We were lucky and not so lucky!

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This week was the week of almost disaster. This was the week where we were put in our place and made to understand the might of an ocean.

FishingWe’ve all seen those dramatic, lump in the throat images on the big screen. Those of huge ocean liners that are rolled onto their sides and engulfed by waves the size of mountains. It always seemed surreal to me, vaguely possible but inevitably it remained in the category of tsunami fiction. This week we had reality visit us like we have not imaged it would. Rowing in our second hour of the morning session in tough conditions; we had a giant wave hit us and capsize our entire boat. I was thrown entirely out while Vasti hung on for dear life. We were lucky; and not so lucky.

Vasti spotted the swell after I had already called for her to row ‘left’. Usually a term to warn each other of a breaking wave. The boat needed to turn for it not to hit us side on. This case the wave was racing towards us from the left. Vasti only had time to join me on one strong left oar stroke before the wave came crashing onto us and over. The wave made contact with the aft(back) left side of the boat forts, exactly where I am seated still trying to make another oar stroke while Vasti says she could see the wave break over me and then she just remember grabbing on for dear life. Her decision at the moment probably wiser than mine. She held onto the safety harnesses either side of her, leaving her oars to flay wildly about.

For me I remember the violent impact, then seeing white, the boat falling down over me and then the realization that my feet were stuck in the foot holds. I thought of Vasti and if she would be able to get out. And then…. Then it was over. I spluttered water out my mouth, wiped my hair away and came to the rope clasped firmly in my right hand. I don’t know how it got there. I was alongside the boat, a few meters away, and saw Vasti still in her original rowing position. Her face draped in fear. For me it still felt like a dream.

For Vasti, she remembers looking to her right as the boat was hit downwards. Then she was underwater and holding on no matter what. It’s what I had begged her to do if this ever happened. The boat had rolled right over her. She too realized her feet were stuck in the footholds and, still while turned upside down, under water, Vasti clearly remembers telling herself to focus on the undoing of her feet. She began to untie her feet but at the same time she could feel the self righting design of the boat kicking in. Relief engulfed her as she realized the boat was turning her back to the surface. And that’s when she saw me in the water, outside of the boat. Vasti screamed to swim as fast as I could, unknown to her that I had the rope in hand. We were lucky.

What though has been a very demoralizing aspect to this accident is that our Imtech Communications Satelite phone has been damaged beyond repair. We spent a day and a half successfully drying out the interior electronics of the exterior dome that holds the satellite receiver, to get it to work again.

This was the way we did all our radio interviews, sent the photos for our articles and more importantly how we weekly made contact with loved ones. I know Vasti especially is going to miss the Sunday afternoon chat to her mom and dad, her very emotional and understandably rejuvenating chats.

As to the guys at Imtech Communications, I can imagine they have already begun mobilizing friends in ships all over the Atlantic Ocean. Maybe we will see some magic delivery of sorts in the next few weeks.

We are safe, rattled but grateful for our good fortune. Africa to USA is not an easy thing, or else everybody would be doing it. Wouldn’t they?

Riaan and Vasti are attempting to be the first in history to row from mainland Africa to New York, USA.

Follow us on our Facebook page: Take Me 2 New York and @TM2NY on Twitter. For live updates on position and progress visit http://my.yb.tl/TM2NY.

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Arrival at the Canary Island

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Let’s just cut to the chase and say that we really didn’t know what we had got ourselves into for this journey. It’s as simple as that. From a ship nearly running over us to waves the size of buildings throwing us and our little boat around for 24 hours! It was a week where we again learnt that there is no reward without hardship.

The dream has been to depart from mainland Africa and arrive a few months later on mainland USA. We didn’t understand why most people have avoided the Africa to Canary Islands section. It’s clear to Vasti and me now after spending 13 days, 500km of slogging away against unfavourable rowing conditions and overcoming storms that locals say they haven’t seen in years.

Samir Benjoulloun, our friend from Agadir Marina in Morocco reported the worst damage his marina has seen in decades. 12 pontoons and three structural pillars destroyed by the storm that Vasti and I believe taught us what we have been missing. Experience. Samir is surprised we didn’t require, or even request an evacuation this last week.

The sea was very angry but reached its peak Thursday. The swell from the North West was advertised at 7 meters and the winds at a gusting 50 knots in exactly the opposite direction! This Thursday Vasti and I awoke at 4 am as usual to a sea that was frothing and agitated like we had never seen. In the darkness you could still see the white foam around us from breaking waves. We didn’t think it could get worse. It did. Waves in the early morning were dramatically breaking entirely over our boat. The afternoon though held the true test. Locked inside our little box cabin we could often visually make out waves about to hit us but normally sound would give it away first. The thunderous rumble of breaking waves is deafening.

Vasti and I lay down at one point to try “de stress”. I heard a huge rumble coming towards us and made her brace for serious impact. The boat shook, the window darkened and we bounced around the cabin. We both laughed nervously but both aware of what our little boat was enduring. No less than ten seconds had passed when we heard another thunderous sound, similar but louder than the one before. I warned Vasti to hold on even tighter this time.

Our boat was smashed, rolled onto its side and then washed dozens of meters to one side. The wave had obviously broken just before us and the foam wall had engulfed us entirely. We were in shock. I was worried for Vasti and my safety right then, as I had not before on this journey. The adventure was ‘real’ now and promptly had us both don life jackets, our GPS rescue beacons and clothing that would keep us warm in open seas!

It was only till the following morning that Vasti and I got to see the brutality of the storm. Our parachute anchor (water anchor), that for us is the most crucial piece of equipment in a storm, had been ripped apart by the ferocity of the ocean. I have always said this in my other journeys; “you will never win against the sea”. The fact is she doesn’t even know she is wrestling with you.

But with trauma does come some happiness. The guys from Dion Wired and Imtech Satellite Communication in Cape Town had been hard at work to make our satellite phone operational all week. The miracle is they had it done the morning right after the storm. It was emotional for me to see Vasti chatting to her parents. They needed the chat as much as Vasti did. This satellite set up, specifically designed for our boat is what will bring the articles and pictures to you from middle of the Atlantic.

The fact that a giant cargo ship, over 300m in length, nearly ran us over now pales into the insignificant category after such a wild week. The captain of this passing ship, via UHF radio, was quite blasé about his near miss though. While I shone a led flashing light in their direction, Vasti chatted to him. Vasti’s main concern was whether he had actually seen us while passing so close by, especially that it was at night. His response was candid, brief and in a heavy Spanish accent.

“We are good sailors, do not worry. Sleep well.”

We arrived safely in Lanzarote, the most easterly Canary Island, on Saturday night. Had a pizza and a beer for dinner and then slept for 12 hours. We plan to row down the islands and hopefully make it to open ocean again by early this week. Remember to enter the ‘Take me to New York’ competition to join us at the finish in the Big Apple. We have a long way to go but fortunately a long way with a tad more experience.


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Opening of Camissa

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Table Bay Hotel’s Camissa the new social hotspot this summer

You’ve seen the splendour of Cape Town, heard its lively beat and felt the warmth of its people. Now complete the experience by tasting the best the region has to offer at our newest food adventure – the Camissa brasserie.

The brasserie is named after the Khoisan word for Cape Town, offers diners a relaxing and sensory experience while overlooking the busy, working harbour inside the scenic V&A Waterfront. Camissa also includes a separate wine bar and wine tasting room and an elegant private dining space for those special occasions.

Our Executive Chef, Jocelyn Myers-Adams has pulled out all the stops with her locally inspired and sourced menu. The focus is on a holistic approach to food, using the finest, freshest ingredients sourced from local farmers. Food is presented in beautifully simple dishes where home-grown flavours shine and we cannot wait for you to taste it for yourself.

At Camissa we invite you to indulge in mouth-watering dishes like: Willow creek olive, fennel and lemon tapenade with cornbread crisps; Rooibos tea smoked Franschhoek trout with watercress, radish, celeriac and apple, hibiscus vinaigrette and Oscar lager braised Karan beef short rib with parsnip puree, local porcinis and rainbow asparagus.

Complementing the menu is a wine list that captures the very essence of the Cape and its Winelands regions. The extensive list of local wines will find favour with all tastes, ranging from full-bodied mature wines to lighter, more youthful ones, from established to small niche local wineries.

Camissa offers a gourmet experience that takes local flavour to a new level of excellence. Our doors open on 12 December 2013 and operating hours are Monday to Saturday 11h00 to 15h30, 18h00 to 22h30 and Sunday 18h00 to 22h30. Please call Ilse on 021 406 5988 to book your spot.

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It’s the small things that count

Sun International’s Table Bay Hotel at the V&A Waterfront will be celebrating National Marine Week between 7 and 11 October 2013. Executive Chef, Jocelyn Myer-Adams has created a special Marine Week Set Menu that not only celebrates our spectacular ocean heritage, but also celebrates our diverse culinary heritage.

“In Cape Town we are intrinsically linked to the sea – it surrounds us. As much as we gain enjoyment from our beautiful coastline we need to be reminded that the ocean’s future is also our future and we need to protect its biodiversity,” says Executive Chef Jocelyn Myer-Adams.

For only R275 you will enjoy a 3-course set menu. For starters, enjoy Oscar Lager steamed mussels with farm style mealie bread. The Table Bay’s Oscar Lager is brewed with Jack Black Beer in Woodstock using locally sourced ingredients and water fresh from the springs of Table Mountain.

The main course is seared yellowtail with confit waterblommetjie, fennel and garden wild garlic rice and vine tomato relish. Yellowtail is sustainable and delicious and the unusual flavours are inspired. Waterblommetjies translated means water flowers. They are indigenous to the Western Cape and are also known as Cape Asparagus.

The dessert course is a refreshing combination of fresh summer berries with Méthode Cap Classique sabayon and lavender meringue. The Sabayon mousse dessert from our French Huguenot heritage offers a delicious melt-in-the-mouth end to a great celebration.

Marine Week is not only about eating Green List fish, it is also an opportunity to take this opportunity to get closer to this wonderful natural resource – explore the seashore, discover where two oceans meet, build a sandcastle or spend an afternoon snorkelling with playful Cape Fur seals.

Cape Town’s coastline is rich in marine life and ecosystems but demands by commercial fisheries, fishermen and recreational anglers are proving too immense for this fragile ecosystem to survive. These factors and the increase of marine pollution have caused the decline of many species. Marine Week reminds us to take care of our coastline and its inhabitants in order to help conserve and utilise this natural resource in a more sustainable manner.

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Fashion Week in Cape Town

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It’s nearly Fashion Week in Cape Town (Thursday, 8 to Saturday, 10 August 2013) and to coincide with this exciting event,

The Table Bay Hotel is launching a special fashion high tea menu, in collaboration with fashion designers, Stefania and Shana Morland.

Stefania Morland’s Summer 2013/2014 is inspired by a great South African abstract artist, Walter Battiss. Battiss’ bold use of colour, hieratic and symbolic characters and his appreciation for beauty and the sensual treatment of the human form is brilliantly captured in Morland’s new collection, which will be launched at Fashion Week and at The Table Bay Hotel.

This year orange is the new black,” exclaims Stefania Morland. “In my new Summer Collection you will see it often but in a totally new way. I’m very excited about this collection as it is the first time I have interpreted someone else’s artistry, and combined it with my own design flair.”

“Walter Battiss has been lauded by local and international art enthusiasts and I cannot imagine any other South African designer more suited to reflect this extraordinary artist’s work than Stefania and Shana Morland,” says Sherwin Banda, General Manager of The Table Bay Hotel. “She’s not giving away too much information about her new collection as she wants the fashion set to be stirred by her designs. I personally can’t wait!”

Lasting from 2 to 11 August, the Table Bay Hotel Fashion Week High Tea in The Lounge features savoury bites, cranberry scones, fashionable tortes, delectable desserts and cupcakes.

What highlights can you expect from Pastry Chef Bhupender “Bobby” Kumar An exquisite orange pleated mandarin cake, peach-pink Bavarois shorts with fresh fruit, red macaroons with rose ganache and chocolate ruffles, a gorgeous pink marshmallow hat and orange print chocolate éclairs.

We suspect you’ll be raving about our Fashion High Tea for months to come. The cost is R185.00 per person. For more information and to make a reservation call Ilse Barnard, at ilse.barnard@suninternational.co.za or telephone on 021 406 5988.

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Tripadvisor’s Top 25 Travelers’ Choice List

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Here’s some good news for The Mother City. Cape Town has been voted as one of the Top 25 Travelers’ Choice World Destinations as part of its 2013 TripAdvisor Destination Awards. This makes Cape Town the number one city in Africa.
The Travelers’ Choice Destination Awards are based on feedback from millions of travellers from around the world. The winners are chosen from travellers’ favourite and most visited destinations which are indicated on TripAdvisor’s Website and Facebook applications.
TripAdvisor recommends visits to Robben Island, Blaauwberg Beach, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve which has sweeping sea vistas, hiking trails and numerous wildlife encounters. Sun International’s Table Bay Hotel, ideally located at the V&A Waterfront, is a great base from which to enjoy all these excursions.

Listed below are the top 25 World’s Best Destinations, as listed by TripAdvisor for 2013:
1. Paris, France
2. New York City, USA
3. London, England
4. Rome, Italy
5. Barcelona, Spain
6. Venice, Italy
7. San Francisco, USA
8. Florence, Italy
9. Prague, Czech Republic
10. Sydney, Australia
11. Berlin, Germany
12. Istanbul, Turkey
13. Bangkok, Thailand
14. Chicago, USA
15. Tokyo, Japan
16. Cape Town, South Africa
17. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
18. Buenos Aires, Argentina
19. Marrakech, Morocco
20. St Petersburg, Russia
21. Beijing, China
22. Shanghai, China
23. Siem Reap, Cambodia
24. Chiang Mai, Thailand
25. Queenstown, New Zealand

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Table Bay’s Wine Pairing Suggestion

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  • Lamb Shank
  • Eagles Nest Shiraz – The nose gives way to prominent white pepper notes complimented by red berry fruits and twist of violets. These flavours are met on the palate by scents of leather and a touch of spice from the use of oak, all well integrated and upheld by firm tannins. The wine has a soft and creamy finish.


  • Grilled Salmon
  • Waterford Chardonnay Reserve – This wine shows bright aromas of citrus fruits supported by delicate oak flavours. The palate is full with a crisp acidity. The wine has a soft smooth finish

Mr Banda

  • Chateaubriand
  • Meerlust Rubicon – Ultra dark, intense, opaque & concentrated. The wine is very youthful with cerise rim. The wine has exuberant cassis fruit on the nose, black cherry, blackcurrant & nettle-bush followed by cigar box. Full bodied with a concentrated fruit core wrapped by lush, sleek tannins and an earthy minerality.


  • Lamb Rack
  • Tokara Directors Reserve – A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The wine has a complex array of aromas like cassis, dark chocolate and spice are evident on the nose. These flavours follow through a pallet that is full yet elegantly soft. Long smooth finish.
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Walking tour of the V&A Waterfront

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The antique breakwater made from the natural bedrock shelters the beautiful Table Bay Hotel – its earlier purpose was to break the force of the sea and to provide shelter for vessels lying inside.

Bartolomeu Dias was the first to sail into Table Bay in 1488. Back then, it was a deserted bay uninhabited and undeveloped. It was only in April 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck landed that the region started to develop. He had been commissioned by the Dutch East India Company to establish a supply station for Dutch ships travelling between Europe and the East Indies. The bay was a treacherous natural harbour and many sailing ships sunk or were driven ashore as a result of the inclement weather.

In 1859, plans were approved by the Cape governor, Sir George Grey for the construction of Cape Town’s first harbour. In September 1860, Midshipman HRH Prince Alfred, Queen Victoria’s second son, tipped the first load of stone to start construction of the breakwater for Cape Town’s first harbour. The Harbour was officially opened in 1870 by Prince Alfred together with his mother, Queen Victoria.

This is just a snippet of what you will see on the V&A Historical Walking Tour . Walk in the footsteps of the many legendary adventurers, prisoners and entrepreneurs that developed this iconic harbour. Experienced guides will regale you with its colourful history. There are over 20 cultural landmarks to visit. The journey begins at the Chavonnes Battery Museum and winds its way from Clock Tower Square to the Swing Bridge and onwards to Berties Landing and more sites.

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Date with design

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Donald Greig , one of the brothers of the Charles Greig Jewellers family, has a foundry at the V&A Waterfront . I’m fascinated by foundries. And it’s a pleasure to have one on my doorstep. I like to see the shape materialise as the wax mould is cast in bronze.

Donald’s bronze animal sculptures are incredible works of art. Each piece is appears to depict the essence of the animal he sculpts. His attention to detail is astonishing in its accuracy.

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V&A Market on the wharf

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The Table Bay Hotel is fortunate to have the best location in Cape Town ; to be a part of the V&A Waterfront is in essence to be at the very centre of the city. A new addition to this amazing destination is the Market on the Wharf.

I popped down the other morning to see what all the hullabaloo was about and fell in love. I am a foodie. I like to cook. Read cookery books. I’m addicted to MasterChef Australia. And, I like to eat good food. This new venture encompasses all those things. It includes a foodie bookshop, a demo kitchen, the College of Beer (which is something I’m not really into but it promotes locally crafted beers which I’m all for). The market also features natural body products. I had a poke around Lavender in Lavender Hill and came away with loads of products that I don’t need. I also tasted a few of the juices – I really liked the unusual baobab and aloe juice.
Whilst there I also visited the Gourmet Pantry stand and the Bosini brothers stand. They grow all of their vegetables organically on a farm in Kommetjie and any produce not used they pickle or can. I found them to be very entrepreneurial. And their fresh produce is fantastic.

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