Woohoo! Yes! We have officially completed our – No! Wait up, Hold ya horses! I must start from the beginning, mustn’t I?
We left Mindelo with the idea of a real calm, windy sail; but as always, we were not able to rely on the weather forecast (once again) because the lovely scene soon turned into rough weather for 5 continuous days! For me, it was quite horrible, and I think my Mum can relate because both of us were just downstairs the whole time feeling sick!
Just after my sisters birthday (quite a shame, because it would have been quite fun for us to celebrate her birthday with good conditions), it calmed down and we were able to re-commence our schooling, which I was actually excited about!
Unfortunately, my fishing charm wasn’t really interested in this passage, so we only caught one fish that died struggling on the deck (as we hadn’t gutted a fish for a long time, I had to look away).
Now I think I reached the part where I can tell you that we have… Woohoo! Yes! We have officially completed our circumnavigation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think my Dad will tell you all the statistics on his blog, but I can simplify it: the numbers are big and we have done a lot!
The rest of the passage was quite enjoyable and we also had a great time in the 3-day motoring when I was able to catch a Portuguese-man-O-war (the most dangerous sea animal to swim the seas)!
When we arrived, I was truly stunned that we had finally made it to Europe (both politically and geographically) and also quite mournful that we are so close to the end of our trip. The island we were in was called Faial and we really thought it was beautiful and was most breathtaking.
So you probably thought that our passage was goin’ to be all smiles and happy times, right.
Well, you’re wrong.
First, we were meant to have a pure 30 days on passage with the swell coming from the side with 3m waves and an average of 15kts.
Second, (yep, I’ve only just started!) we were finding problems with the watermaker on around the third day and from then on we had to use salt water for washing up! Our daily limit was something like 12l altogether (including washing up, showers and drinks! Funny, since the average UK citizen uses 10 times more: 100l!!!!!)!
And just as we went through all of this: disaster struck!
Now, now. No shouting, Oskar will read the story for you soon enough if class 2B would just quieten down a little!
Yep, after the first couple of days we were reasonably well and we were making good progress and we were satisfied with the course we were headed to the Azores...
But, as you all know, there is never a dull moment in sailing, and something bad was BOUND TO HAPPEN!!
You know what, I’m not going to go into all my Oskar descriptions about blah, blah, blah, but I will tell you what happened to us: the forestay on the front of our boat broke. We were sailing along as happy as could be until we heard a massive, loud BANG! Next thing we know, the forestay ripped of the metal and broke! Soon Dad was out and Raul, I and Dad were getting the sail down and making sure that we tightened the haliaurds because we definitely didn’t want the mast to fall!
Sorry guys that I haven’t posted lately but I
decided that I might as well, because we are leaving on a 30 day passage soon
to the Azores (if I will have to say this again, well, we have had engine
problems that mean we can’t go to the Caribbean and we must make it across the
massive pond to the Azores) which involves lots of puking and… well, I don’t
think I should go on talking about that kinda thing!
So the engine actually took 36 days more than we expected.
O.K! I will go on to further descriptions… As soon as the engine parts arrived, we took immediate action over trying to get this stupid thing working.
That also meant that we were able to get out of the way of Retifica (no offence) but I really think that we were just purely glad to not have some lazy dealers involved in our engine affairs.
So we were lucky to have a local mechanic who was prepared to do some of this “fixing”. It took him another 7 days maybe to get the engine humming smoothly which soon got everybody on our boat screaming gaily.
And that was it. Well, we did a test where we went out on the river for 2 and a ½ hrs and had no problems with anything.
Sorry about this short post, but I have to go do some cleaning on the boat.
Hear from toi in 30 dias.
As we flew straight into the place of dreams we knew that we were entering a land of awesomeness. Oh, and I can tell you, it was solely awesome!
So you can probably imagine how exited we all were to be able to visit Rio. We literally were prepared to jump out of the plane, but NOOO! We were too glued to the screens on the plane.
Over the course of the next 7 days we were sightseeing and just relaxing in our apartment, blasting the AC.
We got to see Christ the redeemer atop the Corcovado, museums around town and we were able to have acces to the most wonderful food in Brazil.
Also, we went to the legendary Copacabana and Ipanema beaches where we were able to have 5-6 meter waves crashing on top of us.
(If you want to see photos of these things, go to my sister site.)
As you can imagine, we were also the Sun’s little loafs of bread that were being baked under the heat of the Tropic of Capricorn sun.
Sorry about this late, short post. Thanks…
Old Friends: Forty
Hi there guys!
I am now going to pick up from the las post and carry on with my blog about Brazil in general…
When we came back from Olinda, we had the next thing organized (as you can probably guess, we are very organized travelers), which was some more travelling on land!
As we had some friends here in Brazil (Fortaleza), we decided that we would go visit them and then fly either to the amazon or to Rio. But with my title, you can probably guess where we ended up.
So we were on the plane the first thing in the morning and then OFF we went!
When we arrived in Fortaleza we were even more astonished by the amount of heat that was gazing down upon us from the sky: somethin’ like 35-39 deg. Hot isn’t it? We then spent the next few days with our friends in their apartment…
One of the days we went to the beach and we were going to do some kitesurfing, but (as always) there is normally a problem with something that has a sail (AHEM!)
Finally, we left them and flew directo (sorry, gettin’ a little messed up
with my Portuguese) to Rio and into the real Brazilian style
Hi guys, and welcome back to another episode of m-
BAH! Lets get that rubbish over and done with, shall we?
Where was I last? Hmmmm… Ah! Yes! We were in St Helena weren’t we? So I’ll NOT go into more details of the passage shall I? I doubt it will do us very much good!
When we arrived in Brazil I was very much astonished by the amount of the heat taking place where we were staying: Joao Pessoa. Some of you geeks might of already done the research on this, but if you haven’t found out yet, I’ll tell you: we were entering the city with the highest crime rate in the Brazil and the 10th highest in the world.
To be honest, I will ACTUALLY tell you the truth: we weren’t really in the city, we were 21km away from the city itself. We found ourselves a 30 berth marina in a town called Cabadelo.
As some (I hope most of you) of you know, we had a BIG problem with our engine so as soon as we had WIFI, Dad was contacting all the people in Brazil who had anything to do with Volvo starter engines. In the mini marina we were staying in, every evening at 5 O’clock there would be a boat that went downstream with random people dancing and singing crazily.
After just getting in tune with all of the latest gossip and stuff we all sort of agreed that we wanted to get up and get outside (all of you Frank Turner fans will know what I’m talking about.)
So we checked the guidebook and in the next few minutes we knew what we wanted: Olinda.
So, you can probably guess: we are doing the second half of the South Atlantic crossing…
Might sound a bit heroic to you but not in the slightest appealing to me, you see: Why did the boy cross the ocean? Not because he wanted to get to the other side, but because he had to.
So now you can kinda guess how I felt, I was just on shore getting rid of my jelly legs when my dad came round and said, “Come on, chaps! Let’s get movin’, the sea is waiting!”
Yup, that’s me in the corner groaning (again).
So the first few days of this passage were spent getting used to sea life again and just pouring over book after book. Although I was not so happy about this passage business, it did bring quite a few exciting things for me: such as a little something called “Night watch”!! I actually really loved it! I would spend the first 45mins to 60mins of the night with Raul.
I know, I know! Don’t worry, I was tied down to the boat with a life-jacket on me. And yes, I AM trustworthy!
Even though we have been on passage 14 days, we have not caught 1 single fish, and we have had two lines out (sometimes even OVERNIGHT!!)
So I guess I’ll be saying goodbye for now!
WOOHOO!! Yes! BRING IT ON!
We finally arrived in St. Helena: the island in the middle of nowhere!
When we were coming in, we were awestruck by the volcanic beauty of the actual island! Especially the evening light, which was giving a very astonishing glow to the island itself!
We arrived in Jamestown in the early evening. Most of our yacht friends were already there to greet us in the port, but as it was getting late, we couldn’t go into town.
However, the very next day, we went out to visit the town which was very easy (as it is home to only 840 people!) and see most of the sites in Jamestown.
Even though the whole village/town is tiny, I really love all of it! I think it is a beautiful little town that actually could win some competitions under the title of “the smallest”.
Over the course of the next three days we managed to go up the 699 steps (known as the Jacobs Ladder, which I later slid down), go to the fascinating historical St. Helena Museum, go on a van tour and see Napoleon’s houses and the oldest living animal to roam the planet (a tortoise named Jonathan who is 180 years of age) and go on a snorkeling trip to a mini island not far from St. Helena itself. Jolly Good! Don’t you think that in those days we managed to do a lot of stuff? Those were probably the days were we managed to do the most touristic things in a long time!
Soon we were able to do one of the things I really wanted to do: do a hike! Except I wasn’t even half ready to go: you see, after spending 13 days on a boat you can’t really go out and do a 10km hike just like that. You have to be PREPARED!!!! So, yes. For about 3k, I hitched a ride on a random car and crossed the finish line just like a hero! Well, the other members of my family did not really think so.Sadly, as Thursday drew closer, the more tense things got: like everything was in a rush. Dad had to go to the vegetable scrum, we had to go to the hotel to do a little internet and just run around like maniacs with ticking bombs in our pockets
So, I was really happy about our African Road Trip but there was still (in my mind) something BAD lurking in the corner. Yes, I’m talking about our passage to St. Helena; for my mum, the only problem was the shopping so she spent the next few days droning on about something along the lines of “WHY? WHY DO I HAVE TO DO ALL THE SHOPPING?”
After that it was go go go. And (for now) I’ll have to say “goodbye”
Alright, alright. Fine! It’s not goodbye, really. I have to say: you see, we have not been doing much for the past 6 weeks so we were unsure weather we were ever going to manage 6 hrs without our oil containers blowing up or something. Well, it wasn’t that bad. But it still was pretty crazy.
Our autopilot stopped.
It might not sound that bad a thing, but we are definitely NOT prepared to sail across the South Atlantic Ocean with our drive unit not working. So, soon we decided we decided pull off at Saldana Bay. As it was all unexpected and dodgy business we realised that we would be arriving at night time. All of this just adds to the excitement. According to my Mum and Dad, we had engine failures and also we had the furling for the foresail not functioning. So talk about a dramatic entrance and you have just found one!
So the time soon came for us all to go and start seeing the “real” Botswana. Soon we were already past the gates of the national park and we were recording the first mega-herd of elephants we had ever seen in our lives! I really do love elephants except for the time when they raise their trunk, flap their ears and charge us (this did actually happen twice). There were about 300 of them, although one thing that I noticed is they were not really spread out, normally right next to the road sometimes about 1 meter away from our car!!!
As we kept on driving we realized that we were really experiencing the type of events that you would see in David Attenborough’s documentaries!
I was really happy that we were officially “Out in the bush!” Along the drive to our camp we saw many antelope and (as we have a new guide book to birds) we were able to fully appreciate the lives of the birds up in the sky. When we got to our camp we had two crazy things that happened to us:
1. After bumping around all day we had finally found out that a tin of pesto went flying in our boot and got everything “pestoed out!”
2. Secondly, we had a huge full-grown male African elephant walking ten metres from our car and looking at us. I (unsuccessfully) tried to track him down to the river.
Apart from those two crazy events we were happy that the night was juuuust perfect!!!
We met a South African man who was really excited about something, later we found out why: he had just gone to a kill-site and we were about to see it as he had told us the directions. As we got there we saw two massive female lions lurking around the bush 300m away. Not any action. Although we promised that we would come back in the evening. When we came back, there was complete madness: the domo (dominant male in Irwin talk) sprawled on the floor next to the elephant (he had clearly had his fill) and all the other lions shoving their mouths into the elephants belly and ripping of kilos of elephant at a time! Of course we also had scavenger activity around these massive carnivores.
Vultures would be hawking up in the sky circling the elephant about 20m above-head and you would occasionally see the small side-striped jackal sneaking around the long grass as sly as foxes… This was, by far, the best wildlife activity I had ever seen in my entire life!
Around the time we were settling down to sleep we heard the lions roaring and walking around our camp like kings. Sadly we didn’t get any sightings of them as we were all quite huddled in our tents shivering with fear…
When we woke up in the morning we found out that there were some lion tracks just next to our car. MAN! I was THAT close to seeing them again.
Later we left the camp and drove for about half the day to get to a place in the Okavango Delta called Moremi National Park. The camp that we went to was so full of nature that as soon as I went out on my walks on my own I saw all of the following: Baboons, Impala, Zebra, Wildebeest, Hippo and Kudu. This was really a wildlife-lovers paradise.
I spent the rest of the day either on the water tower looking at the animals with my binoculars or on the bridge photographing the hippos.
After ticking this National Park off the list we had to continue onwards to Namibia. We spent some really fun time and we were sad to say goodbye to the whole of Botswana. As we moved forwards we were all ready for the fierce conditions of the Namib…
So after deciding that we also saw that we did not have a lot of time before Christmas were to dawn on us.
So we booked our plain tickets and left fairly early to Johannesburg and collected our car at the rental. To tell you the truth, even my MUM thought it was awesome; we had to do a little bit of provisioning at the beginning as we wouldn't be dining at restaurants every night... We got taught by the rental guy how to use all of the tents/equipment: there was a gigantic amount of things to be learnt, How to set the fridge, do the pegs on the tents, use the cooker and all of the equipment.
It really was quite a fascinating thing watching and learning how to do all of the new stuff! After provisioning and Dad getting through all the laborious paperwork we hit the narrow road to Botswana and were driving for the rest of the day until about 01500hrs when we had finally arrived in the border… We all knew that if we wanted to sightsee in Botswana, Namibia and SA we were to do quite a few miles, and that some of these days were to be spent driving 12hrs!
One thing we did notice about the border was that there were a ridiculous amount of trucks shipping stuff in. I guess that Botswana is landlocked and that it has no means of delivery by sea so they have to send in tons of goods (or bads) by road.
As soon as we entered the country of Botswana I felt a complete different atmosphere than in South Africa: they had so much more signs indicating that they should keep their environment clean and never littering things that were put up literally every 1000m! Even the people at the security posts were so kind and had time for everything and everyone… Even though I had only been in Botswana 1 minute I was loving every single bit of it!
So, camping the first night was (I can tell you this) was the worst camping experience!! Even I didn’t know weather it was just about us not knowing how to camp or weather it was just that we were in the wrong place at the wrong time: the heat was like you were baking in an oven, and then we have hell knocking on our doorstep. Yep. That’s it, we were in for a night with our small friends: mosquitoes are still alive in Botswana.
So we kinda had to replay the 6th on the 7th as we had to cover quite a few miles if we wanted to get anywhere. Luckily, we found quite a fancy lodge at the end of the day in the middle of utterly nowhere! It was really cool except for one thing: the night was also replayed! I won’t go into the details actually.
Luckily (with the people from the camping lodge we were staying in) we got to fit in a tour of the traditional village nearby, and got to see and learn about the 4-metre high termite nests! Our guide was a super kind man (I really don’t think that there in 1 unkind Botswanan in the whole of this vast country!!) who explained everything very well!
We got to see one of the massive termite nests and our guide explained to us why they were like this and that actually, all you can see is 1/3 of the actual thing!
The village was very interesting except the traditional landscape of the Botswanan village was spoiled a bit by the coke cans littered around the place (there were only a few. But it was still quite sad to see).
As we had to move on, we finished the tour off and then drove all of the way to a place called Francistown where we stopped to do some provisioning (clearly, our fridge and boot is NOT big enough!!!)
As we were desperate to wait until they had space in the national park to sleep we slept three nights in a lodge just outside the awesome national park called “Chobe Safari Lodge”. It was a really fun place and had so many fun things to do!!
In those three days, we managed to go on a hippo river-tour, a visit to the town and also a little walk around a nature thingy!
So I guess SA is really good for onshore activities but we are forgetting something here aren’t we, what about offshore, where only sailors dare to wonder, where the rough Atlantic and the tranquil Indian Oceans clash with ferocious rivalry on the southernmost point of Africa. Yes my friends: I’m talking around the lines of “Cape Aghulas”.
Not many of you have sailed that…. Blah! Blah! Blah! I’m just pulling your leg and talking rubbish!
Anyways, once we had got past the port on Durban and East London we were ready to open up our laptops and see when there was a good weather window to go past the Cape. As soon as we looked at the weather we left (and I think you can guess why).
I’ve read so many tales of the men who have sailed across the Cape and gotten themselves shipwrecked due to these big monsters eating their ships whole; luckily our passage involved neither bad weather or any loch-ness monsters: to tell the truth, it was so calm that we were motoring for quite a bit of it!
Cape Town is a really nice place: we all love going to the big cities for a change, although I think we overdid it with the amount of times we went to the cinemas to catch up with the latest movies.
As the days went on we decided that we were to pack everything up and go to Johannesburg to collect our rented 4×4 veichle that we would be driving in for three weeks on an Africa Road Trip through Botswana, Namibia and SA.
We arrived happily in Richards Bay on the 1st of November. It was really crazy! The wind was totally mad and we spent most of the day averaging 12.6kts (the fastest we have ever been!), with 3-4kts of current.
We arrived on the international dock which had electricity AND water which you didn’t even have to pay for!
But even SA was not safe from the hurricane-condition winds that were forcing their way along the coast of South Africa: we got into the harbor of Richards Bay just before the wrath of the winds came! The very next day, at 4 O ‘ clock in the morning we all were up and about, gazing in terror at the dock that had snapped in half and was giving way in the weak points!
The next minute, all you could hear was all of the creaking of the dock and the smashing tiles that fell from the poorly maintained roof of the mall.
Some boats endured quite severe damage; boats even got some dents outside the structure of the actual boat!
And, as all boats do, we had to haul out in Zululand marina and do some underside work on the paint in our boat. We all really hated being on the hard: dust would be flying everywhere, monkeys would be eating our fruits and spilling half of the juices and food everywhere – even on the cushions (Mum got so ANGRY when they did this)!
So then we got so fed up of having to clean up the boat all the time that one day we rented a mini car and went on a mini safari to St Lucia National park. We got to go on a mini boat ride up the river and got to see Nile Crocs and Hippos! For me, it was really fascinating how all of the hippos were grouped together in families and how if you were 1.2m tall, you could fit inside a hippos mouth: standing up!
Soon, we were back in the water and smiling a friendly “Hello!” to our friend Mike who had come all the way from England to see us and a bit of SA.
We worked our worked our way down the islands around Nosy Be quite slowly, stopping in every place that looked appealing to us (well, that kind of means we stopped in every place possible!).
Quite a few exciting and interesting experiences took place on the journey away from Nosy Be, but there was ONE that really made it to the top of my awesome thing list: the once-in-a-lifetime chance of getting to swim with mantas. We were doing just another regular day hop to an anchorage named “Honey Creek” when we got a call from our friends saying that there were some Manta Rays that they were, at that moment, swimming with. Sure enough, at the same time we were on the radio with them, a fish started pulling on the line and came to an early death two minutes later.
Soon we were whizzing (well, not whizzing really – we don’t have a good enough outboard to go fast with now) across the sea towards where we saw some fins poking out of the water! For me, the swim with the mantas really was just great! We got to see them doing their twirls and spins underwater, whizzing about and going crazy with the excitement of swimming next to us! For the three of us (my Dad, Raul and I), that really was just one of the most stunning things in nature we had ever seen.
So, you must be thinking now: “well, that’s all well and good, but Madagascar has taken you SUCH a long time to write about Oskar! What about SA? We want to hear of that scrumptious belly-churning meat they have in the restaurants!”
Well, of course we soon had to do the most complicated passage to Richards Bay. So after saying quick “Goodbye’s” to our friends on the other boats we did our lightning-fast provisioning, and, as quick as a flash, we left.
The first day and a half we had quite good sailing, until the problems started popping up.
The engine wouldn’t start.
This wasn’t the only problem that actually happened, but it was one of our main worries. In the end, Daddy (after reading his mechanic book – seriously, that thing is GREAT!) cleaned up some wires, and soon we were revving our engine – making something like 4.5 kts.
And, as there is never a dull moment to sailing, we woke up one morning to find that we couldn’t see our actual cruising chute on the bow of our boat! We rubbed our eyes, slapped and pinched each other until we realized that the sail was not there anymore. Daddy was devastated; he thought that it was just knocked in to the sea by a wave that came over our bow.
We didn’t lose it, but we were all so surprised when we found out there was a problem with the shackle at the top of the forestay: it had just completely broken! We put on one of the haliards at the top and just hoped for the best.
On the day we sailed to Helleville, we passed a landmark called “the four brothers” – some big rocks that are all parallel to each other.
When we arrived in Helleville, after a not windy passage (seriously, I think it has got to do with the time of the day), we got out of the boat like lightning to go and extend our visas – we were not keen to give those people in Ile St Marie more than 300,000 just for their pockets. These people were still corrupt, but just not as much.
One of the days we spent going to Lemuria land (go to oskarsphotosevita.simplesite.com to see some photos of it) where we got to have lemurs jump on our backs and, after we fed them, poop on us!
Also, nearly all of our friends are here! I guess the way to get to SA is through Nosy Be.
On the 24th we went to go to an
island called Tana Kelly with one of our friends off another boat –the
snorkeling there was great! We even got to see two green turtles swimming on
the reef. As it was not an overnight anchorage we had to leave to a place that
was stacked with yachts (I bet you the furthest away one boat could be from
another was about 15m), it was called Crater Bay.
As all of the other kid boats were here we made the most of being able to go and play with them – but the best part was that we could actually go and play with them while the adults went to do their sundowners.
On the third day of staying in Crater Bay we went to rent some motorbikes in which we got to see most of the island: we even got to go to the highest peak of the island (320m).
After that we had to leave Crater Bay to go to Helleville, where we had to get our passports (that had just been sent to Diego for a reason we don’t even know) back.
As we all wanted to go to the two most famous national parks in the area, we decided to leave to Nosy Komba and Lokobe national parks for a few days.
Directly after the first few minutes of walking through the Komba Nature reserve we got exactly what we wanted: lemurs dancing through the green trees in the park, looking at us and asking whether we got any bananas handy! I really enjoyed watching and feeding all of the different animals in the area – not the Boa, or course!
The next anchorage we stopped in was the well-known Lokobe National Park – which we got to do a hike in! We did actually see one lemur – lone (first one!). Even though my favorite animal was the Boa, I still saw quite unique and strange things here: such as the leaf tailed gecko (a super camouflaged animal that sleeps the whole day long on a tree trunk – I seriously did NOT know how the rangers managed to find this animal!).
In the end we ended up going back to a place called Sakeatea – we had to get out of Nosy Be quickly!
18/09/2015 - 19/09/2015
As we had to get a move on, we left the beautiful anchorage of Nosy Hara to a place called Nosy Mitsio (long island in Malagasy).
We didn’t have that much wind on the passage, although we had enough diesel to just motor-sail all the way to the island.
For me, it really was a great island – even though we didn’t get to see that much of it because of the heat…
We did have our own guide who showed us around the island in exchange for some wine (the local people didn’t even know what it was).
16/09/2015 - 17/09/2015
We had to leave the next day because our friends were leaving – we (five people) could NOT rely on a 1litre, 2hp Yamaha outboard to take us anywhere. But, not even we could be 100% sure that they could make it: 4/5 of the way they called us up saying that they could not motor against the wind – they would have to go to Hellville, Nosy Be…
It was quite a shame that they left us because the anchorage was so beautiful as well as well as the island.
We all went on a hike the next day with the ranger (a really friendly guy). We saw many reptiles including: a snake ( Boa), a couple of lizzards and the smallest chameleon in the world.
We really wanted to stay and do some more hikes on the island, but it really was time for us to get a move on.
We had an awesome passage around the cape of Madagascar – caught the biggest tuna ever!! It was quite hard (well, that’s what my dad said) to fight the fish but in the end it just gave up – this was the first time ever I was allowed to gaf the fish in the side!!
Anyway, when we arrived we went with Lop To ashore looking for a cool place to do our bonfire! Raul found a beach and also found a turtle skull which we are going to take to our marine-biologist friends…
We all feasted on tuna that night around the bonfire!
The Finish line (well, not for everyone)!
15 Jul, 2016
30... 29 ...28, you know what, I think it’s no use counting!
16 Jun, 2016
Azores – here we come! Oh,right! Another 20 days?!
27 May, 2016
13 May, 2016
River time: Amazoni
27 Apr, 2016
River of January
12 Apr, 2016
Old friends: Forta
1 Apr, 2016