Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It is just over a week now, that we are living in Itaparica, and we are trying to act normal for a change. Marco is very busy doing his exams, while we are hacked into some WiFi network on the island. He decided to do two papers per day. He finished his Maths paper this morning and only Science is left for tomorrow morning. I did realise that too much holidaying has made him lazy, and therefor I have decided to do a little more schooling with him. Maybe he is going to think life is as easy as school...you just cruise it. Or is it?
Johan is in front of the computer often working a bit and just to get in touch with our lifes again. He went to Salvador yesterday, accompanied by Joe to complete our Customs Papers. The two came back half way there. The Port Capitaine is still to be visited. They did though came back with their tummies filled, when they visited a restaurant where they ate at a buffet with lovely loacal food for about R65 a kg....that I believe the reason being not finished with the days task. He also mailed our broken AC/DC meter to New Zealand, costing him about R400 via the Post Office speed service. Hopefully they can repair it and we will be able to read our Amps again. We battle a bit without it.
Joe is loving every minute of his opportunity! He plays guitar, draws pictures, dream dreams and explore life as best as he can. How wonderful, just to be young...
I am trying to get Catlyn clean and organised again, after being on the water for so long. I even have time to spend on myself. One thing I am glad about is, that we got rid of our lizardy scaly feet while we were at sea. No creams or lotions or rubbing or scrubbing could make a difference. Not even the little miracle scrub from Game..the Perfectpedi made a difference to our heels. A week on land again and we can walk around with our flip flops...

ps. We are waiting for our first visitor. Elize, Johan's sister is coming from London to visit us for a whole 10 days! We can't wait to feel and hug someone familiar.

Sweet things aboard

Ok, this post is not going to be about me, but some other sweet stuff that I keep locked away! With three men aboard with a healthy appetite and an even healthier sweet tooth, I had to make a plan. With a shortage of space, where do I hide all the sweeties? I received a pink little code lock for mother's day, some time ago, and decided that I could use this. I locked away the stash! Every time I shop, I will be on the lookout for something sweet and interesting to add to the sweety bin. Only once in a while I will open this for each to grab a treat. But of course it triggered the boys imagination...How can we crack the code? Believe it or not, Marco cracked it twice! And of course Joe and his little brother found a way to lift the lid with screw drivers and with the braai tongs, they sneek out whatever lies on top. I had enough of the nagging of three men trying to get a treat, and when Marco cracked the code for the third time, I handed over the responsibility to this young man. Now it is more difficult than ever for the other two men to get a treat out of him! I just love the way responsibility changes a man....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The little Island

Itaparica is a little island of 240 square km. We are anchored on the north western side of the island, the older part. The eastern side of the island is filled with beautiful resorts, like Club Med, and are much more touristy. The streets are filled with ice cream colored tiled little buildings, and every here and there a little shop, selling fruit or beer or bread.
We met Natalie, Robyn’s daughter who fell in love with her Brazilian friend, Daniel, and together they run a guest house and she is a chocolatier. We stepped into her world, where they live in Daniel’s grandfather’s house. This house belongs to almost one hundred owners. Every brother and sister with their children and their children owns a piece. This complicates buying in Brazil. If you can get hold of all the owners to sign off the property, you hand over the money, the property is yours! They don’t use any attorneys. You go then directly to the registrar for transfering the property in your name.

Anyway, we met Natalie at this house on this huge piece of land with a forest for a garden and two fresh water wells, and tortoises swimming in it, and marmosets monkeys sitting high up in the trees looking down at us. She gave us a guided tour, showing us how she makes her chocolate truffles. The cocoa fruit are growing from the stem of the tree, and when it turns yellow, they take it down and smashed it open to reveal pips covered with litchi like flesh, and it also taste a bit like litchi. They clean the pips and soak it in water for some time, until they start to smell horrible. Then she de-shell them and dry them in the sun and then she roast them in a round little thingy until they are dark brown. These roasted nuts smell delicious! She puts it through a little mill and mixes it with milk, water and sugar in a big mixer, until she is happy with her soft chocolate. Natalie molds her final product, and fill the truffles with pecan nuts or passion fruit etc.

Joe and Marco are constantly visiting Daniel, and together they play shooting games on their computers! Funny how technology brings together people, from the age of 10 to the age of 26!

We found a good stall for fresh fruit and veggies, and a super Mercado, with the name: For poor Bastardsand we decided this is the place for us. It is about a kilometer walk, which is ok, and only gets tough when you have to carry all the shopping and coconuts and watermelons back to the dinghy.

Marco couldn’t wait for a coconut, and not succeeding in climbing a tree yet, we talked him into buying one! What a mission, to try and open those things, and then poor Marco was so disappointed because they are not sweet!

Ps. I found post cards and mailed a couple. Cost me about R10 each. So watch your mailbox!

Trying to relax in Itaparica!

It is already the 26th of March! I thought the time is going to drag along, but we are so busy with I don’t know what, and before we realize it is time for a sun downer… We survived the Brazilian Cold front, although there was absolutely nothing cold about it. Only the sea was choppy and rolled Catlyn around, and we had thunder and lightning storms every night. It was the first time that we experienced lightning, and Paul from Pro Yacht Deliveries told us to hang out a chain from our mast over the windlass to the anchor and into the water…it might help. When the first water started pouring down, just before sun rise Johan and I woke up. He went out like Adam in the Garden, and was soon enjoying the clean water washing down his body. I was still more discreet, but soon realized that we were the only two people awake in the Bay, and took the opportunity…having a Godly moment being touched by Godly water washing down our bodies!

The whole day was raining, and we realized how much water goes to waste! We started improvising. Marco made his own water catcher, very effective, and Joe and I also made two, and soon we were running water into our fresh water tank, and we filled it with the buckets Marco was filling with his concoction! So much for technology and science schooling at sea! I do have a big piece of waterproof fabric in the boat, and I am thinking about a good plan to catch even more water, but I will keep you dated. The best rain catcher is the bath. We just open the little port hole and the water is running in. Beautiful soft rain water for my hair and washing! We must just improvise a plan to get that into our tanks. Our water tanks were empty and we needed to go to the pontoon at Itaparica for fresh water, but with the lunar activity the pontoon broke in half, and the water and electricity was disconnected. We were stuck with only drinking water, thank God, but no water for washing…so you can imagine the smelly people aboard. We brushed our teeth in a bit of water in a glass, and that was about it. We showered in the salty sea water, but battled to rub the soap to a lather. It was much better on the open sea, where we could use the water maker, but we didn’t want to risk the dirty bay water in this miracle maker of ours. Now you can understand our heavenly delight when the water came pouring down.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Enjoying life!

The boys are loving the warm 35 degree water! Early morning Marco got his brother up and in a canoe, because he wanted to row to an island close by, to get me a coconut! He even strapped this big fishing knife to his ankle to cut it from the tree! A man has to be prepared. After rowing for more than an hour they reached the island only to realise how tall the palm trees are! He didn't bring me a coconut, but he was as pink as a prawn. Hopefully he will listen to me nagging him to put sun block on.

Johan and I walked around the area and found nice fresh "sals" or bread rolls or the typical bradchens from Walvis Bay. We found good cooked ham like ours and cheese like our cheddar...it also tastes like nothing. The Portuguese love sweet stuff, and we tasted some. I bought some eggs, crisp white. The egg shells are porous and so soft, you can break them open with one hand...not like our Rainbow chickens being fed all the calcium. Salvador looks like a major city with sky scrapers. Here at Itaparica you have to walk around from little place to another to look for what you need. On the other side of the Island is a Wall Mart supermarket that we have not yet visited. No Woolworths, or Checkers. Enjoy South-Africa! It is still the land of milk and honey! I haven't seen any furniture shops or clothing shops yet, only a little stall with a couple of hats and t-shirts.

ps. All the comments are posted...thanks to all. Charles, you know our skipper...good to get all around him working...


The first two nights at Itaparica, safely anchored in thick mud, we slept like grateful babies. We slowly felt like land animals again and decided to venture out to land. We found that absolutely no one can speak or understand English! Amazing if you think about the world we are living in. The Portuguese are very helpful, and try their best, but you can't say one word in Portuguese then they think they can fire away, you know their language. We are at anchor for free, and only have to pay $R40 per day if you moor at the pontoons where there is electricity and fresh water. We are thinking about going there soon for a day, and Marco can't wait to play XBox again.
We found Afrikaans! Just walking down the street at the beach, we stumbled into Amigo's. It is a quaint bar and restaurant. We met Willem van der Merwe and his wife Robin. Originally he is from Rustenburg, but they sailed from Saldanha to Salvador 4 years ago. He fell in love with Itaparica, and sold his boat and bought a business, and is now running this restaurant for all the Gringo's. He treated us with barbequed chicken and fillet and plates of potatos de fritos (slap chips). Robin couldn't believe her eyes when we finished off the plates in no time. We were four hungry people! They not only fed us with food b
ut also with information, and if ever you come to this little island, make sure you come to meet them!

The above photo of their Restaurant. Their website is http://www.amigos-bbq.com/

The passed two nights Catlyn is rolling like a mono-hull. It feels like we are sailing again! We realised that something is different, because the low tides were extremely low, and the high tides were smashing over the street. It is the Equinox! Since 19 years the moon is at her fullest, and the closest to planet Earth. Super Moon! Is that why we experience the tsunamis and the earth quakes?
Ps. Girls, watch out! You know what the moon does to us, or we to the moon!

Customs and Immigrations

We had a good nights sleep, and were up and ready to go to Salvador for all the red tape. We heard and read that you have to wear long pants and a collared shirt for this process. Johan found a mouldy pant, dust it slightly and off we went. Even the boys were dressed to kill, and it felt so awkward wearing shoes and clothes again. We took a taxi to the terminals and got onto a big ferry with a lot of human beings. We were surrounded by new smells and new sounds, all bundled together on the top deck and the vehicles on the bottom deck. Joe tasted all the sweet stuff, the hawkers were selling. Marco didn't feel like eating with the stuffy smell around. After about an hour we got to Salvador, and we had to find our way in a new place. I dotted down a couple of Portuguese words, and we eventually and after a very long walk found the Police Federal, and our passaporta were stamped. We were legally in Brazil! We carried on walking and searching and found the Alfandega/Customs further down the Port. But they were not able to help us, we had to come back on Monday, although we read and heard that they are open on a Saturday until 14h00.
But we weren't illegal immigrants any more, and we decided to explore the area. Nautico Marina is a nice secure marina, with walk on jetties with water and electricity, and we decided to come and stay here for a couple of days. It is not too expensive, $R60 per day. Bahia Marina is loaded with super yachts, and was fully booked at $R120 per day. We enjoyed the street food and poor Marco ended up with blisters on his feet! We had to get back to Catlyn quickly to get rid of these clothes...
Ps. Hano, you can join us any time!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Salvador _ 18th March

The weather changed. Heavy black clouds were hanging over us, and the wind came straight over our bow. In the distance we could see Salvador’s lights creeping closer. We fought against a 1.5 knot current as well. The last day is not going to be an easy one, just to make sure we appreciate being anchored again. We phoned Bahia Marina, but they were fully booked. We phoned Pier Salvador with no success either. Being so tired by now, and only want this to come to an end, we phoned Itaparica, and with difficult communication, me in something between English and sounds of Italian I know, and new sounds of Portuguese I am trying to learn, I finally understood that we are welcome at Itaparica! Another few hours of sailing in bad weather, but we finally anchored in this beautiful little bay. The only thing I wanted to do was to crawl into bed and sleep for a day or two, but we had to let the dinghy down, lock up the boat and go to the Marine Office.

I am reading Johan’s book, THE WORLD IS FLAT, by Thomas Friedman, but when you come to Brazil and no one can speak or understand English, you wonder whether they are part of your world. But luckily the guy at the office was in touch with technology, and with a Google translator program we communicated via the internet, and yes the world is flat.

We had a beer and a caparinha, their local drink and feeling a little better went back to Catlyn.

We thought of just relaxing for a while but very soon, all of us were in dead man’s dreamland.
In the middle of this dream world I woke up with very load music and human voices. If I can sleep through crashing waves I thought, I can sleep through this. But I heard this happy three men having a good time. And then a voice said: “Look at the moooon! Look at the fucking moooon! I’ve never seen such a moon!” I was too curious and was afraid I am going to miss out on a moooon, so I got up and saw the men on a boat close by, and then I saw the moon. It was encircled by this wide circle full of moisture in the sky. Ok, it was amazing! I went back to bed, with the sounds of the deep slurry singing voices, “How can we be friends…?”
I was just nicely snugged into my dream world again, when a dinghy was coming at a great speed towards us, and human's shouting. I jumped out of bed again, just to stare at a yacht right on Catlyn’s stern! The three very wise men weren’t upset and just shoved this old mono hull lightly away from us, and just slowly drifted pass us. Poor Johan was on watch again, because the men on the yacht had no intention of breaking up their fun, to lift anchor and to move away. They circled us once and just gently push themselves away if they get too close to us! Crossing this big Atlantic Ocean, this was for sure our worst and most dangerous experience!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

After a good sail, with still hardly any sleep for the fifth day because of the extremely choppy swells, the wind died on us just after sun rise. If I do say anything about rough sea or huge swells, just bear in mind that it is actually not worth mentioning if you compare it with sailing the South-African coast, especially past Cape Columbine. We are almost there! We almost crossed an ocean from one continent to another, and now we are slugging closer.
Yesterday our Little Wonder Watermaker started sucking air. Johan cleaned and replaced the filter, but only after he sealed the pipe at the connection again the miracle worker was … I will use Johan’s own words, when he came up the steps, “Pumping like a virgin, touched for the very first time!”
We decided to use this opportunity of no wind and long swells to get into the ocean, at about 4000m deep. What an exhilarating feeling. Four people silly with laughter and bundled up were playing in an ocean 70 nm from land.

But it was not the end. The port side engine didn’t let water out. Shut down the engine immediately. After it cooled down the two Johans got started. Joe replaced the broken impeller in the little crammy space of the engine room. And it is working again, and we are trying to get to Salvador during the morning tomorrow. Hopefully the wind will pick up, but according to the barometer things doesn’t look too optimistic.

Day - Dorado

We are slowly nearing land! On the GPS it reads: 156 nm left to Salvador! Yesterday the wind started picking up nicely between 10-15 knots on a starboard beam and with the main and screecher out we did the best so far: a whole 139,6 nm for the day. For the first time since we start with this passage, we experienced true sailing. The night was still uncomfortable with the swells on the beam, and the boat was rolling. We saw a cargo ship’s lights in the distance, the first in two weeks. Great, there were still other people alive on this planet.
I was on watch before sunrise, and I set out the lures, so that as soon as the sun came out we can catch that big fish. Johan even fried the last packet of Dorado, to make sure that the gods of the seas can’t be mistaken with our needs. Marco saw it first. The beer can attached to the line was missing and he shouted: “Fish!” Joe immediately grabbed the line and he could feel the weight of the fish. This was going to be a big one. With great excitement the 13,5kg Dorado came aboard. After all of us took a turn having our photos taken with this amazing animal, Johan could slice lovely fillets for us for the next three months. That afternoon after drying the fillets in the wind, he vacuum packed all for the freezer. We felt like rich people, being blessed with this beautiful creature. Thank you…
Ps. Johan moved back our watches another hour, so we are on Brazil’s time now.

The moon is almost full! That must be the reason. I woke up feeling as if I haven’t slept in ages at 03h00 this morning for my watch until 06h00. The boat was rolling and everything was in danger of falling of the tables, which I haven’t secured yet. We can’t open any port holes in the heat for fresh air, so it was so stuffy in the cabin. Yesterday a wave washed over our starboard and the seawater ran into the heads, luckily not a cabin. After the others woke up I went down to catch up on some sleep after three tough nights. I was just about to get use to the waves smashing on starboard, when Marco’s voice excitedly got me to the deck to see the Dorado landing on our deck. After all the excitement and pictures I dragged my body down for a rinse, because you can’t call it a shower, and to do the washing in my water. When I was done and the washing was in the sun, I knew where I want to go! I could almost feel myself slipping under the sheet, and kneading my pillow into position and for the sleep to come!
But Joe was rinsing the bloody Dorado deck with buckets of sea water… Not checking that all the port holes are close before you wash down the boat, a mass of salty sea water came down both our port holes, behind our bed, and our feather pillows and sheets and mattresses were soaking wet! Not funny when the bed you were fantasizing about was full of salty water… It is not that you have a lot of space and you can put out your mattresses to dry, and you just chuck the wet bedding in a washing machine!!! I wish our cabin was bigger, because I needed to throw something. The next best thing was to burst into Johan’s shower and to let him know, that this is it! Enough! But where do I go? Which door can I slam? Where can I go spend some money on his credit card? Where can I eat a whole tub of ice cream with caramel sauce? So I politely took myself outside and sat around the corner with my nose in my book…and I promised myself, on the first plane from Brazil to Cape Town, I will be. I sulked for a while, until I got a hug here and a smile there and a look of understanding in my Skippers eyes…and then I knew it must be the moon…

Our bananas changed over two weeks from the most delicious golden bananas, to the spotted Dalmations, begging us to still eat them, and then to the Rotweillers growling at us, until Johan used the very last one for banana muffins and bread. We still have plenty to eat and to drink aboard. The water maker is constantly giving us a can of 20l full of drinking water. We only have one egg left, and the onions are running low. The 2 lemon squash are slightly turning yellow, so we have to cook them soon. The couple of potatoes are growing eyelets in the dark locker. I am peeling the apples now, because their skins are slightly discoloring, and the boys will definitely not eat them like that. We can’t wait for fresh fruit and vegetables, and we try to make up with the chick peas, beans and the odd can of peas. Yesterday Johan discovered a bottle of gherkins and we cooled it in the fridge. It was a total explosion of fresh green juice in our mouths!
Living aboard is good, but we all missing a couple of things. Of course Marco misses the easy access to technology, and the other day he said he misses just lying in front of the TV on a couch. I miss a bed that is not moving. I miss sleeping through a night. I miss standing in a shower with the water running over me… I miss lying in my warm bath with my book and a glass of wine and candles… I miss the smell of the ground after the rain… And I miss silence… nothing in my ears…
Joe loves every minute of this experience; he thinks we had it actually too easy. We had too much and too leka food and he thought it would be good if he could push his limits more. He loves being too tired, and not sleeping much and he loves only showering every third day. He doesn’t miss technology, because it is not part of this experience. The only something that he thinks he misses is a companion, a girl to share it all…
Johan would only like to sleep, peacefully and uninterrupted…

Day nr ???

Another two days pass with hardly any wind. You could sense it in everyone’s mood. We’ve been on the water for two weeks, and it is still a heck of a long way to go. In the meantime the hairdresser flew in on a cloud, and Johan got a haircut and I got my first color out of a box! It was such a relief when the ad on the box was right…and I washed away all the greys right out of my hair! We changed course to slightly more north. And yes, we decided to listen to Paul, and we put some beer cans on the fishing lines to warn us early when the fish is hooked. The engine rooms were dried out with the vacuum cleaner, remember, our bilge pump packed up, and Joe checked the oil and fan belts as well. That evening on my night watch, we got a proper wash down from the heavens, and we grabbed the broom and cloths to get rid of all the white salt gathering on Catlyn. With still no wind we motored during the dark. The next day something was brooding in the air. It was extremely humid and still no wind. Slowly the wind started picking up. We studied the Yacht master notes to try and asses the change in the weather. We had a northerly wind blowing between 15 and 20 knots and the swells on the beam. We thought of changing course but decided to persevere through the night with the wind on the bow and the swells making our night quite uncomfortable. But the sun came up, and we were delighted to have the wind still north and the swells still the same, but we were close enough to change course to a comfortable sail on our way to Salvador! The mood on Catlyn is improving as soon as we can hear the sound of the wind and sea pushing us to a beautiful 6 – 7 knots. I got the best place on Catlyn, nestling in the hammock. The main sail and the screecher are out, and we are getting closer to land. Underneath us is a huge sea mountain, about 400m under the surface and about 3000m high! We are hoping for a fresh fish soon! Ps. Marco is much better, and it is only when he has to dry some dishes that the tonsil is playing along. We received a sms via the SAT phone from Andre, telling us about the tsunamis and stuff in Japan.

13th March

Happy born day Jaco and Louis! May this year of all the two’s for the two of you, 22, be double fun, double pleasure, double blessings and double love…
Thank you for technology, we phoned the boys with the satellite phone standing in the middle of nowhere looking at the ocean, and heard there voices… We were spoilt with Jaco’s favorite Oopsies, and lunch on a stick. Peanut butter chicken and pork satays, veggie and potato kebabs and for desert bananas on a stick, all grilled on our gas braai.

I was on night watch from 24h00 to 03h00 and I lived through a squall all by myself. I run with the screecher and genoa out and the heavy cumulus clouds slowly moved passed us on starboard side! The wind was pumping but Catlyn was just gliding over the swells like a champagne cork. It is nice to have a heavy and strongly built boat!
Marco’s being off the weather for the last two days. He misses his Ouma, his brothers and sisters, his room full of toys, electricity to plug his Xbox in and to play computer games for hours, and he misses the farm and running around with his friends. Last night he woke me up running a temperature and with swollen glands and inflamed tonsils. Luckily I have all my homeopathic muti aboard and in a day or so he will be better.
Today was spent washing some linen, cleaning aft deck lockers and packing away our duvets. It is time to vacuum pack them, and to put them away. Haleluja! I have been waiting for this for such a long time. Summer all year round! Even during the evenings we don’t even wear jackets any more, only as little as possible. The water temperature is 31 degrees…my bath water in George! Joe rinsed down the two Yanmar engines with fresh water, and the oil and sail drive oil were checked. He cooked us a lovely red bean chili dish and I will surely add his recipe.
Everyone went for a nap after not much sleep last night, and only Johan camped out on the aft deck. We clocked 4000 nautical miles today, since we launched Catlyn ! If all goes well we will be in Salvador in about 6 days time. Thanks to my sister, Anriette we know exactly where to go in Salvador for the Customs and Immigration, and we are hoping to be there on Friday during their office hours.
Ps. We lost all three lures today, sleeping and not checking…so I will not repeat the adjectives of a very upset Capitaine.

Another day

Do you sometimes wish you could turn back Time? Since we left Walvis Bay Johan turned back the clock a whole four hours and there is one hour to go for Brazil time. We are in control of the setting of our Time…
Yesterday has been a frustrating sail day. We got spoilt with the lovely steady trade winds for the last couple of days, and then with all the heavy cumulus clouds surrounding us, and the pressure touchable we had no wind. It was raining all around us, and at last we were washed down with the first fresh water in three months. Still no fish, and today we changed a lure to freshen up the menu.
I had an experience last night. After a day of no wind slowly the wind was picking up steadily during my shift, ( 21h00-24h00) and I enjoyed a nice sail trying to make up for lost time. I stayed for another hour, knowing that Joe is still enjoying his sleep, and 01h00 I woke him. The wind was picking up strongly, and we realized that we need to take down the screecher because this is the most important sail for this journey. But it wasn’t so easy, the wind picked up very quickly to over 25 knots and I was at the helm, trying to steer Catlyn in the dark, and take the pressure off the sail. When it is dark everything seems to be worse… My poor knees were trembling with the adrenaline pumping, and I tried to keep them stable against the chair. Thank God for being soft on us. It is great to learn from soft lessons…
Reef early reef deep!
When the sun came up this morning while I was listening to the Namibian girl, Andra on Johan’s Blackberry, I had warmth of gratefulness over me. We take being safe and waking up a morning for granted.

Ps. Get yourselve some of her music...

It is almost 21h00 and we are full of energy! Johan decided that the bananas lying like spotted Dalmations need to change shape, so I made another Banana tart, and he made his own new recipe for a banana bread. It is still in the oven, and if it tastes good, we’ll share the recipe with you. Marco is playing on his brother’s guitar giving us music from August Rush. Joe went outside to check on the sails, and came back with a young barracuda on the line. We had to consult the books because we didn’t know this elongated silver fish with the scary teeth. We didn’t keep it, but the men are now motivated to catch a fish in the dark. A new illuminated squid are out, so it is going to be an exciting night. We hope the wind will pick up, which died down this afternoon.
Today was a day spent cleaning out the lockers, checking for weevils. The white bread flour and rice are clean, thank goodness. I filled the airtight containers, and added the bay leaves to scare anything else away. All the long life milk were checked and packed according to expiry dates. The potatoes were checked, and every day I turned the eggs in their carton, to keep the yolk for clinging to one side of the egg shell.
We are trying to reach the kids with the satellite phone, but for some reason we don’t hear from any of them for a week now. Is it the satellite phone or are the kids just busy with their own lives? I hope we can hear from them tomorrow, because usually Jaco send us the weather punctually and a very short message of love…

9th March

We are half way on our way to Salvador! The last two days we were blessed with wonderful wind…after Joe asked for wind with his lunch time prayer. We had three bad sailing days when the wind just totally died down. Now we are running with the genoa port and the screecher on the other side. The current is also pushing us forward and we are surfing the waves.
Our systems are used to the night shifts, and we even start waking up before the time… waiting for the shift to start. Johan loves sitting outside with his shift, the earphones in his ears and listening to soft music while watching the stars. Joe has to eat while he is on watch. I put out sweeties or cookies for him, and he also finishes whatever left overs is left in the fridge. Because of the foul taste in your mouth all the time, I don’t know whether it is because of the salty air we breathe in all the time, but we drink a lot of cold water and nibble a lot. Brushing your teeth only helps for a while. I would like to ask some other sailors on this issue, but all four of us, experience the same. I love to read with the head lamp and treasure one book only for my watch.

Just before lunch Marco saw a huge Dorado swimming next to us, chasing a flying fish for his lunch. There is space in our freezer so the men were out immediately trying to catch it. Marco gave it a name, Machinga, and was praying for the fish not to take the lure. His prayers were answered and the freezer stayed empty. It is so beautiful to see this lime green and electric blue fish ripping through the water, and showing off his tail fin while surfing the waves. No fresh lunch for us, so Joe made a lovely macaroni dish and while the oven was still warm I quickly baked two oats breads.
Our fresh vegetables are getting less now, with only some cole, a little bit of broccoli, carrots, butternut and potatoes left. No salad stuff left and Johan is treasuring a couple of little tomatoes. Of course we have the bananas which are all ripe now, and green apples. It will take some careful planning for the rest of the time!

Another day

It’s been more than a week now, and in a one hour’s time we will have 1200 nm left. We are all doing well, despite the wind which stayed away for three days. We battled forward very slowly and tried everything with the sails to get more speed. Johan decided to try the boom as a genoa pole to get the most out of that sail. It worked and we speed up a bit. We can’t wait for a stronger wind to see what Catlyn will do. With the sails set like this she managed 4, 5 knots in a 3 knot wind. For the first time since we left St. Helena we saw a cargo ship. It almost circled us, also glad to see something humanly and alive.
We are still on the banana diet, and I made a banana tart, which was delicious! I will definitely add the recipe because it was so easy, and fool proof. We started with the Portuguese and it doesn’t look too difficult. Even Joe joined in. Marco and I will start school again, although it is not time yet, but we reckon, we can start with the second term, and when we reach Salvador, we will have extra time for fun. We found out that he will write his exams in Salvador when we have internet again, and Brainline will treat him like a kid studying abroad. It reliefs us of a lot of logistical pressure.
Our new circuit breaker is doing its job. However we have another problem, because we are sailing into the west, during the afternoons we sail right into the sunset, and the screecher is directly in front of the sun, leaving the solar panels in the shade from about 1 - 2 o'clock. Everyone is settling into a relaxed mode, and are keeping busy with lots of reading, board games and I am even doing some crochet again…
Ps. A happy born day Andre! Your present is the open invitation for a visit soon!

Day 6

Bananas for breakfast, bananas for lunch and bananas for dinner, and if you are craving for a snack, you can have a banana too! We fry them in honey, Dad made a lovely bran banana bread, and Joe and I made an apple-banana crumble. Marco and Dad surprised us with home- made ice cream, and we will soon start the recipe book for sailors. As you can gather, the wind is scarce so we have to find stuff to keep us busy. It is our third day with very little wind and thank goodness for the screecher, because we still succeed to do 4 knots in a 3 knot wind. They are trying all kind of maneuvers to get the most out of this breeze. Then the main is up, and then the genoa is out, and now they are planning to use the boom as a pole to fly the genoa at port side and the screecher at starboard side. At the end of Day 5 we’ve done 505,1 sea miles…many to go!
The gym sessions are continuing and the boys aboard had a couple of stiff muscles the next morning.

Joe had a light bulb moment as he call it, and walks around with the video camera strapped to his head to make a reality TV show…watch the blog for a good laugh soon. Marco started his second book of Spud from John van de Ruit, and is enjoying it so much! If you do have a son, between the ages of 10 and a 100 please let him read this book. And if you are his mother, please read the book too, just to see what is going on in his mind. And if you are his father, please read the book, and remember how it was to be young and not so serious about life…
I started with the Portuguese CD and it doesn’t look too difficult. I am still searching for the other CD somewhere on the boat, but I am quite positive I will be able to pick up the language. Marco, luckily for me , is helping me when I forget a word. Adios for now!

People touching me....

Ok, when you are sailing on the sea, it is blue all around you, you only hear the schwisch…of the water pushing you forward, and the sails trying to make the best of the wind you offer, and it is only you and you, and then you start missing people, or just start thinking about them and why they are in your life. I once told a friend relationships only last because you two need each other for whatever reason, good or bad….
I was basking in the sun when a new young beautiful friend came to my mind, also sailing the world with her husband of only a year, I know I would love to give her a hug, because she did it… I miss another because he made me feel special when he took out a glass for my wine in the middle of the desert. I miss a women sharing my spiritual experiences, and leaving her and my Sagitairian on a jetty. I miss friends that we made for a while, swinging around the pole on Catlyn, and I miss wrapping ourselves in purple blankets in the early hours of the morning with friends, and I miss doing the leopard crawl with another friend…
I miss my friends who were sharing my dream of sailing, and those who laughed with me for two years and those who laughed at me for even longer…but who arrived at the airport to say good bye even if she was an hour too late, and she cried alone in her car. I miss my friend who is falling in love again, and I miss my friend thinking she is falling out of love, and want to tell her it is okay… I miss my friend who misunderstood me for a while, and only remember our coral pink Vogue stumps in the ash tray, and I miss my friend who is so busy with life… And I miss friends that were my family and never friends…and then we found the friendship in family… and sisterhood in beads… I miss the silly telephone calls with my brother, just knowing when to phone when the other one needed it, and then ending the call laughing and ready to face the world again…
When I lost myself, you were the one saving me with your touch like a mother to help me home again, you are the one scolding me when I don’t tell if I am ok. I miss you…
And I miss the guy with the stump for a thumb, and the hair growing on it, and drinking too much tecquila with him, when he sniffed the salt from the table… I miss all of you!

4th March

We are all starting to feel better. The jetlag is subsiding, so much so, that the men started their own gym yesterday morning. With bungee straps and cord and wooden sticks they created a whole exercise area on the aft deck. The water cans are filled and being lifted, quite something to balance water in a can and to balance yourself! I am still taking the ginger tablets and maybe I will join today. Our bunch of bananas are starting to turn yellow, and I had the first sweet ripe banana! We are prepared with a lot of recipes to help us make use of these.

Since Marco could verbalize his thoughts to us, he was always telling us about the Time Machine he is going to invent. This machine will enable him to travel all the dimensions, and go back to any time period he chooses. He could spend time hiding in the forests to observe the dinosaurs, or he could go back to the Ice Age, and of course his favorite is to join the army of Alexander the Great! This became a reality when Joe sat down with him, and started putting down his thoughts on paper. Now this creation is launched into The Universe , and you will certainly hear about this in your future!
I am good with the night shifts now! I even look forward to the dark peace when you are all alone, just you the boat, the night sky and the sound of the sea…


Our second day, and we all looked like zombies. It felt like jetlag again, and with effort we went through our daily chores. Marco didn’t feel so well today, and I gave him some ginger tablets I received from Brad, from Sunsail. It helps! So I took two! The wind was between 6 and 9 knots and slowly we sailed forward. Joe and I were on a mission. We have to try and bake the apple crumble from Ann’s Place. We tried our best to get the recipe, but we weren’t successful, so we have to improvise! We baked a sample and of course with Dad’s expertise added, after the second try we had this delicious apple crumble with homemade custard for desert! Who said anything about losing wait on a crossing?
Marco chased his brother around playing cowboys and crooks or something or spy-spy, and they were shooting at each other while hiding away on this big ship. But the little spy sacrificed one of his guns to the ocean, and we had a “ gun overboard”. It was time for the Banana Challenge again and we played “charades.” Of course Marco was the biltong, Willie, but eventually Johan was the winner of a Banana!


In the still dark of the morning of the last day of February 2011, Johan was stirring restlessly and Catlyn was tugging at her mooring lines. At 5 o clock they could wait no longer, and the engines started, and they woke us to free them from the mooring lines keeping them bonded. Soon St. Helena was laying behind us, as we started the long journey to Salvador, Brazil. The wind was good to us, giving us a great start and the swells not too bad. But it was my first day again, and although I felt much better, I knew it is going to take some time to get my sea legs again. Somewhere behind us, two yachts were following. Moose and Blue Diamond are on their way to Cabadello, which is further north and for the first day we kept radio contact. It was nice to know someone is somewhere behind us, and we are not starting this long journey all by ourselfs.

Remember our bunch of bananas? Well, you have to deserve the right to put your symbol on a banana to secure a green one for your future! In this Survivor, you can be nominated by a crew, if you contributed something special to the day, and we have a challenge every day, and the winner can choose 2 bananas. So much fun to wait for the green to change into yellow. Who’s banana is going to be eaten first?

At about 18h00 we had a bite! Johan was the first to notice this big fish, and I politely grabbed the gaff and opened the fish locker to chuck in this nice big fish. But at the other end was a beautiful Marlin! With pure beastly adrenalin pumping strength he pulled this beauty from the water and struggled it onto the deck…sitting with this animal between his legs! What a blessing to be able to touch this sea creature, we admired and then “photo and release” it back into the ocean. This was too fast, and he hopes to meet another…

Still @ St Helena

Ok, so we are not leaving today. And we are very relaxed about it. We checked the weather , unfortunately, and there it said that there is hardly any wind until Wednesday, and on Tuesday the swells are 5m and head on. Marco woke up this morning and said, that he’s got a gut feeling that we mustn’t leave today. Minutes later the aft bilge pump played up! Every time a wave washed over the engine room, water seeps in and the bilge pump is supposed to pump out the water. We don’t have an extra pump, so we have to make a plan. The next RMS ship is only coming in May to St. Helena, so that is not an option. The solution for now is: We are going to seal the engine room as best as possible, and then we will dry out the room every 24 hours. Johan checked the fuses, checked for loose wires which are all good and Junior even opened the pump, but couldn’t find the problem.

We are going to have Dad’s lovely Thai chicken with a glass of Four Cousins Dry White, and fill up the water tanks to the brim. We are doing some final touches today, and will be off early tomorrow morning! I won’t be talking to you for quite some time, so wait for us on the other side of the Atlantic with all the exciting news of sailing this 1900nm to Salvador. The other sailors say that it takes about 14 – 21 days depending and the wind and weather. Be safe on your side….