_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Saturday, May 30, 2009

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.

One last beer ashore with Ann

On our way out of town we signed a flag at “Ann's” left by friends who passed by earlier this year.

Sign flag at Ann's Place

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.

Quick dip St. Helena

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!

Parting gifts

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.

Multi purpose ferry

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.

Peter in shaded cockpit

S Atlantic calm

The ocean was so beautiful it was easy to do our watches and be entertained by the texture of the water.

calm ocean 1 . blue ocean 2

blue ocean 3 . blue ocean 4

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.

Atlantic sea bird

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.

stove doctor

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.

big ship passing

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.

arrival Vitoria


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Marcy Anchored with the Saints

Fort and Surf SH

Our passage from Africa was comfortable, if not fast. We ran in light winds for days without touching the wheel or the sheets. We were under a poled out jib and the spinnaker using the boom as an extra long pole for the spinnaker sheet.

Spin sheet on boom

It was exciting to see the island appear under a cap of clouds.

land ho St Helena

We anchored flying the Q flag as usual. We were told to remain on board until a doctor could come on board to check us for swine flu. Soon he arrived in one of the little ferry boats that service the anchorage and cleared us to go ashore.

Marcy Jamestown

St Helena ferry

On the ride to the famous “steps” Ginger asks the ferryman about island facilities. The steps are set in the quay. We we timed the ocean surge and jumped ashore at the same spot where countless navy captains and Napolean himself did.

Ginge and Ferryman

St Helena provided us with a nice break in the Atlantic crossing. It's not a large island, and the anchorage is deep and rolly (being just an open roadstead on the ocean,) but it is fun to explore and has a long and interesting history. It is famous for being Napolean's jail and final resting place. The locals, called Saints, speak English but with a dialect we have a very hard time understanding. So we smile and nod our heads.....

Anchors and cannons are everywhere. Hundreds of years of Royal Navy presence have left their mark.

anchor and cannon

We enjoyed the very English feel of the town. We saw churches, historical plaques, gardens with topiary, and a public library – said to be the oldest in the southern hemishpere.

country church

Jamestown gate


SH public library

There is even an olympic sized swimming pool built in the old moat.

Jamestown moat . pool entrance
pool lifeguards . water wings for all

We found it easy to complete our errands in town. We visited the customs and immigration offices.

waiting for immigration

We chatted with the prison warden while we waited for immigration to arrive.

SH prison warden

We visited the bank, conveniently located in the post office, to get some St. Helena pounds. No ATM on this island

SH post office

SH bank

Ginge at bank

We took showers in an ancient port structure built into the cliff wall.

wharf showers

inside shower bldg

We found a cafe with internet to catch up on our correspondence.

internet and coffee

You know it's a small island when you see single digit license plates.

car no 6

Remember the doctor who checked us for fever? He and his wife encountered us walking in town and kindly offered to take us for a drive in the “country” and off we went for an eight hour tour. The island is covered with one lane roads and hiking trails.

Ginger Elza and Sarel

Bird's eye view of town . Jamestown and bay

It was wonderful to see the luscious green vegetation inland.

SH green country . hillside road

We visited the governor's country house where Jonathan, the famous tortoise, lives with his friends. It's a bit scary when you get close because they take in a big breath and then exhale and start moving. Then it becomes clear that the breathing is in preparation for a push-up so they can be properly scratched on the head.


Ginge and Jonathan

After the tour, Sarel and Elza invited us home for coffee. Home for them is Maldivia House, where Napolean stayed sometimes.

Maldivia entrance

Maldivia front porch

Back on board, we attacked the repairs needed before setting out again. The jib needed some work and we spent the better part of two days wrestling with the stiff material rerunning the leech line.

Jib repair 2 . Jib repair 4

There is a set of steps (699 of them) running up one of the hills surrounding Jamestown, called the “Jacob's ladder.” It's a sailor's must to climb it, so we headed ashore early in the morning before the day got hot.

G n P on ladder

The view of the town and anchorage from the top is spectacular.

Jamestown from Ladder Hill

Heading down . a long way down

Down went faster than up, and back at the “steps” we launched Red Dogfish to paddle back to Marcy. We were reminded of the Marquesas in French Polynesia as we carefully timed our loading operation between ocean waves. The grab ropes are a great addition to complete a tricky process.

Quay launch SH

Marcy is ready to set off again, so we're heading off refreshed after our enjoyable stay at St. Helena.

SH plant