19 October 2007 | Cape Town
15 October 2007 | Cape Town
14 October 2007 | Cape Town
12 October 2007 | Cape Town
12 October 2007 | Cape Town
Pics and Short Videos
04 January 2008
I have had many request for more pics. I have posted some on Facebook. You can follow the links below to see some short video clips and at the end of the Home sweet home posting there are some links to pics.
Thanks for all the interest shown.
My best wishes to you for 2008.
Pictured above. Shaun with friends and colleagues after 15 September 2007 beach/harbour cleaning campaign.
Home sweet home
01 January 2008 | Surburbia - Cape Town
We are back! Wow what an experience but home is home and it really feels great to be back.
We handed the boat over to the new owners on the morning of the 27th. This was a rather tight schedule because our flights out were booked for the same day and had we had a problem we may have missed our flights. Fortunately the operations manager one Mr. John Shirley was satisfied with the vessel and signed it off. We had to get a taxi to Beef Island where the airport is located. Taxi on Tortola means a large pick-up truck with modified load box to take passengers seated in 5 rows of benches. Terry had a flight, to the USA, much earlier than the rest of us but we decided to all go to the airport together and share a last few cups of coffee together. We arrived at the airport somewhat unprepared for the baggage weight requirements. This ended up in a U$100 penalty but the education was worth it and we sorted it out in London before we boarded there.
Flights are my nemesis but Shaheda loves flying and she coped best of all with this. However all the stop overs was a bit of drag. We boarded in Tortola and flew to Antigua (pronounced Antiga, why don't they just spell it like that!) the home of Sir Viv Richards the West Indies cricket hero. They have an International airport here called the V.C. Bird International Airport, whoever he/she may be. We had 4 hours before boarding our connecting flight to Gatwick. With time in hand and a rather ratty airport we hoofed it over to the Stanford Cricket ground a short walk from the airport. We had a light meal at the Sticky Wicket a really nice restaurant at the cricket grounds. This cricket oval is absolutely superb. I am sure they employ the world's top manicurist to trim the turf with a comb and scissor. With tummies filled we headed off into the airport as Shaheda was keen to see what was on offer in the duty free shops. This was a rather disappointing affair, mostly cheap Chinese trinkets with Caribbean printed on it and one very exclusive jewellery store. However I did manage to find some fine Caribbean rum here though but as usual at a premium price, nothing is cheap in the Caribbean.
Boarding a plane in Antigua is unlike boarding anywhere I have ever been. They first call up the premium flyers, business/first class. Once they boarded they call up the row numbers and only once your row number is called may you go through the turnstile. Then there is a walk of close onto a kilometre to the plane. Once all the formalities were done we took off on our 7 hour flight to Gatwick. No sooner had we taken off when Shaheda noticed that the plane was leaking from a panel next to her. We called the flight attendant who informed us that it is the air conditioner and it is completely normal for it to leak onto the passengers, "just poke a tissue into the gap". Shame on you British Airways or should it be shame on Boeing, either way this is a poor showing. Other than that the flight went ahead without any further drama.
From Gatwick we had a rather challenging trek to Heathrow. There was the sail bag with the spinnaker and related equipment that weighed in at 35kg as well as a single bag that Shaheda and shared also over 35kg. We decided to take the bus, at 20 Pound Sterling per ticket. For the price of the two tickets you could travel one way from Cape Town to Johannesburg on a Greyhound in South Africa. But it got us to Heathrow with the minimum amount of fuss except that the bus driver and his assistant nearly ripped their arms off when trying to unload our heavy bags, the looks we got from them was not what you could call friendly. Once in Heathrow we headed straight through security and Shaheda was singled out for a full body search, I don't know why she seems to attract so much unneeded attention. However that was a small price for her to pay to get into the Heathrow duty free shopping mall. Shaheda seems to think that our credit cards have a target attached to them despite my ramblings that it is a limit not a target.
We arrived dead on time at Cape Town where we were met by Che in the arrivals hall. It was really great to see him again after such a long time. We missed him so much, he could not maintain his dismissive teenage veneer and he could not stop hugging us and telling us how much he missed us.
We are still trying to catch up on sleep and trying desperately to restore our sleeping patterns, no more 3 hours on 6 hours off. I don't know if my body clock will ever be the same again.
I had an experience I had always wanted, Shaheda did it on knee jerk. I learnt a lot about myself, sailing, people and the sea and so did Shaheda. Will I do it again, well it depends, I will not do a delivery again. I don't like the idea of passing all these places that I always wanted to see but not being able to stop off because of a deadline nor will not do it on a catamaran again. But when I can afford it I will definitely love to go cruising on my own yacht. All I need to work out now is how do I fund this. All donations of boats, cash and kind can be sent directly to me ;-)
Thanks to all those who followed our voyage, the many emails, the comments and the support.
A HUGE Thank-You from me to Shaheda for sharing this experience with me.
We wish you all the very best for 2008, till we do this again.
Be kind to the Earth and as always Respect!
By the way the blog picture gallery is being rebuilt and I am told that the system will be fully functional by Tuesday at which time I will post some more pics. Alternately you can follow these links:
Pics on Facebook #1
Pics on Facebook #2
26 December 2007
Well we finally arrived in Tortola on Xmas day. After what was supposed to be a brief stop in St. Martin to load up some gear we set off for our final leg leaving just before dark. It was important that we got out of St. Martin before dark as the harbour entrance/exit is a very hairy channel to negotiate. We had been lucky to have had computer based charts when we arrived the night before as I am sure that we would have got stuck in the shallows or the rocky parts. We loaded up a lot of gear in St. Martin, I have never seen so many towels in my life. In fact the value of the towels and a few of the other goods we loaded up there was nearly US$17k! We also met up with Owen who is also a yachtie and a radio ham from Norway. Owen who is still a young man had been cruising for many years and more fascinating to me, he had been doing so on a shoe string. This means that he lives very simply and finds odd jobs where ever he may find himself. He is currently working to save up for some sails as his boat is out of the water and requires sails and rigging before he can go on. He expects to have enough cash to carry out the required repairs within the next 6 months. After all of this we said good-bye to all and set off just before sunset.
We made it safely out of the harbour and set off for Tortola expecting to take about 12 hours to Tortola. We decided to motor for the entire distance and furled up all the sails and turned on both motors, full steam ahead. During the night as usual Shaheda saw a ship that was bearing down straight at us. This silly person at the helm decided at the last minute to cut straight across the bow of our boat nearly causing a collision with us, this was rather hair raising as he passed within less than 50 meters from us and only because I throttled back the motors to avoid him. The rest of the journey was uneventful and we finally arrived at Tortola harbour entrance at about 5am.
Early the next morning we went and checked in with all the authorities and we were now legally in the country and could set about with our business. Our first priority was to get the boat off loaded and to make some phone calls home. John treated us to a Xmas lunch at the marina and we were joined by another yachtie and fellow radio ham, Jim. Jim and his friend Art amused us with the sailing stories and we had a few of our own to exchange. We were asked to move our boat to another marina about half an hours sail across the bay where we were to get the boat prepared for the handover the following day. When we arrived at Hodge's Creek we had space on the marina without running water or electricity. These were essential items for us to get the boat ready so we decided to head back to the original marina and make ourselves at home and hopefully nobody will notice that we sneaked in again. Once tied up we proceeded to get the boat cleaned, I was keen to spend as much time cleaning the boat that night so that we will have some free time to explore Tortola the next day. We got hold of one of the people working at the marina and gave him most of the left over provisions. There was a couple of kilograms of frozen meat and fish in the freezer as well as loads of canned, bottled and boxed food. He thanked us for this and offered to take us on a trip around the Island the next day. Arrangements were made to meet him at 3pm the next day, this allowed us sufficient time to get the boat ready.
Tortola like all the other Caribbean Islands is postcard pretty. Every one of the ports around the Caribbean has at least one cruise ship visiting and Tortola is no exception. These are enormous vessels and just as you thought you'd seen the biggest one ever there is another one even larger. These cruise ships dock in the early morning, they spend the day and set off the evening travelling at a snails pace to the next Island where the tourist will wake up to a new sight the following day and the cycle is repeated.
We got a lot done on Xmas night and got up early the next morning getting most of the work done before Marlon our "tour guide" arrived to collect us. Marlon who is originally from Jamaica arrived in his very flash car with a fellow countryman. They told us about life in Tortola whilst speeding through the narrow steep roads of Tortola. (Waleed you will love this place). What made the drive more hair raising is that it is a country under British control, which means that everyone drives on the left. BUT, the cars are all imported from the USA which means they are all left hand drive! Overtaking at high speed on narrow roads is something you have to witness as the driver wishing to overtake has to drive into the oncoming lane to see if it is clear to overtake. What is the point to see if it is clear if you are already in the oncoming lane, well then you don't bother checking and just overtake. I am not sure what the stats for head on collisions are here but I am sure it must be very high. We headed down to the North beach which is a beautiful sandy beach filled with Cruise ship tourist. Here I had the opportunity to sample a fresh coconut. A rastafarian set up a stall with coconuts harvested on the beach. He has a machete at hand which he uses with surgical precision to hack off the top of the coconut. You then sip off some of the juice with a straw and he refills the gap with Caribbean rum. This is the best cocktail I have ever tasted. Savour the cocktail and once finished you hand the coconut back to him which is then split and you get to eat the meat, which they call the heart of the palm. Wow what an experience. Well worth the US$5. Which brings me to the price of things around here. Tortola like the rest of the Caribbean is very expensive. Most of the things we bought were two to three times the price that we are accustomed to paying in Cape Town and no we did not only buy from the tourist spots, things are expensive here. We were also taken to Bomba Shack, this is well a shack on the beach where a party is held every full moon. Here you can partake in Caribbean rum and mushrooms. We missed the party by a few days, damn I so much love grilled garlic mushrooms. Apparently they don't serve it that way, wonder why.
All good things come to an end and so our trip came to an end. We headed back to the boat to add the finishing touches. We said goodbye to our host, I lie here you don't say "good-bye" here you say "aye", make a fist, touch fist, hold your fist to your chest close to your heart and say "Respect" This is the way everyone greets not only the rastafarians.
Well we hand over the boat and fly out in the morning until then..
21 December 2007 | 12,5 Deg N; 59,75 Deg W
Shaun and Shaheda
Well it was bound to happen, we were going to run out of diesel sooner or later. We are about 12 hours from St. Lucia Island as I write this. It is our plan to take on the much needed diesel as well as fresh water here. Due to our batteries not maintaining their charge and the extended period we spent in Doldrums with no wind we had to run the engines far longer than expected. So it will need a minor service whilst we in St. Lucia, this involves siphoning the old oil out, replacing it along with some new filters and we are on our way. It is our plan to start the preparations on the boat for hand over when we get to Tortola. We will start to remove all the protective coverings and giving the boat a spit and polish inside, leaving the outside once we are in Tortola. It is amazing how marine grade stainless steel rust out at sea, yes rust!
We have had some really bad rain squalls as well as two bad storms over the past 2 days. This brings along high speed winds and big seas. For the most we have handled them okay but I do think that it affects the morale of some. I am just pleased that we got wind no matter that it came from a storm as the nothingness in the Doldrums really took it's toll on me. The skies have cleared today but the sea is still very choppy tossing the boat around quite a bit however it seems to have no effect on anyone as I think we are all desperate to see land. In this "Desert with it's back on the ground" (line from an Eagles song I think) you really feel isolated. Even the spotting of a ship is relished by all as it signifies some contact with the outside world. Speaking of seeing ships, John and I are tied for 1st place with 12 ships each. Shaheda is 3rd with 7 ships. Shaheda does not have the most ships on the board but in my opinion she has seen the most significant ships. By significant I mean they could have spelt disaster for us had they gone undetected. The first was her jackpot of four ships in one go. These were the fishing boats off the Brazil coast. We may not have hit the boats but we had a real risk of running into fishing lines in the dark. The last one was a few nights ago. Shaheda came to wake me to ask if I could help her identify the ships light. At first I thought is was a stern (back) light as I could only see one bright light. I kept the binoculars focused on it and two minutes later realised it was in fact two lights, one directly above the other. This meant that this ship was heading straight at us. I tried to call the ship's watch on the radio but there was no reply, mainly because I had the radio on the wrong frequency (still don't know how this happened). We thought that since our lights are relatively low we needed to create extra light for the ship to see us. Shaheda flashed the deck light which lights up the white sail quite dramatically. Still no response from the ship just bearing down on us. Bear in mind that the horizon is only about 5 miles in good visibility and these ships approach you at about 20knots (20 miles per hour) plus the 7 knots we are doing. This leaves little time to make a decision when the approaching vessel is not complying with the rules. I could briefly see the ships starboard light and took the decision to steer to port, contary to the Collision Regulations but I had to make a common sense decision at the time. I asked Shaheda to wake John who came on board. John stood by to make sure all ends well as the ship passed within meters of us. I could see nobody at the bridge as the ship continued by and disappeared into the night.
We made our final time shift on board, we drop one hour for every 15 degrees of longitude we traverse, so we are now 4 hours behind GMT and 6 hours behind Cape Town. Not much has been happening on board apart from Murphy being extremely busy. We had one of the mainsail stacked pulleys rip out of the anchor point. One of them burst and the pieces went flying at high speed overboard narrowly missing John's eye. This happened during the dark hours so an attempted repair was delayed till first light. As usual John Mc Guyver Titterton jury rigged something with some rope and a spare pulley and all seems well again. I really marvel at the ideas John comes up with to make all the repairs and adjustments we require, all of this with limited tools and equipment. I suppose that is what experience does.
We are hoping to flush out something during the clean up, that is if we are not too late. Before I go into the detail of this one I have to relate a story to paint a picture for you. - A beautiful, young, nubile, blonde was once discovered hiding in the farthest lockers on a boat. The crewman who found her asked what she was doing sitting huddled up in the locker and she said that she was a stow-away. The crewman agreed that he would tell no one and would provide her with her daily meals in exchange for conjugal favours. She gladly agreed to this and was almost pleased to have been discovered by such a nice guy as she was expecting to be sent to prison if discovered. Some 3 weeks later she was once again detected by an elderly crewman, who asked her again what she was doing, she confessed to being a stow-away. "A stow-away" chuckled the old man, "You can't stow-away on the Harbour Tour Ferry you silly girl!" Now why did I tell you this story, well we have noticed that certain food stuffs that we were sure was on board could not be found, I remind you of the frozen spinach we could not find for Terry to make his fish florentine and there are other examples. Furthermore we noticed that Terry does not want to throw any food over board and promises to eat it for breakfast the next morning. According to our estimations had he been eating all the food he said he would he should have been twice his size already. We are now suspecting that he is in fact harbouring a stow-away. I will be monitoring this boat closely when we get to St. Lucia to see who gets off and once we start the clean up I am sure we are going to flush out a stow-away. I will keep you posted on this one.
Regards from all aboard.
15 December 2007 | 02,05 Deg N; 45,5 Deg W
Shaun and Shaheda
We have past quite a number of milestones since our last posting. We have rounded the corner, the most North Eastern point of South America. We are now well on our way to our next way point which is located North West of the Amazon Delta near French Guyana. In our continued Northward travel we inevitably crossed the Equator. Now if you don't believe in Neptune, take heed from the World's biggest cynic. Upon our arrival at the Equator in the wee hours of the morning, we were woken by the most amazing display of light and what I will call marine music, a mixture of gurgling, bubbling and splashing put together in a symphony that Mozart would not have been ashamed of. There before our very eyes was King Neptune in his sea chariot and his entourage of mermaids and the thoughtful old one even brought along a mermale for Shaheda's delight. In an elaborate affair he took us through the initiation ceremony and we made the transition from Pollywogs to Shellbacks. Later we popped a bottle of sparkling grape juice (no alcohol allowed on board), had our share and gave some to Neptune and his merry gang. King Neptune asked us if it is true that landlubbers skoff at his existence, we embarrassingly admitted that until then we were too. He then proceeded to give Shaheda, Terry and I a Certificate to prove that we have in fact done the deed and signed it personally. So there you have it.
We are about to witness another amazing natural phenomenon, the changing colour of the sea as we move through the Amazon Delta. We are currently at the Southern reaches of the Amazon Delta and already the sea has taken on a murky colour. I am not sure if it would be possible to capture this brown coloured sea on film but I will give it a bash. This changing colour of the sea is as a result of the megalitres of water and silt which the mighty, but delicate, Amazon river deposits into the sea. The mind boggles at the scale and volume to have such a wide spread impact on the ocean. It reminds me of something I heard someone from Lesotho say "Our country's greatest export is top soil", I just wonder how much can continue to flow into the sea. This like so many of the experiences we have had has really just reinforced my belief that as a species we are so insignificant, yet our impact through what we do has significant impact on the world around us. Something we really need to be more aware of.
Then of course there are the dolphins, my favourite and I think everyone else's on board as well. We have had the most amazing dolphin encounters ever. On three consecutive days we had the dolphins come and play in the bow of the boat. The first time it happened we were very busy with lowering the spinnaker so we could not pay any attention to them and they left as soon as they came. The next time Terry noticed something jumping out of the water, this time we were all relaxing at the table after supper. We all rushed outside to have a look and there were about a dozen dolphins around, the dolphins clearly love attention. We went to the bow of the boat and started whistling at them and banging on the boat after which they put up the most amazing display. Swimming in the bow wave making 180 degree turns swimming to the back of the boat and rushing back to the bow with some of the most amazing acrobatics. The following day we were treated to something remarkable. We again had a band of about ten dolphins playing in the bow, this went on for about 20 minutes when all of a sudden as if someone sent out a signal "the parties on" we started seeing dolphins coming in from all the corners of the boat some being spotted for more than a mile away jumping out of the water as they rambled toward us. In no time from all sides we had 50 or more dolphins playing about and clearly just having fun.
Terry and I were speculating, what drives this behaviour. We came up with many ideas like; they love the attention, the boat engines sound like a mating call, the speed of the boat stimulates them, etc. However I discarded all of these and will stick to my belief unless some scientist with hard scientific data proves otherwise, I think they just think I am so good looking they can't get enough.
The usual regards from all on board with hugs and kisses to those who know who they are.
Quiet Day Out.
07 December 2007 | 08,5 Deg S; 26,25 Deg W
Shaun and Shaheda
We are still making very slow progress on a North West course towards the coast of Brazil, where we head North toward the Caribbean. The winds are blowing between 10 and 16 knots. Whenever we see the wind speed increasing above 13 knots we raise the spinnaker which saves some diesel. We are equidistant between 2 other boats on delivery from the same boatyard. The one is 600 Nm ahead of us and the other 600 Nm behind. The boat up ahead has reported that they have come into some good winds off the Brazilian coast. We are hoping that it will last till we get there in about 4 days time.
We have spotted quite a bit of wildlife out here with the dolphins being the most exciting for me. Other nice ones are the birds; shearwater, booby, storm petrel and fairy terns have been spotted over the last 2 days. Shaheda's favourite is still the flying fish. She sits at the helm, which is elevated, during her watches and never seems to tire of watching these amazing and amusing fish. Some of them are obvious better flyers than others, those who have their fishing licence but not there pilot licence make pathetic attempts at taking off only to crash head first into the water again. This distraction has seemed to help Shaheda with the seasickness as she seems to have overcome the dreaded one, at least for now.
As we make progress to the West we move further from the International Dateline, I still like to call it the Greenwich Meridian and GMT despite the protestations of a few spoilers who want us to refer to it as the Universal Time Co-ordinate or UTC. Anyway the consequence of this is that we are loosing time on those to the East of us and we are now 2 hours behind GMT and 4 hours behind our hometown, Cape Town. We have a very different issue with the move toward the Equator as we head North and that is one of humidity. Despite the rain squalls we've had as well as the cloudy weather it is still depressingly hot. I feel sweaty, clammy and uncomfortable all the time.
Our fresh water storage capacity is obviously limited and we have an allocation of approximately 5 litres of water per person per day, that is for drinking, cooking, washing up and yes the occasional wash. Showering at any given time is not an option, and you really just have to make do with washing down the vital bits, a bit like marking your self with the sign of the cross if you know what I mean, say no more! Despite being a very water conscious person in general, I still have to question myself everytime I touch the tap, "Do you really have to rinse that cup now can't it wait till there is a full load to wash up" and so on. After diner we throw a bucket overboard and pull up some sea water. This is used to give the pots and plates a scrub down and to remove the worst of the residue after which we rinse it with water. With all the little savings we make we get an allocated shower day once in 2 weeks. Terry and I took ours on the day we caught the dorado, crawling into your bunk with the fish pong would be most unpleasant. Shaheda is saving her's for Saturday as it is her off day and she wants to do her hair at the same time.
John shared his bread baking recipe with us yesterday and as it was Terry's day off he took the opportunity to bake 2 loaves one being a cheese loaf. Unfortunately for Terry he went to sleep before the bread came out of the oven. I always say there are only 2 types of people in the world, the quick and the hungry. Well we did not leave Terry quite hungry but we sampled his bread before he did, it was delicious. The night before Terry made his own version of fish florentine, the reason I say his own version is that the frozen spinach required for this dish had vanished! Terry replaced it with something else green, canned peas which we had on board. Last night Shaheda and I made some curry, with limited ingredients we did a great job as everyone including myself thought the food was good. However Terry who's constitution is not used to this fare had a few sweat beads on his forehead and later said that his tummy was somewhat "traumatised", his words. (Waleed remember the vindictive vindaloo:-). A cup of tea and a biscuit settled it all and I think by the end of this trip we may well have his tummy tuned for Cape Cuisine.
It seems obvious now that we will not be home by Xmas but by how many days we will miss it I am still not sure, that would depend on the wind and current we have in the next week or so.
That is all for now and as usual regards with love from all on board.
04 December 2007 | 10,53 Deg S; 20,20 Deg W
Shaun and Shaheda
Hi All, We have been motoring along at a snails pace for the last few days. We have very light winds from the SSE and we are traveling NW which means the wind is right behind us. This should be okay to fly the spinnaker and give us some more speed, but! We are having cloudy skies with lots of rain squalls coming through. These last for 10 - 30 minutes and the associated low pressure pulls the wind in odd directions making it impossible to control the spinnaker. So it is light winds and slow sailing for us in the meanwhile.
We started the ship spotting competition a few days ago, we each mark the number of ships passed during the voyage and when we get to Barbados we will add up and see we saw the most. The winner of this competition gets a bottle of Caribbean Rum. Something to look forward to I'd say. It seems we South Africans just cannot beat the Aussies at anything. I was determined to see the first ship, but it was not to be Terry spotted the 1st ship during his watch this morning at 8.00am our time (UTC-1). So that's his name on the board, we have to see if we can pip the Aussie at the number of ships spotted, but who knows :-)
Yesterday morning, I put the fishing lines out at the start of my watch, which was at 6.00am. Within 2 hours we had both line trip and started to reel in. John grabbed the line on the starboard side and Terry grabbed the line on the port side. I frantically started looking for the tail loop and the cloth we use to cover the fish's eyes when we pull it out of the water. This subdues them and they are a lot easier to handle. On the hooks were two beautiful dorados. No prizes for guessing who grabbed the line with the biggest fish on! What is it with these Aussies. Terry filleted the fish, it was the first time I had ever seen a darado in the flesh (pardon the pun). The meat is very light and the bone structure is similar to the snoek we catch down in Cape Town. This bone structure makes the filleting technique somewhat different to the tuna as it has a very knobbly back bone and it is difficult to cut close in. Terry had a bash at the first one, I must confess that it looked more like butchering than filleting to me. I did the second smaller one and tried the technique that the snoek vendors use who sell snoek in the streets of Cape Town. I think this worked a treat and produced better fillets than Terry's, we have to beat the Aussies at something!
Shaheda took a turn at cooking and prepared the Darado fried dusted with spicy flour, some portions curried. This along with some fresh cut tomato and pasta with mayo worked a treat and really went down well.
We have finally passed the 1000 km to go point toward our next waypoint. This means that we are approximately halfway between St. Helena Island and the coast of Brazil. We are hoping for better weather over the next few days so that we can put the spinnaker up and hopefully make some decent mileage under sail. We will keep you posted of our progress and don't forget to look into John's blog for some of the nice pics.
Until next time regards from all on board with love.
Aye Mon, Long Days and Slow Boats
01 December 2007 | 12,25 Deg S; 16,25 Deg W
Shaun and Shaheda
They say everybody will have at least 15 minutes of fame in their lifetime, I guess we had ours on St.Helena when the new Governor, Gov. Gurr came to greet us and have a chat to these weirdos roaming the seas. It's four days since we left St. Helena and so we leave it behind along with our celebrity status. It's on to the Caribbean, aye mon!
Unlike the South Atlantic the trip from St. Helena in the Northern parts has been very calm. The seas have been pleasant with a swell of about 1.5 metres but with that comes the very light winds. This means that we go along very-very slowly. (Waleed you will appreciate this) To put it into perspective, the distance to our next waypoint is the approximate distance of a round trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Imagine doing this at an average of 12.6 kph! In fact most of the time we have to turn on the engine and motor along, occasionally being assisted by the wind as we keep the sails up. We set into a pattern of motor sailing at night and raising the spinnaker first thing in the morning. This has helped us take advantage of the light winds but there are times when even this is not enough. The repair effected to the spinnaker halyard seems to be holding up well. We had a small failure on one of the spinnaker sheet blocks but that was easily rectified with no problem. John and Terry has been raising the spinnaker the last few mornings and Terry and I have been dropping it at around 6pm in the evening. We have our routine sorted, I handle the tack line and halyard and Popeye (Strong Arm Terry) handles the spinnaker snuff. This is a large sheath that sits at the top of the spinnaker when it is flying and fully opened. To bring the spinnaker down we loosen one of the corners and pull this huge sheath over the spinnaker to "fold" it up.
Shaheda was still struggling with sea-sickness when we left St. Helena, however today she seems to be in good spirits and has shown no signs of being sick. I am holding thumbs that this is the last of sea-sickness for her as John is very concerned that she could develop some serious problems if she continues. We have a "Plan-B" should she not show signs of improvement over the next few days. I am not sure that she will approve of the plan but should it be necessary we will stop over in Forteleza, Brazil and drop her off for a flight back home. I somehow doubt whether she would do this willingly, despite having achieved her goal of crossing the Atlantic, but hopefully it will not be required.
I had a number of request for some more pictures. These are not that easy to send but I will try and see what we can do. Have a look at John's blog (www.sailblogs.com/member/deliveries) as he has posted some pics too. Thanks for all the comments you guys are leaving on the blog we really enjoy reading them since it gives us some connection with the world out there. This watery world is so secluded that one quickly forgets what life is really like. Since leaving Cape Town the last boat we saw at sea was off the coast of Saldanha Bay, some 150 miles North of Cape Town. We have encountered no other shipping what so ever. So all in all it can be a little lonely. Fortunately there is a set routine which we all have to stick to. Shaheda and I are both people who do not do well with routine and it has proven to be quite an adjustment for us but on the other hand it is providing us with some purpose as the days really are long out here. The date and day has become irrelevant. We constantly have to look at the computer to see what day it is. Even though we do monitor the clock closely as we have our watches to do and the logs to complete at set times the time of day also seems to have no meaning here. We have watch changes at midnight and at 3.00 in the morning. The first few days this seemed impossible but now that we are in the habit waking up at 2:45 is no big deal. This is because we sleep at all sorts of hours. This afternoon at 1 O'Clock Shaheda and I went to sleep and woke up at around 4.00 to prepare supper. I don't know how long we are going to take to readjust to "normal" time when we get back, but I think I am going to miss this. Finally on the matter of time we have reset our ship's clock and we are now an hour behind GMT.
Ever since our departure from St. Helena we have had cloudy skies, tonight though we had a small respite and the skies opened just briefly to show off a magnificent sunset. These are really spectacular when when you get to see them. We have set our next waypoint for the coast of Brazil and we were expecting to get there around the 12th of December. However with this lack of wind it could prove difficult. Since we are motoring so much we may run short of diesel, this could mean a further delay if we need to stop in Forteleza to take on more fuel.
And with that I just noticed it is the 1st December. Sorry I have to go as there is only 24 shopping days to Xmas!
Bye and regards from all on board with love.