Cold, Wet Days in Paradise

Mina2 in the Caribbean - Where's The Ice Gone?
Tim Barker
Mon 15 Nov 2010 10:19

Date: 15 November 2010

Position: Bahia do Ilha Grande


When we were here last March it was so incredibly hot we threw ourselves into the bath-warm sea at every opportunity and even a T-shirt was more than one could bear. And one of the problems with this area is that there is rarely any wind to cool one down. At the moment things are different.


The trouble started about five nights ago. The DS and I had anchored off a lovely secluded beach for a peaceful night’s sleep. At 0430 we awoke with the wind screaming through the rigging. We were pinned to a lee shore which was only a few metres behind us, with less than a metre of water under our keel. The glass-like water of a few hours before had become distinctly lively. Time for an early exit. The DS went forward and got the anchor up and with the faintest glimmer of dawn on the eastern horizon we made our way eight miles down the Ilha Grande to what we knew would be a much more protected anchorage. The gale-force winds lasted just a few hours and everything was back to normal – no wind, a bit of cloud and warm. So we sailed back to the anchorage that only a few hours earlier had been the site of Mina2 ‘s near demise. A toothless old man paddled past in a dugout canoe and sold us some delicious coconut and sugar biscuits, still warm from the oven. The DS quizzed him about the weather – what was the strong wind in the night all about – what did it portend? “You want good weather, don’t you?” he asked. “Of course”, we replied. “This wind clears the air – you will now have good weather for days” he declared with the authority of decades of local knowledge.




The Skippers at leisure before the weather broke


Even as he spoke the rain clouds were gathering, and within a couple of hours visibility was down to a couple of hundred metres with tropical rain which lasted the next 36 hours. We have learned that Brazilians are keen to please and will tell you what you want to hear, however far from the truth it might be.


Ever since then, the skies have never properly cleared, it has drizzled on and off and it has been positively freezing by Brazilian standards. The temperature is down to the low 20’s Centigrade. Sweaters are being worn and we are on the verge of getting the duvet out of storage.



The cold wet weather approches


I mentioned in my previous blog that I was having to hand steer everywhere as a small sensor in the autopilot had packed up. This was a real bore and would become increasingly so on the longer passages to come. As luck would have it, one of the few Raymarine agents was based close by and we arranged to go in to have it replaced. The only downside was that Raymarine parts are notoriously expensive and in Brazil they are three times the price of notoriously expensive. But needs must, and having handed over a good chunk of our childrens’ inheritance in cash (Raymarine in Brazil don’t take credit cards?!), all is now fixed.


On Friday we went into the marina in the local town of Angra Dos Reis, a) to refill our tanks with fresh water, b) to do a massive shop at the very good supermarket within the marina, and c) to await the arrival of Christine & Fernando who were to join us from Buenos Aires for a week’s cruise round the islands. Surprisingly, the marina had no water pipe on the visitors’ pontoon or at the fuel point, so we have had to commission the water maker to make our own fresh water from the sea. Let’s hope the makeshift pump cobbled together in Senegal last year holds out.


Christine and Fernando arrived after their three-hour taxi ride from Rio de Janeiro, Christine swathed in layers of thermals and quilted jackets against the bitter cold and we set off in the drizzle to an anchorage for the night. Every morning I look at the forecasts and every morning the longed for improvement in the weather is put off for a further 24-hours. There is a distinct possibility that Christine and Fernando will return to Buenos Aires without having seen the sun at all. Nevertheless it’s great having them on board and we’re all having fun.



The DS with Christine dressed for the Arctic