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The dream
It's raining in Salvador
02/15/2012, Salvador - Bahia Marina

With all the formalities taken care of we have started walking the streets and doing what the locals do. The best lunch so far was at a place called Havanna which caters for the working class and sells at a price per Kg. Wow, it's so cheap and you have a choice so great that it will take quite some time to go through all the different dishes but boy can I guarantee you, the taste is superb and a meal for under SA R30.00 which includes a soda (no booze unfortunately) is hard to find anywhere
We are trying to go to a supermarket today but at the moment we are stuck in the boat with rain pouring outside. Not that we mind as it is washing off the desert dust from Luderitz
We bought some fresh fruit this morning which was quite a treat with the language barrier, but what we got tasted good and the price once again very cheap in Rand terms. We got bananas and Mango and then two other fruits which is un-known to us but tasty. Problem is that we do not know how to prepare or peel the fruit for eating and I sure look like a baboon breaking it open and just eating it
We are trying to work out what our plans and route will be from here as we have had so many reports from other yachties about French Guyana's people trying to not hi-jack but threaten people to hand over valuables and money on the high seas on the approach to Suriname.
There is so much to see here and then there is the numerous islands in the Bahia area that we could quite easily stay 6 months. The hurricane season starts towards the end of May in the Caribbean so we will have to make plans whether to stay the full 6 months or maybe fly back home for a couple of months?? Time will tell
There has been no time to miss our family and friends but on a day like this we have time to reminisce and then the longing starts but I can assure you that when the rain stops , boy these sore legs will be in the streets again.......

02/12/2012, Salvador - Bahia Marina

What a place!
Arriving after 13 days at sea was just amazing. We had not read up on Brazil and had no literature of the country on board and never knew what to expect but what we saw was amazing. The city is really old and then there is a brand new city which is absolutely amazing with sky scrapers everywhere.
Amazing as usual we were immediately helped to do our first Med style mooring. The yachties are such a helpful bunch
The weather here is very hot and humid but I am sure I will adapt very quickly
The old city is being re-located for the World Cup Soccer and the Olympic Games but what amazes is the fact that the old buildings are not being demolished and new ones built but rather they will keep the old architecture and the interiors of the buildings will be modernized.
They seem so different to SA where the Zumas and Dalemas are hell bent to ignore history and make their own history with no brain influence. Must say that at the moment it feels great to be rid of the African black assholes and their racism and really hope that the ANC and their cronies get a walloping and lose power so that sanity can return where everybody once again have a future
This country is steeped in history of slavery but there is no animosity even towards us and the funny thing is that one of the people on the street touched Neil's hair when he said he was South African and said that's funny, isn't all South Africans BLACK? Wherever we go the people just open their arms and chat to us and make us feel so welcome
We have not yet done the clearing formalities and will only do it tomorrow but have already slipped out into the old city and had a marvelous lunch with good beer thanks to a Brazilian couple on the yacht next to us
Enjoy the pics and we will add as we explore this beautiful place ......

Ascension to Salvador
02/12/2012, Salvador - Bahia Marina

After the great experience of Ascension Island it was back to the sailing life for the foreseeable future but not before a bit of action
I thought that I had caught a Marlin (see attached pic) but the guys showed me what a real Marlin looks like when you have to pick it up with a crane (see the picture gallery)
One of the striking things of the people of Saint Helena and Ascension is their nature to share. The huge Marlin was caught and everyone who wanted was given (not sold) a huge piece and a big piece was given to the Hotel who offered fried Marlin main course FREE that night. Where in the world have you heard of this happening?
Cheers to the people of Saint Helena and Ascension - You are the BEST!
We started off with a brisk sail as the breeze was fair and we made good speed with average 24 hour runs into the 140 miles per day. The breeze lasted for 8 days but stayed around 10 to 12 knots which gave us a good run and we made Brazil in 13 days which I think was not to shabby
Mystic handled the crossing extremely well and apart for a funny oxidation on the transom is looking good. We will see if it will be possible to lift her out of the water for anti fouling if the prices are not to steep
Once again to all who leave comments it is much appreciated and by the way HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all who had birthdays and all who will have birthdays as we left our birthday calendar back home and the brain cannot remember dates that well (or should I say - at all)

Hi from Salvador - Brazil
02/12/2012, Salvador - Bahia Marina

Hi everybody
We arrived safely in Salvador on Saturday 11 February with boat and crew in high spirit and well
We will be posting photos as soon as possible
Till later..

Change of plans - Hi from Ascension Island
01/28/2012, Ascension Island

After leaving Saint Helena behind with fond memories of a very friendly people we had a brisk sail in 20 odd Knots and with the first light of the new morning the wind died on us. This was rather frustrating as we were looking forward to a good passage to Salvador. Our available library in indicated that winds were better to the North of us so we started motoring in a North Westerly direction.
After 4 days of intermittent motoring the wind started picking up and we thought that a stop in Ascension would be a good idea. The winds favored us and we had runs of 125 miles day on day which had the whole crew smiling.
Ascension was, to us, a total different world again. The people out here are mostly Saint Helenans and then there are the RAF and US Airforce
The Marine life is another treat. We were welcomed from about 20 miles offshore by a pod of Dolphins and then at the anchorage by lots of Green Turtles that lay eggs on the beach in front of the anchorage. There are also tropical coloured fish in abundance wherever you go.
We started on a tour of Georgetown and got as far as the bakery where we met Wayne and Nicky (the bakers) who immediately offered to take us on a tour of the island which was a boon to us as we decided that we were not going to spend on tours etc.
Wayne also took us to the RAF shop where we replenished stock at a greatly reduced price so I would say that all in all the visit to Ascension was well worth it
We are looking at leaving on Sunday morning as the skipper wants to be in Salvador for the carnival on 16 Feb. Now there is a challenge to complete the 1500 miles in time
PS! this blog entry is done from the house of our wonderfull new friends on Ascension Island

Till we reach Salvador ...
01/14/2012, Saint Helena Island

We've been in Saint Helena for 7 days now and boy have we enjoyed it
The island is everything but a barren rock. We hired a car for 2 days and explored the whole island which has a strong Napoleonic tie as Napoleon died on the island after being exiled here.
The island has a very diverse fauna and some rain forest areas which was amazing to see. However Basil Read is out here in full force for the building of the new airport and the 4 hotels plus umpteen bungalows which is being received with mixed emotions by the locals. It must be seen that once all the building has been completed the island will be transformed and will never be the same again?
We intend leaving on Monday 16 January and will be en route to Salvador in Brazil which should take us approximately 20 to 24 days depending on the wind and weather
With the slow and expensive internet out here we will only post more pics once we have reasonable internet again
By the way, it was good to say hi to a moorings delivery cat yesterday evening and this morning to Chris and Tjarda on Ocean Maiden from Port Owen
Well, until next time .......

Hello from Saint Helena Island
01/08/2012, Saint Helena Island

Wow! We never thought that this day will arrive? The great big rock just suddenly appeared in front of us and boy did spirits lift with the sight
We left Luderitz with high spirits and the weather played its part and we were off with a 20 -25 knot following wind and mild seas which put us in great spirit for the voyage. This condition prevailed for 2 days before we started getting into the trades and the sea turned lumpy and the wind fluky from the aft quarter. We would have times with wind under 10 knots which required motor sailing and also times where we motored without sailing
So much for the wild weather of the start of our journey! I might add that that we all prayed that there would be no more storms but just a little more wind, but hey, you can't have everything
Something that we were bad prepared for was the long time at sea. It is impossible to play games as we were on a 4 hour shift (Neil and myself) with Mads doing the kitchen duties. One thing for sure is that we had the best meals you can think of
On the morning of 7 January Saint Helena was laying on the bow and spirits were high again after the 15 days of just water around us. We anchored at 11h00 and the immigration people came out to their offices for the formalities and we will be doing customs on Monday
The first meal was a burger at Anne's Place and boy was it great. We are only doing this update today as we had to find out where everything happens around here and the first proper rest was required before thing starts happening
Mystic took a bit of battering from the elements and there is a bit of work for Neil and myself and then there is the island to explore
Until next time ........

Farewell Luderitz
12/23/2011, Luderitz - Namibia

At long last we have received the new quadrant and boy does it look good to see our cabin in an orderly state again. We have to thank Seaport Supplies in Cape Town for all the effort as without them I believe that it would still have been in Cape Town
With all the commotion one of the local yacht club members took the broken quadrant away and had it welded and strengthened and we will keep it as a spare unit. Tonight will be first night that Mads and I will be sleeping in our cabin
The skipper and Mads have been the ones that have been positive all along although this courier thing started getting comments that we should rather fly back home and bring the quadrant with us in the new year but all this is now behind us
After booking out with port control and the usual customs and immigration this morning I have attended to batteries and other small items, while the two of them brought 400 liters of water on board which was not a small feat. We have also stocked up for a final time with fresh veggies and fruit, so at this moment we are ready for departure tomorrow morning
According to the local weather forecasts we will have winds up to 25 knots and we are now looking forward to seeing St Helens Island on the horizon
Tonight we will be saying farewell to all the super people we have met at Luderitz Yacht Club and there is an undertaking between us that there will not be too much too drink
We will be off line for approximately 10 days and as we understand it St Helena has limited internet so we should be able to post the next entry from there
We would like to thank all for your interest and comments and mails of support for the period that we have been stuck out here

Can you believe - A place worse than SA
12/21/2011, The PLACE

Now I've heard it all.
The quadrant was collected in Cape Town on Monday for URGENT delivery to Luderitz.
It's now Wednesday and the parcel is still in Cape Town as I have not paid import VAT on my own stuff on which I have paid all taxes and VAT in SA. The transport company QUALITY FREIGHT thought it just to leave the parcel until I paid the taxes (without telling me where)
We contacted them today and were informed to pay over into a private individual's account and then they will proceed to move it from Cape Town
Now I thought that I am rid of the South African corruptness but now find myself in a worse place.
HELP is needed
The people of Namibia are totally different to their system and a local company has stepped in to help me (the owner in actual fact)
I am tired of the bullshit of Africa and just hope to get away as soon as possible

At last!!
12/20/2011, Luderitz - Namibia

Things are looking up. We now have a tracking number from the couriers bringing the quadrant from Cape Town to Luderitz . According to estimates we should have it by Wednesday 21 Dec and if all goes well we should be on our way by Thursday
Aan al ons Afrikaanse vriende wil ek net dankie sĂȘ vir die bemoedige ondersteuning en verskoon maar die Engels want daar is nou ons ander vriende wat nie Afrikaans verstaan nie
That was a bit of my own language for my good Afrikaans friends who as our English friends were giving us a lot of moral support
The morale has picked up tremendously now that we know the parts are nearly here and that we will be leaving shortly
The wind has been relentless and we have forgotten what summer feels like as the wind brings an Arctic cold with it
We will remember Luderitz for its kind people, clean town, Jagermeister, good food and a hell of a lot of wind
No photos with this post - we will post again just before leaving

No spares yet
12/16/2011, Luderitz - Namibia

Well things turned out different. We are still here and the spares will only be in Cape Town on Monday and probably only arrive in Luderitz by Wednesday so we are preparing for another week
The suspense about the drinking milk tart will be there forever as we missed it due to the 'iffy' weather and high winds
We spent a day in the desert on Wednesday which was really interesting. I still cannot believe that diamonds were found lying around in the desert sand. The people were lying on the ground and picking up diamonds. How weird is that? There was so much wealth in the area ,which even today still have people doing funny things to get diamonds.
We are starting to get bored with Luderitz and feel that it's time to move on as the showers are cold. In the period up to date I have had only 1 hot shower except for 2 showers on board where we had the gen set running and produced our own hot water.
Have a look at the pics and remember that your house could also look like this if you do not sweep!!!

Still in Luderitz
12/13/2011, Luderitz - Namibia

Still in Luderitz??
Woke up this morning with a dead calm sea and a fog hanging over us. The desert seems a funny place. We thought that it would be hot out here but the temperature seems like winter in Velddrif
Hi Rob!! Hope that you made it safely to Deneysville. Could invite you for a Bicardi as we seem to have a lot out here?
We had a night with Tequila and all at the club last night.. boy was it harder than usual to get up this morning but carrying 150L of fuel fixed all although my legs and arms are explaining that this must not happen too soon again
Tonight we have been invited for pizza and drinking milk tart (will explain what that is later when we find out)
The skipper has decided that Mystic has been neglected and is hard busy at cleaning and oiling wood.
Otherwise there is not much news around as we are still awaiting the spares
Have a look at the photo gallery as I have added some pics.....

Cheers Rob
12/10/2011, Luderitz - Namibia

Its been nearly a week in Luderitz and a really windy week at that. Quite a nightmare to get ashore with the chop and you are basically guaranteed to be wet.
The quadrant has been ordered ex USA and should be here by next Friday. A big thanks to SEAPORT SUPPLIES back in Cape Town
The truly sad part of our trip is that Rob was missing his family and decided that the wind and water was not fulfilling his want and decided to fly back home. Rob, you will be missed but rest assured that if it was not that we are here as a family the same might have happened with us. Enjoy the family and dry land for us as well
We will try to do an excursion to Kolmanskop and the other tourist attractions around but with the wind blowing it is not advisable to head off into the desert
Everything is covered with a thin layer of talcum like powder which turns to a heavy brown cake if any dampness sets in. Oh for a fresh water hose down, but this will only happen the day before we set off .......

Licking the wounds
12/06/2011, Luderitz - Namibia

What a start to the great adventure
Thursday 1 December was a truly emotional start. After our Wednesday evening farewell party at the Petersons we thought that we would have a quiet getaway but alas this was not to be. Everybody arrived at the holding jetty to say good-bye and things became emotional and getting away became rushed
We enjoyed the calm weather as we left the Berg River mouth and when the wind started picking up, spirits were high. With the first watch after dark the wind picked up to 20+ knots and gradually increased. Mind you, sea sickness also crept in with me and Rob starting to talk to George but there seemed no problem. This however became so serious that I became man down and apparently caused a lot of stress to the rest of the crew (although this only became known to me later)
Things then started to became very rough and we experienced winds up to 45 knots and the seas increased to 6m swells. On Sunday morning plus minus 03h00 the quadrant on the steering decided that it had enough of this and sheared off leaving us with no steering as well as no auto-pilot. Fortunately the wind was just abating at that time and we went to emergency steering and took the decision to head for Luderitz where we arrived this morning safe and sound after motoring nearly 215 nautical miles after the wind totally died on us
The nights were really balmy and we had dolphins, whales and albatross to entertain us with the most beautiful experience must have been dolphins at night leaving a phosphorous trail whereby you could actually see their colours
We will be posting further pictures and what not as soon as we finish sourcing spares etcetera

24 Hours to go
11/30/2011, Holding jetty

I suppose we never believed that the time would come but lo and behold we have moved to the holding jetty this morning and if nerves could be shot I assure you that they are
We have completed the formalities at immigration and customs and are officially booked out of the country so there's nothing stopping us now
The weather forecast is predicting a blow of 30 - 35 knots starting on Friday morning and blowing itself out by Saturday so we will be out there enjoying the ride
Mads is downtown picking up the fresh produce and we have a few final chores on the boat and then its the farewells tonight and a good night's rest
We are amased at the number of good wishes we have been receiving and here's a BAIE DANKIE from all of us for the interest shown
Alas we will now be signing off untill we arrive at Saint Helena Island where we will have internet connection again so its goodbuy for 10 to 14 days....

Please check the albums for more pics!!

Ready or not???
11/26/2011, Port Owen

No time left for nerves....
At long last all the items on the numerous lists have been ticked and we and Mystic are ready for whatever happens. Thought that I would never get to the point where I would be able to say this but perseverance sufficed
Nerves has given way to trepidation where we will be facing the worst ocean and the longest passage without site of land for all of us
At least we know that there is enough food (and treats) and should we get lost we should have enough provisions for at least 6 months (water might be a problem though)
We are picking Rob up at the airport tomorrow and then its immigration (and maybe a last meal at Royal Cape Yacht Club for a while)
Thursday is now looking us in the eye and as a matter of fact I cannot wait
Will post something just before we leave......

15 Days to go
11/15/2011, Port Owen

We now have a new skipper in Neil as he passed his Yachtmaster Offshore with commercial endorsement so the old man cannot say too much at this stage (Oh for the knowledge of youth!!!)
Mystic is pulling on the warps and asking to be let loose to cross the ocean and I must say that the family (and Rob) are raring to go but there are so many things to finalise and 1 December is still the date
Neil and I completed our Scuba coarse with our final 2 dives last Saturday which was really good although the visibility was down. Both of us enjoyed the dive and now we can put the coarse to good use by diving on Mystic and cleaning the hull
Rob has had his Yellow Fever shots and his teeth fixed and is ready for the experience and will arrive on the 28th when we will be booking out at immigration in Cape Town
Mystic has been filled with provisions and all systems are GO.......

24 Days to go?
11/06/2011, Port Owen

Time is now really flying
We were in the Vaal for a week where we had a bit of an emotional rollercoaster ride. I have officially finished with my work at Turnmill Proquip Engineering where it was rather emotional saying my goodbyes after so many years.
The cats went to our dear friends Rob and Lorraine where they seem to have adopted their new slaves and Lorraine is just pleasing them with every action
Goodbyes at the Vaal Dam was great with well wishes from all
As far as Mystic and the adventure is concerned Rob has confirmed that he will be in Cape Town on the 28th and seems as excited as we are
Of coarse Mystic had to have a present once again as the wind instrument was not to her liking and she switched it off and we had to replace the unit. Neil thought it a good idea that we should purchase the new Simrad plotter that was released at the Cape Town Boat Show, so we hope that Mystic is now content with her new instruments (If this carries on there won't be money left for the trip?)
Mads and I will be taking the life raft to Cape Town for servicing and we will do the first shopping at Makro on Monday
Neil will be doing his prep work from Tuesday and his Yachtmasters practical test on Friday
Have a look at the Albums and see if you can spot your face!
As you can gather we are pretty busy and there's no time for nerves.......

Ready or not???
10/18/2011, Port Owen

Things change so rapidly with us that it's hard to keep up with everything.
Neil has completed his Yachtmaster's theory and will be doing practicals the first week of November. This seems a big change from Day skipper but the sailing school feels that he has the experience
The two of us have done our first open dive at Simonstown last weekend which was great fun
Rob, our friend from the Vaal has confirmed that he will be joining us for the Atlantic crossing up to Trinidad. This is really exciting as it puts us 4 up which makes the watches so much better (thanks Rob)
Mystic remains at 99% ready as just after the alternator problem we now have a faulty wind instrument. We will be going to the agents this week and hopefully it's repairable. I really don't want to spend money on a new instrument
Well, things are looking good for the beginning of December.......

10/04/2011, Port Owen

Well the gang now all have their restricted radio operators licenses and the seniors have their international certificates of competency.
Neil is busy playing at a sailing school trying to get his day skippers ticket
Mystic received a clean bill of health from the electrical people and no sooner did the alternator on the main engine pack up. I think that this was a message to remind us about spare parts. I took notice of the omen and got a spare alternator and am working on the other spares deemed necessary
We have filled the diesel tanks before the monthly price increase so at this stage we are pretty much ready to go....... (57 days and counting)

The latest
09/23/2011, Port Owen

At last all the work is now complete and what's left could be done while sailing
The electrics have been sorted and now the genset is fully functional and the 12V system has been sorted. This is a relief as I thought that it would become a costly excercise but there was no real problems and the greatest expense will be 1 new battery because the engine requires 2 batteries for starting.
Today its off to the Cape Town boat show to see if we can spend more money on something we do not need (haha)
Mads and Neil are writing their radio licenses on Monday which will tick off another item on the list
What a time for the SA Rand to take a dive?? We can only purchase US $ two months before departure and it looks like the bottom has fallen out with the Rand. Never the less, the date has been set and its all ahead now
Till later .....

09/11/2011, Port Owen

We had the Port Owen Yacht Club opening cruise yesterday which was a well attended outing
Of course this was the first time Mystic was off her mooring since April and she really enjoyed the chance. Wind peaked at 21 knots and she made a respectable 8.2 knots with the wind on the nose.
The whole family is doing first aid 1 and 2 on Tuesday and Wednesday so we can tick off another requirement on the list.
As they say in good old Queens English .... "time is getting few and we must be wenting soon"
Attached pic is Mystic with her new clothes!!!

He never gives up
09/08/2011, Port Owen

Neil has been the guy who never gave up. This pic is him on the duck busy polishing the hull which is no walk in the park.
He's the guy who worked non stop for just on 3 months sorting out the lockers, engine room, as well as the woodwork and kept himself involved with the fitting of the stainless arch etc as well as assisting the mechanic on the motors, fitting the instrument consoles.... the list just carries on
Well, the next entry will have pics of the new awnings and stackpack.

New consoles
09/08/2011, Port Owen

Here is a pic of the new instrument consoles in the cockpit with the new radar and ST60 depth sounder

09/08/2011, Port Owen

Here's Neil doing a mast clean and servicing all the blocks

09/05/2011, Port Owen

Have we been busy? - No, it must be a rumour?
As an update since the last post we have re modelled the chart table, fitted a new calorifier, added a fridge and fitted a larger evaporator plate to the freezer which now really works as a freezer. Both engines have been fully serviced. All water (fresh, raw)and fuel hoses have been replaced. Radar arch replaced and granny bar added at the mast. All electical wires, house and motors have been surveyed and given the all clear. Teak decks and other woodwork outside sanded and oiled and the hull polished which makes the boat look totally different
Now if that is all we will be posting photos as soon as the new awnings and stackpack etc has been fitted
The date of 1 December 2011 seems cast in stone at this stage. We are battling with visas for USA and have decided that we will not be going to their territory and save ourselves a lot of agro. New pasports are in place and all stations are go
Hopefully the next entry will have photos - Until then .....

What Happened????
05/03/2011, Port Owen

Well its been more than a year since the last entry but ...... ALL IS NOT LOST!
After the hype of selling the house and getting ready the twist in the tale came and a new house was built to act as our base in South Africa.
Also an extension to my contract came about up to the end of 2011 which came as a big welcome financially
Mystic Rhythm was absolutely neglected for the whole of 2010 and at the moment a lot of TLC and sweat is being poured into her
The new Hydrovane has been fitted and by golly the unit works well
We are planning a haul out toward the end of the year and as things are now the blog will be updated more regularly with the happenings

The next episode
03/29/2010, Port Owen

Since the last post things have once again taken a turn. Our son Neil has decided that he wants to tag along and is now living with us again and will be starting work on Mystic doing some painting and varnishing etc. We are quite happy that things have turned out this way as he is a keen sailor and things will be a lot easier with an extra hand
The SSB/HAM set is fitted and now the license to operate it becomes a priority
We have also started using the Iridium phone which is quite a pleasure as SMS's are free for anyone wanting to send one providing they do it via the internet.
The stainless work for the wind genny is just about ready and soon we will fit the unit. The new charger and inverter is fitted and seems to work. The proof is in a short cruise which we are planning to see if all the new additions are operating as required??
We will be looking at getting cruising Visas for most of the countries we intend visiting (that is the ones that require visas) and then new passports
It now seems that our dream is realising and we are getting really close to casting off
The big pity is that we could not spend some time on the water with our dear friends on Pizzazz as they have now come to the end of their cruise
So, until next time .........

Things are really happening!!
02/17/2010, Port Owen

Where to start?
All of a sudden the house is sold and we are facing the reality of a cruising life from December 2010
No matter how you have thought of the different scenarious it still comes as a shock when you realise that your cocoon has been shattered and that reality once again prevails.
All of a sudden the inverter, charger, wind genny, more solar panels etc has to be fitted and plans to fit the grounding plate for the SSB and ...............(this carries on) has to be made and are we ready???
I will keep the blog updated as we go along....

Early morning blues.....
01/11/2010, Port Owen

We left Lamberts bay in the early morning fog which was no fun as it was cold and the seas were lumpy and unsettled with no wind at all. It did however clear and the wind picked up to a sready 20 - 22 knots which offered a brisk sail back to Port Owen.......

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In search of the elusive dream
Who: Francois and Madeleine Mellet plus the new skipper - Neil Mellet
Port: Port Owen, South Africa
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