Friday, February 15, 2013

Rio de Janeiro to Salvador, Brazil.  Laura reporting on the next leg of our trip to Grenada.

We arrived in Salvador yesterday afternoon, to a beautiful view of the city as we approached. We spent 5 days and 800 miles travelling from Rio de Janeiro to here. At the start of the trip we faced strong head winds, and used the engines. Very choppy waves, with large swells. For my first sailing trip in the ocean, it was tough to get used to at first, but after a few days I got my sea legs and I haven't had to use the "bucket" yet!

To give you a brief understanding of life aboard Bella Luna, sailing 24/7, I will explain my daily schedule. Since we are sailing non-stop and cannot pull over, or anchor (1,522' of water) for the night somebody must always be on watch. I got the best shifts (at least I think so!). We each have 2 hours of watch, then 4 hours off. My four watches each day begin at 6am, 12pm, 6pm and 12am. I get to see the sun rise and set everyday on my watches, and each night the stars are very bright. Its very calm and peaceful! In between the watches I spend a lot of time sleeping. I usually head straight to bed after my midnight watch, but depending on what is going on that day, I either nap outside in the cockpit or on the settee. Our meals vary from day to day. For breakfast we each usually do our own thing, since we are up at different times. For lunch we have done meals together and on our own, all depending on how we feel. And for dinner we have a meal together. The first night it was too choppy to cook, but other nights we barbecued steak, pasta and fish stir-fry!
Gord napping in the cockpit.

Trying to cook dinner in the choppy waves!
We made two stops along the way. The first was a quick stop in Vitoria, Brazil to refuel. We arrived early and anchored for a few hours while we waited for the marina to open. Gord manoeuvred the boat into a very tight gas dock, makes you wonder why they put the gas pumps in places so difficult for boats to get in and out of. But we got in and out with no problems and were soon under way again.

Leaving Vitoria

Our next stop was at a small grouping of islands called Abrolhos, a national park in Brazil. It is also a Navy Base that was once used for different training exercises. It is now forbidden to go on land. We anchored near shore and went for a swim! The water temperature was gorgeous as well as the scenery around us.
Abrolhos National Park

After arriving in Salvador last night we docked at Bahia Marina, where we are resting for a few days. Yesterday we took a walk through town to pick up a few supplies. Dad bought new fishing line and a lure so we can start catching fresh fish for dinner! Later in the evening we went back into town for dinner. We had delicious moqueca, which is a Brazilian seafood stew, made with onions, vegetables, white fish and shrimp.

Salvador, Brazil

After a good nights rest last night, we are spending today cleaning and getting ready for the next trip up the coast to Natal, Brazil. I took a trip up the mast in the bosun chair today and got a few pictures from 62 feet! It was a pretty cool view of the marina and surrounding area. We have had a local Brazilian gentleman who is very knowledgable about the Brazilian coast with many years of sailing experience on board with us, he will continue to Natal with us then return home. He is full of interesting facts about Brazil and the trip we have taken so far.

Friday, February 8, 2013

 February 8, 2013

Good morning!

As Gord continues working away getting the boat ready for our departure tomorrow, he has put me on the task of updating the blog. I (Laura, Gord’s daughter) returned to Rio de Janeiro with him on February 5th.  A little message from Gord: he apologizes for the not keeping the blog updated since we left Rio to return home to Canada on November 15th to look after Debbie’s health issues. Debbie has remained in Canada for the time being to rest and will meet back up with Gord and Bella Luna in Grenada once she fully recovers. I was fortunate that I was able to return to Rio to sail north to Grenada this month aboard Bella Luna!

Dad and I left Toronto International on February 3rd, but after a delay in Toronto, we missed our connecting flight to Rio through Charlotte, North Carolina. After a less than mediocre nights sleep in a nearby hotel (I blame that mostly on dad and the trumpet sounds that were coming from his nose in the next bed, yet he denies it) we were up early for breakfast and spent the day touring downtown Charlotte. Later that evening we headed back to the airport and were finally off to Rio. After a last attempt to be upgraded to first class, which was unsuccessful, we settled in for nine hours of flying. Both of us got very little sleep, but we arrived safe and sound in Rio to hot weather! I hope that you all back in Orillia (and area) are able to shovel yourself out after the big storm I hear is coming your way. Just before we left it was – 30 Celsius and the thermometer right now says + 40! Wow its hot, Dad has lost 10 pounds just thinking about all the work that needs to be done in this hot weather! We will be here soaking up the sun, thinking of you!

View out our front window in Orillia
Beach in Brazil

Dad and I spent Tuesday recovering from 2 days of travel, napped and full of food we were ready to get back to Bella Luna. We have now spent the last 2 days preparing for our journey North to the Caribbean. Shortly, we are heading to the grocery store to stock up on food for the first week of our trip. I will be spending the rest of the day in the kitchen preparing easy meals for us to have en route. Our first anticipated stop will be in Salvador, Brazil where we can refuel, restock our provisions and rest for the night. We have found a local gentleman from Rio, named Edison, who has asked to join us for our sail, so he will be our third crewmember as we sail up the coast of South America. 
We leave leave Saturday morning at 0600 hours and will likely be at sea for about 14 days.  Maybe a stop or two depending on the weather.  Edison will depart us in Natal, Brazil and we pick up another crew for the sail to Grenada.  More about her on the next blog.