22 June 2017 | Chaguaramas
09 April 2017 | Cape Town, South Africa
30 November 2016 | Inhaca Island, Mozambique
26 November 2016 | Inhaca Island, Mozambique
14 November 2016 | Bazaruto Island, Mozambique
17 October 2016 | Dzaoudi
31 July 2016 | 200 miles from Victoria, Mahe
22 June 2017 | Chaguaramas
We arrived at Trinidad on June 6 after 3800 miles and 32 days from St. Helena. From Capetown to Trinidad was 5500 miles - about 10000 km - and a total of 52 days at sea with a 4 day respite in St. Helena. Now we have spent the last couple of weeks preparing to leave the boat on the hard for the hurricane season. Trinidad is a safe storage island for cruising sailboats with tropical disturbances a very rare event.
However on June 20th, the rare event occurred with tropical storm Bret passing just to the south of Trinidad. The northwest end of the island, where the cruising sailboats are, only experienced very short periods of winds greater than 30 knots. On the interior of the island there was flooding and a few roofs blown off. But in effect, the passage of Bret was anticlimatic as everybody expected much worse. This was the forecast from U.S. hurricane centre just before landfall.
"The center of Tropical Storm Bret, at 20/0600 UTC, is near 10.3N 62.1W, or about 50 nm to the west of Trinidad. It is moving WNW westward, 285 degrees, 20 knots. The maximum wind speeds are 35 kt with gusts to 45 knots. The minimum central pressure is 1008 mb. Convective precipitation: Widely scattered moderate to strong from 10N to 14N between 60W and 65W."
Less than 1000 Miles to Trinidad
28 May 2017
The last couple of days have been slow with light airs and an adverse current. The winds remain light but we have a favorable current. We are motorsailing and hope to get to an area with some wind on Monday. It is hot, hot, hot especially with little wind and equatorial sun. The water temperature is 29 C so even at night it remains hot. Little swell for last three days so life on board has been comfortable in this respect. We see one to two cargo ships passing each day, heading both north and south, and envy their speed of 12 to 14 knots when we are are ghosting at 1 to 2 knots. Fishing has not been successful probably because of our slow speed - we did see a large swordfish breech behind the boat so are hopes are high. With just less than 1000 miles (around 2000 kilometres) to go to Trinidad, we hope to arrive around the 7th of June. We have completed over 4500 miles (around 9000 kilometres), from our start at Cape Town on April 10th.
Halfway to Trinidad
20 May 2017
We may not stop at French Guyana if passage progress is good to Trinidad. We have passed Fernando de Noronho and will now parallel the coast to either French Guyana or Trinidad hoping to hitch a ride on the Guyana current. Progress has been steady in the additional 900 miles completed since the first 1000 from St. Helena. Sealife is getting more plentiful with flocks of seabirds hunting fish and occasionally we see a tuna leaping out of the water in an attempt to catch a flying fish. Every morning we clean the deck of at least a dozen stranded and dead flying fish, the most we have ever seen. We are still eating the tuna given to us in St. Helena. Fresh food is mostly gone with a few oranges and apples remaining. After they are gone it is canned fruit. The doldrums are in the vicinity of the equator near the Brazilian coast and we should encounter them within the next week. Weather is hot with daytime temperatures above 30 C.
1000 Miles Completed
13 May 2017
We have completed 1000 miles of sailing from St. Helena and have 2000 miles left to get to French Guyana. Life on board consists of reading, cooking, navigation, and routine chores. The boat is moving quite a bit (although wave heights are not that large) so even routine chores take a lot more effort than normal. We ran out of Netflix series on the first leg from Cape Town to St. Helena although we still have some dvd movies to watch. Up to a couple of days we checked in daily by radio on the South African Maritime Mobile Net. I am not sure but I do not think we will regain radio contact with South Africa as we move closer to Brazil. Ocean life has been confined to flying fish and a few seabirds. A few days back we picked up a cargo ship on the AIS but never saw it. Mostly sunny with no rain but we expect that to end when we reach the equator and the doldrums. Very hot now with a temperature of 32 C in the boat.
04 May 2017
We arrived at St Helena on Sunday, May 1st and after 4 days we will set sail for French Guyana on Friday morning. Initially we will northwest and then almost due west to the vicinity of Fernando du Norunho, a Brazilian island. It took us 20 days to get here and it was the roughest (three days of gale force winds and crossing seas) and then the slowest passage (light airs for over a week) that we have encountered in eight years. The Saints of St Helena are very welcoming and relaxed people. It seems that the Napoleon ghost is dominant on the island although many other notable people such as Darwin and Halley, the last King of the Zulus have lived here either by choice or not. We visited Longwood (photograph maybe) and Briar Houses where Napoleon stayed and died on the island. Although the terrain is very rugged and the coast dominated by cliffs, the interior is lush and green. Our tour guide was Robert Peters who remembers a German submarine attacking the harbour during World War 2 and had a intimate knowledge of the history of the island. Shopping here is extremely expensive and people wait patiently for bread to arrive every morning. Don't look for any during the afternoon as we first attempted to do. Fresh produce is limited but the local tomatoes and cukes are great. Then there is the tuna which is abundant aroud the island. We had the luck of mentioning to the ferry driver, Jonathan, that we were looking for some fresh tuna and he said he would get us some. The next day we were given about 5 kilos of fresh tuna - delicious.
Less Than 400 Miles to St. Helena
24 April 2017
Two weeks out from Cape Town and our daily progress towards St. Helena is becoming less and less each day. The last three days runs were 97, 59, and 42 miles. The outlook for the next 3 to 4 days is more light airs and sometimes light wind from the northwest. Sam on the South African Maritime Mobile Net does not recall such weather at this time of year when trade winds should still be consistent. Lots of time on our hands. We are fishing but no luck yet. We have some movie downloads which we have yet to look at and lots to read. Seabirds seemed have disappeared over the last three days not a good portent for successful fishing.