It was a dazzling palette of blues all around as we made our way across the expansive estuary, our sails sculpted by a gentle offshore breeze. With a cloud-studded sky overhead and the warm embrace of the summer sun on our backs, we made our way towards the Knysna Heads. It was incredible to think that our yacht the ‘Outeniqua’ has been navigating this celebrated liquid landscape for 21 years now. I wondered at the moment, just how many times since its maiden voyage, had it made the passage through the regal sandstone cliffs that stand sentinel at the mouth of the estuary?
The aesthetic allure of this watery world provides Springtide Charters with the ideal platform from which to introduce visitors to the beauty of Knysna’s magnificent coastline. And this old seafaring gal is just as lovely as she was when she was first built 21 years ago by owner Stephan Pepler, only the teak hardwood decks are now bleached-blonde from years of sun, sea and salt. Built following the design of naval architect Phil Southwell, the Outeniqua’s sleek, contemporary lines, shallow draft and expansive sails allow for both fast ocean-racing and luxury cruising – whichever floats your boat!
Dwarfed by the grandeur of the two massive headlands, the Outeniqua glided gracefully into the big blue, sailing parallel to the striking sandstone formations which characterise this stretch of coastline. The thrill of sailing, the heady scent of salt air filling our nostrils and the picturesque backdrop combined, made for an unforgettable ocean-going experience.
Birds of many different species peppered the skies above as the wind propelled us forward. In the distance, Cape gannets dived from great heights, like arrows, into the ocean and a lone yellow-nosed albatross scooped in next to us with its wings outstretched, skirting the ocean’s surface. After an hour of pure, unadulterated freedom and exhilarating sailing, the yacht turned and made its way slowly back towards the estuary mouth.
Once the yacht was once again sailing across the quieter waters of the lagoon, the agile deck hands busied themselves with pouring cold, crisp bubbly and laying out a delectable sunset spread of savoury snacks, seasonal fruit and a cheese and bread platter for all the guests on board. The sunset washed the horizon in golden hues, until eventually all the colours drained from the day and the blinking lights of the Knysna Waterfront beckoned us. As we entered the busy quays, the animated sounds of summer revelry could be heard all around.
Summertime in Knysna is a magical time to be alive. So, what are you waiting for? Step onboard the Outeniqua for a sunset cruise…we will cast off the bowlines, raise the sails to the wind and take you on thrilling ocean journey of a lifetime.