Sunday, January 06, 2013

From Brazil to Tobago. December 2012

My dear friends,
First of all, apologise for such a long time without a post. The preparations for the journey from Natal to Tobago, took up quiet some time. Secondly, to all of you: a very happy 2013!
A few things have changed on board the Onda Boa:
Cris decided to invest more time in her personal goals and dreams (photography) and so she stayed in Brazil. As it is still an ocean of dreams, we keep the blog as it is.. she will contribute with great posts and photos from the land, and I will keep you guys up-to-date with the latest and greatest from the Caribbean. Then of course there is Lucky… after a difficult start (health issues) she is now back in to swing… growing fast, and behaving real well as a boat dog.. However the barking thing to strange inbound vessels that come too close to the Onda Boa, we still have to practice some more.
And last but not least, Rodrigo from Florianopolis (all-round sailor, and resident sea fisher), came along.
But, let me first try to put together some words that describe what it is to sail almost 1.900 nautical miles, non-stop. First of all, how much food, water etc do you need to take with you? Well, i can say we planned it carefully and it worked out great. We had great meals and we weren't short of anything (ok.. chocolate was gone a few days before arrival). Once you “round” the heel of Brazil.. it is basically a straight line to Tobago… nothing in between, and underneath the boat roughly 3000 meters of ocean… blue as blue can be…
The wind was moderate mostly blowing from the East/Southeast (Trade winds) and the waves came also out of the same direction. All in all: smooth. We ended up dividing the night shifts in blocks of 2,5 hours each, so from 19 hrs till 05 is 10 hours, so each would do two shifts at night. It was easy going really. In fact, i must confess, i would have liked to extend a couple of night shifts… as things were so great… stars, a crescent moon, the waves… The mind travels far and beyond (so, in fact.. during the night shifts no reading, no music.. just the boat, the wind and the waves..).. One by one the million voices inside my head either disappear or get quiet  and only one voice remains.. (Guardian Angel).. it is a meditation. Falling stars, and all of a sudden i saw the Great Bear constellation. Rarely a cargo vessel would appear on the horizon. During the day… great breakfasts, cleaning up and keeping the living quarters of the boat in tip-top conditions. Fishing… we have lost three artificial baits… Usually the fish would bite either early in the morning or in the evening… but the fish were too big and the boat was sailing too fast… the line snaps and end of story. But Rodrigo, able, managed to land in total two tuna fish… Which is always a messy situation.. a lot of blood etc.. Great fresh sashimi though.. and tuna stew, and grilled tuna and more sashimi.  Further we played domino during the day, a lot of domino actually. Reading, navigating, and getting the weather forecast through the Iridium internet connection (which by the way worked great, accurate and fast). This is how we spent a total of 15 days sailing.
The only major boat issue was the genaker halyard was cut of at the top of the mast (genaker in the water, but were able to recuperate quickly) and we used the halyard of the mainsail to get the genaker back up again). In light winds it was great to sail like that. We had our best day with 162 nm using only this sail.  The crossing of the Equator was a special emotion… the weather pattern changed, some rain (squalls) came by, the wind direction also changed and so it became rather bumpy… Neptune welcomed us with some refreshing rains and winds… Champagne of course… and yes we did check: water running into the sink drain, which way does it turn…. Indeed.. it doesn't, it just evenly flows out.
During the first week, we had regular radio contact (with SSB radio = single side band, high frequency long distant radio) with friends Gil and Alipio on board their Bar a Vento (some 800 miles ahead of us) and also Tadeu on his Aya (by that time already in Grenada).
The last two days the winds where too light to make sufficient miles, and so we decided, in order to arrive in Charlotteville (Tobago) during the day, to lower the mainsail, and reduce the genoa sail and sail with abt 3 knots (otherwise we would have arrived in the middle of the night, and that is never a good idea, especially if you are going to anchor in unknown ports. This worked out well and during the early morning hours of 27/12/12 we arrived in Charlotteville. We saw some 15 other sailboats at anchor including our friends Ricardo, Maite and their sons on their Soba and Guta and Fausto (Guruça Cat). We already had the boat nice and tidy, and Fausto invited us for a coffee and the first briefing with regards to paperwork and customs and immigration. We went over and in no time had all the paper work done. I must say that the bay we were anchored in, Pirate Bay, did remind me a lot of Ilha Grande (Angra dos Reis) and Paraty.. very similar views.
We went for a dive at the nearby rocks/reefs, and the rest of the day, relaxing and adjusting to the land life again…

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Cris Tina for your comments. Actualy the wind was blowing not so hard (maybe 12 knots..) but through the contstant swinging motion of the genaker (because of the wave action) the halyard got cut in about 2 hours after we had the sail up.

    Stay tuned for more updates...


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