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Join us as we sail around the world - share our joy, experiences, trials and tribulations as we proceed.
It's lonely out here! So please comment as we love to hear from you.

JUL
28
0

Port engine fixed

In the heat of the day (read tropics) and almost 90% humidity, enough to pass out into a sweaty slumber, it was time to see what was going on with the port engine. I climbed into the cramped engine room and immediately broke out in a heavy sweat. There was no breeze, the air was stifling and I had to contort my fat as a pig body in weird shapes to fit into the available working space. With sweat drops dripping on the inside of my glasses, I at least had a distorted view of the various engine parts as the rest of the lenses fogged up almost completely.

Sue started the engine and I took the GoPro video camera and stuck in a opening facing the water leak. Then it was back to the computer to view the footage and I could clearly see where the engine coolant water was gushing out in a strong flow. It was a water pipe which leaked at the hose clamp. Back to the engine room I went, went through the whole rigmarole of contortion Houdini would be seriously impressed by. Man, did i battle to get the water pipe sorted out. The heat was sapping my strength and each attempt to force the water hose over the moth of the relevant metal pipe, was weaker than the previous and the one before that. After perhaps 40 attempts, knuckles badly bruised, bolts and screw viciously attacking and near penetrating various bodily parts, small droplets of blood forming where I scraped myself against sharp protrusions - I finally managed to get the water hose to slide over the metal pipe.

But that was just half the battle won for I still had to tighten the hose clamp. I could barely get my hand into position, let alone still use a screwdriver. Now completely soaked as if I just had a shower, with hands cramping up, I finally managed to get a small ring spanner into position and was able to start tightening the hose clamp - a quarter turn at a time, then turn the spanner around and do another quarter turn. It felt like ages, but slowly I managed to tighten the hose clamp with each hand cramping quarter turn.

I topped up the inter cooler with freshwater and adding some anti-freeze which will prevent further the inner engine rusting any further. I then ran the engine for a couple of minutes and now need to again check the coolant level again tomorrow. But for now, everything seems to be back to normal and we once again have the use of our port engine. Holding thumbs that it remains the situation.Roll Eyes

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1273 Hits
JUL
27
0

Returning to Saint Laurent du Maroni

We did leave at 10H00 on Saturday (25 July 2015) morning and motored out of the Maroni river, heading for the open sea. The trip down river was simple, easy and uneventful whilst we did last preparations to Revelations in the calm river water and before entering the ocean. Where the Maroni river enters the sea, the depth is shallow for a long way offshore and we followed the beacons indicating the channel for about 8 nautical miles off shore before we turned west and started sailing towards Trinidad & Tobago.

We unfurled the jib and in about 10 knots of wind, Revelations settled into a 5 nautical mile rhythm which would be our daily routine for 4 to 6 days. After unfurling the jib and now on the correct compass course, I switched off the starboard engine, lit a cigarette and settled in for the first shift until 18H00 when Sue would relieve me when she came on duty. We sailed for about 30 nautical miles and I then switched on the starboard engine ... but nothing happened, only deathly silence from the engine.

Already the port engine was not working due to a major water leak, the generator also not working as it needs a new sea water pump, we cannot raise the main sail due to tangled ropes within the mast, we cannot raise the screetcher because of damage on the top of the mast ... and now the starboard engine also fails! We only have the jib to sail to Trinidad & Tobago and this makes for a slow journey. Running the navigation equipment 24 hours a day and also fridge, freezers and other electrical equipment - there is no way in hell the solar panels, which are our only means to generate power, would keep up with the battery power drain. This means that we would be without battery power within two or three days and then we would no longer have any means to keep the essential navigation equipment on.

We decided it would be best to return to Saint Laurent du Maroni and have the engines repaired. with this came a new set of challenges which would soon be upon us. With sunset within the next 4 hours, some 30 nautical miles away from the river mouth and channel, which does not have lighted beacons, a strong up river current (fortunately in the direction we wanted to go) and with dying wind the further we sail up river. Fortunately, our chart plotter shows a snail trail and we could follow our own tracks back. We reached the channel at sunset and slowly sailed in the channel towards land in the fast failing light. The tide turned 2 hours ago and was now rising, the flow reversed up river and we soon we where in the clutches of the strong current sweeping us along at about two knots per hour. The wind dropped and now there was only a slight breeze, barely enough to keep the jib deployed. But this was enough to give water flow over the rudder, so we had traction and could steer Revelations - back tracking our previous exit trail.

We sailed like this until about 23H00, slowly making headway up river but the wind kept dropping. For several minutes at a time, the jib would collapse upon itself and with that, we had no steerage. Unable to steer Revelations, we were at the mercy of the current only and then there would be a slight breeze for a minute or two - just enough to make a course correction before the wind would die again. But then the wind died completely and for the next forty minutes there was not even a slight breeze - only the current sweeping us up river. Fortunately, high tide at Saint Laurent du Maroni is some two and a half hours later than at the river mouth - so in other words, we had a prolonged rising tide.

Slowly the current took us off course and we were no longer following in our exit footsteps. This was a problem especially in view that the charts are off by at least half a nautical mile - at certain sections of the river, it was off by almost one nautical mile. This means that we could not be sure of our exact position in relation to the actual surroundings, with no visible lights, numerous shallow areas and other obstacles and only the light of the half moon, we could barely make out the river banks. It was time to drop the anchor and continue the journey the next day. We had everything ready, was about to go forward to drop the anchor when I decided to one more time try and start the starboard engine - it did!

With the engine now propelling us, it was a simple task to continue our journey up river to the SLM Marina. We arrived at 02H00 at the marina and with the aid of the town lights reflecting on the water, it was easy to spot our buoy. By now it was also slack tide and with no current running it was an easy task to tie up to the mooring in the middle of the night. So we are once again tied up, safe and sound - but back in Saint Laurent du Maroni until we can get things repaired.

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1477 Hits
JUL
24
0

Leaving for Trinidad & Tobago

We have now checked out of French Guiana and we will leave this historic place at around 10H00 tomorrow morning (25 July 2015) and set sail to Trinidad & Tobago. Contrary to the lenghty check-in and check-out processes in lovely Brazil, all the check out formalities here was done in less than 30 minutes. We would have liked to spend more time here in French Guiana and perhaps even visit Suriname, but we have a range of pressing and urgent repairs we have to sort out - so we need to get our arses in Trinidad ASAP. We throughly enjoyed the peaceful town of Saint Laurent du Maroni, it is rich in history and there is such a old colonial feel about the place. Then, David Matelicani, the owner of SLM Marina, has been most informative and helpful during our stay - we could not have asked for any better. Judging by what we have experienced, SLM Marina will be a great marina once everything David has in mind has beed completed and we wish him the very best. Hopefully we will return to this peaceful part of the world - perhaps during next year's hurricane season in the Caribbean. We will be at sea for 4 to 6 days and as usual, due to equipment failure, we will not be posting anything during this voyage. Cheers and we will be back soon!

  1202 Hits
1202 Hits
JUL
23
0

Sights in Saint Laurent du Maroni

Here are some images from Saint Laurent du Maroni, French Guiana and of the Maroni river. A couple of days ago, we took the dinghy and slowly motored up river, passing some activity, settlements and islands on the river. The forest along the river bank is dense and prolific due to the abundant rain. About 2 nautical miles up river is this stunning small little island where visitors can stop for the day, relax and perhaps even have a picnic. Then there are a couple of images of a wreck about 40 meters form where we are moored. The old wreck, who's back is broken, is overgrown with plants and trees and numerous birds roost here at night.

SaintLaurentDuMaroni

  799 Hits
799 Hits
JUL
22
0

Chilling in Saint Laurent du Maroni

Here is not much to do in this beautiful and quaint little town of Saint Laurent du Maroni, French Guiana so we have been chilling, resting, reading and catching up on some lost sleep. Saturday and Sunday past were busy days here on the river with a bunch of guys on jet ski's using the marina as a race track. The layout of the anchored yachts probably made for a perfect beacon-ed area to race their jet ski's. This was inconvenient, noisy and outright dangerous as some of them were quite reckless in their maneuvering. They would pass the yachts literally a few meters away at speed in access of 70 kilometers per hour. Besides the substantial wakes these jet ski's created and the subsequent hectic rolling action of the yachts (especially the mono hulls), a few of them almost lost control at high speed passing dangerously close to the moored yachts. At high speed, these machines bucked, bounced and bobbed all over the water and instead of sitting or standing on the jet ski's, some of the operators would clown around by lying flat on the seats. A couple of times, they almost fell off the bucking and bouncing jet ski's. Imagine the injuries and damage if one of these jet ski's slammed into a anchored yacht! The Maroni river is HUGE, more than 600 meters wide, probably a 100 kilometers long or more and offers all the space for having fun. So it is beyond me why these jet ski operators would choose to race within the marina and then within meters of the moored yachts.

I started a list of all the items which needs to be repaired when we get to Trinidad & Tabago and thus far, there are 32 items on the list - a mix of major and less important items. A top priority for us are;

  • Get the spinnaker repaired and buy an additional spinnaker,
  • Sort out the SSB radio so that we can send emails and receive weather files whilst sailing,
  • Sort out the furling system for the new screetcher sail we bought,
  • Repair all the winches which was damaged a few months ago,
  • Replace the generator seawater pump bearing,
  • Remove all the fittings, dig out the balsa and fill with epoxy (which Jacque never did properly),
  • Get the DAMN autopilot sorted out once and for all!!!!,
  • Do anti fouling to get rid of all the shit growing on the hulls,
  • Somehow get the remainder of the topping lift out of the mast,
  • Install more jammers for better sheet control,
  • Install additional solar panels and wind generators,
  • ... and a host of other less important stuff.

We partly stripped the port engine and found that there is no water in the engine oil. What we thought was oil in the water is indeed a dark rust sludge which at first glance looked like oil. This is good news as the engine repairs is not as extensive as I initially thought. It now appears that the freshwater coolant was leaking out of the intercooler - although at a very slow rate. I still not quite sure how the freshwater coolant is getting lost.

I also check out the generator which is electronically controlled and started cutting out recently. We would start the generator and it would shut itself down within the minute. Checking up on the warning code displayed on the LCD, I found that it is yet another coolant problem. This time, it was the bearing of the seawater pump is packed up. Indeed a small repair, but here is no replacement parts in French Guiana. I will order the part from a Kohler agent and have them send it to Trinidad & Tobago. In the interim, we cannot use the generator to charge batteries - so we can't use the water maker, washing machine, ice maker nor the microwave.

  1197 Hits
1197 Hits
JUL
20
3

Video sailing to French Guiana

We made a video compilation of our voyage from Cabedelo, Brazil to Saint Laurent du Maroni, French Guiana spanning several days of sailing and events we encounter en route.

  1351 Hits
Recent Comments
I know you are not going to like what I say, but PLEASE wear harnesses, clipped on when leaving the cockpit.
Tuesday, 21 July 2015 14:24
It is really good to see you guys again!
Tuesday, 21 July 2015 14:25
Unseen in the video is a trailing rope in case I lose my grip. But yes, you are right - we need to wear harnesses.
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 00:03
1351 Hits
JUL
16
0

Sailing to French Guiana

We left Cabedelo on the outgoing tide at around 09H00 and slowly motored down the river to the open sea - yacht Entheos not far behind us. As we got near the harbour mouth the the water started changing to a milky green colour and there was a slight swell. We motored for about 2 nautical miles off shore before first raising the main sail and then unfurling the jib - then setting the course north east away from the coast. We easily and quickly settled into the sailing routine and by day two, we were in good sailing rhythm and mode.

Sue would do the 18H00 to 24H00 hour shift allowing me to get some sleep and I would do the 24H00 to 06H00 shift. From 06H00 to around 09H00, Sue would steer the yacht whilst I catch a nap for a couple of hours and I would then take over until 18H00 allowing Sue time to take care of other yacht duties, prepare food and also take a break. It is hard work for two people alone to sail a big yacht like Revelations and it was tiring. For the first 5 days we had some good winds, mostly between 10 and 18 knots and we made good progress - on some days in excess of 180 nautical miles.

After rounding the corner of Brazil, now heading almost a straight line to French Guiana, we considered stopping at Forteleza and get the B&G technicians located in Salvador to come and fix the problematic auto pilot. After discussing this amongst ourselves for a while, we radioed Entheos about our intentions to which they indicated that it was a good consideration. As we got nearer to Forteleza, we realized that whilst we would enter the marina before sunset, Entheos who was some 20 nautical miles behind us would only arrive after dark and given all the problems (theft, break-ins, crime, etc.), this was not a good situation. This would mean that Entheos will have to anchor outside the marina and only enter in daylight the following day. It is whilst anchoring where almost all the yachts calling at Forteleza gets robbed and often get beaten up in the process by armed men. Sue and I then agreed to rather sail all the way to French Guiana and to skip Forteleza all together. I once again radioed Entheos to notify them of this problem, but whilst detailing the Forteleza problem to Bertie, he interrupted and out of nowhere announced that they intended sailing to a place called "Lencois" on the northern Brazil coast and stay there for about five days. Considering the several months we waited for them to get their yacht repaired whilst in Salvadore, this unilateral announcement came as a surprise. But we were happy with this new situation as there has been a number of incidents, under lying tensions and disagreements between us, best not dwelled upon - this meant that we could now finally forge ahead on our own.

We then changed course by some 20 degrees more northwards, headed for deeper water and a straight line to French Guiana. Contrary to the weather predictions, the wind was on our starboard beam and we had to drop the spinnaker and raise the main sail and unfurl the jib. We had some good speed runs and for the first 3 days we covered 160 to 190 nautical miles per day. As we got near the equator, the wind shifted and substantial dropped in speed - we were clearly entering the renown doldrums. We raised the spinnaker again and were content with the much slower pace - we were still making good boat speed in relation to the wind speed. At night, squalls (rain clouds) would overtake us and the wind speed would then increase dramatically - from a mundane 7 knots it would increase to 15 to 18 knots. For an hour or so each time, things would get a bit hectic as the boat speed increase accordingly and everything was wet.

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On a dark moon less and cloudy night, on the radar we saw another squall approaching us and I went through the usual preparations - close all the hatches, pack all the loose item in the cockpit away, put on our foul weather gear to prevent me from getting drenched. But as I found out later, this squall was very different and much more powerful than all the other squalls. The wind speed increased as expected, it went to 9 knots for a couple of minutes - steadily increasing to what I expected at around 18 knots. When the squall was directly overhead, the wind speed rapidly accelerated to 25 knots! That was when things started to really get hectic on Revelations - Sue was asleep and with the autopilot not working, I was at the helm working hard to keep the yacht on course. Unable to leave the helm to either call Sue to come and help or drop the spinnaker, all I could due was steer Revelations on a course where the full force of the wind had the least effect on the spinnaker. I managed this for around 10 minutes, but then the wind increased yet again - now blowing 30 knots and gusting close to 35 knots. It was during one of these gusts that all hell broke loose - the spinnaker exploded with a loud bang and were crazily flapping around in the wind. The already lumpy seas where whipped up in a state of confusion, it was pouring buckets of rain and the wind was howling - it took us an hour to lower the remains of the spinnaker, sort out the entangled sheets on the front deck and stow everything away. That was the end of our beloved spinnaker - a mistake on my part for under estimating the power of the squall.

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So it was back to the mainsail and jib, although we did not loose much boat speed it was not as easy steering Revelations as it was with the spinnaker. We sailed like this for another two days and then the topping lift (the sheet holding the boom up) broke. This did not effect anything much as the fully deployed main sail was holding the boom up. The remaining piece of the topping lift coming out on top of the mast entangled itself around one of the shrouds, this meant that it would not fall back down the mast and it would be easy to later run a new sheet through the mast back to the boom. We sailed like this for several days doing a mundane 4 to 5 knot in boat speed. Whilst the boom was swinging around occasionally in typical sailing fashion, I noticed that the base of the mast would move slightly every time the boom would come up short. I have never seen the mast doing this before, this was disconcerting and I decided to drop the main sail and proceed sailing with the jib only. Again, we did not loose much speed with only the jib powering Revelations and everything seemed alright. But two days later, when I looked up the mast, I noticed that the remaining topping lift untangled itself and fell down in the mast - so now we have a piled up sheet within the mast. I tried pulling out from the base of the mast - but it is stuck and any further pulling will probably caused additional damage.

We encountered a strange magnetic anomaly close the French Guiana continental shelve. The compass completely swung upside down - North now pointed to South and vice verse. For around an hour or so, we were stumped by all of this, with the chart plotter saying one thing and the compass saying the opposite - clearly something was badly wrong. But what is wrong, which instrument was incorrect and which one was correct or were they both wrong. In the middle of the night, overcast and with no moon causing complete darkness, unable to see land and take bearings - for awhile we felt completely lost. I was rattled and was quite concerned that we might be sailing to some unknown destination. We brought Revelations to lie a hull , now virtually standing still and drifting with the current, I rigged up a portable GPS device and connected it to my laptop and navigation software. That was when we found out that the compass was totally incorrect and that the now North was actually South. With this new found knowledge, we made a couple of mental adjustments and continued sailing - this time without taking much notice of the compass. Some 80 nautical miles later, the compass slowly swung to the correct heading and a couple of hours later, things went back to normal. But it was a strange and new experience - feeling completely lost.

Still three days away from Ilse du Salut, the port engine started using water. At first, I thought that the water pump sprung a leak due to a worn out bearing. So I filled the inter cooler up with fresh water - but one day later, the warning light once again came on. Upon closer inspection, I found oil within the inter cooler and this meant serious trouble - oil in the water cooling system and water in the lubricating oil. We shut the port engine down and for the rest of the voyage only used the starboard engine. We finally sailed into French Guiana waters and a day later tide up at a floating buoy at the Isle du Salut. We now have an extensive list of repairs to be done when we reach Trinidad & Tobago - although I will try and get the starboard engine overhauled whilst we are here.

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866 Hits
JUL
16
0

Insane thoughts of the human autopilot.

With the autopilot once again not working for the entire Cabedelo to French Guiana voyage, having turned the steering wheel thousands upon thousands of times to port and to starboard, non stop for 11 continuous days, for 16 hours average every day is enough to drive anyone insane. Eyes glued mostly to the compass, trying to steer a straight line in seas which throw the yacht around the same way a lion would toy with a mouse, at times fighting the wheel due to strong winds exerting strong counter pressure of the steering wheel, eyes frequently glancing at the other instruments, weariness setting in, the enivetable loss of focus, the body cramping with pain and the continuous steering corrections - all this takes a heavy toll and one is exhausted after a couple of days. So here is a small sample of thoughts whilst doing this - enough to drive you insane after days of this;

turn to starboard to 330 degrees, it's getting there but slowly, turn more, OK there she goes, now 300 degrees, ease up slightly on the wheel, now 320 degrees, ease up more, just a light more, 325 degrees, almost there, 330 degrees - spot on, oh shit - it's gone beyond, turn to port, more to port, OK back to 330 degrees, keep it there, it's going off course, turn to port, too much, back to starboard, just a little, damn - that wave threw us off course, now it's back to 320 degrees, get it back to 330 degrees, little increments, almost there, it's now 330 degrees, keep it there, hold it, hold it, what is the wind angle, look up the mast at the windfinder, yeah the wind is good, oh shit we have gone off course again, turn 20 degrees to port, 10 degrees more, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 315 degrees, turn to starboard, slowly, that's too slow, a little more, a bit more, too much, 5 degrees back to port, there we go, don't let it go off course, keep it there, hold it, it's drifting to starboard, correct 10 degrees to port, 5 more degrees to go, too much, 5 degrees back to starboard, spot on, check the tell tales, ease up a little on the jib, damn - we have gone 25 degrees off course, steer to starboard, more to starboard, ease up a little, almost there, just a little bit more, back to 330 degrees, hold it there, don't let it drift, it's starting to drift, a little to port, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, micro correction to port, it's good, now again drifting to starboard, the wind is slacking, now at 340 degrees, turn to port, more to port, almost there, wind is up again, now steering 315 degrees, turn to starboard, a wind gust, much more to starboard, that's too much, back to port again, keep it there, turn a little to starboard, that's good, we are going off course, correct 10 degrees to port, 5 more degrees, too much, 5 degrees back to starboard, now 330 degrees, that's good, I need a cigarette, shit - 25 degrees off course, turn the wheel hard to port, ease up a little, 5 degrees back to port, slightly too much, check whether there are any lights out there, 10 degrees off course again, turn to starboard, just a liitle more, it's now drifting back to port again, turn more to starboard, almost there, almost there, it's now 330 degrees, keep it there, hold it, hold it, what is the wind angle, look up the mast at the windfinder, yeah the wind is good, oh shit we have gone off course again, turn 20 degrees to port, 10 degrees more, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 315 degrees, now it's 310 degrees, turn to starboard, much more, it's getting there, just a little more, spot on, little adjustment to port, almost there, now 330 degrees again, the AIS alarm is going off, check the AIS info, a cargo vessel coming up from behind - 10 nautical miles away, de-activate the alarm, back to the chartplotter, check the compass, oh shit we have gone way off course again, 30 degrees to starboard, 20 more degrees, 10 more degrees, ease up a little, over corrected, steer 5 degrees to port, too much, 5 degrees back to starboard, on course again, what is the wind speed, damn - drifted 5 degrees to port again, steer a little to starboard, that's good, spot on, it's drifting to starboard, a little to port, a little bit more, back to 330 degrees, now keep it there, it's starting to drift, a little to port, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, now it's back to 310 degrees, damn that wave, steer to starboard, almost there, a little more, too much, back to port, there it is, keep it there, a micro turn to starboard, the wind has shifted slightly, steer 10 degrees to port, there we go, a little to port, that's good, the wind is gusting, now at 345 degrees, turn to port, more to port, a little more to port, spot on, it's starting to drift, a little to port, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, keep it there, hold it, hold it, turn to port, slowly, that's too slow, a little more, a bit more, too much, 5 degrees back to starboard, scan the horizon for lights, shit - 20 degrees off course, 15 degrees to starboard, 5 more degrees, that's good, check the AIS for that cargo ship, now 9 nautical miles away, she is no threat and will pass well to starboard, sails are flapping, we are 40 degrees off course, turn hard to starboard, more, more still, OK - she is swnging around, ease up on the wheel, just a liitle more, 330 degrees again, hold it there, small adjustment to starboard, hold it, that's good, she is drifting, steer 5 degrees to starboard, a bit more, she is good, now going to 325 degrees, turn a little to starboard, another wave, small adjustment to port, almost there, on course, steer a little to starboard, more to starboard, that's good, it's now drifting to port again, turn more to starboard, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, turn 10 degrees to starboard, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 310 degrees, turn to starboard, slowly, that's too slow, a little more, a bit more, too much, turn to port, now 5 degrees back to starboard, on course again, drifted 5 degrees to port again, steer a little to starboard, that's good, spot on, it's drifting to starboard, a little to port, a little bit more, 10 degrees off course again, turn to starboard, just a liitle more, it's now drifting back to port again, turn more to starboard, almost there, almost there, it's now 330 degrees, keep it there, hold it, hold it, what is the wind angle, look up the mast at the wind indicator, yeah the wind is good, oh shit we have gone off course again, turn 20 degrees to port, 10 degrees more, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 315 degrees, now it's 310 degrees, turn to starboard, much more, it's getting there, just a little more, spot on, little adjustment to port, almost there, now 330 degrees again, drifted 5 degrees to port again, steer a little to starboard, that's good, spot on, it's drifting to starboard, a little to port, a little bit more, back to 330 degrees, now keep it there, it's starting to drift, a little to port, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, now it's back to 310 degrees, damn that wave, steer to starboard, almost there, a little more, too much, back to port, a little more to port, still more to port, that's good, turn 10 degrees to port, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 310, turn to starboard, more to starboard, it's getting there, just a little more, spot on, little adjustment to port, almost there, now 330 degrees again, 5 degrees to port again, steer a little to starboard, that's good, spot on, it's drifting to starboard, a little to port, a little bit more, back to 330 degrees, now keep it there, it's starting to drift, a little to port, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, now it's back to 310 degrees,again that's good, she is drifting, steer 5 degrees to starboard, a bit more, she is good, now going to 325 degrees, turn a little to starboard, another wave, small adjustment to port, almost there, on course, steer a little to starboard, more to starboard, that's good, it's now drifting to port again, turn more to starboard, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, turn 10 degrees to starboard, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 310 degrees, turn to starboard, slowly, that's too slow, a little more, a bit more, too much, turn to port, now 5 degrees back to starboard, on course again, drifted 5 degrees to port again, check that cargo ship, now 8 nautical miles away far out on our port side , damn - 20 degrees off course, turn the wheel hard to starboard, now 10 more degrees back to starboard, ease up the last 5 degrees, slightly too much, steer back to port, 10 degrees off course again, turn to starboard, just a liitle more, it's now drifting back to port again, turn more to starboard, almost there, almost there, it's now 330 degrees, 5 degrees back to port, there we go, don't let it go off course, keep it there, hold it, it's drifting to starboard, correct 10 degrees to port, 5 more degrees to go, too much, 5 degrees back to starboard, spot on, steer a little to starboard, more to starboard, ease up a little, almost there, just a liitle more, 330 degrees again, hold it, small adjustment to starboard, hold it, that's good, she is drifting again, steer 5 degrees to port, a bit more, spot on, 10 degrees off course again, turn to starboard, just a liitle more, it's now drifting back to port again, turn more to starboard, almost there, almost there, it's now 330 degrees, keep it there, hold it, hold it, what is the wind angle, look up the mast at the windfinder, yeah the wind is good, oh shit we have gone off course again, turn 20 degrees to port, 10 degrees more, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, off course by 10 degrees again, steer to starboard, 5 degrees more, almost there, on course, a little to port, still more to port, that's good, turn 5 degrees to port, too much, correct to starboard, 5 more degrees, that's good, little adjustment to port, almost there, now 330 degrees again, drifted 5 degrees to starboard, steer a little to port, that's good, 5 degrees back to port, there we go, don't let it go off course again, keep it there, hold it, it's drifting to starboard now, correct 10 degrees to port, 5 more degrees, too much, 5 degrees back to starboard, spot on, steer a bit to starboard, more to starboard, another wind gust, now 10 degrees off course, steer to port, easy now, a liitle bit more, that's it, back to 330 degrees, drifting back to port again, turn more to starboard, almost there, back to 330 degrees, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, now it's back to 315 degrees, damn this sea, steer to starboard, almost there, a little more, too much, back to port, still more to port, that's good, turn 5 degrees to port, a few degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, slightly too much, correct to port, that's good, 330 degrees again, hold it there, small adjustment to starboard, hold it, that's good, she is drifting, steer 5 degrees to starboard, a bit more, she is good, now going to 325 degrees, turn a little to starboard, another wave, small adjustment to port, almost there, on course, steer a little to starboard, more to starboard, that's good, it's now drifting to port again, turn more to starboard, over corrected, a little to starboard, that's good, hold it, turn 10 degrees to starboard, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 310 degrees, turn to starboard, slowly, that's too slow, a little more, a bit more, too much, turn to port, now 5 degrees back to starboard, on course again, drifted 5 degrees to port again, check that cargo ship again, it's far out on our port side, turn 20 degrees to port, 10 degrees more, 5 degrees more, slightly too much, correct to starboard, hold it, keep it there, it's back to 315 degrees, now it's 310 degrees, turn to starboard, much more, it's getting there, just a little more, spot on, little adjustment to port, ........ on and on and on and on .....

To get the real insane feeling of what it is like, you need to read the above a couple of thousand times ... over and over. Enough to drive anybody insane!

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829 Hits
JUL
16
0

Safe and Sound in French Guiana

We sailed over 1400 nautical miles non stop from Cabedelo in Brazil to Isle du Salut, French Guiana and arrived early on 13 July 2015. It was a lonnnggg, arduous and tiring voyage for us, we arrived tired and had aches in places we did not know existed before. We also had a number of incidents along the way and we will later tell you more about these.

We furled the jib a short distance away from Isle du Salut and motored the last nautical mile or so. There was quite heavy currents in the area and the islands did not give much protection against these nor the small rolling swell. As we rounded the corner of the island, we noticed an unoccupied mooring buoy to which we decided to secured Revelations. We then spend the rest of the day relaxing, had a swim in the milky green water and caught up on some much needed sleep. The scenery is stunning and plant growth on the islands is prolific with a jungle flavour.

Early the next morning, a large inflatable boat with powerful outboards pulled up next to Revelations - it was the military, five young men dressed in camo on board. They were friendly but firmly advised that the buoy belonged to the military and that we are not allowed to tie up to it. In broken English and many hand gestures they advised that we should anchor close by instead. They left a short while later and motored back to the main land some seven nautical miles away. We again looked at the anchoring options, but considering the strong current, small area within which to anchor, exposure to the rolling waves, we instead decided to lift anchor and sail to "Saint Laurent du Maroni" some ninety nautical miles further up the coast of French Guiana.

We headed diagonally away from the coast and at around fifteen nautical miles, we change course and sailed parallel to the coast to the Moroni river which is also the border between French Guiana and Suriname. Sailing with the jib alone, we made good progress and I brought Revelations to a standstill for two hours to ensure that we arrive in daylight. Already light enough to see but before sunrise we arrived at the Moroni river mouth and we slowly motored up the river towards the small town of Saint Laurent du Maroni. Within sight of the town and a mere nautical mile away, the dark brooding sky opened and it pour down buckets of rain. With visibility limit to a mere hundred meters or so, I decided to anchor in shallow water and to continue the rest of the journey the next morning. This morning, we tied up to a buoy here at SLM Marine and will attend to the official check in procedures in the morning. We are happy to be here, safe and sound, it is jungle as far as the eye can see - simply stunning.

  1036 Hits
1036 Hits
JUL
02
0

Checked out of Brazil

We have now officially checked out of Brazil and will lift anchor at 06H00 (Brazil time) on 2 July 2015 and set course for Iles du Salut, French Guyana. We had some document difficulties with Customs this morning as they questioned us about the goods we imported from South Africa a couple of months ago. Then they wanted to see whether we have the goods and that it will be leaving with us. So it was all the way back to Revelations and we had to turn the boat upside down to retrieve the goods. Forty minutes later, sweating and swearing under our breaths, they were satisfied and then it was back to their offices to complete all the paperwork. At around 15H15 we were finally done and returned to Revelations which was now in a state of chaos.

We will not be able to communicate en-route due to equipment problems, nether will we be able to send updates nor position reports to this website. We should be at the “Iles Du Salut” islands in about 9 to 12 days from now. But we will only go ashore 5 to 8 days later to moor at a marina, do the check in procedures, then try and arrange internet access. If all goes well, you can expect to hear from us in about 16 to 20 days. Cheers until then!

  793 Hits
793 Hits
JUN
30
2

Anticipated departure date - 2 June 2015

We have been checking the weather and it seems that Thursday 2 June 2015 will be a good time to leave Cabedelo, Brazil and set sail for French Guyana. There are still a couple of things we have to do, pack things away, stock up on some food stuff and get Revelations ready for sea. If the weather holds, we will do our check out procedures this Wednesday coming and cast off the mooring lines early Thursday morning.

Unfortunately, due to equipment failure, we will not be able to post any updates nor position reports on this blog. We should arrive in French Guyana within 9 to 11 days from date of departure. However, before checking in at the official port in French Guyana and getting internet access again, we plan to visit some remote islands, called Iles Du Salut, for a couple of days - the same islands where the film "Papillon" was shot. The now abandoned prison is still there and it will make for an interesting stop. This means that we will only post messages here again around 15 days after leaving Cabedelo.

  1336 Hits
Recent Comments
Hope you guys have a totally uneventful trip to the Islands and French Guyana
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 16:15
As it turns out, although it was tough on the body, we did fairly well except for the squall which destroyed our spinnaker.
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 00:02
1336 Hits
JUN
30
0

B&G ACP2 unit installed

A couple of days after returning from Salvador, I re-installed the B&G ACP2 unit and carefully connected all the wires. It was hot and cramped in the engine room, I sweated my arse off and the job was awkward. With my thick and dumb fingers, it was difficult inserting the thin wires into the tight and small receptors. Any, after a couple of hours, the job was done and it was time to test the autopilot.

But now it showed Fault 115! The manual described the fault;

Fault 105 - External Compass
Fault Description
Heading data from Halcyon 2000 Compass or Gyro Sensor has stopped.
Remedy
(1) Check heading display on instrument system.
(2) Check connections to Fastnet junction box or Gyro connections in autopilot computer.

I once again checked all the wire connections but could not find anything wrong. This was frustrating to say the least. I wrote an email to Mr. Igor Stelli who is a B&G expert in Salvador describing the problem. He promptly replied that it was not a serious problem and was mostly likely due to reconnecting the ACP2 unit. He also emailed instructions to do a system calibration - this was done this morning and sure enough, the autopilot is now working again! this is absolutely fantastic and we can now go ahead with our departure plans. Thank you Mr. Stelli!

  978 Hits
978 Hits
JUN
29
0

Time to move on

We have been in Brazil for almost 5 months and we need to leave soon and continue our world cruise. We are now starting to look at our next destination, French Guyana which is about 1200 nautical miles sailing distance from Cabedelo, Brazil. We initially wanted to stop at Forteleza and then later at Belem in the Amazon, but having read many bad reports about crime, theft and several other issues, we decided to skip these destinations and head directly for French Gayana.

This will be the longest continuous voyage we have done by ourselves and we anticipate that the first couple of days will be tiring until we find our sea legs. The wind is mostly from behind and this will greatly assist in making this voyage more pleasant and comfortable - also less strain on Revelations. We pan on sailing well offshore and thereby not encounter all the coastal fishing boats.

FrenchGuyana

  1322 Hits
1322 Hits
JUN
29
0

Bolero at Sunset

Since 1995, a local musician has been going out on a river boat every single day, playing the beautiful "Bolero" song on his saxophone here in Cabedelo, Brazil. An entire local tourist industry has developed as a result of him going out playing the same sound track every day for the past twenty years. About 40 minutes before sunset, a number of boats carrying tourists would congregate in front of the riverside restaurants. This is the situation every single day with a couple of thousands of tourists gathering at these restaurants and riverside to listen, photograph and video record the daily ritual. Besides the local restaurants, there are many kiosks and shops open for the tourist congregating for the event. These shops are highly dependent on the tourists the musician attracts and only trade from about 16h00 to around 20H00 each day.

Shortly before sunset, all the blaring music will quiet down and the place will become silent. The musician then start playing his saxophone through a joint sound system shared by all the restaurants. He would slowly make his way through the restaurant to a mooring and then climb inside the river boat to be paddled around the waiting boats full of tourists. The boat man skilfully paddles the boat in the fast flowing river visiting each tourist boat circling as he makes his way. After visiting each boat, the man then paddles back to the adjoining restaurant from where he started and the song ends as the last light of the sun disappears behind the distant horizon. We were in our own dinghy when we video recorded this daily event, the flow of the river was really strong and our dinghy bobbed up and down - hence the jerky video motion.

  1343 Hits
1343 Hits
JUN
28
0

Gypsy Style Motorvan Revisit

Awhile ago, we saw this gypsy style truck - called "Arte Nomade". We went around yesterday, met and briefly spoke to the people. Unfortunately, we got a distinct feeling that they wanted money for us to speak and write about them on this blog. For that reason we did not go back later as arranged. It is a pity as the interior of the truck was highly decorated, much more interesting than the exterior and what life experiences these people must have. We did manage to take a couple of detailed pictures of the front of the truck.

Pardal and Rosa prefer to live their lives in the most simplest form, they live and travel in this bus - with all their earthly possessions therein. They openly state that they do not seek to be the center of attention and shy away from being in the public eye. These people are clearly heavily influenced by Indian beliefs system as the truck contain many Zen style and Eastern art and decorations.

Here is another website you can read about them.

  1052 Hits
1052 Hits

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