round we go!!

Vessel Name: Bubbles
Vessel Make/Model: Fast Passage 39
Hailing Port: Seymour IN
17 September 2012 | Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVIs
22 July 2012
10 June 2012 | St. Martin
04 June 2012 | St. Martin
31 May 2012 | Saba Rock
19 May 2012 | english harbour, antigua
07 May 2012 | Bridgetown, Barbados
27 April 2012 | Georgetown, Guyana
22 April 2012 | Paramaribo, Suriname
19 April 2012 | French Guyana
13 April 2012 | Atlantic Ocean somewhere off of South America
08 April 2012 | Amazon River, Macapa, Brazil
01 April 2012 | Amazon River, Brazil
30 March 2012 | Tapajos River, Brazil
28 March 2012 | Amazon River, Brazil
21 March 2012 | Xingu River, Brazil
20 March 2012 | Amazonia, Brazil
18 March 2012 | Para River, Brazil
18 March 2012 | Belem, Brazil
13 March 2012 | Capim River, Brazil
Recent Blog Posts
17 September 2012 | Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVIs

The final blog, Bubbles sold yesterday

First lets go back to that week in May in the British Virgin Islands… we had over 20 sparkling crew on board Bubbles (all wearing the coral crew shirts) approaching the round-the-world finish line at Nanny Cay. With only a few hundred feet to go the propeller fell off. Not being able to raise sail [...]

22 July 2012

the last leg sail

We had good wind on the morning we set sail to complete the 90 mile last leg (from St. Martin to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands) of Bubble’s circumnavigation. With a full boat, I was on deck explaining some navigational markers to some of the more virgin crew when Trevor at the helm yelled [...]

10 June 2012 | St. Martin

Magic Aboard Bubbles

That night in St. Martin the party aboard Bubbles can only be described as magical. With Christmas lights strung up both in the rigging to light the deck, and in the interior to light below, a special glow illuminated the boat that had carried us around the world. Paddy King lead a conga line of Bubbles [...]

04 June 2012 | St. Martin

The Round the World Pre Party Begins!!

The seven of us woke well before sunup to the Indiana Jones theme song cranked over the Bubbles sound system. Sails were up by sunrise with Paddy King at the helm and brother Joe standing by as we watched the morning light illuminate mountainous Saba's cliffs rising from the sea. With 20 knots of wind [...]

31 May 2012 | Saba Rock

the Sea Hawk 4 takes flight

The day sail to Barbuda was sunny with good wind and buzzing excitement from both new crew and old. Arriving in the poorly charted waters we ran aground, but jumping into a shallow sea full of starfish isn't a bad place to get stuck. Ashore the six of us strolled on an endless beach of pink sand with [...]

19 May 2012 | english harbour, antigua

Adding more Bubbles

Bubbles and crew ran completely broke of funds after Carine flew back to Amsterdam. Having neither cash nor credit via any type of card, Diego and I resorted to trading. For a couple dive tanks we got the jib sail repaired, for a regulator we got fresh produce out of a local garden. We were able [...]

Amazon River, Day 12 & 13, That Sinking Feeling

20 March 2012 | Amazonia, Brazil
cap'n alex
We are now in a labyrinth of rivers trying to make our way around Marajo Island (largest freshwater island in the world and bigger than 70 of the world's contries) to get to the Amazon River (even though in Amazon waters the river itself is still days away). We did a short pit stop at the river town of Breves for water and ice cream before taking a shortcut that we hope leads to another river which will eventually lead us to the Amazon. Called 'furos' in Portuguese these mini rivers connect the many larger outflows of the Amazon estuary, but caution must be taken because although they are usually deep (around 50 feet), some end is sand bars just as you reach your intended river junction forcing you to turn around and go all the way back just as a dead end in a maze would.

Only a hundred feet wide and full of river people and their homes (all built on stilts) there was a 'Venice in the jungle' feel to the furo we had selected. After a monsoon downpour people came out to witness our passing with as much curiosity for us as we had for them. Small children (sometimes as young as five) would row out to us waving and smiling happily. Sometimes they would grab Bubbles and hang on for a ride while we passed them some juicy fruit chewing gum.

Getting back to a bigger river the homes and people thinned. To avoid the axis of the current that flowed against us (the tide no longer reaching us) we hugged close to the jungle which offered something to watch as we slowly moved along at 3 knots. The jungle was thick, lush, steamy, green alive. In it we saw monkeys, mcaws (large colorful parrots), wood peckers and buffalo. Whenever we would pass a river house we would get the occasional holler from the residents and always a thumbs up, a common salute amongst the Brazlians.

Loving the smaller rivers most we would leave the larger river at every opportunity. Once we saw an opening and turned in to have a look. With solid, green jungle rising over 100 feet on either side of us we were in a narrow corridor leading deeper into the forest. Then we came to a fork where like a magical oasis palm trees studded the banks. There was a house on stilts and a dock. We stopped and two native boys paddled over to us in their dugout canoe. Tying Bubbles to one of the palm trees we jumped in for a swim. Their father paddled over as well. His name was Burt and we talked of what it was like for him to raise his family in such a remote jungle paradise (the map even labels this site 'paraiso', Portuguese for paradise. 1'19S 51'26W). As the sun was getting low we needed to get back to the main river with light so we took a picture (I printed one for Burt) and away we went.

Back on the main river just as it was dark we were hugging close to shore to avoid the current. I was below when a loud thud knocked on the hull and I was thrown forward to the familiar lunge of running aground. Rushing on deck, the first thing I noticed in the darkness was that we were listing. I had Diego jump overboard to see if a hole had been punctured in the hull. Fearing we might be sinking I put Steve on the manual bilge pump while Molly held her breath. When Diego couldn't find a hole and Steve had the bilge dry and confirmed it was staying that way I began to worry next about getting us unstuck. A native appeared in dugout canoe offering assistance and informing us that an old dock was beneath (explaining the loud thud). With a little push and high revs we were off and on our way back up river.

A couple hours later the engine made a grinding noise and immediately throwing her in neutral discovered with a flashlight that Molly had driven through a massive patch of lillys. At first trying to remove with the boat hook and gaff, to no avail, Diego and I both had to get in the water to wrestle the jungle out from under the boat. I feared what might be in the water, but it was the ants living on the lilys that caused the most suffering to me as they were biting my neck at the waterline. As each time I dove to get to the prop to free her of the entanglement I feared not the dark water but the ants that I knew would bite me as I resurfaced. Once all removed and back on deck we fired the engine back up and were under way once again. However, because the current had taken us downstream while we cleared the debris it took as an hour just to get back to where we were. At least we got a refreshing night swim in the river.

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