Dashing Through Salvador

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 12 Nov 2009 20:41
Alongside Salvador
Weather: Sunny, warm (still)

It seems Brazil falls into the category of one of those places where nothing happens in a hurry, except perhaps when you are on the back of a motorcycle. I have now had the mainsail in with a sail maker for three days waiting for a quote to have it repaired or replaced. Marcelo, proprietor of "MB yacht Services", regularly patrols the marinas performing the very useful function of solving yachty problems, in my case arranging for a sail maker to collect my sail and telling them what I wanted. This morning I rang him and told him I still had not heard from the sail maker so we ended up heading out to the loft on the back of his motor bike. Now people sometimes say how brave I am crossing oceans by myself but weaving through the noisy smelly city traffic of Salvador on the back of Marcelo's small Japanese bike is one of the scariest things I can remember ever doing. The only protective clothing I was wearing was a helmet several sizes too large and I felt very vulnerable squeezing between buses and lorries at top speed, the hot black asphalt looked extremely uninviting, and the wheels and underbellies of the fire eating smoke belching monsters close on either side even less so. Of course I tried to remain calm and resisted the urge to either wrap my arms around Marcelo's torso or wrap my hands around his neck. Now I am writing this from the quiet serenity of Sylph's shaded interior so obviously we made it, there and back. And the visit to the sail maker was very worthwhile. The owner of the business, Orlando, speaks excellent English so we could discuss in some detail what needed to be done, and the price he quoted was quite reasonable. I was very pleased to hear that the sail still had useful life left in it. It also sounds like a new sail made in Uruguay would be a very reasonable price, the main problem being that it takes 40 days to make and deliver which is much longer than I am willing to wait. So I think we will make do with the overhauled old sail for a while yet.

Still no sign of the credit card. Another stressor in my life I am not accustomed to, and a very trying one I am finding. My debts to the marina, and now the sail maker, mount and my cash supplies dwindle, as the weekend approaches the likelihood of my having to live these extra days worrying whether my card has gone astray increases. I never want to be in this position again.

This afternoon I treated a few rust spots on deck and put the dinghy in the water to scrape some barnacles from the sides and under the counter just above the waterline. In our trans-Atlantic crossing we had been heeled over continuously for so long on the one tack that these areas of the hull had been continuously immersed and as they have no antifouling paint to protect them of course such crustaceans will seize the day. I had hoped not to have to enter the water to scrape them off, if you have read my entry from two days ago you will understand why, but unfortunately some large gooseneck barnacles growing well under the counter were impossible to reach from the dinghy so I reluctantly donned mask and snorkel and gingerly entered the water to do the job properly. The water was cool and refreshing but I am certain the bacterial count would exceed first world standards. However I was largely reassured by the many young children that dive into the bay from some nearby steps all through the heat of the day and this morning I passed a gentleman duck diving on the stern of a power boat removing one of its propellers. Sylph's ugly beard has been trimmed.

All is well.

Bob Cat:

I am a resourceful feline, always looking for that new and interesting place to conduct my research. Today I found a nice cool flat surface between the settee berth and the quarter berth, there are a bunch of nautical looking instruments above it and I believe beneath this spot the skipper had food stashed away. It is also close to the companionway so a nice little breeze blows by and it has the advantage over the nearby cabin sole of there being no risk of being rudely awaken by being stepped upon, a worry which is not very conducive to a sound siesta.

Now as the sun sets and the day cools I have returned to the V berth. Zzzzzzzz.