards Bay
  • Lion - Hluhluwi Game Reserve
  • Elephants - Imfolozi Game Reserve
  • White rhinocerus - Hluhluwi Game Reserve
  • African buffalo having his ear cleaned - Hluhluwi Game Reserve
  • Impala - Imfolozi Game Reserve
  • Giraffes - Spioenkop Nature Reserve
  • The road to the Sani Pass - Southern Drakensberg
  • Just into Lesotho at the top of the sani Pass
  • Bushman rock art - Kamberg, Drakensberg
  • Sandstone layer, Monk's Cowl, Central Drakensberg
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13 December 2015, Point Yacht Club, Durban, RSA

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