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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.

JUN
13
0

B&G, Muhammad and the mountain

If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain. For the past 2 weeks now, we have desperately been looking for a B&G technician to visit Revelations and look at the B&G Hydra 2000 autopilot system and the puzzling problems we are having with the system - but to no avail. If there are no technicians willing to visit Revelations, we will instead visit the technicians. We are renting a car as from tomorrow morning and will drive around 1100 kilometers back to Salvador. We are taking the suspect ACP2 unit with us and this can then be tested at the B&G technician's workshop. If there are any problems with the unit, this will hopefully be sorted out fairly quickly and whilst we are there. We will then discuss the need for a technician to visit Revelations and check out and calibrate the rest of the system.

We hear that the the roads are bad, full of pot holes, hectic and reckless drivers, not roadworthy vehicles, then also driving on the wrong side (drive in the right hand lane) of the road and as yet, we have no clue which roads lead to Salvador - I think we are in for an interesting trip to Salvador. But this will also be an opportunity to see more of Brazil and a welcome break from what we have been doing to date.

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1081 Hits
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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939 Hits
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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1611 Hits
MAY
04
0

Sailing to Morro de Sao Paulo

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.

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1299 Hits
APR
24
0

Checking out of Salvador

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! Laughing

  1184 Hits
1184 Hits
APR
24
0

Extending stay of Revelations

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!

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1163 Hits
FEB
12
0

Photos - Cape Town to St. Helena

Despite many requests, it took awhile for us to post some images of the Cape Town to St. Helena voyage. Sorry about this delay, but it is not as easy as pie to do so. We first had to sort out a number of issues which took time, the marina does not have wifi, internet access via the "Pay-As-You-Go" sim cards is unbelievably slow (at the best of times, we can't even see our own website), etc. Anyway, here are 40 images of the almost 1000 images we took.

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782 Hits
JAN
13
4

Website Updates

Keeping this website updates is proving to be far more difficult than anticipated! The problem is one of technology - or rather, the lack thereof. St. Helena does not have cell phones neither is access to the internet commonly available. There is no WiFi nor internet access available in the anchorage. So one needs to pack up the laptop, call the water taxi (2 British Pound for a 600 meter ride) and get onto the hard in the small harbour. Then, it is a 3 kilometer walk in high heat and humidity to get to Ann's Place where you buy WiFi access - 6 British Pound for 1 hour. You get here out of breath due to the steep incline of the road you have to walk and sweat pouring out of every crevice of your body. Not smelling of sweat, one can get to work and write some article to post here. Once done, it is a 3 kilometer walk back to catch the water taxi to get to Revelations. For the above reasons, we have not been posting much of late and this also explains the lack of pictures. In St. Helena it takes a lot of effort, time and money to post articles here. Hopefully we will be able to do better once in Brazil. So what is St. Helena all about? Friendly but money greedy people, not much going on here, real one horse town, fairly poor place, most of the houses are old and neglected. The place is damn expensive compared to South Africa. Prices in British Pound - diesel: 1.2, Cigarettes 2.1, tin of Coke 1.2, Wifi Access 6 per hour Pound, etc. One can see just about the entire island in one single day, the shops are poorly stocked and here is almost no fresh produce. I saw some beetroots in a shop that must have been on the shelve for at least 2 months. The sea water is quite clean and fairly warm - early 20 degree Celsuis and fish life seems quite prolific. At best, St. Helena is worth a couple of days visit and then it is time to move on - the most important event to hit this country was Napoleon who was exiled here. Nothing really wrong with the place, just very isolated and backward - not quite my cup of tea.

  1454 Hits
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Wiets & Sue, thanks so much for figuring out how to post the blogs. Looking forward to catching up on your trip. Thankful with y... Read More
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 03:24
Hello Lianti. Yes, it is proving to be quite a challenge! Our HF radio is defective so there goes our SailMail and Winlink email a... Read More
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Thursday, 15 January 2015 17:49
1454 Hits
NOV
27
0

30 days before we depart!

30DaysThere are now only 30 days left before we depart! The past 45 days days has been hectic getting everything ready for the big day. We spend hundreds of thousands buying the remaining equipment required to do a world cruise. When we arrived in Cape Town, we were months behind schedule and had a huge amount of catching up to do. I'm happy to declare that we are just about done - barring a couple of last remaining things;

  • Setup MaxSea to interface with Furuno Chartplotter
  • Complete deck delamination repair - 500 x 500 mm
  • Install revamped B&G autopilot hydraulic system
  • Get screetcher sail from Ullmann Sails - currently manufactured
  • Setup deck with blocks for spinnaker and screetcher sails
  • Complete mast and sail rig for dinghy
  • Install industrial plastic crates for chain anchor and rope
  • Stock Revelations with food and drink for 40-50 days
  • Commission the repaired water maker
  • Buy and activate satellite phone airtime
  • Do 300 nautical mile shake down cruise
  • Relocate Revelations to False Bay Yacht Club in Simonstown
  1283 Hits
1283 Hits
SEP
22
0

"D Day" means "Ready to sail"

The countdown timer you see on this website and my frequent mention of the number of days left before we depart is actually not correct. Instead the number of days mentioned is by when we and Revelations will be in a state of readiness to go sailing. As you may gather from reading various postings here, we are still doing things to Revelations getting her ready and fully prepared for the world voyage. In this regard, we are ahead of schedule and there only remain a small number of things which requires finishing - however, personally, we are way behind schedule. Regarding Revelations, all the essential and important things have been done and we are now finishing a couple of non essential items. When the countdown timer reaches ZERO ("D Day"), we and Revelations will be in a state of complete readiness to leave at any time. Then, as soon as the weather allows, we will cast off the dock lines and head towards St. Helena which is the first leg of our voyage.

  1251 Hits
1251 Hits
SEP
21
0

Vasbyt - Min Dae (few days)

LastDaysIn the way back days, when 2 year military services was compulsary in South Africa, service men would count off the days left to the completion of their military stint. At 100 days left, we would earnestly start the countdown and this period was called "Min Dae" - Afrikaans for "not many days left". This was normally preceeded with with the word "Vasbyt" - meaning "bite fast" or "hold steady". "Vasbyt" was a kind of motivational saying we all used amongst each other to indicate that it will not be long anymore before all this shit will come to pass.

Now almost forty years later, I once again find myself mentioning "min dae" and counting the days left. We have another 7 working days left at the company and then we are done with our contractual obligations of handing the company over to the new owners. In addition to these few remaining days at the company, we also have just around 100 days left before we leave South Africa and depart on our world cruise. First stop - St Helena in the middle of the Atlantic. Can't wait for this day to arrive!

  6922 Hits
6922 Hits
SEP
04
0

Delayed but still on track

Selling the company was by far the biggest and most formidable hurdle we had to overcome. It's now done and dusted, we are elated and certainly looking forward to the next phase of our lives. Now that our company is sold, I'm happy to announce that we are still on track to go sailing at the end of the year. We were somewhat delayed and now behind schedule, but we will certainly catch up and make damn sure that we are ready on the big day.

  1397 Hits
1397 Hits
MAY
30
0

Looking ahead - Brazil

We have plans to make, we have places to see and we have things to do. And this includes Brazil, one vast country with a coastline of almost 7500 kilometers (4050 nautical miles). There are numerous places to visit with thousands of cruising options. We will start our world cruise at the end of December 2014 from Houtbay, Cape Town in the company of a couple of other yachts. We all agree on the destination and direction of the first leg of our voyage. We will sail in a north, north west direction up the west coast of South Africa and Namibia ever increasing the distance from the coastline on our way to St. Helena island. This will be our first stop over where we will spend a couple of days resting and catching our breath. Then for us, it's off to Brazil and as of now, the destinations of the other yachts are unknown.

Currently visas are issued for 3 months which can be extended for another 3 months - this means a possible up to 6 months in Brazil. Brazil is not just about the Rio Carnival, CHRISTO Redentor (CHRIST the Redeemer), the Favelas, Amazon, Brazilian nuts and beautiful scenery. So where to in Brazil? Where should we go first? After our arrival destination, where else to after that? Having read many websites, several cruising guides and more technical route planning books, I am still stumped. I have no damn clue how to go about planning our time and voyages in Brazil. How do other sailors do it? Do they simply make a list of places they would like to see and then plot the shortest route between it all? Do they perhaps take it day by day and see what the tide brings in? Is it as simple as that or is there far more to it? Am I in my usual style, over complicating things?

We have to work out an itinerary of sorts keeping several issues in mind;

  • Visas are only valid for 3 months with an extension of another 3 months on application,
  • A yacht travels at a much slower pace than a car or aeroplane - one cannot cover as much ground,
  • Optimum sailing routes taking into account wind direction and weather,
  • Most efficient route covering all our requirements,
  • Ports, yacht moorings and safe havens,
  • Checking in and out procedures,
  • Safe passages and security issues.

Right now, I am clueless! I feel indecisive and overwhelmed. It feels like mental paralysis and I hate this feeling! Seems like it's back to the drawing board as I clearly have more work to do. Eek

Brazil

  964 Hits
964 Hits
MAY
08
0

The clock is ticking

TickingClockIt is now 2 months ago that I posted our count down timer on this website. So, here we are - 60 days have gone by. How time flies! We will move aboard Revelations in about 3 months from now! We are now 60 days closer to our world cruise departure date! In just over 230 days from now, we will untie Revelations from it's mooring and embark on our 5 to 10 year world cruise. Whoop! Whoop!

But first, it's time for a Tequila! Laughing

  1450 Hits
1450 Hits
MAY
07
0

Plastiki

Plastiki

This is not new anymore but what do you do if you want to draw attention to the threats faced by the world’s oceans, in particular the huge amount of plastic waste that ends up in them? Easy, you sail across the Pacific Ocean, visiting and documenting environmental hot spots along the way. That, at least, is what the crew of the Plastiki have done. The group of six adventurers set out from San Francisco on March 20th, with Sydney, Australia as their final destination. They completed the entire 11,000 nautical mile journey and have crossed the finish line in 2010. What makes their odyssey particularly remarkable is their sailboat, the Plastiki – a craft made almost entirely from recycled and/or recyclable plastic that gets the majority of its flotation from approximately 12,500 two-liter plastic bottles.

The material
David de Rothschild, the leader of the expedition, designed the Plastiki as a way of showcasing how waste plastic could be used as a resource. The 60 foot (18 meter) catamaran’s cabin and supporting structure are built mainly from srPET (self-reinforcing polyethylene terephthalate), a completely recyclable material made from woven plastic fibers. Its components are bonded together using an organic glue made from cashews and sugar cane. The sail is made from recycled polyethylene cloth, and the mast is a reclaimed aluminum irrigation pipe. The Plastiki is made almost entirely from recycled and/or recyclable plastic

The bottles
The twin hulls are packed tight with the bottles, which provide 68 percent of the Plastiki’s flotation. Surprisingly, the bottles are completely open to the ocean, with no protective or streamlining skin covering them. Instead, the water actually passes between the bottles. When the boat was being constructed, each bottle had some dry ice placed inside, before having its cap sealed on. As that dry ice turned from solid to gas, its volume expanded, ensuring that the bottle would stay taught, streamlined, and not crumple from the pressure of the water.

Support systems
Power for the boat’s electrical systems comes from a combination of solar panels, two exercise bike generators, and wind and underwater turbines. A human-powered desalinator provides drinking water, collected rain water is used for showers, and the crew’s bodily wastes go into a composting toilet. Because the Plastiki has no refrigerator, fresh greens are being hydroponically grown onboard, using a urine-to-water recovery system.

The philosophy
By undertaking this voyage, de Rothschild and crew are trying not only to get people to see waste as a resource, but also to see the entire concept of waste as flawed and unnatural. When it comes to our thinking on plastics and other materials, it is hoped that the Plastiki will inspire a cyclical “cradle-to-cradle” mindset, replacing the current linear “cradle-to-grave” model.

It truly is a message in 12,500 bottles.

{gallery}2014May/Plastiki{/gallery}

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1171 Hits

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