Motoring out to Robben Island - looking back at Table Mountain

Freedom Swim part I: Boating to Robben Island

Cranes and boats at the V&A Waterfront, half hidden by mist
Cranes and boats at the V&A Waterfront, half hidden by mist

The Freedom Swim series is a series of timed open water swims around the Cape Peninsula. Tony provided support to three swimmers who planned to complete the 7.5 kilometre swim from Robben Island in Table Bay, to Big Bay on the Blouberg coast. The day started extremely early, as I went to meet the swimmers at the V&A Waterfront at 0700 while Tony launched the boat at Oceana Power Boat Club.

Cape Town Stadium shrouded in mist
Cape Town Stadium shrouded in mist

Once I’d collected the swimmers’ gear, refreshments and warm clothes, I went to meet Tony in Granger Bay. There was a thick mist over the Atlantic seaboard, and all the boats who were helping with the swim were drifting on the flat sea just outside OPBC. It took a long time, but when the mist started to clear we could see Cape Town Stadium looming over us.

Tony waiting for the mist to clear
Tony waiting for the mist to clear

We did a lot of standing by to stand by, and then we did some standing by. It was very quiet in the mist!

Other boats wait in the mist
Other boats wait in the mist

At about 1030, after waiting for several hours, we got the go-ahead to set a course for Robben Island. Tony enjoyed testing the motors on Seahorse, as they’ve recently been changed. (And yes, we did get to the island first.)

Robben Island
Robben Island

The meeting point and start of the swim was Murray’s Bay Harbour on the eastern side of Robben Island. The swimmers were to start in two groups: the first swimmers would be in swimsuits (and Vaseline), and the second group, which included our swimmers, would be in wetsuits. We had numbers corresponding to our swimmers attached to the side of the console.

A blanket of mist below Table Mountain
A blanket of mist below Table Mountain

I loved seeing Table Mountain from the sea. What I particularly liked is that the strip of mist below the mountain hid all signs of human settlement (including Cape Town harbour and the abominable Disa Park towers, but excluding the cable station), which let me imagine what this place might have looked like to early visitors to Table Bay.

Motoring out to Robben Island - looking back at Table Mountain
Motoring out to Robben Island – looking back at Table Mountain

We are so fortunate to live here!

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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