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

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Ilha Grande to Rio Grande

IG swallows

The month of August flew by on Marcy. We made a quick stop at ICAR (Iate Clube Angra dos Reis) which turned into a week. We were anchored in a large flat bay well protected from ocean swell with free wifi and a restaurant and snack bar ashore. The only draw back was the weekend powerboat traffic to the fuel dock nearby.

ICAR power boat scene 1 . ICAR power boat scene

With the good natured skippers zooming by at full speed we had to make sure everything on the boat was well secured as we rolled gunnel to gunnel in the wakes. We have never taken green water over the bow at a protected inland anchorage in calm weather before!

With almost 1000 nm ahead of us and time running out on our visas we had to move on. We said goodbye to our friends on Estrela with hopes to see them back in the states.

Estrela crew

We stopped for two beautiful days at Ilha Itanhanga.

Ilha Itanhanga

The weekend traffic was fun to watch as local boaters came out to take advantage of the warm weather.

fishing yacht

The floating restaurant was very popular.

Ilha Paqueta floating rest

Our boat project for the weekend was a timely cleaning of the bottom, propeller scraping and replacement of the zincs that had almost completely disappeared from the skeg. After a couple of hours in the water, two days in a row, we fondly remembered the warm water of the Pacific and all those hours spent cleaning the Marcy's bottom. The water at this time of year here is barely tolerable in a thin wetsuit for 2 hours. Bahia de Ilha Grande is almost out of the tropics so with anticipation of colder weather ahead we knew this would be our last opportunity for extended boat projects in the water.

Bye Bahia de Ilha Grande

Our last stop before heading to sea was the port town of Parati. The historic part of town is well preserved and brightly painted.

Parati old town . Parati old town 2

The old church graces the waterfront

Parati church

which is dominated by tourist schooners and boats for hire.

schooner bows Parati

Parati is the hub for many small villages only accessible by water in this area and as such is also a working port.

shopping delivery Parati . horse cart Parati

We are impressed by how many horses are used in Brazil for normal day to day transport.

sea wall 2 Parati

One of the most unusual features of the town is that some of the streets flood at high tide.

sea wall Parati

One afternoon as we returned from the grocery store we discovered that high tide combined with sudden strong onshore winds can flood the streets quickly and thoroughly. We had to wade through knee deep water for several blocks to get back to the quay and rescue Hootie from the cement stairs where we had tied up in calm weather. Marcy was almost directly upwind from the quay so a 10 minute row turned into an hour epic adventure with waves slopping over the bow while Peter struggled to make contact between oars and water and Ginger pumped water out over the stern. Unfortunately we didn't have the camera with us for the dramatic water adventure, but it's just as well since everything was thoroughly soaked by the time we got to Marcy.

With provisions aboard the weather was perfect for another hop south. We hauled anchor and sailed out among the schooners.

schooner Parati

With just 2 weeks left on our visas we planned to clear out of the country in Florianopolis (Floripa to locals) and then make the 600 mile trip to Uruguay in one hop. Our 350nm trip to Floripa was uneventful. We had good northerly winds and arrived quickly. We passed rafts of floating penguins, proving that we were well out of the tropics!

CRAM penguin

As the sun set we ducked in to Floripa while a brisk northerly wind built. The waves in the anchorage increased and tossed the boat around a bit. We launched the dinghy and went ashore to chat with the yacht club. We were told by the yacht club employee that it was impossible to clear out of the country there with customs. So we decided it was necessary to make an effort to get to Rio Grande quickly. During our stop at Floripa we had missed 24 hours of perfect wind for heading south but the forecast appeared to be OK for leaving. Not great, but OK sailing weather. We left Florianopolis, got 20 miles down the coast and had to run for cover from a front that passed through.

coastal fishing Fpolis

We took our cue from the fishermen and started out again the next morning. Most of the miles went by quickly. Night 3, With just 44 nm to Rio Grande we thought we would make it in by morning, but it was not to be. The wind increased and came from the SW. In the middle of the night intense lightning began. With almost continuous strikes all around the boat we watched hoping we would not be hit. Then we experienced a complete calm that lasted about a minute. A reversal of the wind direction suddenly occurred, and soon we encountered rapidly building wind and seas. And rain. The rain was so fierce it was as if we were swimming on deck. We thought the rain was bad until it turned to hail! We furled the jib to ease the boat, heeling rail under by now. We started the engine hoping to at least keep moving a knot or two in the correct direction. The seas built quickly, within 20 minutes we could no longer motor. Our propeller was popping out of the water every other wave. We killed the engine, unfurled a few feet of jib and hove to. After 24 stormy hours we were able to resume sailing. As we inspected Marcy we were glad to see the damage seemed to be limited to a torn jib and lots of water down below - everywhere. The force of waves landing on deck had found every possible entrance. Then we began the heartbreaking task to tack (for 2 days!) up wind to get close again to Rio Grande. As the temperatures dropped outside to 50F (and inside to 55F) we would have been happy if the seas had been calm enough to run our heater and dry out, but no such luck. Finally after sailing an additional 250 nm we were at the entrance to Rio Grande. It was a hard won landfall and one that we were glad to enjoy. We later learned that the Rio Grande bar had been closed for 3 days, winds were clocked at sustained 80 kph and a fishing boat was lost further north in the same storm. We were indeed lucky to have faired so well.

CRAM dock Rio Grande

To be welcomed at the Oceanographic Museum was the sweetest part of this journey. How fortunate we felt. Our host, Lauro, prepared a feast and invited us to join him.

Chez Lauro

The museum is an animal refuge and a yacht refuge indeed.

reserve museum sunset

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At 7:59 PM, Blogger Don said...

Glad your safe. That sounded like a harrowing trip in spots. Ahh but it is life on the boat. Nice pics. Keep up the good work.

At 6:29 PM, Blogger Jack & Linda said...

Marcy, Marcy
Good on you. Sounds adventurous and challenging. Good pic of the penguin. South America sounds very intriguing. Cheers Linda & Jack


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