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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
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!

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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.

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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
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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

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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.

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JUN
26
0

Public Holiday and Celebrations

It was a public holiday here in Brazil on Tuesday earlier this week. Scores of people went away for a long weekend, businesses closed for several days, there were much less cars on the road and then people started piling up firewood in the roads. For the past couple of weeks now, I noticed stacks of firewood on the pavements in front of people's houses but thought nothing of it. Unnoticed these piles of firewood grew in size into formidable heaps and the reason became clear late Tuesday afternoon. We noticed many families all moving the firewood from the pavements into the roads, they were clearly intend on making fire. But why and for what reason?

We returned to the streets early that evening and found that these piles of firewood were burning, music blaring everywhere, parts of the road were blocked off, people were sitting around in groups all along the road, celebrating and partying, drinking and lighting fire crackers. We then learned that the local market sold huge truck loads of corn cobs (called "mielies" in Afrikaans) the past few days. As we walked down the road, most of the fires burned with intense heat and some were fairly close to the houses. All along the road, we noticed corn cobs and some people were already toasting them in the fires. We took a couple of short videos as we walked down the one road - here is our compilation.

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JUN
03
0

Gypsy style motorvan

On our way to talk to Brian, a Englishman who settled here in Jacare Village some 45 years ago and who runs a boat repair yard, we came across this Gypsy style motor van parked under a tree. It has been there for quite some time and we saw and greeted the Gypsy woman who stared at us as we took a couple of pictures. The motor van is highly decorated in a weird and unusual arty style. The motor van is incredibly detailed with metallic stuff and objects welded|bonded|glued to the body in what we thought look typical Gypsy style. We could not spend any time with them but we are planning to go back, have a chat to these people and will hopefully be allowed to take detailed pictures.

GypsyBus

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JUN
03
1

Dinghy Ride Around Jacare Village Marina

This morning we decided to lower the dinghy and motor around Ilha Stuart which is opposite the Jacare Marina Village. It is quite a big island of about 6 x 1.8 kilometers, uninhabited and with lush vegetation. The idea was to do it picnic style and have a relaxing day slowly motoring around the island, stopping at various places on the opposite river banks. "Jacare" means "crocodile" and although now free of crocodiles, rumour has it that every now and then a crocodile will make it way down river into the vicinity. Two years ago, they found a big crocodile close by which washed down the river during a flood. so who knows, we might even discover our own crocodile.

Sue packed some food stuff and cool drinks in a cooler bag - with sunblock, sunglasses and all the trimmings we might require, we set off on this outing. From Jacare Marina Village, we slowly motored diagonally across the wide river to the opposite bank and made our way down river to where we need to take a left turn into a side channel. The in and out going tides are quite strong and water flow of 4 knots per hour is the usual thing - four times a day. But it was the phase between low and high tide, so there was virtually no current and since we motored with the wind, it was an easy comfortable ride.

But as we neared the channel which we had to turn into, the water was especially flat and calm - for good reason as it was very shallow and then we got stuck in the mud. We reversed out of the shallows into deeper water and tried to enter the channel from a different position - again we got stuck. The fishermen and people in the couple of pirogue's in the vicinity must have laughed their arse's off as we got stuck in our attempts to enter the channel. So a couple of times, we pretended to sit back and relax as if this was the place we intended to be - right there stuck in the mud.

Unlike the shallow draft pirouqe's and the long tail propellers which they can lift out of the water, our outboard propeller is fixed and sits deeper in the water. After several attempts to enter the channel and failing, we conceded defeat and decided to motor back to Revelations - but this time against the wind and a small chop. Regardless of our failure to go around the island, it was a nice outing, we had some exclusive alone time, shared a couple of laughs (mainly at ourselves) and took some pictures - although it was mostly overcast and this did not lend itself for great pictures.

DinghyRoute

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Recent comment in this post
Great to see you guys!Cheers, Brent
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 18:01
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MAY
25
2

Risky and Dangerous Situation

We have 3 damaged Lewmar winches (our main winch at the helm is badly damaged) and despite numerous emails to suppliers worldwide, we are still waiting for responses to our emails and prices. In the meantime, we are stuck here in Cabedelo and cannot continue our voyage without first repairing the winches.

The damage occurred during our nighttime sail from Recife to Cabedelo, Brazil. It all started when the pad eye installed on top of the mast broke and fell into the water. With this, the spinnaker dropped by a good 3 to 4 meters lower and the foot of the spinnaker was at times touching the water. We saw that the spinnaker was flying at a much lower height but we did not know that the pad eye broke or that this was the reason why the spinnaker was flying just above the waterline. Also unbeknown to us at the time, due to all of this, the spinnaker halyard and the rope controlling the spinnaker sock got snagged on top of the mast.

In the almost pitch darkness of the night, additionally partly blinded by the white compass light, we employed the main winch to pull the spinnaker further up the mast. But then unseen, the tail end of the spinnaker halyard looped back into the winch drum, loop wrapped itself around the winch release arm and pulled itself so tight that it was impossible to release the halyard. In this process the release arm was extensively bent locking the halyard to the winch and also causing extensive damage to the winch self tailing parts and the centre stem (sub assembly) snapped under the tremendous load.

I then went to the mast to pull down the spinnaker sock down and thus de-power the spinnaker. Tugging and pulling with all my weight (considerable), I could not pull the spinnaker sock down. Shining the torch up the mast, it was then that we discovered that the spinnaker sock rope entangled itself on top of the mast. With the spinnaker halyard jammed onto the winch and the spinnaker sock line entangled up the mast, it was impossible to lower the spinnaker in the designed way nor was it possible to de-power the spinnaker - indeed a nightmare situation. We decided to continue sailing until daybreak and with the benefit of daylight, we would then see what plan we could make to lower or de-power the spinnaker.

Fortunately for us, we were not sailing towards lands neither did the winds push us towards the lee shore. At this time, we were some 10 nautical miles from the from the coast, sailing parallel to the coast, but considering our difficulties and the possibility that the wind direction could change, we certainly did not feel comfortable this close to the shoreline. We continued sailing the remaining night time hours and we managed to steer a couple of degrees further away from the coast.

By daybreak, we were some 15 nautical miles from the coast and it was time to find a solution for our problems. After assessing the situation and considering our options, it was clear that I had to go up the mast - this whilst Revelations was in full motion at 8 knots and with the spinnaker fully deployed in about 12 knot of wind power. Although this wind speed is certainly not hectic in sailing terms, it creates immense power in the sails.

But the situation was quite tricky and fraud with danger. Sue had to hand steer, keep Revelations on course, make sure that the spinnaker does not de-power, hoist me up on the mast and at the same time hold onto the rope so that I do not fall. Allowing the spinnaker to de-power means that the sheets will be flaying around in the wind, become bullwhips fully capable of decapitating anyone in its path. Sue had to do all of this at the same time and this is multi tasking to the extreme! To do this properly she needed four arms instead of two.

We had no choice and with adrenaline pumping, up the mast I went, getting knock around by the yacht's motions, banging against the mast, swinging from left to right with me clinging on for dear life - all the while praying that Sue keeps the spinnaker under full power. I managed to untangle the spinnaker sock ropes from the mast and after about twenty minutes was safely back on deck - sporting bumps, bruises and scrapes. We were now able to pull the spinnaker sock down and de-power the spinnaker - minutes later, Revelations was quietly lying ahull. This was a scary time as often the foot of the spinnaker would touch the waterline but pull clear again before it got dragged under the yacht. Although the spinnaker did not end up under the yacht, the lazy sheet got snagged under the yacht on three occasions and each time took immense effort to release from under the hull. Muscles ached, our backs felt broken, arms were numb from the strenuous work - we were exhausted from all these hours of struggle and hard work.

Once all under control, we took a short break, had a couple of cool drinks (and cigarettes), started the engines and motored the last few nautical miles into Cabedelo harbour where we are now safely moored at Jacare Village Marina. But Sue once did say that sailing is not for sissies, that it is for the brave - but this was far beyond that and way too dangerous. It was a painful, hectic and dangerous experience and certainly not something we would like to EVER encounter again. We learned many lessons from all of this, we are still discussing changes in the way we sail Revelations as next time, we might not be so lucky to escape with only scrapes and bruises.

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Recent Comments
Have been following your blog with keen interest. Glad you guys are OK!
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 18:23
Hello Tertius - welcome here! Thank you and we also happy it is behind us.
Tuesday, 26 May 2015 21:09
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MAY
25
0

Cabedelo Check In Procedures

When we arrived here in Cabedelo, we were informed that we do not have to check in with the Police Federal here in Cabedelo - only with the Port Capitaine. This is very different from the procedures we followed to date, as elsewhere, checking in with the Police Federal is a big issue and compulsory. Not wanting to take any chances and certainly not looking for trouble at our next port of call, we decided to indeed visit the Police Federal here in Cabedelo and make sure of the procedures.

This morning, we took a taxi to the local Police Federal and sure enough, we are not required to check in with them. But they spend a good 20 minutes reading some rule book to make double sure they had it right. In the end, we insisted on getting a letter from them that we did call at their offices to check in, but that this was not necessary according to them. Two hours later, we had the required letter in our possession and then set off to find the Port Captaine.

Previously we had to dress up when visiting these offices and we have seen other less formally dressed people asked to leave. But unlike these previous experiences, at the Port Capitaine we were met by a young man dress in exercise short, T shirt and sneakers. - here the dress code certainly did not matter. Some twenty minutes and a couple of photo stats later, their official stamp and a signature, we had our papers - we are now officially checked in with the Cabedelo authorities.

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MAY
20
0

Leaving Recife soon

Entheos managed to get their US visas and collected them at the US Consulate this afternoon. So we all plan on departing Recife tomorrow sometime in the afternoon. Our next port of call is Cabedelo about 60 to 70 nautical miles north from here. We will sailing 10 to 15 nautical off the coast due to fishing boats, nets, other potential problems and hazards. We will therefore sail around 90 nautical miles and should be there sometime late Friday morning. Once we arranged internet access, we will post here again - cheers until then. Laughing

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MAY
12
0

Check-in procedures at recife

We left the marina early this morning to attend to the compulsary check-in procedures. We took a taxi which dropped us off at Police Federal head quarters - only to find out that we need to go to another office some 2 kilometers away where the procedures are done. All dressed up in decent clothes (long trousers and long sleeve shirts) we walk the 2 kilometers in searing heat and fianlly found the place - but now sweating from head to toe. The person attending to the procedures were friendly, helpful and the process went easy as he could speak some English. We were then directed to the Captaine dos Portas, this time the same 2 kilometers back from where we started. Yet again the process was swift and efficient and we were out of the building some twenty minutes later. Stamped and sealed - we have now officially checked in with the authorities at Recife.

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MAY
10
0

Arrived at Recife, Brazil

We cast off the mooring lines at 06H00 on 6 May 2015 and slowly motored out of Terminal de Nautico Bahia in Salvador, Brazil. Once out of the marina, we set course for the open sea and with one engine running, we engaged the autopilot. The autopilot repeatedly would not engaged and showed the one fault after the other. Just as we started fearing that we would have to hand steer all the way to Recife, the autopilot finally agreed to work and do it's job. We motored out of the Salvador bay and as we clear the last cardinal sign, we motored some 5 nautical mile off shore then steered to port and set a course of 50 degrees heading up the coast to Recife.

At 10 nautical miles off shore, we encountered clean blue water and it was time to start the water maker. We pumped all the fresh but undrinkable water out of our water tanks, then started the water maker and several hours later, we had 700 liters (full tanks) of almost pure fresh water. With 8 to 10 knots of winds, our boat speed was between 5 and 7 nautical miles per hour, it was time to troll some lures behind the yacht.

Several hours later, we had a strike on the bungee cord lure and caught a big male Dorado. Whilst reeling in the Dorado to the yacht, the Penn reel on the rod started screaming - strike two within a few minutes of each other. Sue ran over to the rod and started tightening the reel, perhaps a bit too tight as the line broke and that fish survived another day. What ever it was, judging from the speed the line was stripped from the reel, it was a really big fish. The Dorado we caught was the biggest we have caught to date and must have weighed between 15 and 20 kilograms. It was a real commotion cleaning, gutting and cutting up the fish in meal size portions - the fish yielded at least 14 meals each for the two of us. We caught another big Dorado on day two and yet another big Dorado on day three which we gave to Entheos as our freezers where full.

Due to the wind direction, we were beating most of the way and on two occasions, the wind kept pushing us closer to the land. We had to start the engines and motored for several hours each time heading offshore. We could then alter course and could start sailing again. Not having long distance sailed for several months, this leg of our journey was tiring, we only found our sea legs and got into sailing routine on day three. On Friday evening, we extensively furled in the jib so that Entheos could keep up with us and at sunrise we where 20 nautical miles away from Recife. At 11H00, we were inside the marina, Cabanga Iate Clube, where we securely moored Revelations in the tightest and most awkward mooring space ever.

RecifeRoute1

RecifeRoute2

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1511 Hits
MAY
05
0

Moving at speed

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!

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MAY
04
0

Gamboa

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.

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MAY
04
0

Enseada de Garapua

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.

EnseadaDeGarapua1

EnseadaDeGarapua2

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