Sailing with En Passant

Vessel Name: En Passant
Vessel Make/Model: KP44
Hailing Port: Galway
Crew: Mark Norman
Mark and Eileen set sail from Dingle in September 2008 from Dingle, Ireland. Mark had bought En Passant in Holland the previous year. A shakedown cruise in May from France was Eileen's only preperation but by the Azores she had been promoted to first mate. [...]
21 February 2012
28 October 2011 | Natal
23 June 2011 | Piriapolis
15 January 2011 | La Paloma, Uruguay
20 December 2010 | Montevideo, Uruguay
12 October 2010 | Montevideo, Uruguay
11 September 2010 | Ilha Grande
Recent Blog Posts
21 February 2012


The other morning the bonus was the snout of a black caiman for just a moment before it slid under the red-brown water without a ripple. The day before it had been the discovery of a tree in fruit, a few yards from the water's edge that gave me a clear view of the flock of white fronted toucans hopping [...]

28 October 2011 | Natal

Brasil Rond Two

July on the coast of Uruguay reminded me far too much of the east coast of Ireland in November. The days were bright but it was very chilly every time the wind came off the sea. I had just arrived back to cold shock after a five week passage to Grenada.

23 June 2011 | Piriapolis

Mid Summer

Mid-winter and still too far south.

15 January 2011 | La Paloma, Uruguay

A Balinearo Christmas

January 7th - Christmas is over

20 December 2010 | Montevideo, Uruguay

Uruguay First Impressions

The last city that we really engaged with was Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and that was a year ago. Since then it has been islands, bays and for the most part anchorages. We are now tied bow and stern, proa a popa , to mooring buoys that hold us parallel to the pier here in Peurto Buceo. We are on one [...]

12 October 2010 | Montevideo, Uruguay

Leaving Pasadise

Time was standing still. The weather waxed and waned as did the moons but we had really let go of contemporary time. The nearest thing to an effective calendar was the level of food in our huge double level fridge. We keep a week's supply of fresh on the top level, and when that has been consumed you [...]

An Idyll Winter

11 September 2010 | Ilha Grande
We are anchored in Saco de Cou, Ilha Grande, Rio State, Brasil, as I write. It is an almost completely enclosed bay about a kilometre in diameter, a sand spit to one side of us, the hills all around covered in jungle. A small path runs around the perimeter under the trees linking up the three tiny villages. That path runs most of the way around the island, Ilha Grande. There are no real roads despite several thousand people living on the island, the birds and the monkeys don't see the need for roads or for cars. The services are good, the bin boat collects the rubbish from all the small piers and the school boat collects the high school kids at seven each morning. In a few of the more isolated spots the small kids take a boat to school as well.

The calling birds wake us just after dawn, about six. They are followed by the big woolly, bugio, monkeys who howl and chant, their voices carrying for miles. This anchorage is the best one for birds, especially the big orange breasted kingfishers that call as they fly. We don't really have a favourite anchorage despite almost four months around the island, what we have are a set of favourites which we move back and forth to depending on our needs and the wind.

Saco de Cou, where we are today is the most sheltered, always calm but a bit too busy at weekends. Pousa is better for swimming and is only ten minutes over the hill to the open side of the island, to Prahia Lopes Mendes, one of Brazil's most famous beaches. The surf can be good at times, and the beach is popular with tourists staying in Abrao who arrive by schooner. We usually take a longer route to the beach, the path bringing us to the far end of the beach and a chance on the way of seeing squirrels, monkeys, pacas or iguanas. A swim and some sun on this stunning white sand beach, a walk along its length and then the short ten minute path back to Pouso and home.

Abraao the only town on Ilha Grande is our social anchorage, where we meet up with other cruisers and make use of the broadband in town for Skype and e-mail. The town has basic services, plenty of accommodation and is where the ferries from the mainland land. The hike up through the jungle to the parrot peak , a beaked bare rock with a view across both sides of the island is well worth the three hours invested in the slow but shady ascent. The town's beach and small jetties are busy with tourist schooners but don't seem to bother the turtles and frigate birds.

Those are the three anchorages on the east end of the island, the others further west and on the dozen or so smaller islands in the Bay would take a whole guide book to describe. And then there is the mainland itself, in particular Paraty. Paraty was once the main port that the Portuguese used to ship out the new found treasures of Brazil. The islands though gave the English, Dutch and French pirates too much shelter and the trade shifted to Rio leaving the old town of Paraty in the seventeenth century, the cobble streets flooding on spring tides, to be re-discovered in the nineteen seventies. Well preserved and full of art, music, drama (small actors though as the theatre is a puppet show) Paraty offers something different from the island, culture and restaurants and an opportunity to pick up some souvenirs if that is the way you are inclined.

Food in Brazil is basic but good, rice and vegetables, fish and beef and of course fruit of all sorts. We have adapted our cuisine on board to what is abundant and available, eating more beans and meat than we would have in Europe. We have the time here to make the things we cant buy easily like marmalade and chutney. It is also a great place to be gluten free and Eileen substitutes manioc, tapioca and corn flours into her favourite bread and cake recipes. That said we are very adaptable and are often vegetarian for a week or two at a time.

It's September and winter has passed but if you had blinked you would have missed it. Two or three weeks of mixed weather with rainy fronts for a day or two at a time and night temperatures as low as sixteen degrees. Today it is twenty five in the shade and the water is a degree up from a twenty degree low.
If you are tempted to taste our tough life for a week or two well the good news is that we plan to be back here next March for another three or four months of walking, swimming, snorkelling, eating and chilling to the jungle sounds. We have room for a maximum of four guests at a time.
This part of the long Brazilian coast is below the trade wind belt, winds are rarely strong and light breezes or calms are common. The autumn and winter months are warm and relatively dry, it is just within the tropics but does not suffer the torrential tropical rain of the provinces further north. We sail when we have a breeze and love to give an introduction to cruising style sailing to those who are new to sailing. Much of the time though we are anchored in one or other of our favourite bays, snorkelling, swimming, reading and talking. We hike two or three times a week, taking picnic lunches with us as we explore the island paths, walking in the shade of the jungle trying to be quiet to spot the wildlife.

Ilha Grande and Parati are both within easy reach of Rio (two hours on a coach from the main bus station).

Mark and Eileen
September 2010


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