St. Helena to Brazil
Our last 24 hours on Saint Helena were busy. We went ashore to have one more check of the weather and ended up having a beer with Ann at her favorite watering hole. She's the retired proprietor of the famous “Ann's Place” a must stop for all yachties in Jamestown.
On our way out of town we signed a flag at “Ann's” left by friends who passed by earlier this year.
We couldn't leave the island without a quick swim. And what a luxury to swim and then take a shower ashore! There were thousands of yellow and white fish called “common fish” by the Saints. It felt like swimming through clouds of tree leaves in the water.
There was much to see on the bottom with old ship anchors and evidence of wrecks from the last 300 years. We should have snorkeled Marcy's anchor while we were in the water to see if the anchorage was equally dodgy. Turns out it was!
Luckily the ferry was close and the skipper swung by to be of assistance. The huge tangle was too much to be handled by Peter's acrobatics off the bow.
The swell was considerable so even with the ferry it was a tough job. With just one ding in Marcy's paint (the first one hurts the most, right?) we were off.
The first day and night of the passage were cloudy making the nights dark and the days ominous. We had plenty of wind and fast conditions. The movement of the boat after our stair climb sprint on St. Helena had us limping around with our screaming legs as the boat lurched with each wave. As the wind eased the clouds cleared. The first four days were so fast we'd covered a third of our mileage! We were expecting a weather change and it arrived exactly as forecast. The wind died, the spinnaker was set and we continued for another 24 hours at a slow pace. Finally the wind disappeared to nothing and we fired up the motor. With our new awning attached to the back of the spray dodger we enjoyed the calm motoring days and wondered how we ever survived the tropics without such quality cockpit shade.
The ocean was so beautiful it was easy to do our watches and be entertained by the texture of the water.
The few birds that were about were forced to expend much energy for fishing. Normally they get lift off the top of the waves as they soar in the steady wind but, like us they had to use their “engine” during the calm.
We don't use the motor to make mileage in a calm but rather to make the motion better in the large ocean swell. We motored for the longest stretch we've ever done at one time, 40 hours, with not much to do but keep an eye out for traffic (saw only one ship in 2 days) and read.
By then end of our marathon motor we were both relieved to shut off the engine and enjoy the peace of sailing. The wind came back, more or less, over the next 24 hours and during that time we hoisted the spinnaker. The spinnaker guy ripped the starboard nav light off the bow and tossed it in the water. We'd been planning to move that light anyway because it was in the way. The only other casualty of the trip was a temporary clogging of the large stove burner due to a tricky yogurt transfer in rough seas. This job was tackled by the Captain with typical good humor.
Unfortunately, we don't have spare screws for the burner and one of the old ones is a bit frozen. We decided after much effort that it would be prudent to finish that project with spares in hand.
We crossed 2 shipping lanes on this passage and were surprised to see so many ships. We encountered 3 ships which were on courses that would bring them within less than one mile of Marcy. All were easily avoided.
We've started a new tradition on Marcy this season arriving in ports during the middle of the day. We like that! Though it's possible to stand off all night waiting for daylight we've been lucky to have our last few arrivals during daylight and actually seeing land on approach is always exciting. Vitoria is beautiful from the ocean.
Labels: 2009 - 05 South Atlantic Ocean