fredag 18. mars 2011


Just a short update on our whereabouts: We are now in Martinique which means we have entered the European Union again! Our friends on Ypake were here already, and had invited us to Pilis 10th birthday! Of course we couldn't miss the occation and headed out from Rodney Bay in northern St. Lucia just before noon. We had left Marigot Bay the day before, as we wanted to visit Pigeon Island before leaving St. Lucia. This is a National Park in the northwestern corner of the island and includes ruins of military installations from earlier days. We also learnt that the first European settler on St. Lucia stayed here. He was a pirate called Francois Leclerc or "Wooden Leg". The former island is now connected to the rest of St. Lucia via a landfilled area. The landscape is mainly two volcanic peaks which should provide a perfect spot for anyone wanting to overlook the waters.
Anyway, now we are in Martinique. Le Marin is a huge yacht harbour and as such it doesn't seem very authentic Caribbean.. So Stein and I took a trip with the local buses yesterday, to see what more there is to see. Ingeborg and Thorstein both prioritised studying and to be with the Ypake kids. But we visited Fort de France and walked around a little. Looked into the old library which is both a sightseeing spot and functioning as a public library. Otherwise the waterfront is very nice, and the new dock should make it very convenient to arrive in your dinghy from the anchorage in the bay. We went on to see more of the inland, chosing a bus bound for the village Francois. The weather turned quite rainy so it wasn't very nice, but we got to see some of the big banana plantations they have here! We guess they benefit from being within EU borders and thereby have access to the European market. We have been told that the islands further south have given up growing bananas due to problems with market access. By the way, the bustickets were a lot more expensive here than further south. More like European prices.. And the roads here also hold European standard which is more than you can say about roads in any of the places we've been since crossing the Atlantic!
Tomorrow we plan to continue to Dominica. There are no good harbours there according to what we have heard and read, but we hope for the best. Just a good spot to anchor and a calm day or two..

mandag 7. mars 2011

St. Lucia

We've been on this island for nearly three weeks now, the island called Helen of the Caribbean, due to the many conflicts between France and England over "her". St. Lucia changed flag 14 times during 150 years up to 1814! Even if it ended up as a British colony with English as the official language the remains of French is evident in geographical names and not least in the local language of patois. This is a special creole based on French, some African dialects and a little English. We have noticed that it is very much alive on the streets here, and we don't understand a word!!
Anyway, we sailed from Grenada on the 18th of February and arrived in St. Lucia on the 20th. It was a very slow sail, partly due to wind on the nose, currents, but also probably due to growth on the hull, again! We stopped for some hours a bit north of St. George (Grenada) to see what we could do by scraping off some barnacles. We didn't think it looked so bad before we lifted anchor in Prickly Bay, but I guess we were to lazy to really look for it...Butwhen we experienced how slow we were sailing it became urgent to do something! After an hour or so in the water we decided the hull was clean enough and called off further effort. Then, due to some misunderstandings and thoughtlessness on my part I managed to scare the rest of the family as I decided to swim around a little. Only while Ingeborg and Thorstein were getting out of the water, shampooing, rinsing and all that. We were close to the Underwater Sculpture Park, which we hadn't visited yet, and maybe I would be lucky and see some of the sculptures down there. Well, the others didn't realize I did that, and even though it seemed to be flat water, sunshine and nothing else between me and the boat I apparently became invisible very soon! The others actually were afraid I had drowned!! They called a Mayday on channel 16 on the VHF and alarmed the Coastguard. (You can't wait and see if you believe someone is drowning!) Well, luckily it could be called off very soon as they finally spotted me and my snorkel, and I guess the Coast Guard didn't have time to start out from where they are based. But we learned a lesson: Be very sure that the others know when you are going for a swim. You won't easily see a person that is close by in the water not even on flat waters! Another excitement during this trip was a small aircraft coming in from the east, barely above the waves of the sea.. It circled once and came back eqaully close. It appeared to be the French Coast Guard patroling the waters. They called us up on the VHF ("Norwegian flagged yacht sailing north.."), and asked us to identify ourselves. We were still only on the latitude of the Grenadines, so we were a bit surpriced that the French Coast Guard overlooked the area. But I guess they have some cooperation between the states here to deal with problems regarding drug trafficing, piracy etc. As I said initially, it was very slow sailing on this trip, (even after the cleaning session) but it was comfortable! Not much wind, not much sea. We must have been lucky, because later we learned that others have had very rough conditions in the same area the week before, and later it also became windy and with big seas. I prefer slow...
We didn't know too much about the different anchorages on St. Lucia and sailed all the way up to Rodney Bay on the north-western corner.
Rodney Bay is a big modern facility with a very fancy marina and all kinds of shops and restaurants. This is the finishing line for the ARC regatta in November - December, and we understand that it is really crowded at that time. A few months later it seems to be plenty room. Many of the boats were left there it seemed, while the owners/crew have gone somewhere else. So, we didn't think it was a very lively marina! But the communications were easy from there, and as Stein was going to fly out again to go to Moses Lake in a few days it was a good place to stay. We anchored outside the lagoon, where it was very nice waters for swimming.. Only disturbed by all the crazy tourists on the jet-skis all around the anchorage.
There is a cruisers net active on the VHF ch 68 in Rodney Bay as well as other places we have visited. The first night we were horrified by the medical mayday from one of the other boats. An elderly man had lost one or two fingers and were asking for someone to come and help! Luckily there was a doctor in one of the boats close by who knew what to do: "Put on your decklight so I can see where your boat is!" It didn't take very long before he was over there in his dinghy. It was a bit surpricing that the St. Lucian Coast Guard did not pick up the mayday, while the French Coast Guard did! (The French again!) We can look over to France here (Martinique) and even if it all happened outside their waters they did what they could to give medical advice, establish contact with the St.Lucian services, ambulance, hospital etc. The man was helped to shore by the doctor in the dinghy and the ambulance arrived. All this time the French Coast Guard stood by to make sure every thing went as good as it could. Even though it was a tragic accident it was a good to see how well the VHF functions as communication between us yachties in a situation like this! And the next day we were glad to hear that the patient was back in his boat, feeling pretty good and thanking all the helpers who had stood by on the VHF during the operation.
We knew the National Day was coming up (here too!) and we decided to spend that day in the capital, Castries, which is only a 15 min busride away from Rodney Bay. However, we never found out about the schedule of the festivities, and missed the military parade (8 o'clock in the morning!!) No-one we met seemed to know what was gonna happen during the day! We (Ingeborg and I) had started the day with a swim from the boat to the beach and Ingeborg had had her coconut palm hat made there by a local junkie. (Well, that's what he replied to my silly question.."What do you do? .. I do drugs..!").. Then we wanted some breakfast before heading off.. Well, we ended up watching the traditional send-off of the local MC club on their National Day tour around the island! I think it was at 11 that they started out with a loud VROOM.. from a particular corner, burning tyres up the first avenue as they headed out of town. Lots of people came to see! A lady who was running her drink-selling-business at the same corner told us that these 20-30 bikes were only the top of the iceberg as another couple of hundreds would follow from somewhere outside the city. OK, so that was what we experienced of the St.Lucian National Day. We must say that the people of Grenada was much more eager to dress up in their colours, but there were quite a few St.Lucians who had found their blue/yellow/white/black costumes, too! Then we wandered around downtown, saw Derek Walcott Square where they celebrate the islands two! Nobel laureates, Derek Walcott (literature 92) and Sir Arthur Lewis (economics 79). Not bad for a country with 160.000 inhabitants! Then we saw the central market and the cruise ship shopping center.. Tourism is more or less the only industry here, in addition to banana and coconut plantations. The Carribean bananas used to have a preferential access to the European market and bananas used to be the predominant export from St.Lucia for many years. But after WTO ruled against this arrangement in 1997 it has been hard for the producers here to compete with the big US corporations according to Rough Guide.
Anyway, after a few days looking around Rodney Bay it was time for Stein to fly out. When we had left Stein at the airport Ingeborg and I took a busride down to Marigot Bay to meet up with Sølvi and Ole-Petter (Fortia). We had learned that they were still here and not yet underway to Venezuela as we had expected. The three of us remaining on Sirius decided to move to Marigot Bay, too! It is the first time we have taken out to sea without Stein, but it went very well! Actually, it only took an hour and a half and the weather was really nice. We rolled out the genoa and motorsailed down here. After a couple of nights on a mooring we are now staying at the dock of Chateau Mygo. Here Doreen is running a bar/restaurant/house rental while other family members run a spa and a boat rental company on the same premises. Her Norwegian friend, Truls, is also living here over the winter, and at this time this dock seems to be a magnet for Norwegian boats! We have met Fortia again, then Bogenvilla and Johanna. One Friday night we were all going to visit the "jump-up-party" or "Fish Fryday" in Anse La Raye just south of here. Lots of locals selling various fish dishes, rumpunch, and other drinks from their road side stands, and lots of music from huge loudspeakers and then karaoke around the corner. We didn't know much of the repertoire of this karaoke session, but the locals did! Reggae, reggae.. and not only Bob Marley. The tourists joined in on "YMCA" and "Englishman in New York" and not much more.. People were dancing happily even if they had neither shoes, money or teeth in their mouth..
To be honest we haven't been so much around on St. Lucia, but we have met a lot of nice people here in Marigot Bay! I've gone with Doreen to the central market early in the morning a couple of times, to watch the activities but also to buy vegetables at "local prices". Interesting! Now and then we walk up the steep roads from Marigot Bay to get the perfect view of the scenery,..and some excercise.. We were invited for breakfast to Doreens cousin, Beverly, one morning. She has built a fantastic house just up the hill, and let us have a look around. A fantastic view, nice garden, huge kitchen, huge rooms, jacuzzi on the terrasse, it was a dream!! Doreen is building a new palace up the hill, too, like a lot of others so the area is really becoming more and more developed. From before here is a marina, a Moorings charter boat facility, a luxury hotel and some restaurants. Let's hope the bay keeps it charm through all the development!
Truls invited us to go with him on a dinghy ride to some of the beaches around the corner the other day. A bit swelly, but still perfect!! So we have had really good days here! I must add that the kids have been doing a lot of school work, too, while I have tried to fix little things on the boat. I started cleaning the hull from the dinghy yesterday, and immediately was surrounded by guys wanting to do the job. I hired one of them to dive down and do a proper job under the waterline, so now I hope we don't need to lift out before the end of the season!
That's all for now!

søndag 13. februar 2011


One month in Grenada, the Spice Island. Stein has been away on a two weeks trip to USA again, but the rest of start to feel at home here! Like so many times before, the attraction to a place we visit becomes stronger and stronger the longer we stay. We have "done" many of the things we have read about in the tourist guides: Fed the monkeys at Grand Etang, hiked in the rainforest and visited some waterfalls. We have visited the famous beach Grand Anse, we have been to the Sunday Barbecue at Roger's bar on Hog Island, we have visited Fort George and the National Museum and we have taken the bus ride up to former plantation, now chocolate factory at Belmont Estate. Then we have met a lot of people, sailors we knew from Brazil or Trinidad, and some we have met for the first time. Not least Rhythm from Canada! A big, fancy catamaran with teenagers on board! Another family like ours that has sold their house and set out to circumnavigate the world. Joey and Olivia are 17 and 14, just like Ingeborg and Thorstein, and for two weeks there was so much fun "hanging out" with the new friends! Our Argentinian friends on Ypake came up from Trinidad, too, and on the afternoon we were all anchored in Prickly Bay, and they were 7 kids between 9 and 18 in the party! Lots of laughter!

The Rhythm family is very sporty, and with them and some other "yachtees" we have been hiking in the rainforest a few times. We first met Olivia, Joey, Peggy and David at a "hash"
. We all liked the muddy meeting with the Grenadian rainforest, in a spectacular route that brought us up and down hillsides, crossing waistdeep rivers and beautiful landscapes. It was rounded off with serving of oil-down, the national dish. Not quite popular with all our party, but I've later read the recipe and found that the suspicious looking pieces floating in the coconut sauce was not chunks of octopus and fish heads, but rather dumplings and chicken meat! Strange how imagination adds to the flavour of unfamiliar tastes! Later we went with the Rhythm folks (and some others) on hikes to Mount QuaQua, the Seven Sisters Waterfalls and to Tuftonhall Waterfalls. All great experiences! On top of Mount QuaQua we met the rainy clouds that are flowing across the Island and found ourselves in the middle of them. Even though the rain got us all wet we didn't get cold, of course. But the tracks got very muddy! By the time we reached the main road and the tourist buses we were hardly presentable. Good thing we had fed the monkeys with bananas and candy before setting out on the track.. then we didn't have to mingle with all the cruise ship passengers that had arrived by then! Also a good thing the next stop was going to be the Seven Sisters Waterfalls where we could dive into the pond below it and get all cleaned up again. Very nice!
Later we were invited to go to the Tuftonhall Waterfalls with a local guide, Wello! Even though the young men in our families needed a day off due to a late party the night before, the rest of us had a great day! Wello was equipped with a big machete and a coil of rope, and secured our steps all the way. The track went along the river/creek running down from the tallest waterfall on the island. It turned out to be a quite challenging track where we had to climb with ropes to get past some of the cliffs. Wello knew how to use his machete, and made walking sticks from bamboo to all of us. It really was a good help! He also picked all the fruit we wanted from the trees around, so we had all the cocoa seeds we wanted for snacks and picked nutmeg and oranges that we could bring home. The area had been part of a plantation earlier, and many of the trees were planted at that time, but Wello told us how sad it is that very few find it interesting to harvest these fruits anymore. Nowadays Grenada imports bananas! Only nutmeg seems to be an interesting crop, and is grown and processed for export. Besides tourism this is Grenadas most important industry!

There have been many Norwegian boats around also, but we have only met some of them, briefly. However, Sølvi and Ole Petter on Fortia have been good company these last days. We last met them on Ibiza in 2009, when we lay dismasted and miserable, waiting for the new mast in the marina in Eivissa. Like us they are on their way around the world, and here our routes met up again! We celebrated the Independence Day together with Sølvi, Ole Petter and a lot of Grenadians at the National Stadium on the 7th this month.
However, the celebrations started already one month earlier when houses and roadsides started to be dressed up in red, yellow and green. Flags and banners all over. The last week-end before the 7th people themselves were asked to dress up in the national colours, and they did! Beautiful dresses, hats, T-shirts, bags, jewellery. We have learned that the colours are chosen to memorate the African heritage of most Grenadians. The main celebration was a very lively and friendly ceremony at the stadium. It started with a parade made up of different groups representing the society. We didn't recognise all of them, but there were different dance groups in fancy costumes, farmers parading with their tools, ladies from the spice market and then the "military" section made up of police groups, cadets, boy and girl scouts, the red cross and a visiting Venezuelan parachuting troop. (They don't have real military troops in this country!) Someone had made a choreography of the parade, but not everyone had got all the messages... The poor director in his white uniform had to run around and turn people back, make the drummers be silent by quite illustrating gestures.. but in the end it all went quite well I think. The military section also had to stand there through the speeches from the different dignitaries, and one after the other they collapsed in the heat and had to be carried out. These uniforms aren't made for parading in the Carribean! Anyway, they rounded off the show by demonstrating their efficient fighting techniques, and people applauded, shouted and had a good time as the police band "fled" the arena as "attackers" started to shoot. Quite entertaining!

This is the island on which the indian tribes withstood attacks from the Europeans for more than 100 years after Columbus discovered it and named it Concepcion in 1498. And they never surrended: The last 45 Carib indians commited suicide by leaping from a cliff on the northern cape of the island (today named Carib's Leap or Leapers Hill) to avoid being overtaken by the French around 1651.Today it is a young nation celebrating 37 years of independence from the British rule. The country has had an interesting history these 37 years, too, with a period of socialist/communist rule from 1979 to 1983 and the US invasion in 1984 as highlights! Even though the communists were defeated in the end, the prime minister from those years, Maurice Bishop, seems to have been a very popular figure and he is still a living memory. They renamed the International airport after him a few years ago, so today it is named Maurice Bishop International Airport. Internal rivalry in the party, however, led to his arrest in 1983 and he and some others were killed shortly after. And that was more or less the end of that era.

During our stay we have not seen or heard of much crime here, and we hear from other sailors too that this is one of the friendliest islands to visit. We have, however, vitnessed a dinghy theft episode up close. Our friends at Rhythm got their dinghy stolen outside the dinghy dock here in Prickly Bay! The dinghy thieves were, however, caught by the Coast Guard. Our friends aboard the Coast Guard got to experience a real cat and mouse chase which ended as the dinghy tried to cut in front of the Coast Guard, but was hit and submerged! As it floated up again the engine was gone and the poor guy was unconcious.. Even though everybody was glad the Rhythm people have their dinghy back, I think many cruisers felt that the dinghy thief had been sufficiently punished. He was hospitalised with back injuries for quite some time and we all hope he will get well, soon! One voice on the VHF, however, declared "I love it, I love it and hope he get 30 years in prison". For Grenadians working in the yachting industry it is of course important to see that the Coast Guard protect the cruisers efficiently. The reputation as a safe destination is crucial for their business.

I will end this report by telling you about our charity involvement during our stay: There is an iniative made to improve the reading skills among the young Grenadians, Mount Airy Grenada Young Readers Programme. Every Saturday morning we are asked to join as tutors. Ingeborg, Thorstein and I have been there twice, and it is quite interesting to go there and meet with the kids who really want to improve their skills! Most of them have basic reading skills and only need practice, practice..The literacy rate is quite high here referring to our Times almanac for 2011 so I guess that means they are encouraged to study by their environment. Too bad the Programme only has one big room where the teaching goes on. It's hard to concentrate with all the noise, but it is an opportunity to get a 1-1 setting with a tutor. The kids are between 7 and 18 years old, and the skills are quite varied. But they seem to show each other due respect and seems to like it there. I heard that some have been coming more or less every Saturday for 4 years! Learning this we are glad if our small effort could be of some help!

Our stay on Grenada is coming to an end. We are heading north in a few days, and we'll see where the next stop will be. Carriacou, St. Lucia, Bequia.. We'll see! But for Easter it is Bahamas, that is for sure. Marit will be coming for a visit, and we really look forward to it!

onsdag 19. januar 2011

Caribbean, at last!

So, here we are, in the Carribean. Already in Grenada but this report will have to be about Trinidad as I have been on "Island Time" on updating the blog recently..
We have celebrated Christmas and New Year in Trinidad with friends in other boats. Ypake and Karma and others. Some we have met earlier and some we haven't seen before.We were lucky to have the bar area of the TTSA (Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association) available for us both on the 24th, the 25th and the 31st, so we had three parties! It was a very international Christmas with people from all over, Norway, Ireland, Argentina, South Africa, Netherlands, Germany. To get into a proper "Christmas Feeling" we wanted to have everyone join us in our walking/singing around the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve! Well we didn't have a big enough Christmas tree.., but there were poles holding up the roof of the terrace! So, we picked a pole and formed two rings around it with all the people. And we made it through a sing-along of two songs, both in Norwegian! Very satisfactory for us and fun for the others too, we think!
We also met other Norwegian boats in Trinidad! We hadn't seen many since Las Palmas, and it is nice to speak Norwegian among others than just our family some times! Albacore Adelante, Fri Inspirasjon and Ella were all passing through Chaguaramas. And probably some that we didn't meet. And there is a Scandinavian meeting on Monday afternoons in Power Boats. I met a few Swedish people there, and that is actually pretty much the same as meeting Norwegians when we are so far from home!
Trinidad as a whole was a big surprice, a positive surprice! We were warned about how dangerous it was, and I guess it can be. But nothing happened to us! We stayed in Power Boats, one of the big marinas in Chaguarames. It was not great for swimming, but you could get anything for your boat there. All kinds of chandleries and services. And a 20 minutes busride away was Port of Spain. Some felt a bit uncomfortable there, but we didn't.. It's a big city, and we are certainly standing out from the crowd which are mostly of African or Indian background. But I think people were very friendly and if we didn't have all those warnings in the back of our heads we wouldn't have considered Trinidad much different from other places we have visited.
One day we decided to go for a walk in the rainforest across the main road from the marinas. What we didn't realize was that this was military area. Other cruisers had told us we could go for a walk there, but we later learned they had meant to walk along the small roads in the area. As real Norwegians we wanted to explore the territory outside the tracks.. So there we went, up a creek with moderate water running through. We couldn't pass by on the side without a machete, and at that time we didn't have one.. So guess what we bought for the captain to his birthday! Now we can feed ourselves as long as we find a coconut-tree! Anyway, we found the exploration so interesting that the captain and I went for another hike the next day. Had to see what more there were to see in the interior... Well we found a new track and followed it up a hill and through some fields of tall grass. And then suddenly we found ourselves in the middle of a military camp!! The guard came out from his shed immediately, with his automatic rifle ready and a walki-talkie in his hand. I haven't mentioned that the Trinis speak English, or.. well, Trininglish! To understand you have to.. feel the rhytm and try your best to figure out what they mean. After a couple of weeks it does become more easy, but still a challenge! Well the guard spoke his Trininglish and we did understand that we should stop! We realised that we hadn't brought any papers to identify ourselves, and hoped we wouldn't get into trouble! The guard called up his superior. (Stein had time to study the weapon of the guard as we waited and understood later from looking up at the internet that it was an Israeli model: Gallil. I think he got more out of this information than I do!) Anyway, the superior was in a more relaxed attire than the guard. We were told that the area is used for training and that they are testing real ammunition on a daily basis! "But God was with all of us today!" After all it was Boxing Day and still Christmas. We were allowed to follow the military road back to the main road and had no more problems..
Another excursion we made to the Military Museum in Chaguaramas. It was really interesting, and a monument over an enthusiastic collector. The museum is a private institution, and aims to show how Trinidad has been connected withboth the local and the global history. It is a huge collection, but well organised and here and there they had put up tableaus illustrating special events. We spent 5 hours there! and had not read or studied all we would have wanted. Original effects like uniforms, flags, coins, letters, posters, photos and bigger things like cannons, vehicles, parts of a submarine. And anecdotes about special persons, a section about pirates in the old days and all spiced with the Curators own thoughts about the history. Our guide was a young girl who was eager to tell us about her nation and about the recent events of coups, political instability, conflicts between the navy and the coast guard and other happenings that we must admit were new to us! From listening to her we wondered if it was a secret camp we had discovered on Boxing Day, but after all I guess it wasn't..
Trinidad and Tobago is not a poor nation if you look at their national income. They are a big oil and gas producer. It's evident that they have chosen a very different way of distributing the wealth than we have done in Norway.. The students aboard got a real life lessons in political and society matters here!
There is much more to tell about Trinidad and our stay. I'll try to fill in in a later blog. I also hope that we decide to go back later so we can see the turtles laying eggs on the beach, go to a real steel band concert and some of the other things we missed this time.

torsdag 25. november 2010

We are in Kourou!

Just a short update! We have stopped briefly in French Guyana. We try to find out about the Ariadne launch tomorrow, may be we get to see it from the beach. This is a community that has been build around the space center. Nice and clean in many quarters, and friendly! But also poverty in other places. The reggae music tells us we are approaching the Carribean!

lørdag 20. november 2010

The Guinea Current

At the moment we are sunbathing in the Guinea current which brings water
from the southern Atlantic up to the Carribean. The temperature is 29.2C
in the water, 28.4C in the air. There are only very light winds, but
whether we have reached the Doldrums or not we don't know. There is
after all some wind, 7 knots or so. We have been motorsailing for some
time now, to charge the batteries and to get some progress. Not that the
Guinea current doesn't provide some knots in the speed over ground, too.
We crossed the Equator again, northbound this time, but did not receive
any visit from Miss Neptun or others from her family. That is only for
the first timers. However, we know Ypake were going to cross for the
first time on this leg, so we are anxious to have their report. Did
anyone pay them a visit?
To get some protection from the burning sun we have attached a plastic
net over the cockpit, made from recycled polypropylen. An idea from the
same Ypake! Since it is just a net the wind will blow through it, if
there is some wind, and even if it is not a complete cover it provides a
lot of shadow. A cheap and good alternativ as long as we don't have a
proper bimini. So here we are, lying around in the cockpit, reading
books, relaxing and watching out for any ship that should come in our
way. So far there has not been many, but the other night there was one
heading directly towards us. Again the AIS did prove it's value. The
name of the ship pop'ed up on the screen, and in a few seconds I was in
contact with the other ship. "we are 5 nm ahead of you, approaching. If
we don't do something I think we will be passing very close. Can you see
us on your radar? " I don't think he had spotted us befoe he was
contacted, but after some seconds he answered: "OK, I turn to
starboard". In less than a minute he had turned and we could only see
the red lights. Another 10 minutes or so went by before we passed, and
it could very well be that he would have spotted us anyhow. But it feels
good to know that the other ship has seen you while there is still time
to alter the course!
We did not bring very much fresh food for this passage, as we know it
won't keep for more than 4-5 days in this heat. So now we are out of
potatoes, oranges, papaya, melon.. We still have a tomato, some onions
and a couple of lemons. So from now on the meals will be made from rice,
pasta, canned food and freeze dried variants. And there is always Corn
Flakes so we are fine!
Now I'm heading back to the cockpit to pick up another crime novel,
listen to the audio file of Bill Clinton's My Life or some other
"litterature light". That's all I can manage in this heat.
There is 404 nm to go before we reach Kourou and we have sailed 630 from
Fortaleza. Motorsailing in the Guinea current has given us a speed of 7
knots lately, but we'll soon go back to plain sailing. Hopefully the
light wind won't die off so that we'll still keep a speed of ~5 knots.


PS: Update on the 20th ov November. This blog appears not to have been
sent yesterday when I wrote it. At the present things are like
yesterday. Position: 3deg 06,8 N - 48deg 27,7W

onsdag 17. november 2010

Somewhere outside the Amazone delta

We left Fortaleza after only 5 days. I'm sure the city is nice and
exciting in many ways, but everyone told us how dangerous it was. You
had to take a taxi wherever you were going, to avoid being mugged! It's
hard to say how dangerous it really was, but all the yachties seemed to
have the same attitude. There is a favela just outside the marina/hotel
complex, but the guards were always there to protect us so we were safe.
So very different from Jacare and Joao Pessoa where we didn't fear
anything except for walking a specific part of the road after darkness.
It was nice to stay in the hotel complex, with swimming pool, tennis
courts, game rooms and all kinds of facilities for us to use. But if
that is all you feel free to do you get bored after some days! At least
some of us do! And especially when our argentine friends had already
left and we are planning to meet them again in the next port!
Actually, we did take a walk in Fortaleza, to the Mercado Central. We
went there with a brazilian couple who wanted company. They observed a
girl who could have been a "scout" for her gang. She slipped through a
hole in the fence as we approached so maybe she had been standing there
to look for potential targets.. Maybe.. We had stripped off any
valuables like watches, belts, purses and so on, but I guess we didn't
blend in too well with the locals.. Anyway, as our brazilian friends
became suspicious we crossed the road and never saw anyone coming after
us. So who knows whether we were in any danger. By the way, the market
was well worth the visit and the dangerous 10 minutes walk each way!
Now we are heading towards French Guyana, and have covered 1/3 of the
distance in a little less than 3 days. We hope to find the current that
is supposed to speed up the boat by a couple of knots.. So far we have
had light winds and a small counter current if our log is correctly
calibrated. There are 20 deg minutes till we reach the Equator and it is
hot both inside and outside. We drink whatever we find to quench the
We have sailed 348 nm in 70 hours since Fortaleza and the GPS states
that there are 681 nm to go before we reach Kourou, French Guyana.