We are finally leaving Salvador and heading to Recife - some 300 nautical miles north towards the Carribbean. Well, not quite yet ... we will be leaving in the next hour or so. We anticipated that we will be in Recife by Saturday or Sunday and well again post here once we arraged internet access. Cheers until then!
It's lonely out here! So please comment as we love to hear from you.
We are now back at Terminal Nautico at Salvador, a quick stop to restock a couple of things - food, vegetables, etc. We are also getting Revelations ready for sea - tying things down, packing all loose items, studying weather predictions, route planning, etc. We will be leaving Salvador on Tuesday (5 May 2015) and sail to our next destination - the city of Recife further north up the coast of Brazil. The weather predictions looks favorable for this leg of our journey. We should be in Recife on Friday or Saturday.
When we entered the Salvador bay, we were en route to Ilha Itaparica, the water was much calmer and only small swells rolling inward - we perhaps even had some current helping us along. The 18 knot wind was almost directly behind us and the spinnaker was well tuned and brimming with power. Revelations accelerated and our GPS speed indicator showed speeds of between 12 and 13 knots. Sailing a heavy loaded cruising yacht at this speed is indeed an uplifting and exhilarating experience. Now 12 to 13 knots speed (22 and 24 kilometers per hour respectively) might not sound like much - indeed, it is nothing when driving a car on the road. But then think about a 20 metric ton yacht moving through water at those speeds powered by wind only. It is indeed something to experience and will give you the same level of excitement as driving a car at 250 kilometers per hour - ask me, I know. Prior to starting our world cruise, I never thought I would really enjoy sailing. Indeed, to me, sailing a yacht was a mere means to an end - a mobile home getting you from one place to another. How mistaken I was as I now find great pleasure and excitement sailing Revelations within her capabilities, trimming and fine tuning the sails for optimum performance, tweaking and making adjustments to gain another half of a knot in speed. With this belated discovery, I am indeed disappointed that I never took up Brent Gray on his invitations to go sailing on his Hobie Cat - especially his Tiger Cat! Light, sheer power and damn fast - that must be something!
Sue really likes pineapples so I decided to make her some pineapple atchar. The recipe is simple, easy to make and quite delicious - perhaps you want to make some for yourself.
|2||teaspoon||Maizena (Maizena is a brand name for a popular cornstarch)|
|3||each||Large ripe pineapples - peeled and cut into 1 cm pieces|
|Spices - to be fried together|
|1||teaspoon||Mustard seeds - white or black|
|3||each||Green chillies - chopped|
|In a large pot, bring to boil the first 3 ingredients together.
Then add maizena and vinegar, cook until thick - stirring all the time.
In a pan, fry the spices together until the mustard seeds start popping.
Add the pineapples and the spices to the syrup in the large pot.
Stir a couple of times and bring the mixture back to boil.
Once at boiling point, can into sterilised glass bottles.
Make sure the lid seals properly.
The atchar is ready to eat from day three.
|Servings - 4 x 500 ml bottles|
Tired from sailing some 50 nautical miles at speed and in fairly rough seas, we anchored at the now familiar Ilha Itaparica, Salvador, Brazil and we all retired early. We had supper and fell asleep whilst watching a movie. In the mean time, Bertie on the yacht Entheos was still doing some things when at 24H00 he heard a thud - the sound of something bumping against his yacht. At first he thought that he dragged his anchor and bumped into another boat and with this in mind he rushed out to the cockpit only to find that he was still securely anchored. He walked over to the port side of the yacht, but there was nothing. He then looked on the starboard side of the yacht and found 3 men in a dinghy alongside holding on to his yacht. Some three weeks ago, at the very same anchorage, two yachts were boarded by young men and many valuables were stolen. They were caught in the act, although the Police arrested them and recovered the valuables, all the electronics was damaged beyond repair due to sea water immersion. Bertie was shocked and surprised discovering yet another group of young men in a dinghy hanging onto his boat. He yelled and shouted at them, they answered back that they were scuba diving - yet there was no sign of any scuba gear. Then why scuba dive in the middle of the night, with no lights and in only 3 meters of water? Simply not plausible and indeed suspicious activity. They slowly rowed away in the direction of the beach close by, got out of the dinghy and disappeared down the side roads. Fortunately nothing was stolen nor missing, so it seems that they were discovered before they could commit a crime. We all need to take note of this and be much more cautious.
Motoring around in 4 meters of water where we wanted to anchor, we found the seabed to have steep and deep ravines - at places well over 50 meters. Our first attempt at anchoring failed as we dragged our 40 kilogram on the seabed. So we lifted the anchor on board and motored around looking for another spot to drop the anchor. This time around the anchor dug deep into the seabed and we felt secure for the night. Entheos were not so lucky and they must have tired but failed to anchor securely for at least 6 or 7 times. At about 19H30 they eventually found a suitable spot and could settle in for the night. We were quite tired from all of the sailing activities, had dinner and fell asleep whilst watching a movie.
There are virtually no cars on the island and the exception is an ambulance, some electricity service trucks and a few tractors. The beach have clean light beige sand with virtually no waves although the water is a bit murky with all the plankton therein. Feeling fresh when we woke up, we decided to go ashore and have a look around. The area is a hive of activities with water taxi's and ferries carrying people to various locations, some small dhow like motor boats loaded with goods and many small fishing boats. We dropped the dinghy into the water, piled in and proceeded to the ferry terminal. We beached close by and made sure that the dinghy would not wash away in the rising tide.
There were several restaurants catering for tourists with typical inflated prices. We found a tiny restaurant one street aawy from the beach and their prices were about 25% of those on the beach front. We sat down and ordered one of their specials and Caipirinha's - a strong sweet but delicious alcoholic beverage made with Cachaca (sugar cane hard liquor), sugar, limes and ice. The drink is prepared by smashing the fruit and the sugar together, adding the Cachaca liquor and then topping it with ice - here is the recipe:
Take one ripe lime and cut it in eight slices - add to your pestle an mortar,
Add 2 teaspoons of white sugar,
Lightly crush this with the pestle - avoid overly crushing the lime skin,
When well mixed, pour this mixture into a large glass,
Then add about 50 ml of Cachaca,
Top it with some crush ice cubes,
Enjoy this drink sipping the drink through a straw from the bottom of the glass.
The drinks we ordered where substantially larger than the recipe above and I felt quite intoxicated after drinking two of them. Continuous rain prevented us from exploring much of Morro de Sao Paulo and on the morning of day three, we decided to lift the anchor and sail to Enseada de Garapua.
Sailing under spinnaker, we did around 11 knots with the wind almost directly from behind at around 15 to 18 knots. The waves were also coming from behind – about at 4 and 5 o’clock. All of a sudden, from this direction a big wave passed under the yacht lifting the starboard stern, the port bow dug deep into the water and with this, Revelations started surfing the wave doing over 15 knots and then started to broach to starboard. The yacht leaned over at one hell of an angle and for a couple of seconds it felt as if she was going to capsize. The starboard hull was clear out of the water and the autopilot was not quick enough to counter act by steering to port. By the time I sprung into action disengaging the autopilot and to steer to port, it was all over and the yacht correct herself. That was quite close! Too close! Next time around, when doing those speeds and with waves coming from that direction, I will have a drag device in the water.
With my somewhat incapacitating injuries, we decided to head back to the bay of Salvador and once again visit Itaparica for the weekend. We motored out of Enseada de Garapua bay and after some distance from the shore, we turned north and once again headed towards Salvador. We raised the spinaker and within a couple of minutes adjusting the sail for optimum performance, we were sailing at 11 knots in 14 knots of wind. Although the sea state was rough and choppy from the strong winds the previous evening, it felt exhilirating and good to be on the move again.
Whilst we were waiting for our lunch at one of the restaurants at Enseada de Garapua, to cool off from the oppressing heat, I went for a 20 minute swim in the ocean. With lunch beckoning, it was time to head back to the rest of our group sitting on the beach. Walking out of the water, at around 300 mm deep, I felt this massively burning sting on the bridge of my right foot. Then as I step onto my left foot, I stepped onto something sharp and once again felt a burning pain - but much more intense than my right foot. I was clear that I was bitten or stung by something vicious on my right foot and stepped onto something sharp with my left foot. Limping to the showers, I could struggle to cope with the escalation burning pain in both my feet. Indeed, there was a needle like penetration on the bridge of my right foot slightly and slowly oozing a couple drops of blood. My left foot had a deep laceration of about 10 mm on the ball of my left foot near my small toe.
The pain was excruciating and felt like somebody was burning my feet with a blow torch. The waiter came over and explained that a local fish was the culprit of all this - we gathered from him that it was a toadfish. I started sweating from this massive overdose of pain, completely lost my appetite and my left leg started trembling. One of the locals gave us a lift to the public medical clinic in the area where they checked the wounds, cleaned it with some anti septic liquid, gave my an anti inflammatory injection and bandaged my left foot. The intense pain continued for another 3 hours before subsiding. This was by far the most intense pain I thus far felt in my life. It later emerged that the needle like spike of the toadfish entered the bottom of my left foot and emerged between my toes on the upper side of my foot. Damn toadfish! If I ever catch you, like somebody we know once said, "I will kill you dead!
The charts and the cruising guide books show this small fishing village to be in well protected enclave which turn out not to quite the situation. It is certainly not an enclave - rather a coastal indentation but exposed to the winds from the ocean. The fishing village consist of a couple of permanent buildings, a church and some wooden structures stretched along about 300 meters of beach and then this long beach around the perimeter of the land indentation. It was just as well that we stuck to our policy of arriving in daylight as the way points given in the guide book would most certainly have caused Revelation to run aground on some rocks. Fortunately we could see the sea breaking over the rocks from a distance, we alter course and managed to enter the anchor area well clear of the rocks and without incident. We managed to anchor first time around, sorted out the yacht, packed away all the ropes and other sailing gear - we were all done by around 18H00. In the meantime Entheos struggled to securely anchor the yacht and they repeatedly tried to set the anchor but failed. They would then find another location an repeat the anchor process only to fail yet again ... and again and again. Sue made a local dish and we sat down for the evening meal but this was interrupted when Entheos radioed us asking for help.
I motored the dinghy over to them and it was clear that their ground tackle was hopelessly inadequate for anchoring in the strong wind and choppy sea state. They had this flimsy little anchor more suitable for a small boat of around 20 to 25 foot instead of a heavily loaded 40 foot catamaran. In addition, the thin anchor shaft was completely bent - this anchor deserves to be thrown overboard. So we motored back to Revelations, loaded two of our spare anchors into the dinghy and then back to Entheos. With me at the helm, Bertie removed the inadequate anchor and hooked up our Fortress FX-55 - all of this took some time and effort. Finally the Fortress was dropped overboard together with 35 meters of chain. I then slowly backed the yacht until the anchor chain was under tension and the opened the throttles to set the anchor. Viola ... with both engines doing 2000 rpm in reverse gear, the anchor held fast first time around. I trust that Bertie learned from this experience and will now substantially upgrade his ground tackle.
The next morning we decided to visit a floating restaurant at one end of the bay and in a bit of chop, we all slowly motored over in that direction. we arrived some 10 minutes later only to be told that they were closed. So we headed back to the beach close to where the yachts were anchored. there were several other little restaurants - again mostly catering to tourists. We settle down at one of these and ordered lunch - some prawns, scallops, a fair size fish some ice cold beers and cool drinks.
We left Salvador and headed south towards Morro de Sao Paulo on the island called "Ilha Gamboa". It was supposed to be a 30 nautical mile sail, as the crow flies, but we changed our plans en route and ended up doing around 50 nautical miles. Our water tanks were just about empty and the idea was to use the desalinator (watermaker) enroute and fill our tanks with drinkable water. Whilst sailing out of the bay of Salvador, I pumped the remaining fresh but undrinkable water out of our water tanks. With the tanks now empty and the water maker rigged up, we sail south waiting for blue clean sea water before we could start the desalinator. But several nautical miles later and still with very murky sea water all around us, it became clear that we will have to head offshore for us to find clean blue sea water. So we changed course and headed east in the direction of Africa - but this meant we were well off the planned route and that we would be sailing much further than anticipated. Now some 15 nautical miles offshore in much deeper water, we eventually found the much sought after clean seawater and we could start the desalinator - but this meant a detour of around 18 nautical miles.
For you guys who do not quite understand why we had to find clean sea water, a desalinator plant pumps sea water through very fine membranes filters. These filters allows freshwater molecules to pass through but prevents the much larger salt molecules from passing through. So at the one end, salt water is pumped into the machine and the membranes separates (for lack of a better word) some of the water molecules from the salt molecules. These filters are quite expensive and eventually they block up and have to be discarded. The life of these filters are very short if you pumped murky or dirty sea water through them and for this reason, it is best to always pump clean sea water through the filters.
We left Salvador around 10H00 in the morning and anticipated that we will arrive at Morro de Sao Paulo some 6 hours later - at 15H00 which allowed ample daylight time to find a suitable place to anchor. But with this 18 nautical mile detour our arrival was delayed and we arrived at dusk with rapidly failing light. We found the place to be quite busy with very little space to anchor along the narrow stretch of suitable water depth. This meant that we had to sail another 2 nautical miles to Gamboa and arrived in almost total darkness, not a comfortable situation - unknown and unfamiliar place in darkness is looking for trouble.
In South Africa you can check in at a certain port in one province and then check out at a port in another province. Here in Brazil, when going to another province, you have to check out when leaving a province and then check in again when you arrive at a port in another province. We are just about done with Salvador and it is time to leave, so we grabbed the powerboards and set off to do the check out procedures at the Police Federal and Port Captain.
Unlike when we arrived in Brazil and walking our arses off in high humidity and oppressing heat, in pouring rain we zipped through the traffic and a couple of minutes later, we arrived at the offices of Police Federal - completely drenched. Kicking up water and mud, the spray from the powerboard wheels made us a sight for sore eyes. The officials took about thirty minutes to sort the paper work and we were sent on our way to the Port Captain. Once there, we were asked when we intend leaving and our next port of call - which is Morro de Sao Paulo then Camamu and then Recife.
We have now checked out of Salvador and plan on departing here on Friday (latest Saturday). Yeah!
When checking into Brazil, you are issued papers which imply that one's boat can stay in Brazil for up to 2 years. Although this is true, this is not automatically applied or granted. A little known fact is that your boat is granted permission to be in Brazil only for the same time period of your visa - in our case, it is three months. Like you would then apply to extend your visa, one also have to apply to extend the stay of the boat. Many boats owners don't know about this and whilst they extend their visa's time period but not the time period allocated for their boat's. They then overstay their boats allocated time period and have quite a bit of hassles when they check out of Brazil later.
Thankfully Marcello made us aware of this little known issue and yesterday morning we went to Receite Federal to appliy for permission so that Revelations can stay for another three months. Fortunately for us, the person who assisted us spoke fluent English and the process was quick, efficient and quite painless. Revelations has now been granted permission to stay in Brazilian waters until 4 August 2105. Thanks Marcello!
Our Brazilian Visa's expire on 3 May 2015 so we took a taxi to Policia Federal at Salvador International Airport to apply for a 90 day visa's extension. The process was quite easy and quick, after filling in some official paperwork, we were issued with some bank details and payment instructions, ordered to go to the bank and deposit 67 Reals per visa into the Brazilain Government's account. With the proof of payment in hand, we went back to the Policia Federal, waited around 30 minutes and our passports were handed back to us with the 90 days extension we required.
We discussed our next destination with Bertie and Theresa from Entheos and before sailing directly to Recife, we agreed to first visit "Morro de Sao Paulo" and then "Camamu" some 30 and 60 nautical miles respectively South of Salvador. These are anchorages (not marinas), we will have to anchor and will be without electricity and other conveniences (internet, water, etc.) whilst we are there. We do not plan to stay there for long - at best, no longer than a week after which we will head North up the Brazilian coast to Recife. We are now preparing the yachts for this short voyage and will most likely depart here on Thursday or Friday - weather permitting.