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.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ready to Leave Argentina

The Argentines have a tradition that when any boat is built they have a BBQ party called an "asado".    Two of the factory workers spend all day preparing and cooking the meat and it is spectacular!

28 kgs of beef

Debbie and I had an opportunity to thank all who worked on our boat.  They did a fantastic job!!

Thanks to Memo and his crew we are ready to cast off from Argentina Monday morning.  We are doing some last minute food preparations and stocking up.  We MAY have a few bottles of Malbec wine on board too, but I am not SURE!! The trip from Argentina to were we will stop in Brazil is approximately 6 to 10 days of sailing non-stop, weather permitting.  The arrival time will depend of course on the winds and weather too.  It is the start of the Argentine winter so we are looking forward to leaving and heading north to a warmer area.  That does sound strange.  "Head north into warmer weather".   Debbie has been busy with cleaning, organizing cupboards, cooking and generally getting the inside of the boat ready to sail.  I have been outside getting it ready.  We took a time out today and motored Bella Luna to the marina gas pumps to top up the tanks so we are ready for Monday.  We had an interesting conversation with the gas dock attendant.  His spanglish wasn't too bad and between Debbie and I ours is coming along.  The attendant sees our Canadian flag and proceeds too tell us that the diesel going into our tanks is from Canada.  WOW, I say.  Then I look at the price per litre and am shocked that here in Argentina the price is cheaper than it was in Canada. Go figure.

Trying out the bosuns chair 

Debbie's turn with the camera in tow.

We have spent the last two and a half months in Argentina and have enjoyed ourselves very much.  We have seen and experienced many new things.  For example live music on the subways and trains. Also you can buy just about anything from people walking the travelling the train - phone cards, socks, nylons, pens, chocolate, gum, little kleenex, books, scarves and fresh baking are some of the things we have seen.   We will be sad to leave but excited about the next part of our adventure.

Brazil here we come.

We feel like a young bird must feel when mother bird decides it time to kick the yearly out of the nest.  We have been safe in Yacht Club Argentina for one month.  The factory workers have become our friends as they show up here to finish up their work or fix a problem.  We have enjoyed the comfort of the yacht club to get to know all the boat's systems and we have ventured out on the river Plate to give Bella Luna a shake down several times.



Now Memo and Santiago are kicking us out of the nest and we must go.  We are very excited about what is in store for us.

Thanks Memo, thanks Santiago and thanks Antares.