Cooking in Gale
Cooking in Gale
I didn’t manage to post a blog before leaving Brazil and I have now been at sea since the 10th of February.
I made a decision to turn homewards from Florianpolis. The last few days sailing from Rio Grande had been very slow an so I stopped in Florianpolis to do some more research and reconcider my plan.
As I wanted to reach home by May I decided against sailing to Falkland Islands.
I do have a thing about remote islands and I wanted a final destination for my journey, so I took a course towards Tristan da Cunha. This also meant that I got much better winds than trying to sail north from Rio. And I would reach the borders of the Southern Ocean.
This island is difficult to visit as you can only anchor outside the harbour and only in good weather.
The sail to Tristan was great with mostly strong winds, and I got a sense of the southern ocean as the air and water temperature dropped and the whole atmosphere slowly changed, much to my liking. I also had some kind of whales swimming with Caprice for a while. They were not porpoisses but up to 4 meter in lenght.
Tristan da Cunha is truly magical. It is symmetrical in shape and towers up above the sea with majestic lines and the vulcano top straight in the middle. Absolutely beautiful! It is the most remote inhabited island in the world so I was pretty excited to see it, at the same time being aware that a visit entirely depends on the weather so I prepared myself for the worst scenario, that being just seing it from the water.
The day we where closing up on the island the wind was pretty weak so I was running the engine to get there before dark. Then a funny sound apperared and the engine cut out. I spent hours trying to fix it. I am rubbish with engines but I did everything I could figure out from the instruction manual. Eventually it started but only to cut out again after 20 minutes.
It was then dark as I approached the little lights from the settlement so I hove to for the night and sailed into the anchorage in the morning. I was REALLY lucky with the weather because the anchorage is not att all protected and the harbour entrance is subjected to the big swells from the Atlantic, meaning that you can only drive in and out of it on certain days. My rubber dinghy without an engine was entirely out of the question.
So I anchored up at about 10 in the morning Sunday the 6th of March on the koordinates given to me by the harbour master. The weather was beautiful, sunny, slight chilly but light wind.
A boat came to pick me up at about 12. This was lucky again as it costs £120 to hire one for the day but they where out anyway and so very kindly they didn’t charge me anything.
Tristanians are English citicens, and have had a commuinity there since the early 19th century, consisting of different shipwrecked people. A very interesting story.
Conrad, whom took care of my port clearance, remembered Sven Yrvind visiting the Island in Bris in the 70s (?) Conrad was then 13 years old.
After Conrad had cleared me in and stamped my passport with a beautiful Tristan stamp, Dawn, the head of tourism took me under her wing and I had an unforgettable day on this stunning and unique island. It was a Sunday and Dawn’s only day off so it was ever so kind of her to give me her time and she and her family made me feel so welcome.
I have never been is such a calm place, everybody I met had such a calm aura about them. The small village has one bar in which we had two drinks, one little shop and that is it.
Dawn, her husband and her daughter took me on a little drive to see the potato patches where all the familys has a little summer hut in which they often spend the weekends. It was the cutest thing I have every seen!
Amber, the 10 year old daughter told me that they where 4 children in their class and 25 students in the entire school. Nobody has mobile phones on the island. It was really a little paradise. Instead they communicate with VHF.
They keep cattle, sheep and chickens and Dawn very kindly gave me big chunk of lamb, potatoes, eggs and homegrown tomatoes for my onward journey. I lived very happily on lamb and potato stew for a few days. And those eggs where amazing!
At about 5 in the afternoon I was driven back to Caprice in a zodiak. You really need a fast boat to be able to drive in and out of the harbour entrance with big swells coming in. And you have to chose the right time, just after one wave and before the next one comes crashing in.
The plan was that I was to be picked up by a fishing boat in the morning to spend one more day on Tristan.
However, in the morning they called me on the VHF to say that the swells had grown and no boats could enter the harbour that day nor the following day.
So I had no choice but to anchor up and go. It made me realise how lucky I had been to get one day ashore, an experience I will never forget.
We had our first gale a couple of days after leaving Tristan. It was supposedly 14-19m/s (I have no wind meter onboard). Unfortunately it was from the North so we couldn’t go quite where we wanted. Caprice sailed very well on a beam with 3rd reef and a tiny bit of front sail. The Aries steering very nicely. As soon as I tried sailing a little more onto the wind we got violent hits banging down into the waves. It actually broke some of the interior wooden beading in the front cabin….oh well! I quickly came down wind. The gale went on for 2-3 days but it was fine. The waves where not as big as I had anticipated.
After that I got becalmed for about 4 days. That was a test for the patience!! And with no engine of course!
Then finally we hit the SE trade winds and we had steady winds the last few days to St Helena where I now am.
I have a lovely little yellow book – Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands – with stories of 50 remote Islands. I have now ticked off 2 of them. Not too bad!
Funnily enough this book proved very useful as my supposedly worldwide navigation computer is missing the charts of Tristan and St Helena. At least I have a drawn map of the Islands in the little yellow book!
An engineer came to look at my engine and as the flightwheel is jammed he said it needs to come out and taken completely apart to see what parts it needs. The parts would then need to be shipped here and so the whole affair would be costly and take a lot of time.
I have decided to keep sailing and hope to get the engine fixed in the Azores. I just have to hope that I don’t get becalmed for too long around the equator or the Azores high.
This monday Emma was forced by the whether and expected high waves —as far as I ,v understood —to leave the island. A guy had checked the engine but couldn,t do anything. Emma has to take a descision , either go east to Cape Town or north to St Helena. It looks like the winds will take her to the northern direktion. I believe it would be good for Emma to feel mental support from all of her friends so let us send it to her. I will do it tonight….
Emma called us this night – from the house of the tourist “agency”!!. She has been very well taken care of, Advised where to anchor outside the very small unprotected harbour and picked up by a boat. Yesterday we got a message, that the engine had stopped 9nm from the harbour. Luckely easy winds took her to the anchoring place. A serviceman will look at the engine tomorrow. Emma wrote that the island looks magical and beautiful.
Got a message from Emma yesterday – in 4 days she will reach Tristan, this very small vulcanic and not very accessible island on latitud 37 between Buenos Aires and Cape Town. 254 inhabitants from Great Britain sharing 9 different surnames. Emma will pass Inaccessible Island!! a very small Island 45km from Tristan.
At the 25 of januar Lollo and I left Emma and Caprice anchored at the beautiful island Ilha Grande south of Rio. We had had a marvelluos nightssail from Rio. Sitting alone in the cockpit and experience this beautiful heavy ship been taken care of by the windrudder was magic, and even more magic when two dolphines followed us for a while.
At the beginning of februar Emma left heading for Montevideo and maybe Faulklands Islands. She stoppad at the island Florianpolis 800km south of Rio. And after a couples of days of investigation and “decisionmaking” she decided to go eastwards to Tristan da Cunha. …… I hope and pray that the see and winds will take Caprice in to the very small port at Tristan.
The Sugarloaf approching Rio De Janeiro
Caprice and I have had a couple of adventurous and wonderful weeks with my parents in Rio. I had my first experience of special treatment as I got invited to stay for free in a very fancy sailing club in Urca. The members Monika, Julius and Matt invited me simply as I think they were impressed with my journey.
This was wonderful as in the club we had access to toilet and showers and each time we wanted to go to land from our buoy (which overlook the sugarloaf) we just called Cocoroca on our vhf and a taxi boat arrived to pick us up for free.
This yatch club Iate Clubo Rio De Janerio also had wifi, free coffe and wonderful areas to chill out away from the heat in the boat. And even a pool. It truly felt luxorious! A big thankyou to Monika, Julius and Matt for making our stay so wonderful.
Dad turned 70 on the 13 of January, the day after I arrived in Rio, and we celebrated with a wonderful dinner in the cockpit of Caprice. Luckily I had made a table for the cockpit during my trip from Salvador. Janne, an old friend of my parents whom I spent some time with in Salvador joined us for the dinner.
Mum and Dad brought in their luggage from Sweden a Lewmar Profish 1000 anchor winch and a 9 meter chain. Luckily they didn’t need much more stuff with them as this took up all their luggage weight! Boat stuff in Brazil is very expensive so it made sense to bring it from Sweden instead.
In the club we got introduced to Reinaldo whom run a small chandlery and he was able to help us getting all the rest of the stuff we needed for the installation. We had a anchor roll specially made and got a 15 kg Bruce Anchor. Dad made all the wiring and Reinaldo helped with the rest of the installation so by the end of the week Caprice was ready to go with her new anchor equipment.
We waved goodbye to Janne and the club in Rio and set off towards Ihla Grande to do explore the many bays and enjoy anchoring in nature for the last couple days before Mum and Dad went home. I really wanted them to get some good sailing but unfortunately the wind wasn’t blowing very much – which is often the case here. We did some slow sailing during the night and then spent a day motoring in the heat to get to the island.
It is a beautiful island and we spent a couple of lovely days although the heat was getting to us a bit and we all kept dreaming of the winter in Sweden. I was truly jealous when they left on the 25th.
It very lovely that they came and shared my little world onboard Caprice for two weeks. They did very well to cope in the heat and in the small space in Caprice with all my guitars 🙂
I have then been here in Ihla Grande a few more days doing planning, research, thinking and preparing for my onward journey. The problem with an ‘open journey’ is that decision making can get tricky. I wont get into all the details about my dilemma but all I am going to say for now is that I am heading south possibly towards the Falkland Islands. First stop is Montevideo and then we will take it form there!
I am very happy that I have had the chance to get to know Brazil. It is really a special place and so much to experience. It seems people here are very good at living in the moment and they are so warm and welcoming.
Building a table on route in preparation for Dad’s birthdayPassing time on my way to Rio by climbing the mastIhlaIhla Grande – looks almost like home Mum and Dad feeling hot but happyThe new anchor equipment – No more sore back for me 🙂
I have left Salvador and heading south to Rio where I will get a visit from my parents.
It will take 6-8 days 🙂
The sun is ever so hot and winds are stable from the east for a few days. Looking forward to being at sea again!