Cabedelo Post Script
Wed 22 May 2013 16:13
Date 22nd May, noon local time (4pm BST)
Position 6:35.6S 32:42.1W
Left Cabedelo at 05.30 this morning. A lovely dawn, with the tide just right: a good downstream current. Only snag a plague of tiny midges, biting ferociously, but hopefully not causing the enduring pain of the Pacific sandflies. We are now well offshore, sandwiched betweeen the fishing boats on the continental shelf, and the south going big ship lane which to judge by the AIS is about 5 miles off to starboard. The local advice is to hug the 1km depth contour, to ge the best current.
With all the sails set (for a change) we are making about 5kts in just 11 kts of wind from SSE: nice and steady, and I hope it will hold up like this until we reach the 'corner' and turn west again. Stronger winds promised for next week, but nothing too awesome.
Spent a very quiet birthday yesterday nursing a hangover and preparing for departure. How these thing happen, I don't know, but on Monday evening I found myself in the 'pub', in Jacare village. Just one of the roadside houses, with a few odd chairs in the road, and cold beer served through the front window, 60 pence per can of local brew. Anyway an incendiary mix of nationalities, and we discussed self preservation: both in the context of living with/without women, and of collision avoidance. Might as well have gone straight to religion and politics for all the chance that these topics might not excite passions amongst the participants. And as with all the old chestnuts, there are no new conclusions. If the relationship between a couple reaches rock bottom, then the confines of a small boat at sea is a bad place for this to happen, and as for collision avoidance, this really is full on religion: we need desperately to believe that our particular system (eg Sea me, radar, AIS and more) is going to pull us through the fishing fleets and shipping lanes, and so any criticism of our personal choice is bound to be unsettling!
All good clean fun, and the beer was cool and delicious.
My 'one stop strategy' for checking in and out proved a spectacular success (I learn from no 1 daughter!). Despite severe language difficulties, I stood firm and insisted that I could be checked in and out on the same day. Not possible, never has been done, etc; but in the end success! My secret tool has become a cartoon: a simple map with my boat, their coast and port, and the arrival and departure details clearly printed. You prepare it before, with the appropriate dictionary to hand, and it really helps. I have started to embellish things: the host national flag in the top corner for example!
All this in Cabedelo, a friendly and affordable taxi running me between the various offices, and then taking me down the motorway to a vast Carrefour hypermarket in the State Capital, Joa Pessoa. Nothing like this in the UK, making Tesco superstores positively dowdey. Anyway, provisions all topped up; in fact I may never need to go shopping again! So Brazil has a rapidly expanding economy indeed, but not everything keeps pace: so there is a zebra crossing on the motorway between Cabeledo and Joa Pessoa, which I have to negotiate to get to the internet cafe. Heaven knows how many people are killed on this each year! I really need my 9 lives for the shipping lanes!