Brazil - A Non-Event
22 January 2009
As predicted, we arrived in Fortaleza, Brazil, on Tuesday at noon. During our approach, we had a continual wind change, with the wind out of the south-east changing to our of the north-east. This was accompanied by a large swell, also out of the north-east. When we arrived at the marina, there was quite a serge into the marina and the stern-to mooring was not ideal. We dropped anchor three times and each time the anchor dragged just sufficiently to make the stern punts of the boat want to hit up against the steel floating jetty - not safe!
So, we made the disappointing decision to up anchor, make a few calls in the bay where cellular telephone reception was good and continue our final leg to Trinidad.
There are oil fields on the continental shelf about 40 nautical miles north-west of Fortaleza and we had a hard beat into the wind to make our waypoint just to the east of the fields. Downloading the latest GRIB files via Winlink, we found the cause of the adverse winds - there is a large coastal low sitting on the Brazilian coast and we are sailing through it!
At the moment we still have north-easterly winds, which are predicted to stay for the next few days, with rain squall after rain squall. Not a pleasant sailing experience as it is hard to keep dry when on watch and the rain squalls either bring strong winds for a short time from a different direction than the norm or no wind at all. Both situations need you out adjusting the sails and sometimes doing some motor sailing.
Due to us not stopping in Brazil, we could not get any fresh produce such as tomatoes, carrots, cabbage or eggs. So, we are becoming inventive to keep our diet changed. Tonight I am making an onion, bacon and cheese tart - we have plenty of those ingredients remaining. We also still have plenty of fish in our freezer and, weather and motion of the boat permitting, tomorrow evening will most likely be fish cakes and three-bean salad. We will see.
So, when I post this blog I will be requesting the latest weather file and sending off our position report and a couple of emails and hopefully receiving a few as well. We are getting a weak connection from the Winlink station in Trinidad at the moment and hope to start getting some signals from US based stations as we close on the Caribbean.
We should be in Trinidad by the end of the month but have built in a three day extra sailing due to the adverse winds and slow running current that we are experiencing.
Sometime today we should cross the equator and have a small calibration to commemorate the event as it is Adrian and Jackie's first crossing of the equator by sea.
So, from Adrian, Jackie, Luke and myself, we wish you well until the next blog posting. John.