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Canoe in Rio Paraguacu


31 October 2004

mario-gange-kev-luis-joseph A rainy today so we spent the morning on the boat catching up on a few odd jobs. During the afternoon we went into the town which was a bit of a non event as everything was closed. When we returned to the boat we found Gandhi, (we met Gandhi yesterday, he helped us out at the yacht club) and his friends in Gandhi's motorboat. A very gregarioius party! They had been fishing for the last 24 hours (mostly for beer!) and were all in great spirits. They tied their boat up alongside us for a couple of hours while several more beers were downed and lots of laughs shared. Gandhi had a great BBQ on the back of his boat and cooked the most delicious steak for us. Truly we never cease to be surprised as how incredibly generous and happy the Brazilian people have been. We have really enjoyed Paranagua as the town is a great size for finding our way around on foot and has a really relaxed atmosphere. Gandhi runs a company which cleans large ships below the waterline (Argos diving). He arranged for one of his divers to clean Sapphire's very weedy waterline. The diver did a fantastic job!

28 October 2004

Left after breakfast bound for Paranagua. There was very little wind and what there was of it was on the nose again. Consequently we were motoring slowly for 24 hours. Eventually the wind backed and filled in and we had a good sail for about three hours on 27th. As has been the case with our Brazilian coastal sailing, within the next two hours we were sailing under a very reduced main and had rigged the storm jib as we had found a gale - force 8. Unfortunately this time were we beating into it (or at least pointing into it as we were going nowhere fast). In no time at all the seas were horrible with waves bashing Sapphire from all directions. I was horrified at one point to see a large wave beginning to break and heading straight for us. It broke over the deck but Sapphire seemed to shrug this off and plug on. I was relieved that it did not break into the cockpit or we would have known about it. This was the first time that we had used to storm jib in anger. We had not practised with it before hand thought we knew that we should have, and we had planned to..We both got drenched in rigging the sail and the inner forestay - this was because we were too careless to dress properly and as is always the case, taking a shortcut did not pay off. The storm jib performed really well but as soon as the wind dropped it was no good. I was a bit seasick and very worried but Kev was brilliant in reassuring me - again. We ran short informal watches for the next 24 hours. The wind abated in around eight hours but the seas took much longer to settle. We hove to in the early hours of 28th and ditched the jib before rigging the genny again. During the course of dodging waves and generally clinging to the boat we saw the lunar eclipse - this was a sight as the sky was clear and the moon one day shy of being full. We had a good sail for about 6 hours before the wind died again. Since arriving in Salvador I think we have had about 2 days of pleasant sailing weather - it seems to be all (gales) or nothing as far as the wind is concerned. Unfortunately the weather forecasts here have proven to be utterly unreliable and this time even the barometer did not indicate much of a change before the gale. We were both feeling a bit battered by the afternoon of the 28th. We had a visit again by dolphins which is always a joy before tucking into a very big lunch. This followed by much needed showers and a quick tidy up and we were feeling human again. We motored for the afternoon to arrive off Pontal do Poço near Paranagua.

Bahia de Isla Grande

23 October 2004

kevbay paratywaterfront paratybeach We left Angra after spending nearly an hours to get the anchor up. It was a filthy job as the entire chain as well as the anchor had well and truly embedded itself in the gooey mud. Still we were very secure! Angra is a pretty ordinary town but Kev was particularly impressed as he found beers in the supermarket by a Brazilian micro brewery called Baden. He bought a stout and a red ale which according to Kev could hold their own with some British ales. (They were expensive though at $R10 ea.) We refuelled at the easiest fuelling station we have ever visited. We had a lengthy sail to Paraty (pron Parachee) as we had to tack across the bay but the wind was good and the water flat. It was a sunny day and we were treated to spectacular views all day. The bay is just delightful, it is dotted with hundreds of tropical islands - most of which are densely covered with thick vegetation. On the sides of the bay there are mountains that have a blue hue to them. This is a perfect place to sail and it seems that lots of the locals have a boat of some description. We arrived in Paraty at about 1600. This town used to be very wealthy having made its money through gold and the slave trade. Now a lot of the buildings have been restored but the streets are still much as they must have been centuries ago, they are literally rough stones packed into the dirt. I came up onto the deck before bed and the scene was utterly tranquil. The air was humid and the smell of the soil and tropical plants was delicious.

Rio de Janeiro

21 October 2004

sugarloaf3 theresasugarloaf Left Niteroi at about 7am and headed along the coast to Ilha Grande. The sail was not very good as we motorsailed all day because we needed to run and then pickle the watermaker. Also the seas were very confused so the motion was uncomfortable. We are both feeling really tired. We arrived in the bay late afternoon and it is beautiful. The weather was not good but this did not spoil the scenery. We cautiously found our way into the anchorage of Saco do Céu (Sky Cove). The anchorage is nearly totally enclosed and is steeply wooded on all sided. All in it is a delight. It was a little tricky getting in here in the dark but we did so safely and enjoyed a very peaceful night at anchor. The only sounds were the insects (which did not make it to the boat) and the birds. This place is the reason that I wanted to see Brazil and is has not disappointed.

17 October 2004

christredeemer A very big day on the boat today cleaning the mess from Vitoria. I went up the mast for a couple of hours to clean that because it has been raining black oil on us and the boat ever since leaving Vitoria. Then I spent the rest of the day cleaning the rest of the boat while Kev had the delightful job of replacing both heads pumps! (I got the good job..) We rewarded ourselves with an evening of home made caipirinhas. They had been well earned.

16 October 2004

volleyball Our first day in Rio! We decided to turn a blind eye to the filthy state the boat is in for today and head into town. First we checked in with the marina office and tried to enquire about refilling our gas bottle. We might as well have asked for a ticket to mars! We were told we needed to clear in with 4 different parties, like in Salvador. Well, today is Saturday and at least some of them are not open so we will give that a go on Monday. We decided to hunt for an internet cafe and update our web site. We found a cafe but could not upload there. The setting for Rio is stunning with great beaches surrounded by imposing granite mountains. The city itself is much like any big city. It seems very expensive here considering the wages in Brazil.We met an Israeli man who commented that we should not be carrying bags as he had been robbed here twice, once at gunpoint. We wandered to the very exclusive Rio de Janeiro Yacht Club to see whether we could get gas there. (We couldn't.) There we met a local man who, in keeping with our experience of Brazilians so far (with the sole exception of some officials) went out of his way to help us. He did warn us not to be out and about after 6.00pm when it gets dark. You really don't have to look far to see a seedier side to this city. Some of the more bizarre sights I saw today were the most ridiculously pampered dogs wearing sunglasses, ribbons and slippers! (This was several dogs with different owners.) The dogs and their owners were walking past people who were filthy and sleeping rough. What a mixed up place and what a contrast.We found a supermarket which sold vacuum packed meat so we stocked up. I hope it is good. It was significantly less expensive than the meat from Gran Canaria. The supermarket was called Paõ do Açucar (sugarloaf). We walked back along the beach front which was wonderful. The beaches are lovely and the Brazilians really use them well. I did not see one person just sunbathing, but they were all so active. Being Brazil, of course there were loads of people playing beach volleyball. There were also a lot of people playing football, walking dogs, jogging, swimming or just walking around looking good (in very small swimming costumes..). It was a fantastic sight!

15 October 2004

Early start, up at 0530 as we wanted to arrive in Rio before nightfall. We saw our first dolphins in a while and they played in the bow wave for about 15 mins. We also picked up a little bird who hitched a lift. The day was pretty gloomy with showers but just as we were about 15 miles from Rio the clouds lifted to give us a great view of the Christ statue and Sugar Loaf Mountain. I never realised how impressive the setting is for this city. The mountains are all granite and remind me of a scaled up version of the Stanthorpe area. Sailing through the harbour to the marina we saw several oil rigs all lit up being towed. We tied up in the marina at 2045 - it took us nearly 2 hours to secure the boat as the mooring arrangement is quite complicated here. I noticed today also that Kev's hair is going blonde!

14 October 2004

cabofriio Anchored at Cabo Frio at about 14.30. A very pretty and sheltered anchorage opposite a white beach. This time it was my turn to go for a swim and check under the boat. I found nothing there but noticed a chip in the skeg which supports the rudder. We spent the afternoon relaxing on board as we had very little sleep the previous night.

13 October 2004

Weighed anchor at 0830 and set off from Vitoria into a force 4-5 which fairly quickly became a 7/8/9. Thankfully this was behind us so we took the genoa down and romped along under main only. We had some difficulty with lots of fishing boats overnight as they don't often show navigation lights. At one stage we had to alter course to avoid a small fleet when we heard a large thumping sound from under the boat. Clearly we had something caught around the keel, prop or rudder. As the sea was boisterous there was nothing we could do about that at the time. The wind calmed down throughout the following morning.

Archipelago do Abrolhos

10 October 2004

Decided to leave Abrolhos today as the weather was spot on for the trip south. We saw lots of whales and their spouts and tails. We even saw a white tail thought I then read that the underside of a humpback tail is often white. As we were having a drink before dinner we saw a huge humpback surface less than 50 metres from the boat. He dived and suspended his tail out of the water for over a minute. He even lifted his head to take a look at us - amazing! I read that humpbacks often lift their tails high out of the water when diving. We were both so excited to see such an awesome sight at close range! (This was not deliberate as we would not have chosen to sail so close to any whale, we had no idea he was there.)

9 October 2004

Slept in and had a great day on board after which the boat was clean and tidy, we had showers and I washed the clothes. We felt civilised again. I went for a swim and christened my mask and snorkel. A lovely Brazilian couple rowed over from a boat called Kuarup. They showed us some great places to stop further down the coast. They are heading for the Amazon and taking a year to get there. The islands here remind me a little of Scilly. Although they are surrounded by reefs they did not look like typical coral islands. We did not go ashore as you need a guide and they did not answer my vhf call. The islands are a national park and provide nesting grounds for many species of sea birds (this is why the authorities do not want visitors tramping over the islands). The Brazilian navy have a permanent presence on the Abrolohos

8 October 2004

SantaBarbara Still beating but decided to head for Archipelago do Abrolhos after all. The weather has settled a bit so we are happy to enter the area which is fringed with coral reefs. We crept through the coral and anchored at around 01.30. (Nearly 24 hrs later than we had guessed). During the afternoon we could hear the whales singing and Kev saw one breach.

7 October 2004

After leaving yesterday we had about 20 hrs of a really good sailing wind before it veered massively and we found ourselves beating into wind and I was seasick.  Kev insisted that I rest and he took my watches while I slept and we both took tablets.  We were making very very slow progress as we could not sail the course and the sea state was dreadful.   Kev saw some whales.  I got up at 19.30 and felt ok.  It was lashing down with rain with a 6-7 on the nose.  Kev was extremely tired by this time.  The night watches were hard as there were lots of tiny fishing boats around and the radar could not see them. None of the boats seem to show navigation lights.  The boats were so little that they just appeared from behind the waves so we were both straining to see them.

3 October 2004

baihafishing2 paraguacujungle Left the marina this morning and we sailed across the bay to the magnificent Rio Paraguaçu. The river is very lush with jungle and rainforest rainforest and pretty tropical beaches. We sailed up the river and saw kids in a dugout canoe. There were dolphins in the river but unlike the ocean dolphins they were not at all interested in us. We also saw an oilrig anchred in the river (they are brought her for repairs). We anchored for the night off a tropical cove which was heavenly.


2 October 2004

Paid up at the marina so that we can leave tomorrow. I met Jean Claude in town (he has a little boat in the marina) and invited him to meet us for a drink in the evening. On the way into town we saw a man picking through scraps from the rubbish bags on the pavement and eating them. Jean Claude as a very interesting man who is on his second circumnavigation at the moment. He said that the min wage in Brazil is <£3 per day. (I don't know whether he meant that there is a legal min wage here) and he said that the disparity between rich and poor here is bigger than that in India. Although the majority of the people we have seen (and granted that we have not visited the poorer areas of the town) look well dressed and fed, we have also seen deep poverty in some people here - more so than anything I have seen in Australia or the UK.

1 October 2004

bahiamarina winches Celebrations today because the fridge is fixed - Hooray! Kev relived the excitement of visiting officialdom again as we completed all the of the procedures necessary to clear out of Salvador. During this process two people, neither of whom we knew, gave us lifts to various buildings which are some distance apart. One of the people was the immigration policeman. (I'm sure this wasn't to make SURE that we were leaving.) Without exception, the Brazilian people we have met and spoken to during our time in Salvador have been exceptionally happy and helpful people. During the afternoon we took some beers with us and called on the huge charter yacht Pelagic Australis. She is on her way to the Falklands and Antarctica where she will be chartered for the Summer. We will leave here on Sunday and begin our cruise south.

30 September 2004

itaparica2 Our fridge is still broken so whilst waiting for various engineers to turn up (sometimes..), we have spent the last few days servicing the winches (a task long overdue) and cleaning. We found that we have bent one of the feeders on a smaller winch - we must have overloaded it which was careless. Today I put a leather chafe patch on the genoa and in the process of refitting the sail managed to drop the shackle overboard.Kev has writing up our last passage for his Ocean Yachmaster certificate, which is turning out to be quite a lot of work. His hand is healing well. We contacted the OCC port officer for Buenos Aires who was exceptionally helpful with advice on how and from where to procure charts and equipment we will need for the bottom of Chile.

26 September 2004

salvadorstreet The last few days have all pretty much been spent working on the boat. I ache all over having polished Sapphire and she is gleaming! Even the bilges are clean. We have replaced the towed generator that broke en route (Ampair sent us a free replacement which was very good of them but we still had to pay Brazilian tax of 100%). Kev wrote an article for the OCC newsletter which he emailed to the club secretary. We have a couple of jobs we need to do on the boat before leaving but we are making good progress. We are both ready to leave Salvador now and commence our cruise to see more of Brazil, but the fridge is still broken. Although this does not have to prevent our leaving, we both want it fixed first so that we can cruise in comfort and have a cold drink at the end of the day! I really hope we can get this mended as we really want to go now.

19 September 2004

oldtown3 bigdress oldtown We decided to make a real effort today with the boat as the list of jobs is getting bigger by the day. I started cleaning the salt off the metal work and Kev started to service the davits which are not sounding or feeling good. It kept raining which was a nuisance and worst of all, Kevin slipped while he had the davit winch in his hand and cut his hand badly below the thumb. There was a lot of blood and the cut was deep. Had we been in England we would have gone to get stitches but as things stood I cleaned and dressed the wound as best I could, (I would NOT make a good nurse.) I then put the davits back together and the rain started again. We decided to give up! We went for showers and then to the bar for a couple of caipirinhas and a late lunch. We came back to Sapphire, made sangria and tried to plan the next stage of our trip. We just do not have enough time! At this stage the best we can do time wise is to aim to be at the bottom of South America for mid December.

17 September 2004

Fridge broke today! Not ideal for the tropics but at least it had the decency to wait until we hit land before packing it in. We spent most of the day in Salvador, the Old Town which is really interesting. There are lots of lovely old buildings and people selling food and craft on the streets. It is all very busy and colourful. In the afternoon we found a supermarket and also a lot of people selling fresh fruit on the footpath. There is so much delicious tropical fruit available, it is a real treat. We both spoke to home and it was great to catch up on all the news. All in, a good day topped off by another delicious meal at the Waypoint Bar.

16 September 2004

Both left together to finish clearing in which was a success. We bought a local SIM card for the mobile and got some cash our. We went to the old town which is charming and found Internet access. There were lots of ladies walking around with big hoped dresses. Our impression of the people has been one of genuine friendliness. There is definitely a seedy side to the city but not any worse than the seedy side of London. We tried sucos and the local food cooked on the street which was tasty (but they eat prawns in their shells!). We ate out at the Waypoint bar and had "Carne de Sol" - absolutely delicious with Caipirinha (white rum, lime, sugar and ice). Again very very tasty!

15 September 2004

beaten_by_officialdom After breakfast we took the boat to the Bahia Marina where we moored bows to. The marina is excellent with friendly staff and very good security. I spent all day trying to clean the boat which was absolutely caked in salt. Kev spent all day trying to clear in - having guns pointed at him by naval personnel (for trespassing - unwittingly) and walking for miles! He was astonished by the amount of bureaucracy involved. We were both shattered by the end of the day but very happy to be here.