Farewell Recife

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 13 Mar 2011 15:51
The marina almost dries out at low tide and the stench of the mud is most unpleasant. The wall to which we were tied was flanked on the other side by mangroves, where hundreds of egrets nested. Soon after we arrived, someone fired a gun, or set off a fire cracker a couple of times, within an interval of around 5 minutes, sending the birds flying, high into the air but they soon resettled. Amazingly, bearing in mind the proximity of the birds and the quantity nesting, the boats did not get too fouled by guano.
Needless to say that at low water, there were a lot of insects, including mosquitoes. Insect repellant was a necessity.
The carnivals at Recife and at Olinda had not turned out to be as expected but on the night of the 7th March, while we were eating at a skewer restaurant, one of those where they keep bringing around the meat on skewers until it is impossible to consume another mouthful, there were TV screens on the walls and we watched in wonder at the splendor of the carnival at Rio de Janeiro. This was the type of carnival we had expected to see. However, the good thing about the carnivals that we attended were that even the poorest person, adult or child, could participate, decorating themselves with the various scarves and freebies which were being dispersed.
One of the participants of WARC, while walking back to her boat from a restaurant just across the bridge from the marina, had her canvas bag taken from her, even though she was in a party of four people. The bag fortunately only contained a cardigan but her arm was bruised as the bag was yanked from her shoulder. Her husband sprang to defend his wife but was pushed to the ground and suffered cuts and bruises. We forget that we are no longer in our twenties and thirties and are no match for a young mugger or thief.
Soon after 7am on the 10th March, we started to prepare Tucanon to leave the marina. All of the monohulls had already left, some as early as 5.30, anxious to take advantage of the high tide around 6.30am.
The first 36hours we sailed on a close reach in lumpy seas and frequent squalls. The next 24 hours, sailing on a beam reach and later on a broad reach were a welcome respite from the uncomfortable start to the passage to Grenada, despite the squalls.
After sailing for almost 3 days and nights, the wind became very light, in the region of 1 to 5knots and after struggling for an hour and covering only 2 nautical miles, almost equivalent to the strength of the positive current, we furled in the genoa and switched on an engine. The lack of wind had been forecast, due to the convergence zone near the equator.
In excess of 20% of the passage completed we were 200miles from the equator although traveling in a north westerly direction, we still had to sail for over 400miles before we crossed the equator. This will be my third crossing by sea, Dickâs second.
Moe had picked up a bug while we were in Recife and although he managed to overcome it before we left, he had unfortunately passed it on to Bev in whom it had developed into a chesty cough.
It is amazing and we are truly grateful, that despite the thousands of pounds we spent on medicines and equipment before setting forth on this circumnavigation, we have generally only tended to have needed to use the cough mixture, rather than more serious stuff. However, we have probably used as many as 5 bottles with one still in reserve.
The water maker stopped functioning properly when we attempted to make water on the afternoon of the first day of our passage. It still made water but instead of producing 200 litres an hour, it was making just a fraction of the amount. It also didnât start first time and sometimes needed turning off and restarting. After changing the filters there still remained a problem, so the membranes were cleaned. Going up and down in a boat when it is raining, with a hosepipe passed through the port bow cabin deck hatch, didnât provide ideal conditions but ever the hero, Dick got the job done as usual, without even a mini groan.