Friday, 29 August 2014

Time to relax now.

     What a crazy two weeks we have had. Our heads are spinning ,there is sooo much to take in.      

     After checking out of  Argentina with Santiago’s help, meeting our captain (Pikin) and crew(Anna) and attending our lunchtime Asado ( a delicious BBQ held  for the employees at the factory to thank them for building our fabulous boat) we pulled out of the Yacht Club Argentina just before sunset on August 11th. Pikin had set up a watch schedule as we would be sailing thru the night, two hour watches followed by six hours off, so nice with four people. I can’t remember much about that first night so it couldn”t have been too bad, there was a full moon which was lovely and we had wind from behind so a nice motion for the boat. The second night I do remember. We had wind gusts of up to 45 knots ( that’s a LOT for you non-sailors) we were flying along. Again, the wind was from behind, and a full moon. I managed my watches fine, sea sick pills fortunately work well for me! When you’re on passage  the time is spent either on watch, sleeping ( in my case a lot since previously mentioned pills make me even more sleepy than usual) or eating. Generally, we would all be in the cockpit together in the afternoon but otherwise you don’t see a lot of each other.

     We pulled in to the Rio Grande Yacht Club, Brasil,  about 48 hours after leaving Buenos Aires. Rio Grande has a large shipping port and we were arriving at night but with Pikin’s help Ian did a great job of getting us onto the dock.  We spent three full days in Rio Grande waiting for the wind to change direction. Fortunately for us, Pikin doesn’t believe in crashing into heavy head winds. Finally the wind obliged and we left in the afternoon of Sunday August 17th. Unfortunately the wind was now nearly non existant so we motor sailed and then just motored. When I came on watch that night ( ten til midnight) there was zero visibility. You could not even see the bow of the boat, yuck! It is a spooky feeling to be charging forward but unable to see a thing.  Thank goodness for radar.   When near field gains are properly set, even most small fishing craft are visible. We set an alarm zone at night, between .7 and 1.2 nautical miles from the boat so that anything coming within that zone will sound an alarm.

     After two days of travel the scenery abruptly changed. From flat rather ordinary coast line suddenly there were mountains coming right down to the sea with frequent stretches of long white sandy beaches. The sun was out and the views quite spectacular. The weather was getting noticeably warmer as we headed north, blankets were removed from beds and I no longer needed three layers on at night when on watch. 

     Finally, eleven days after leaving Buenos Aires we reached our destination for this leg of the trip, the cruising area of Ilha Grande. Our first night was spent anchored in the harbour at Paraty. We dingied in for dinner that night. What an amazing old town! Built in the 1700’s,a maze of cobblestone streets. The Cachaca Festival ( cachaca is the booze used in the Brazilian drink Caipirinha) was on and the streets, lined with knick-knack stores, were full of people. A really neat, happening place. 
For the next three days we did a pit stop tour of this area with Pikin showing us his favourite anchorages.  The island of Ilha Grande apparently has eighty six beaches and that doesn’t include the ones along the mainland coast. We plan to see a lot of them over the next month as we cruise this amazing area of lush green mountains, white sandy beaches and turquoise- green water. 

     Pikin and Anna left us this morning for their flight back to Buenos Aires. We had such a fun time with these two people. At all times we felt that we were in extremely capable hands. We ( obviously) couldn’t have made it here without their help and guidance and we are extremely grateful to both of them. Pikin , as well as being an amazing sailor and very gifted Mr. Fix it ( we knick named him McGyver) turned out to be an amusing and fun guy, who knew!!!  Anna was the perfect crew person, very easy to be around, AND she made great Caipirinha’s !!!!  Mucho gracias to both of you.

      I will  add pictures to this post when wi-fi becomes available.  

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