Off - At Last

Mina2 in the Caribbean - Where's The Ice Gone?
Tim Barker
Tue 13 Nov 2012 22:20

Position 22:18S 040:56W

Date: 13 November 2012


Off – At Last


At 1400 yesterday, we left the fuel pontoon in Rio and set sail at last for Morro de Sao Paulo, 750 miles north. Hurrah!


Although it’s been frustrating not getting off three days ago when we originally planned, in reality we weren’t fully ready and we now set off with everything in rather better shape.


On our last evening, we went out to dinner at a churascaria a Brazilian institution  where you pay a fixed price and then a queue of waiters ply you with every type of meat you can imagine which is carved off skewers straight onto your plate. It is a vegetarians nightmare, but we loved it.


We had also invited along Susy who is another Brazilian institution, certainly in yacht cruising circles. She and her husband circumnavigated the world way back in the 1970’s way before the easy navigation by GPS, and have since lived on the same boat, Samba, in Niteroi on the other side of the bay from Rio where Mina2 has been staying. Susy adopts any passing yachts and provides all the help and advice you could possibly want. It would be a load more difficult without her friendly support. But it isn’t just passing yachts she adopts. She is foster mother to all the stray cats and dogs around the yacht club who follow her around like the Pied Piper. When we arrived back at the club at the end of the evening Susy said “I must go and feed my bird, she’ll be waiting for me”. Sure enough, sitting at the entrance to the long pontoon was what I quickly identified as a Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax from memory) and as Susy strode down the pontoon towards Samba she was talking to the heron which followed her. Susy then produced a bag of finely cut chicken and cheese which the heron wolfed down. Absolutely extraordinary.


The strong northerlies that had delayed our departure had finally abated and the wind had swung round to a favourable southwesterly which we revelled in as we sailed out of Rio harbour and out into the open sea. It wasn’t to last long. After four hours the wind died and we were motoring. We are still motoring 24 hours later. And it’s raining. But at least we’re on our way.


Tropic Watch (as opposed to Autumn Watch). Today I was surprised to see a couple of Black-browed Albatross – in the Tropics at 23 degrees South. Hasn’t anyone told these birds that they belong in the Southern Ocean?


And we also had the excitement of seeing two or three large Humpback whales. They come from Antarctica up to the Abrolhos Islands (about 200 miles north of where we are) in the Austral winter to breed and these would have been making their way south again. If we have time, we’re hoping to stop briefly at the Abrolhos Islands to see if there are still any there.


Anyway, must dash. Hope to send you something else tomorrow.