Arrived in Salvador

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 6 Feb 2011 12:43
When we left St Helena, we decided to stay on UT (Universal time) for the duration of the passage, even though Brazil is 3hours behind UT. This did mean that as we approached our destination, it didnât get light until 8am although it stayed light until after 9pm. We felt that if we altered the clock at the appropriate time zone, the regular 9am SSB net would gradually move to 6am, thus disrupting peoples sleep.
I spent a couple of mornings repairing the fender covers which had been ravaged by the wind, the sea and the pontoons, while we were at Hout Bay in Cape Town. Luckily we had a spare, unused fender cover of the correct dimensions so were able to utilize that and throw away the worst damaged cover. They are not perfect of course but will continue to provide protection for the fenders until we can replace all of them next season.
While I am on watch, I love to watch the clouds, depicting nursery characters, bordering, by 360Â, the meeting of the sky and the ocean.
There has been very little in the way of marine life or even birds since we departed St Helena. We have seen a few squadrons of flying fish from time to time but not as many as we might have expected to see based of the other oceans we have sailed.
During the early hours of Wednesday morning, 2nd February, Bev saw countless shooting stars. She had seen several a couple of nights ago.
That same morning, 6.45, before the sun had risen, I suddenly saw a light off the starboard bow. There was nothing shown on the radar and the light had only just appeared. I took avoidance action and steered the boat off course to ensure we gave the target a wide berth. Within 15minutes, sailing at hardly four knots, we had passed the fishing boat. We were over 400nautical miles from Brazil, the nearest landfall and I guess the skipper of the fishing boat hadnât expected to see any other boats around. When he spotted our navigation lights he then illuminated his boat.
It is getting quite warm now and even with all the hatches open, there is insufficient movement of air within the boat. It is a pleasure just to stand at the door to the salon just to benefit from the breeze.
We used an engine overnight as there was still so little wind but soon after 5am there was sufficient to unfurl the genoa and turn off the engine for a couple of hours, before we lost the wind again. By 9.30, we were able to raise the parasailor and although we were traveling at only four knots, we were doing an adequate speed to justify sailing rather than motoring.
All of the fresh fruit and vegetables were finished on Wednesday with the exception of a few potatoes and onions, a cabbage, two apples and 3 bananas. For the last two days, I had to supplement the lunchtime fruit salad with tinned fruit. Fortunately I managed to buy unsweetened tinned fruit while we were in the Canary Islands. We do have plenty of canned fruit and vegetables so were able to eat our 5 a day, even though it wasnât all fresh.
At 9.30 on the penultimate day of the passage to Brazil, we switched on an engine. There was insufficient wind to maintain an average of four knots. We considered arriving at Salvador in the early hours of Sunday, 6th February but that would have meant waiting until it got light, before entering the marina. Using an engine, we knew that we would arrive on Saturday, 5th February, fourteen days since leaving St Helena, more than 22000 nautical miles, since leaving St Lucia.
Late morning on Friday, we crossed a shipping lane. It seemed odd to see so many ships having seen so few while at sea. We like to think that where it is known that there is a lot of ship activity, the watch-keeper is more likely to keep his eye on the radar. We have called a number of ships over the last year, only to find that the person, who is supposed to be keeping a look-out, has most certainly not got his eye on the ball.
During the early hours of Saturday morning, we were hit by a squall, but two rally boats, one 8miles ahead and the other 15miles ahead, had a much more punishing time, with rain and wind blowing 30knots for forty minutes.
The glow from Salvador can be seen in the night sky from 100 miles offshore. Within two hours of the sun rising, we could make out the tops of the high-rise buildings over the horizon. As we get closer, the scene resembled Benidorm though at least ten times the size.
During the last part of the passage, we were motoring about a mile and a half from the coast, surprised to see the long stretches of golden beaches, many populated by hordes of people and gaily colored sunshades. Behind the beaches are stretches of green foliage and grass, occasionally broken by picturesque buildings, both residential and of a more official nature, as well as churches. The high-rise buildings grow beyond.
After entering the harbour, we pass the fuel pontoon to starboard, in front of the fort. Leaving the fort, which resembles one of the Martello towers in the Solent, flanked by a couple of Pinto replicas, on our starboard side, we approached our berth where we were greeted by other rally participants and Rally control.
The portside lazy line got caught around the propeller as we were taking it to the bow. Fortunately, realizing immediately that this had occurred, releasing tension on the line, it was possible to detach the line using a boathook shore side.
Once we were secure fore and aft, we gratefully drank the local hooch, proffered by Rally control and dressed the boat all over, in keeping with the other Rally boats already berthed in the marina..
Next morning I woke as soon as it started to get light but stayed in bed rather than disturb the entire boat at such an hour. Despite it being Sunday and considered to be a quiet day, by 7am the harbour was buzzing, by 7.30 the pop music and reggae was playing, boats were sounding their horns. Many of the tripper boats resemble Turkish gullets.
Corresponding with the manager of the marina at Hout Bay, it appears that the credit card fraud, to which we fell foul, was reported in the local newspaper. We werenât the only victims.