15 January 2009
We are a few days from our waypoint off the Brazilian coast - going relatively slowly due to a lack of the normal winds in this region. The forecast for the next few days does not look promising with light winds from the southeast, getting even lighter off the coast of Brazil.
Adrian has decided that he would like to make a short stop in Fortaleza so once we are in the coastal current, we will swing to port and cross the continental shelf and pop into the marina at the Marina Park Hotel.
The above may sound idyllic but to cross the shallow continental shelf is quite a navigational nightmare as there are hundreds of small fishing boats and thousands of crayfish and lobster pot markers you have to avoid. At night the smaller fishing boats either are very poorly lit or have no lights displayed until you are a few hundred metres from them when they suddenly flick on a light or light a candle in a jar.
We have also not had our fishing lines out for a few days as the last attempt to catch some Dorado ended in some fine skipjack but no Dorado. Luke and I have discussed our lack of fine Dorado and have decided that at first light we will try again - anything else that takes the lure will go back to be caught another day.
At the moment I am able to send and receive email via the Winlink station in Halifax, Canada, VE1YZ. We get a reasonably good signal on 20 metres (14 MHz) in the evening just around sunset. This said, we are still struggling to get good voice contact with Jack, AA3GZ, in Pennsylvania in the US. He appears to be able to hear me far better than I can hear him, which leads me to believe that we have a lot of electrical interference being generated on the boat from all the electronics on board.
So, some of you may be wondering what we do on board all day. Firstly, there is a watch roster and somebody is on watch at all times. Because of the odd hours you are woken for your three hour watch, your sleep pattern is severely disrupted and a person tends to have odd sleeping patterns. When not sleeping or on watch, there is a lot of reading taking place. Luke is the most prolific reader out of the four of us and has read eleven books so far and has basically run out of reading material. Of all things, he found a book on board on how to catch fish and is busy studying that. He is also busy tuning up his skills to write his yachtmasters examination in between the other books. Then somebody has to cook our only set meal, dinner. We have quite a selection of frozen meats and chicken and, plenty of fish. So, around lunch time we decide who is the cook for the evening meal and what that meal will be. We have no pre-cooked meals so each meal is prepared from the raw ingredients.
We also spend time on deck marvelling at the flying fish and other sea life. We had a pod of dolphin around the boat the other evening and their chatter could be clearly heard through the hull. As we now close in on the Brazilian coast we will start seeing more bird life and, hopefully, more dolphin, which have been pretty scarce on this trip.
Then we have had one or two ships pass close to us each day. It appears that a lot of them are heading for the Cape of Good Hope to get to destinations in the Indian Ocean and not taking the route through the Suez Canal and past the pirate infested waters between Somalia and Yemen. In a day or so we will pass the main shipping route between South America and Europe, which should be interesting to see with the use of the AIS system we have on board.
Well, as the flying fish fly and Oceans Dream sails, our greetings to all the readers and my thanks to Shaun (ZS1RA) for sending me copies of the comments from the blog. Until the next post - John.