Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cabadelo / Jacare Village

After sailing in a nice light wind for a while,  the wind died down and we had to motor almost all the way to Cabadelo. It was already dark when we sailed into the well lit canal of Cabadelo.  We were so lucky when a big barge came past us into the canal showing us the way.  For the first time we saw a massive dredger monstering in the sea and heaving out the sand and landing it on the barges.  I am sure Port Owen Yacht Club will be delighted to borrow one of these babies for their shallow entrance! It is only going to take one scoop!  The wind was quite chilly while I was standing on the fore deck looking out for our Skipper.  I was so glad the tide was in our favor,  and I think it will be impossible to enter the canal or the river with an outgoing tide.  Night was falling as we entered the river,  but this wide river was easy to sail,  and soon we saw the lights and then the masts of some boats.  We dropped anchor behind them all,  and settle in for a good sleep.
Marco could hardly fall asleep,  because he saw the boat of his friends on Grainedo,  and was already dreaming about playing with them for the whole day!

Fort Orange / Itamaraca Island

A local at Recife told us about this anchorage,  very popular with the Recife weekend yachties,  and not to be missed.  When we left Recife early morning,  this was where we were headed.  We had a lovely sail with the screecher bulging in a light wind.  We soon spotted Fort Orange at the entrance of the river and carefully our Skipper steered us through the shallow waters and in between the submerged rocks. We anchored in front of the Marina de Itamaraca. About 20 miles north of Recife.

The beach was filled with umbrellas and yellow and red plastic chairs and it got us into the holiday feeling.

After sipping Marco`s cocktails,  Marksaucies,  on deck,  we dropped the dinghy and the boys swam ashore.  The Praia de Orange Hotel is beautiful with a lovely swimming pool and internet facilities,  but we enjoyed the freedom of the white sandy beach instead.

 Apparently the "peixe-boi" (river cow) (Manatee) are protected and bred in this river,  but we weren`t lucky to see this amazing animal. 

After a good nights` sleep with the rain filling our water tanks we left for Cabadello.


The holding ground at Pernambuco was great although in the strong tide we set the anchor drag on the Garmin GPS.  We decided to rather walk from the Yacht Club next to the beaches to the buses today and use the 40Reals for ice cream.

  We wanted to visit Olinda,  the first capital of Brazil according to the locals,  a 16th century little town and today a historical monument.

 We were enchanted by the colorful colonial town and snooped around in the galleries and shops. 

The original lace work from Olinda is exquisite and the crochet hammocks stole my heart.  We couldn`t resist entertaining ourselves with the dummies all over,  and soon the tourist group around were joining in the fun.

 I ended my walk up the hill in the Cathedral of the 16th century,  Alto de Se,  and said a prayer for you.  And the boys ended their walk sipping on an ice cold coconut!


We decided to stay for a day or so at Pernambuco Yacht Club for 25 Reals a day, first day free.  The other Yacht Club (Cabanga) charges 110 Reals per day. See Noonsite for more information. After Marco finished his exams for the term,  we took the yacht clubs` ferryboat at 10 Reals per person to the bus terminals.

 It was Sunday and by now we know that most of the shops will be closed,  so we headed for Recife Shopping.  We arrived there at  about 10h30,  with the Mall still closed.  Luckily it opened at 12h00 and the shops at 13h00,  and the two boys were delighted to spend the time in Mc Donalds.

 I shopped for new linen because after 6 months at sea our salty sweaty bodies have stained the sheets.  It was a buzz of people in the Mall because of their Brazilian holidays,  and we were soon a part of this never-ending energy stream.  With a pressure cooker and a liquidizer under each arm we had enough and took a taxi home.  The guy from the taxi asked us where we were from,  and was totally shocked when he heard we come from South-Africa.  Why are we not black or not negroes?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sailing to Recife

We lifted anchor just after 05h30 on Tuesday morning. Joe pushed the Down-button for the anchor to drop, and there was no reaction. We hurried for the manual, and found the handle to let down the anchor, and we were prepared for anchoring with a spoilt button in the future. Who needs buttons? With the spirits high we were heading for Nautico to fill up diesel. The tide wasn`t in our favor and we took a little while longer, and arrived at about 9h30. Everything went so smooth, even with the one engine we safely secured Catlyn with the help of the two men at the floating jetty, and filled her belly with about 600L of diesel, it was about R4500.00. This should last us for more or less 6 months. It was good to see that they accept all credit cards, master and visa, and we could save our cash for another day. Safely secured to the jetty we took the opportunity to secure the dinghy and canoes.

Now we were on our way to Recife!

It took us 2o minutes to smoothly sail out of the Bay, with the tide in our favor. We battled for a while as soon as we reached the open sea around the light house, where the tide and the sea and the wind met. Heading for deeper waters, Catlyn was rolling gently.

The first night was exactly what it said…the first night. I got confronted with the blackness of the night,

the sound of waves and the pumping of the wind, but I stilled myself, knowing that we`ll be safe.

Marco was lethargic on Wednesday, and enjoyed sleeping on the couch. Our Skipper was cooking to keep his crew well fed.

The wind was blowing a steady 15 to 20 knots and we had an awesome sail! New records were set for Catlyn! My night shift was between 03h00 and 06h00 and my pumping adrenaline kept me fully awake. My top speed with Catlyn was 8,9knots with the reefed down main and genoa.

Our third morning we were greeted by the sun! The swells were still big, but not so choppy anymore and we had an excellent sail. Friday morning came, and I saw the yellow of the sun tingeing the clouds. When I grabbed the dust pan and tiny broom, my Skipper new that I was in control again! According to the weather reports, bad weather was to be building up during the day, so we were on the lookout for safe anchorages if necessary. We considered Maceio, but sailed past. With the couple of bottle nose dolphins surfing, Recife was too close. Then we considered another anchorage,Tamandare, but everyone still voted for heading to Recife. Marco still hoped that we will sail past Recife to meet his friends at Cabadello.

The wind turned south, the screecher was bulging in the wind. Marco spotted a tornado hanging in the clouds, but not touching the sea. We watched it spiral and swirl and saw the cumulus clouds turn black above it, and then we saw the rain pouring down! Thank goodness, we weren`t sailing so deep anymore. We were sailing closer to the shore by now, and made full use of the 2knot current pushing us forward.

We knew by now that we are going to reach Recife after sunset, and normally we try to avoid that, but all of us were looking ahead to a good night sleep. The city, with its skyscrapers rise as if out of the sea. Beautiful! The light slowly came on, and a fairytale city was greeting us.As the Raymarine guided us towards the entrance, Marco and I sat on the bow, gasping at the night.

We dropped the sails and entered the canal. It was so well lit. The tide was against us, and the strong wind was on the bow. Slowly we sailed the canal, watching out for the small fishing boats. We reached Pernambuco, and dropped anchor. The guy from the Yacht Club, met us with his little boat, and told us to lift anchor and drop it further ahead, where the holding ground will be better. We dropped anchor, around 21h00, and as always was so grateful for an amazing adventure! Catlyn and her crew did well, and somewhere she set her record for this journey at 9,8knots!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ready to go!

We are stocked and ready to leave Itaparica!  It is amazing to experience the excitement and adrenaline pumping through the veins of Catlyn`s crew.  Yesterday we filled up her water belly at the jetty for only 10 reals,  and today we did the last shopping at the Bompreco.  I was cleaning for the last couple of days.  This morning I took Veronique from Grainedo`s advise and with the alcohol bottle in one hand I tackled the mold spots.  I felt like taking a sip or a sniff here and there,  but to my delight the dark spots vanished.   I will keep a close eye on them, though.
We said our good byes to the friends we made on land, and to the three South-African yachts in Itaparica.  They will soon start following us north,  so we will meet again somewhere.
Our next `planned` destination is Recife,  but I will keep you posted as soon as the technology is available again.  Be safe...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Louise Hay and me.

This morning I woke up,  and I didn`t want to.  For the how manieth (is that how you spell that?) day it is grey outside.  There is hardly a couple of minutes to open up for fresh air,  and the misty rain seeps through the port holes again.  And I can actually hear my invisible mold spores snugly floating in,  and I can actually smell the perfect thickness around me,  in my sheets, in my drawers.  And I can see the boys staying in their cabins,  trying to find something to do.  And I can see the washing heap growing every day,  and I can smell the stuffy towel,  in desperate need of sun!  Just like me...
Johan tried to cheer me up with my favouite `condensed milked coffee`,  the sweet thickness at the bottom inviting my finger to sweep the last bit into my mouth, but the grey stayed.  I wished for my stabile bed at Jura, after so many nights rolling around in a very busy sea, although at anchor.  Can you imagine balancing in bed?
Johan put on a dvd for us during breakfast,  and there was clarity in the grey.  This is why I am here,  in this grey,  on this boat.  Nowhere else will I have this opportunity to have grey time, to allow me to have grey time,  and to enjoy this grey time.  Because this is good.  In the grey it makes me clear...  In this grey I have the time to look myself in the mirror with no colorful distractions, to see me.  To take Louise Hay`s advise. To see me, and say...

This women, Louise Hay, is over 80 years old.  She came from a horrible family home, left by her father when she was little.  Her mother married an abusive man,  who started sexually abusing her at a very young age. Some more abuse followed her, until she ran away from home when she was 15.  She fell pregnant at 16, looking for any one to love her,  and gave the baby to a loving family.  She went back to rescue her mother from this man, and started her life.  Soon she realised the power of thoughts, and how little things started to change as soon as she changed her thinking.  In the mirror she stood,  and said to herself~ Louise, I love you!

So I went down to my cabin and I looked in the mirror,  and enveloped in the beautiful misty grey I looked at my reflection and said~ Marlene, I love you!

Must see movie "You can heal your Life (2007)" . With 9.1 out of 10 rating. Visit this link for more information about the movie.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mould / Mildew

It is such a tough enemy, you spell it two different ways...`homophone`...and it has another name, mildew!  The only mould I knew,  growing up on the dry Highveld in S.A,  was when I forgot my sandwiches in my bin over a weekend,  and were greenly greated on a Monday morning,  with a very upset mother,  swearing she will never make me sandwiches again...
Living on a boat this slowly creeping funghi became a part of my daily life.  Flying into our boat with their microscopic spores, we are infested!  I read that they can lie dormant for years,  until one of the conditions, temperature,  humidity or air flow turns into their favour. One single microscopic cell can grow an astounding half a mile within 24 hours,  and if the conditions are great this thing can grow up to 200 miles within 48 hours!  Oh my,  and Catlyn is only 40 feet!
When still building the boat I remember nagging Rudi from Maverick for a smooth finish on the inside of the bulks,  and every time I ran my hands along the walls or ceiling,  I nagged more when it wasn`t smooth enough.  I am so glad I did,  because these tiny black creatures even appear on this smoother ripple paint finish,  and I have to use a soft long bristle brush to wash them down.
Very little is mildew proof. Joe`s bamboo hat and my Mr. Price woven place mats,  thick deck chair cushions are to their liking.  Johan`s leather shoes ( especially packed for Brazils` Customs)  landed in the rubbish bin at Bahia!  My cupboards in the heads aren`t ventilated and the stuffy smell in there tells me I have guests.
I know penicillin comes from mildew,  and now I know that Lovastatin,  the cholestrol lowering drug are also made from it!  Maybe I must stop fighting it with my bleach bottle and start sniffing them...for health reasons you know!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Our vague plan for the future.

Slowly but surely the time went by,  and we are starting to get excited to move on.  We are back from Morro de Sao Paolo,  and we picked up a mooring at Yacht Clube Bahia.  The sea is soft and gentle and Catlyn is lying so still.  Today we took the bus into the old town,  Pelhourinho,  and walked to Immigration and  Port Capitaine.  All the paper work is done, and we can leave any day now, as soon as the predicted cold front passes.
I was spoilt by the men in the shops in Salvador.  A lot of shops are on sale now,  and I was stuck in the fitting room for some time, with each one bringing me lovely things to try on for them. 

Ps. Here is the photo of the lovely wild Oysters we had in Gamboa. You can see that we consume Tabasco in huge quantities .... see a previous post below for reasons.  Yes, Allan we take care of possible risk. The biggest run out of this hot stuff.  The "Gota" little bottle is a local Brazilian very GOOD copy of Tabasco with a touch of Portuguese. We love the stuff and wish somebody will take the risk to import it to South Africa. It is  lemons on the plate...yes...Brazilian lemons are orange like oranges,  and orange are yellow like lemons.  Sa├║de !!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


When was the last time you played in the mud?

My memory of playing in the mud, was sitting in my red shorts on my butt in the middle of a brown muddy pool on the farm I grew up, Welgelegen, Delmas, S.A. I remember slipping the sloppy mud through my little fingers to land in big brown blobs on my lap…

At Gamboa de Morro we went to the `mud baths.` As soon as our feet touched the slippery pink mud, a magical feeling rippled through all of us. We rolled in the mud, smeered ourselves, rubbed each other, just for a while forgetting about time. We laughed and shrieked, our voices echoing. Water is filtering through this hill, creating these puddles of pink mud.

Rinsing in the ocean, our skins were soft after exfoliating in this natural spa!


Life at Gamboa Morro

It is already a week that we`ve been anchored at Gamboa de Morro. The cold fronts sweeping through give us grey skies and little rain, with every now and then a sun shiny day. We would actually love some hard showers, because our tanks are running low, and it is not so nice washing in a basin every morning and evening. It is just difficult to get that human smell of in that little water. We don`t want to run the water maker, because the water is still the brown seawater close to the rivers. There is very little pollution over here, but for now we are on a survival course.

In between Marco is trying to fit his exam in with his very busy schedule with his two friends. They play endlessly and every night just after dinner, Marco, so exhausted battles to stay awake. On Saturday they played soccer with little Brazilian boys, and our team, Bafana French Bafana had an awesome battle on the sand with Brazil. Hano, I know you just love the Brazilian Soccer team, but you would have been proud of this new South-African team! We missed you on the side line with a vuvuzela!

Marco got his first birthday invitation. Gataine from Grainedo, turned 9, and we had to go shopping. No `Toys r Us` or `Reggies` close by, we had to settle for clay and a big bar of chocolate! Luckily living on a boat for 6 months now, even make a packet of nice smelling clay a great present.

We bought some blue crabs and boiled them pink, and Johan did his magic with a red curry to treat our taste buds. Delicious! Michelle from Grainedo found some fresh oysters, and we started the morning with white wine and oysters. It was good, but allow me to say, that so far no oysters beat the ones in Knysna (S.A.)

Ps. I am craving a big packet of Lays Chips, the balsamic flavor. I imagine myself sitting in my chair in my favorite sunny spot in George, crunching down a whole big packet. My word, even writing about it, fills my mouth with saliva!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Exploring Morro de Sao Paulo

We anchored close to the jetty of Gamboa de Morro, and went ashore for the day exploring our new environment. The boys were looking forward to a day among people, hopefully some English tourists on the very popular beaches. We decided to walk to Morro de Sao Paolo.

What a walk! It was a walk trusting the guts of four people. About two hours later, although it felt like more, and none of us own a watch anymore, so we can`t really tell, walking through muddy spots and sometimes deep water, then sand again, we tried to follow in the tracks of the tractors.

By the way, there are no cars or any other vehicles on this island, only the odd tractor with a wagon as transport. We finally came to an opening in the forest and we could see the blue of the ocean. At last! Standing on top of a very steep hill with many stairs going straight down, we overlooked the palm forests and the little town laced with the white sand and spotted with the colorful umbrellas. Morro de Sao Paolo!

Walking down Beach 2 and Beach 3, people were inviting us into their beach bars and restaurants. We gave into the temptation sitting with our feet in the sand, having mouthwatering grilled `vermelho` fish and lobster.

After too much food we needed the chill of the water and the towels on the sand. Refusing to walk back, we took the ferry to Gamboa and after a long day, it was home, sweet home!


The Captain was up early, and got his crew to free Catlyn from the mooring at Clube de Bahia at approximately 05h30. It always amazes me how the feeling in the air vibrates whenever we set Catlyn free, and sail away to a new destination. We sailed south with 15 to 20 knot wind SSE, sea 1 to 2 metres SE and had a great sail for the first half of the 30 nm to Morro de Sao Paolo also due to the outgoing tide of 2 to 3 knots from behind. After so long sailing in the protected Bay of the Saints, it took a while for us to get used to the choppy sea again. When the wind changed directly south a bit later we had to tack the rest of the way, and somewhere along the way we hit 4700nm on our log!

We dropped anchor at Gamboa de Morro, well protected from the swells and about 2 nm from Morro de Sao Paulo, and to Marco`s delight he spotted Grainedo, the big Catamaran of his friends. Delighted to see each other and to share our stories, we met at a beach bar for a beer, and the boys got lost in the sand. After three nights rolling around in Clube de Bahia, we slept softly with Catlyn hardly moving.

Yacht Club Bahia

We decided to stay at this beautiful Yacht Club for the three days, no charge, and enjoy being close to the swimming pool, sauna and spa. We endured the rolly sea at night because we had still so much to do. Not only did we have to go into Salvador for all the spare parts, glue and tools for our engine, but the boys had fun at the gym and pool tables too.

Johan and I took the bus into town, in search for a socket with a long extension to reach the bolts on the engine, and Sika Flex 1A to fasten the rubber boot, and lock tight for the nuts. Johan was prepared with his notes full of `Google` translations and the search began. After asking a couple of shopkeepers for a `socket`, we were directed to a plumbing and electrical shop. It didn`t make a lot of sense to us to find our socket there, but in Brasils` shops, there are no surprises. The shopkeeper was eagerly searching for our socket, not wanting to let us down. He searched among a lot of light switches and plugs. For a moment I thought that this shop must be quite messy if he is going to find our socket there. With a big smile he approached. In his hand he held a wall socket! So much for Google translations! One word with so many meanings, when you don`t have a clue about the language. Thank goodness, he didn`t take out his glass eye! At least our two day search started with a giggle.

I`ll spare you the story of the blisters on our feet, the despair in languages, the amusement in our sign languages and the old Portuguese man with the Italian surname, who couldn`t understand us, but who gave us his cellphone number for help. I`m just thinking, if it wasn`t for our hands to help us communicate, how is he going to be able to see me over the cellphone?

At last we stumbled into the area with all the `ferramentas` (tools) shops. We had hope! In this street we sure will find what we are looking for. At the very last shop in the street, just before closing time, we found our Allen Key Sockets. We couldn`t find Sika Flex 1A Plus anywhere and had to take their advice to settle for an epoxy product which the big ships are using…I reckon, if it is good enough for them, it must be good enough for us. To all sailors who are planning to sail to Salvador, please take note of this street name. If you are going to need some lock tight and don`t want to settle for super glue, take down this street name and save yourself the blisters. The area is Calcada, and the street name is Rua Barao de Gotegipe!