Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Father / Daughter complete 3400 mile sailing trip tp Grenada

Laura and I have just arrived in Grenada having finished our sailing adventure that started in Rio and ended on the beautiful Caribbean Island of Grenada.

Laura and I returned to Bellaluna on February 5th and Debbie stayed in Orillia because of health reasons.  So, I was left to find crew to assist with our trip.  At the marina in Rio I asked around and put the word out for “crew needed”.  


A day later I was introduced to Edison.  He is a retired pilot and also an avid sailor.  He was able to sail with us to Natal.  (North tip of Brazil) It was great having him along.  He was very knowledgeable about the coast of Brazil having flown over it and sailed it many times.  Debbie then went to work to find someone to crew from Natal to Grenada.  She placed many ads on sailing forms on the net and other places.  NOW, this is how small the world is!!  We received a response from a woman who is Canadian, grew up in Toronto and lived about 10 minutes from the Toronto family home I grew up in.  She went to the neighbouring high school and we actually know some of the same people.  She has been sailing in the World Arc Rally. (an around the world cruising rally)  She was in Brazil and needed a ride to the Caribbean so she answered our ad.  Irene was on board from Natal to Grenada.  The three of us got along great and she did a great job assisting us with the 2200 mile passage.
Laura in Salvador

We departed Rio on February 9th and made four stops as we sailed north up the coast of Brazil.  1,390 miles and we had not even left the coast of Brazil.  We stopped in the cities of Vitoria, Salvador, Natal and Fortaleza.

Prior to this trip Laura has had very little sailing experience.  Riding on the trapeze of our Hobie Cat on Lake Simcoe was about it.  The only ocean sailing experience is on the Lido deck of Carnival Cruise line sunning herself.  So she was in for an experience.

Laura at the helm
So began the large learning curve of living on a sailboat for five weeks.  Laura jumped in with both feet and learned very quickly the ins and outs of Bellaluna, sail setting, anchoring, obtaining passage weather reports, route planning, docking, 2 hour watches and cooking at sea. 

Prior to leaving Rio she had cooked many meals and had them in the freezer ready to eat.  That proved invaluable because of the sea conditions throughout the trip.  It is not easy cooking pasta dinner travelling at 10 knots per hour with 3 meter high waves.  I have to say we have done very well in the meal department.

When you sail 24/7 someone has to be on watch all the time.  I set up a 2 hour on, 4 hour off schedule.  Three of us sharing the rotation.  After a few days Laura was in the groove and adjusted to the watches, sleeping, eating and back on watch again.  It sounds hard but once your body gets used to it you feel pretty good.
Resting between watches.  Go Jays Go!!

Memorable Moments:

·      3400 nautical miles sailed
·      Three rain storms sailed through.  Each with winds greater than 36 miles per hour.  Just a little WILD!!

The storm is coming!!!


·      Sailing over the equator and stopping for a photo op.  Could not swim because of the high winds and seas.

·      Three days of rain while crossing the equator
·      The rest were sunny warm beautiful days and amazing star lite nights.
·      Fantastic sun rises and sun sets.
·      Full moon at the start of the trip
·      Waking Gord up for help.  He would not wake up.  He went all “ninja” on us. (I think they made that up)
·      Sail furler maintenance while on the go.
·      Flying fish

Flying fish on the deck
·      Not seeing land for 13 days.
·      First steps back on land (why is the land moving)
·      Snorkeling and scuba diving along the way.

Gord checking the prop.  All is good
·      Dad asking “What is the wind and boat speed all the time” (stop already)
·      350 liters of diesel fuel carried to Bellaluna with jerry cans and emptied into the tanks.
·       Many firsts and many new things learned and experienced

One thing that had eluded us throughout the trip was the sighting of dolphins.  While, two days in a row they appeared in a big way.  The first day was a small group of about 10-15 (hard to count because they move so fast) and the second day was even more amazing.  Our best guess was approximately 40 dolphins.  They played at the bow of our boat for over 45 minutes.  Putting on an amazing show of swimming, playing and diving for food.  Had to be one of the highlights of the trip.  

We have arrived safely in Grenada.  For that we are very thankful.  Laura has been a fantastic crew member and lots of fun to be with for the last 5 weeks.  As a Dad this has been a very special time for me.  I have been able to share my passion for sailing with Laura and have enjoyed our father/daughter time very much.

Laura, can’t wait for our next adventure.  You can crew for me on BellaLuna anytime.  You are the best!!!  I love you.

Now it’s back to the Canadian winter for you.  Sorry the 35 degree sunny days must come to an end.

Thanks Laura

Beautiful sunset while sailing to Grenada

1 comment:

  1. Gord, Debbie and Laura, I came across your blog from Antares site and enjoyed reading @ your adventure to date. I look forward to seeing how your trip develops. I hope you are better Debbie and able to return soon. Laura... it'll be summer soon!