Friday, October 12, 2012

Paraty, Brazil and area

Life on Bella Luna continues to be an adventure each and every day.  We have been away from the internet enjoying many different areas of the Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande area.  It is going to be hard to leave this area in a few weeks.

We may have mentioned in a previous post that our sailing adventure was planned with two purposes in mind.  One (1) to enjoy our love of sailing and two (2) to travel to as many different places in the world.  Our passion continues to grow as we see different countries and places.  The side benefit has been the many wonderful people we are meeting along the way.  The cruising community is a very friendly group and enjoy getting together and sharing stories of their travels and very helpful information.

We met at an anchorage our new friends Laura & Fede.  Laura is from the USA and Fede is from Argentina.  Both work on a ship for a large offshore oil company.  They were married this summer and are now enjoying sailing in this area on Quijote.  Fede celebrated a birthday so of course a party was planned.  Any excuse for a get-together.  Lots of fun!!  Sadly we said good-bye to them a few days ago.  They are heading to Ushuaia, at the southern tip of Argentina, working and getting ready for an Antarctica adventure in the new year.

Laura & Fede

Hugo, Fede & Gord
The next group of pictures are of the wonderful historic village of Paraty, Brazil, an old gold mining town and where slaves arrived from Africa.  The old part of the town is blocked off to vehicle traffic.  When the tide is high the roads fill with water. 

Arriving Paraty Bay

Paraty dock

Paraty dump truck

Gord buying the biggest shrimp or camerou that we have ever seen - delicious!!!

Debbie on a dry day

Gord and his new Polish friend, Marcin

Dingy ride to town
We stayed in Paraty for a week then moved on to Lopes-Mendes beach.  One of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen.  On the way we were treated to a large school of dolphins swimming in the opposite direction we were going.  Hard to see in the photo but what a great sight. 


Beach vendors

Debbie getting ready to surf

After spending three quiet days at Lopes-Mendes beach we moved on to an anchorage with wonderful; snorkelling.
We met up with a German family at the anchorage and their two young daughters.  They enjoyed an afternoon of play in our kayak.  They have been sailing for one year now, home schooling their kids and enjoying a fantastic adventure.  They are heading south to Argentina then through the Beagle Channel to the Chilean fiords.

Are plan is to spend the next 10 days in this area then sail to Rio De Janeiro.  On October 30th our daughter Laura arrives and will sail with us for one month as we travel from Rio to Grenada in the Caribbean.  We are looking forward to having her onboard.

It will take us the month of November to travel the 3300 nautical miles from Rio to Grenada.  With of course a few stops to enjoy snorkelling, sight-seeing and relaxing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Continued Enjoyment

It's hard to believe we have been back on Bella Luna for three weeks since our trip to Canada.  Time is flying by.

We have enjoyed fantastic weather for the last number of weeks.  But all good things must come to an end.  The forecast for the next week is rain, rain and more rain.  Time to find a nice protected anchorage and settle into a good book.

The last week we spent at a very quiet anchorage called Sitio Forte on Ilha Grande.  The anchorage provided mooring balls and even fresh spring fed water to a large rock in the middle of the bay.

The water rock

Hooking up the hose

We have water
It was great.  We were able to fill up our fresh water tanks and give the boats a wash.

After the cleaning and fill up day we hiked the island and were treated to some beautiful vistas and nature sights.  There is a trail that runs completely around Ilha Grande.  So every anchorage we go to we head out on the trail.

Hiking Trail Around the Island

Local Beach House

Mini farm

The Happy Hiker
Looks like a poinsettia...has a poinsettia is a poinsettia!!

Yesterday we returned to Angra for some groceries, shopping and some boat service.  This afternoon we will sail to Abraao on Ilha Grange.  This is apparently a small fishing village and a quiet anchorage.  Sunday we have been invited to a birthday party for a new friend Federico.  He and his wife are from Argentina and will be sailing to Antarctica.  Now that's adventurous!  We will pull out a bottle of Malbec to toast the birthday boy.

This is a photo of our thermometer.  WARM!!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We are back on board BellaLuna

Debbie and I have returned to Angra dos Reis, Brazil after 6 weeks back in Canada.  The main reason for returning to Canada was the wedding of our daughter Bethany to Rob Readman.

The Beautiful Bride

Bethany & Rob

Mom, Gord and the  Bride & Groom

Debbie & Gord

Laura, Bethany & Jordan

The Family 

The Dance

The location and weather was great and the celebration was wonderful.  Congratulations Bethany & Rob.

Now it's back to BellaLuna.  Debbie and I travelled 36 hours with 8 bags to get here.  We have both decided that airports are no fun anymore.  Three legs of the trip, 4 hour delay in Washington, overnight flight with no sleep and a crazy cab driver from Rio to Angra.  But, we arrived safely and have spent the last few days unpacking, cleaning, reading, sleeping and of course shopping.

We have added a new option to our dingy.
The 25 hp outboard just didn't cut it anymore!!
What do you think???

It was great to see so many family and friends while we were home.  Now we will be continuing our touring of the many islands and beaches in this area and then preparing to sail north up the coast of Brazil to Grenada.  Our plan right now is to leave Angra sometime around November 1st.

The weather here is terrific.  Just starting their spring.  We are enjoying 25 degree temperatures with mostly sunny days.  The water temperature is very nice also.  24 degrees and very refreshing after a long walk on the beach.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Angra dos Reis 

 We realized Friday evening that this is the usual method of arrival of owners and visitors to boats in the marina.  We just thought we would mention this to any of our visitors arriving.  
If possible, please don’t arrive by public taxi to the dingy dock.  This could prove embarrassing for us.  Our new yachting friends don’t use this mode of transportation.  If at all possible arrive by helicopter from the private airport.  This could help us out a great deal in keeping up our new contacts.   Please greet the golf cart pick up service man with a hardy hand shake - like you are a "regular".  We are only two rows over but the golf cart is necessary.  Don’t look back to or pay any attention to your luggage,  it will arrive soon after on another golf cart.  (while, they’re not really friends yet but they are looking over here) lol

After taking in the mall, many noisy helicopter landings, barking dogs, cheering at a local soccer pitch and samba music being blasted across the bay we decided to leave the port of Angra dos Reis area and head to a sandy beach with a protected anchorage. 

Isla Grande is the largest island in the area with many coves, beaches, fishing villages and hiding places.  We found a nice one and settled in for a few days.  This is how we imagined cruising in Bellaluna.

Arrive at an anchorage, launch the kayak, checkout and walk the beach, cool off in the 24.7 degree ocean water (33 degree air temperature), enjoy a bbq supper.  Then sit back and watch the sun sink into the mountain range to the west.  WOW!!

We were recommended a quiet anchorage with a very nice beach as a destination for the weekend.  It was also a good location because a south west storm front was coming in and this anchorage would provide safe protection.  We arrived late afternoon and found only a couple of boats in the area.  By 7pm they were gone and we had the beach to ourselves.  The next morning was a different story.  Starting at 9:30am the boats started arriving.  As it turned out this beach was party central.  Even a floating boat bar/restaurant arrived and would take orders on channel 10 (VHF radio).  We sat back and were entertained by the many boaters.  I lost count at over 100 boats in this beach area.  Again by 7pm we were alone.  The storm whipped up that night for a little rolling action, but were safe and sound.

Now we are mooring BellaLuna until September 1st when we will continue our sailing adventure.  Canada is calling and we are excited about seeing our friends and family and especially about our daughter Bethany's wedding.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Angra dos Reis, Brazil

We have arrived safely to Angra dos Reis, Brazil after a 1200 mile seven day one stop trip.  We stopped only once to refuel and of course to have our first coffee in Brazil.  Good coffee but man is it strong!!

Our first sunset

Found a new friend

Wing on Wing sailing down wind
The trip was a mixture of light to no winds to 36 knots.  BellaLuna handled all that was thrown at her and performed wonderfully.  For a two day stretch we had two sails up and were sailing down wind and never had to touch the sails or the course.  Travelling an average of 10 knots per hour.  We also experienced sailing down wind with wind speeds of 36 knots.  We were surfing 14’ waves.  What fun but not a great deal of sleep during that time.  

 Many firsts for us new fulltime live-aboard sailors.
       1.     Sailing our new boat.
2     2.     Sailing 24/7 for one week.
3     3.     Trusting our boat to handle whatever the South Atlantic had to offer.
4     4.     Two hour shifts at the helm.
5     5.     Trying to put your contact lens in during 36 knot winds.  (lucky I didn’t loose an eye)
6     6.     Cooking at sea.
7     7.     Eating at sea. ( we did not get sea sick, yeh)
8     8.     Enjoying calm rolling seas with a coffee to start my 6am watch.
9     9.     Enjoying (sort of) down wind surfing in 14’ waves at speeds as high as 18.7 knots with only a reefed Genoa  
1    10. Sailing into Angra dos Reis as the sun was coming up knowing the first 1200 miles are behind us

Debbie & Pikin

We hired an Argentine captain to sail with us from Buenos Aires to Brazil.  His name is Pikin and we had a great time with him.  Both Debbie and I learned so much from him and now feel so much more confident to continue our adventure.  It was recommended to us that we hire Pikin for the first leg of the trip because the south coast of Brazil can be very tricky if you don’t know the area.  Pikin has made more than 150 trips from Argentina to Brazil so he is very experienced.  We got along great and had many laughs with the language differences.  Our little Spanish and his little English turned into Spanglish with many laughs along the way. 

Debbie resting after her watch
We set up a watch schedule for the three of us.  One person has to be on watch at all times.  They are responsible for the boat during this time.  Sails, engine, course, lookout etc.  The schedule was a two hour watch then four hours off around the clock.  We would eat a hot meal around two o’clock in the afternoon together and the other meals you got your own before or after your watch.  Coffee was on pretty much all day.  We had made up lots of precooked and frozen meals and lots of easy to get breakfasts and lunches.  It all worked out very well.  Debbie got off easy on the cooking because we seemed to eat at 2pm which was her watch.  Maybe she planned it that way!!
The watches were very interesting depending on the time of day and the area.  Sometimes for the two hour watch there was nothing in your line of sight.  No land, no other boats, nothing to do with the sails.  Just sit back and enjoy.  Other times like one night on my 12am watch I observed 24 fishing boats on the radar screen.  I was required to make two or three course changes to avoid these vessels.  We were warned by Pikin that sometimes the little fishing boats run with no lights on.  A little troubling but we managed to sail through without a problem.  

So after seven days of 2 hours on 4 hours off we have finally had a couple of good 8 hour sleeps.  Feels good.

Now it’s boat cleaning and laundry and a little shopping.  

Angra dos Reis is such a beautiful area of Brazil.  Island after island, beach after beach for us to explore for the next month.  Our plan is to island hop, anchor and explore this area.  There are 360 islands in the Angra area so we have our work cut out for us.   We will post pictures later of this area.