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Annual Summary of 2012

"Arctracer" spent almost all of 2012 in South Africa and sailed 1815 miles. We sailed from Richards Bay on the Indian Ocean around the bottom of the continent to Saldanha Bay on the Atlantic Ocean, enjoyed seeing wildlife in several National Parks and had an excellent tour of the southern part of the country with Hilary and Rick. We flew to the USA to spend considerable time with our mothers and other family members. Our year ended with a sail back south to windy Cape Town just to check out and then a good sail north to Namibia where we started exploring a new country.

January - In Richards Bay we enjoyed socializing with other cruisers at restaurants near Tuzi Gazi, braais at the Zululand Yacht Club and on morning walks. We drove rental cars several times to iMfalozi National Park and iSimangalosi Wetland Park at St. Lucia for wonderful sightings of many African animals and birds. The "Vamp" crew took us in their car to the southern Drakensberg mountains where we went up Sani Pass to visit the country of Lesotho. Nina went through the arduous process of applying for a South African visa extension. Jerry flew to the USA to visit his mother.

February - Nina was given a visa extension for less time than she requested, forcing us to change airline reservations at significant expense and cut short our South African tour with Hilary and Rick. We rode 1673 miles with Kim and Carmel of "Vamp" through the country of Swaziland to visit Kruger National Park and Blyde River Canyon on an outstanding eight-day camping trip.

March - We sailed from Richards Bay around the bottom of Africa with stops at East London and Knysna to Saldanha Bay. It was a considerable relief to have a good passage past the potential dangers of this often-stormy area. In Saldanha Bay we spent several days relaxing at anchor in the West Coast National Park.

April - We enjoyed touring the Postberg Reserve with a friendly landowner, seeing several new-to-us species of animals. We had a new spinnaker made, moved "Arctracer" into Yachtport marina and toured southern South Africa for twelve days with Hilary and Rick. Highlights included Cango Cave, Addo Elephant Park, Cape Agulhas, Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain, "Taste of Cape Town" and a "Bunnyventure". We flew to New York.

May - We rode AMTRAK to Vermont, stayed in Hartland with Gary and Sue enjoying happy hours, barbeques and televised sports and started visiting our mothers two or three times each week. We bought new passports, a new camera and a Kindle and rented a VW Jetta from Craig. We stayed several days with Hope and Denny in Essex Junction playing canasta and riding bicycles.

June - We drove to Brooklyn and took Hilary and Rick to Dorothy and Dan's in Washington, DC where we all enjoyed Dorothy's "Artomatic" installation. We walked up Oak Hill and around Concord with Sara and had pizza with her, Nico, Steph and others. We rode with Gary and Sue to visit Erin and Shannon and their families in Washington DC suburbs and went camping on Grand Isle with Gary, Sue, Hope and Denny. We went to the Vermont Quilt Festival organized by Pat, played bridge with Betty & Dennis at Metcalf Pond, and celebrated Becky & Jim's 50th Anniversary at a family reunion in St Albans.

July - In Essex Junction we played canasta and bridge, Jerry played a little golf, and we partied at Metcalf Pond. In Hartland we continued visits with mothers and Nina scanned albums of family photos and gave copies to siblings. We walked in Clough State Park and at Quechee gorge with Jennifer and her family and visited them in Concord. Gary broke his hip and we tried to help during his convalescence. We enjoyed a Valley Terrace party with Mom, Polly, John and Pat. We attended a nice Ballard family reunion and were glad that Hilary and Rick were able to be there too. We visited Pat in Underhill and admired all the renovations of her house.

August - We enjoyed a wine trip to Finger Lakes with Nina's siblings, then helped stain Gary and Sue's deck. Nina had lunch with Jennifer, Roberta, and Gerry, former co-workers from Williston Central School. We attended the Quechee village reunion organized primarily by Dawn, enjoyed the Fitzgerald family reunion at Judy's and spent more time in Essex Junction with family and friends. We lunched and walked in Keene with Nico, Steph and Nancy. Nina went to the engagement shower for Donna and Jerry got a crown on one of his teeth. We spent an evening with Pat and Miles, their family and their friends from Sweden. At month's end we took AMTRAK to New York, had fun at "Avenue Q" with Hilary and Rick and flew to Cape Town.

September - We moved "Arctracer" from Yachtport to a mooring at Saldanha Bay Yacht Club and started making boat repairs, installing new equipment and restocking. It was cold and often windy so we needed to dress warmly. Nina started research on Namibia. We did some walking to see the spectacular Spring wildflowers and rode with Wade and Marysia of "Pintado" to visit Eland's Bay.

October - We continued preparing the boat for passages. We bought new batteries and new cockpit curtains, installed new carpeting, got the hawsepipe mended and repaired the front beam. We saw more birds in the West Coast National Park.

November - We enjoyed Saldanha Bay Yacht Club braais and good fellowship. We installed a new radar and finished preparing the boat for passages. We sailed back to Cape Town (required by Immigration) and checked out of South Africa. We were held captive in Cape Town by very strong winds for several days.

December - We had a fine passage from Cape Town, South Africa to Walvis Bay, Namibia and went on a land tour with Jennifer and Antonio. We spent several days in amazing Etosha Natinal Park, then drove into Botswana and took an overnight tour to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. We put our feet on Angola and Zambia for a few minutes too. An evening cruise on the Chobe River gave many great sightings of animals and birds and the Christmas day ride through Chobe National Park was equally rewarding.

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