We sailed from Tyrell Bay, Carriacou to the South end of Grenada today. It's been a couple of months since we moved and it felt strange but nice to sail again.
Grenada has done well in controlling the spread of the coronavirus. They are gradually easing the lock down. Initially we were confined to our boat and not allowed ashore. Then we were allowed to shop only at certain times. Grenada may open their borders in June and allow some interisland travel. Hurricane season officially begins June 1st and many boats throughout the Caribbean are looking forward to moving here. Grenada is not often affected by hurricanes and most insurance companies offer coverage here but not further north. Looking forward to some of our cruising buddies soon being able to join us.
Grenada announced their first Covid-19 case about a week ago. The person flew in from the UK. Since then another 6 persons have tested positive - all contacts of the first case.
Grenada has declared a state of emergancy and instituted regulations restricting movement and only essential services are to be operational. We are fortunate to be in a pleasant spot with helpful people ashore to facilitate shopping for us. Plenty of jobs, food, drink, etc on board to keep us occupied and happy.
Our thoughts go out to all those around the world who are struggling at this chaotic time.
We arrived into Tyrell Bay, Carriacou about 11am after a pleasant overnight motorsail. This is one of the only two remaining ports of entry that are still open for Grenada. As expected there was a line up of people at Customs & Immigration. A lot of people are cutting their cruising holidays short and flying back home. The first line up was for a health screening which was a travel history and temp check. Then on to Customs & Immigration. Grenada grants us a 90'day visa with the option of extending monthly up to a year. Starting midnight tonight there will be tighter restrictions here in Grenada and all boats arriving will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Several other Caribbean Islands have closed their borders completely. Eg Trinidad &'Tobago, the French Islands, St Lucia, BVIs.
Glad that we made the move when we did. Barbados was a lovely spot to spend some time but Grenada has several marinas and a lot of boating services. We are looking to haul out and paint the bottom and a few other jobs. Also our insurance will cover us here during the hurricane season.
Amazing how quiet it is here tonight in the anchorage with probably close to 75 other boats. The bars and restaurants ashore are open only for take away food. Barbados had only a few cruising boats but several loud bad ass party boats milling around the anchorage most of the night.
Our visitors have had to cancel due to all the travel restrictions. We have left Barbados today and should arrive into Tyrell Bay, Carriacou tomorrow afternoon.
Grenada has several marinas & chandleries. And good boat services. So if we can't be tourists and enjoy Barbados we may as well do some boat jobs.
We sailed up the lee of the island to Port St Charles to check in with Customs, Immigration and Health. It was quick and easy. Oddly they had no idea where St Helena was. It is also possible to check in at the main harbour in Bridgetown but can be a long wait if they are busy with cruise ships.
It was a nice sail up and back along the west coast of the island in the calm protected water. Several day sail boats full of tourists doing the same run.
Spent yesterday reacquainting ourselves with Bridgetown. A trip to the chandlery, of course, and then we replenished our fruit and veg. Got a SIM card for our phone and we are connected to the world again. Wonderful!
Shall be kept busy with a few boat jobs but hope to explore more of the island in the weeks ahead with our visitors.
'Land Ho' as the sun comes up this morning!! Our wind has been steady at 20kt since yesterday afternoon and we've made good time with just our head sail.
Looking forward to making landfall this afternoon and just sitting still at anchor in one place for awhile. After crossing the Atlantic from the Canary Islands, we arrived into Barbados on Dec 3, 2013. It has taken us 6 years and 3 months to complete our circumnavigation. It?s been an amazing journey and we visited thirty-three countries along the way.
One year ago we were in Langkawi where Eric arrived on March 17 and sailed with us to Sumatra. Eric will join us here in Barbados on March 15 for a couple of weeks. Then at the end of March, brother Brian will sail with us from Barbados to Grenada. After that - no fixed plans - we?ll be on Caribbean time.
We?re on the home stretch now. The wind finally moved out of the north and turned more easterly so we are back on our bearing to Barbados. Lovely sailing conditions with gentle breezes and friendly skies. We discovered another open seam on our main sail yesterday. Seems as though the stitching on the sail has reached its ?use by date?. Unfortunately, the rip is inside and above the clew of the second reef so we are now triple reefed. We could probably do a makeshift repair but it hardly seems worth the effort as we are still moving along fine and getting close to being there. Our friends Jim & Wendie on S/V Jaga doing this same passage have sails much older and less high tech than our five year old sails. Jim reckons his newest sail is probably about 23 years old.
Currently passing a tanker ?VL Nichioh? which is just a few miles away and has stopped. Not sure if we should do the neighbourly thing and call him up to see if he needs a hand. Does seem a bit odd to see a ship drifting along out in the middle of nowhere.
The snippets of BBC world news we receive on the SSB radio would make one wonder if we shouldn?t stay out here longer. The corona virus continues to spread and the world markets are falling. We still have a weeks supply of apples and oranges and lots of tinned food but we?re down to our last carrot and onion. In spite of all the troubles around the world, I am so looking forward to getting back onto the internet and in touch with everyone - plus I?ve got such a long list of things I must Google!!
The wind is slowly starting to come around a bit more to the east and we?re heading more towards Barbados. The forecast suggests the wind will lighten and go more easterly over the next few days. Would be nice to get the wind aft of the beam again on a more comfortable point of sail. We?re doubled reefed with part of the head sail furled away and moving along at about 7 to 8kt with a favorable current.
It was a sad night for the flying fish. We found about a dozen dead on the deck and even one in the dinghy this morning.
Seeing several ships daily now. A few have been tankers coming and going to Venezuela. 635 miles to go to Barbados
Our pleasant NE breeze decided to change to a northerly, so we have had to change our route. We had been trying to keep above our rhumb line to avoid a stretch of adverse current. The northerly breeze has us now heading west towards the French Guyana coast. A favorable current flows NW along the coast and we?ll head over and catch some of that. The adverse counter current is a couple hundred miles offshore and we shall now aim to sail between it and the coast. We?ll need the wind to turn more easterly as we make our way to Barbados and the forecast suggests it should.
We?ve been enjoying very nice sailing conditions and making good time with the wind on our beam. It?s not as hot and sultry and the breeze almost feels a bit cool overnight. As we near the coast, we shall have to be on the lookout for fishing boats that don?t have AIS. Usually they are brightly lit and can be spotted from a long way off.
Heard several flying fish hitting the boat last night. One poor fella fatally wounded himself but put up a gallant fight to the end. Unfortunately leaving a trail of blood and scales from one end of the cockpit to the other where I found him this morning.
945 Miles to Barbados
We?ve broken free of the ITCZ!! The dark heavy rain filled clouds have disappeared and we are seeing more clear skies. The temperature is still quite warm but it's not as humid. The NE breeze has filled in and we have been able to turn off the engine. We motored about 36 hours to get through the light airs.
The bearing on our rhumb line from Fernando to Barbados is about 300T. We have been aiming about 10-15 degrees above the rhumb line in an effort to keep a good angle on the breeze and miss some adverse current up ahead. The wind is forecast to become more easterly in a few days and then may go northerly as we approach Barbados. The last thing we want is to be bashing our way in the last few miles so will try to approach from the East.
It?s been quite some time since we have sailed with the wind forward of the beam. The ride is a bit bouncier than what we have become accustomed to and there?s splash on the deck.Thankfully there isn?t too much swell and the wind isn?t real strong. We haven?t collected any dead flying fish for days but this morning we picked up a half dozen and there are numerous patches of scales left behind from ones that bounced off. Such beautiful creatures to watch soaring above the waves, it's sad to think of them bashing their little noggins on our hull in the middle of the night.
We are seeing more shipping with at least two or three per day showing up on our AIS. The latest cargo ship ?Linda Hope? enroute to ?TR ERE?? came within a mile of us. AIS is a wonderful tool which tells us precisely how far away the ship is, its course and how close it will come. Lots of good info in case evasive action is needed. After not seeing any other sail boats, we had two come within a few miles of us at the same time. One called ?Lone Star? (from Texas, of course) we had met at St Helena.
Today we are sailing through large masses of sea weed. Not sure whether this seaweed just naturally drifts around the ocean or whether it has washed out from the Amazon which is about 500 miles away.
1265 miles to Barbados
The past couple of days have been a real mixed bag. The winds have been light and we have been mostly motor sailing. We had one nasty squall with 30kt+ winds and heavy rain for a couple of hours in the dark early hours of the morning. Since then our breeze has been mainly north of east so maybe we are getting through the ITCZ and into the NE trades.
We are about 55 miles from the equator so will cross in the middle of the night. Might have to open the bubbly at cocktail hour and have an early celebration. This will be our fourth crossing of the equator. First time was between Panama and French Polynesia in 2016. Second time was between Indonesia and Singapore in 2017. Third time was last year as we traveled south along the west coast of Sumatra before crossing the Indian Ocean.
Still pretty quiet out here. Saw a few dolphins this morning riding our bow. No dead flying fish on the deck in the past week or more. A few attractive white with black trim booby birds around us fishing by madly diving into the water but thankfully only one poopy splatter on our deck. We haven?t had any recent stowaways at night. We are only a couple hundred miles off the coast of Brazil so maybe the birds head back to land to rest.
Not much for shipping traffic either - maybe one ship a day showing up on our AIS. I did see the lights of a boat on my midnight shift. It was not on AIS, did not have the usual red and green navigational lights and was moving faster than a fishing boat. In the middle of the night, one?s mind thinks of things like pirates and drug runners. Thankfully they didn?t come close and sped on by. They were coming from Brazil and perhaps heading towards western Africa.
1565 Miles to Barbados
We left Fernando first thing this morning. Discovered a tear in the main sail but have been able to fix it underway. Should make it to Barbados! It?s between the first and second reef so if the repair doesn?t hold we can still run with two reefs in the main. It was nice to stop and break up the passage between St Helena and Barbados. Unfortunately we had some heavy downpours of rain on Fernando which limited what we could see and do.
We rented a ?buggy? yesterday and did some touring. It was a wreck of a thing and many of the roads were possibly the worst we?ve ever seen! They charged a few $$ for the pleasure of visiting the island but thankfully the beer and wine were reasonably priced. They had an assortment of Australian wine in tins! We eventually managed to find some wifi but NO bananas.
We arrived into Fernando at sunrise and were all checked in by 10am. The port captain's office was easy to find in the first building just behind the beach. They contacted the police who also perform customs and immigration duties on the island. A policeman collected us and chauffered us to their office where our passports were stamped - eventually. A second policeman had to be called in for assistance as the first one didn't have the right password for the computer.
Unfortunately the weather let us down and about midday it started to rain pretty steady. We found a restaurant advertising Wifi and settled in for a nice meal and some internet. Our waitress's English was very good and we discovered that she had done a six month student exchange in Newfoundland. Unfortunately the Wifi was so poor we couldn't even download our email. Doubly frustrating as the locals and tourists around us were busy on their devices. It seems that local SIM cards can only be sold to Brazilian residents...
Hoping for a brighter day today. Lots of 'buggys' for rent on the island so shall go exploring. The island is quite rugged with lush tropical vegetation and massive stone formations. With any luck we'll find some working wifi and maybe even some bananas! Shall depart for Barbados tomorrow morning.
1910nm to Barbados
Yesterday we continued to sail wing and wing in a light breeze with a mostly cloudy sky. Late afternoon the wind dropped off and the sky looked more threatening so we tucked away the sails and began motoring. Overnight we had a couple of short downpours - just enough to discover a new leak at one of the salon windows. The winds last night were quite light and from several different directions yet the sea was quite smooth for motoring along. Today has been clear and sunny so we have been doing some wash and drying things out. Hopefully a bit of silicone on the window gets us to the Caribbean. We have put the spinnaker up and are having a slow pleasant sail. We can't make Fernando before sunset so shall coast along and make landfall tomorrow morning.
We have seen a few more ships the past couple of days. A 86m fishing vessel came from the north bound for the Falkland Islands. A couple of tankers from the NW headed for Cape Town and a cargo ship for BRSSZ - somewhere in Brazil? Seeing a few more birds around us busy diving and fishing. Last night we caught a glimpse of the Big Dipper upside down low in the northern sky. Sadly we ran out of bananas yesterday so hoping to restock at Fernando. Our fridge is being a bit temperamental but we have been able to use our freezer as a fridge for the few things that need to keep cool.
1648nm from St Helena and 87nm to Fernando de Noronha
Looks like we had a stowaway the past couple of nights as we found a nasty smelly mess on the bimini solar panels. Think it was a boobie that we have noticed flying around at sunset. Shall keep a better lookout tonight and try to move him on. The cloud cover is increasing around us and it feels more humid. Doesn't take much effort to break a sweat. The forecast suggests we should soon encounter the ITCZ - inter tropical convergence zone. This is where the NE trade winds of the north Atlantic meet the SE trade winds of the south Atlantic. We can expect a mixture of light winds and motoring as well as periods of heavy rain with squalls and possibly some lightening over the next few days. The position of the ITCZ looks different every time we download the forecast so it's difficult to plan the best way through it. Hopefully we'll be able to duck and dodge any big nasty looking thunderstorms.
We've packed away the Code O and are now sailing wing and wing with the main sail and head sail. We can easily and quickly reduce these sails if the wind picks up due to passing showers.
Possibly witnessed a good omen this morning just before sunrise when a break in the clouds revealed the planets aligning!! Below the half moon high in the sky and down to the eastern horizon was Mars, Jupiter & Saturn.
1350nm from St Helena and 385nm to Fernando de Noronha (Can you hear the drums Fernando?!)
Still pretty quiet out here. Night before last we had a large (32m) fishing vessel come within 6 miles. It was between us and Ascension. We also had a couple of terns rest on our stern solar panels overnight. They're welcome to come back as they didn't leave a mess.
Sailing conditions remain very pleasant with light breezes. The forecast shows quite a bit of rain activity in a couple of days as we get closer to Fernando. We have adjusted our course more westerly and will try to remain south of the worst of the weather in the hopes it will improve or move away.
1075nm from St Helena and 660nm to Fernando de Noronha 2720nm from Cape Town and 2560nm to Barbados - Yay! More than half way!
Still pretty quiet out here. No new ships and only a few flying fish spotted. We have been talking twice a day to several other sailboats we know. A bit of drama at the moment as one boat which is between Cape Town and St Helena has a broken prop shaft. All is under control and another boat is traveling alongside but it will be another week before they reach St Helena. Luckily St Helena is equipped to haul the boat out of the water and effect some repairs.
Like us, many sailboats have satellite phones for communications and downloading weather but it is still nice to chat on the radio. Unfortunately it is a bit of a black art as to figuring out the best time of day and frequency to use. We shall pass through six time zones between Cape Town and the Caribbean. We aren't bothered by jet lag but periodically we do need to adjust our shift changes and radio time schedules.
Our downwind sea conditions have been conducive for some boat projects and I even found time to clean the oven. I've got countless hours of podcasts to listen to which I enjoy as they leave my hands free to putter. We've tucked away the Spinnaker and have been sailing with the Code O and mainsail the past couple of days. Just have to time our jibes to keep the solar panels exposed. We enjoy the Spinnaker for those real light days but are always hesitant to leave it up overnight.
770nm from St Helena and 965nm to Fernando de Noronha
It's been pretty quiet out here. Haven't seen any birds and only a few fish. This morning we saw on the AIS our first ship since leaving St Helena. It was a 290m cargo ship doing 10k - the HL Baltimore - bound for KRPDJ. Often the destination abbreviations are difficult to decipher. Given the ship was heading towards the Cape of Good Hope - maybe somewhere in Asia.
We've been listening to the BBC news headlines on our SSB radio. So we are up to date on important events like the Oscar winners. The unfolding saga of the latest coronavirus makes us think that being on our boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is not a bad place to be.
475nm from St Helena and 1260nm to Fernando de Noronho
Yikes, I'm living with a skin head! He's often threatened to shave his head at the start of a passage to see how it looks and feels. I can't say I like the look and think it makes him look sickly.
Hopefully it grows back quick.
Still sailing along under spinnaker in pleasant light wind conditions. The showers we've encountered have been brief and light and haven't affected our breeze much. We have a nice big moon and kept the spinnaker up overnight. 160nm from St Helena and 1575nm to Fernando de Noronho
We departed St Helena at first light this morning. Light variable winds till we were several miles away from the island. The wind has filled in and we are now under spinnaker getting about 6kn.
We enjoyed our stay at St Helena very much. Swimming with the whale sharks was awesome - beautiful, gentle, inquisitive giants. Friendly, welcoming, helpful people ashore. Interesting history.
It was also great to catch up with other boats we knew and meet several new interesting ones.
S/V Neptune's Highway with Laura & Bruce arrived the day after us and left yesterday bound for their home port in the US Virgin Islands. We met first in Malaysia and they also post on YIT. S/V Jaga II with Wendie & Jim arrived on Wed so we were able to introduce them to St Helena and enjoy a few cold ones together. We have been traveling a similar route as Jaga since meeting in Port Moresby, PNG. They'll follow us to the Caribbean and then continue on to visit Jim's family on the east coast of USA.
We met a Spanish family with three young kids doing a quick one year circumnavigation. They'll be back in the Caribbean by April after visiting Brazil and then back to the Med in time for the kids to get back to school.
We met a single hander, John Sanders, from Western Australia. At the age of 80, he is on his eleventh circumnavigation. Three of them done consecutively.
We caught up with a South African family we had met in Hout Bay. Father and son (in his early twenties) have found it difficult to make a living in a South Africa that now predominantly trains and hires black citizens. With very little sailing experience, they are bravely on their way to a new life in the Caribbean.
Could go on and on - lots of interesting people out here!! But for the next couple of weeks - it's just us and maybe a few birds and fish.
I guess we should have been suspicious about the low cost of the car rental. Luckily the questionable brakes and transmission got us around the island and up and down the steep narrow roads full of hair pin turns. Did a few pleasant walks and enjoyed some great scenery. Such a variety of landscapes - lush green valleys with grazing sheep and cows, bare rugged steep cliffs and hills covered in NZ flax from a bygone era.
Going again today to swim with the whale sharks. We had quite a long swim with a 6m one the other day when an even larger one came up from the deep right towards me with a big wide open mouth. Awesome! Nothing but light winds in the forecast. Shall probably depart later in the week. Thinking of stopping at some Brazilian Islands, Fernando de Noronho, to split up the 4000nm trip to Barbados.
St. Helena is exceeding our expectations. Quaint little town loaded with history, gives one the feeling of stepping back a hundred years in time. Swimming with whale sharks today and then a drive around tour tomorrow which will take us to where Napoleon spent his final years.
We are moored next to a sheer cliff a couple hundred meters high. Dozens of tropic birds and terns circling around overhead. Nice clear water below us. The island is spectacular in it's ruggedness. Looking forward to more exploring.
We will arrive into St Helena later today. The weather has been a bit unsettled the past couple of days with scattered showers around. The winds have remained light and typically the passing showers have snuffed our wind. Won't complain - we have been talking on the radio with a couple of other boats that recently left Namibia. They have been having 25-30kt and 4m seas. They chose not to leave when we did as they thought the forecasted winds too light. Some of the big old cruising boats like a bit of wind to move.
Our radar has given up the ghost again. We had it serviced in Cape Town and a belt was replaced. Disappointing as it is so useful at night to spot the nearby showers. We also use it to place a guard zone around us as we get a bit slack with keeping a good look around.
We are still find a flying fish or two dead on deck most mornings. Seems we get fewer on deck when there is less swell.
Looking forward to exploring St Helena. We plan to stay just a few days.
We left the eastern hemisphere and crossed into the western hemisphere this morning. Had a Thai green curry last night and will have burritos tonight in honour of the transition.
The wind tends to lighten in the morning and strengthen a bit in the afternoon. We tend to get caught reducing our sails before sunset to make the ride comfortable overnight and then find ourselves short on sail when the wind drops. Difficult to make changes in the dark of night and when one of us is sleeping so we usually wait for sunrise so tend to have a slow start on the day. We talk on the SSB radio twice daily with three other sail boats we know that are also on their way to St Helena. Otherwise not too much happening out here. No fishing boats and only the occasional ship showing up on our AIS.
329 miles to St Helena. Hope to arrive on the 28th.
we've been sailing along nicely in great conditions. We had a few scattered showers overnight and the wind picked up a bit but it was all quite manageable. We had a stowaway on board last night. A large boobie bird slept on the forward deck and left us a few messes behind. Looks like he's been eating OK. There were no dead flying fish or squid on deck. Maybe the boobie bird is on to a free lunch.
Just passed the half way point between Walvis Bay and St Helena. Forecast looks like more of the same for the next couple days. The wind is getting a bit more behind us so will try flying the Spinnaker this afternoon.
We've been having some really nice sailing conditions the past couple of days. 10-20kt on the beam and we've been moving along well in spite of our overladen condition. We are carrying extra diesel on deck to motor across the doldrums and our bilges are full of South African wine! Last week just before arriving into Walvis Bay, we were besieged by a plague of moths. Hundreds of them in various shapes, sizes and colours. Bob found a dozen or more just in his shoes out in the cockpit. Gradually their numbers have diminished each day and I am hopeful that I have just shooed the last one out of the cabin. Unfortunately they've left behind lots of black feathery dust, dead bodies and countless small orange poopy reminders.
Last night was noticeably warmer than the previous night. One less blanket was needed on the bed and I didn't have to wrap myself in my fleecy blanket during my early morning watch. We had a sky full of stars last night and a blue sky this morning instead of the foggy low level cloud we had been experiencing during our stay in Walvis Bay. I think we're escaping the cold Benguela current.
Found dead on deck this morning - three flying fish and one small squid We are 306 miles from Walvis Bay with 907 miles to go to St Helena
We've had a great time in Walvis Bay. Top spot! Considering we're on the edge of the desert we've seen heaps of wildlife. Thousands of seals, pelicans and flamingos around us. We took a tour into the desert yesterday. Great fun driving around the huge dunes. Our tour guides found us lots of critters - chameleon, scorpion, spiders, geckos, beetles, snakes. Amazing their adaptations which allow them to survive in the harsh climate.
We'll head out this afternoon towards St Helena. Just over 1200nm away. The forecast looks like light breezes so we'll probably be about nine days.
Looking forward to some warmer temperatures as we get a little further north and away from the cold Benguela current.
We arrived into Walvis Bay about lunchtime. Declined the thought of getting a taxi and walked into town to do our clearance with Customs, Immigration & Port Control. We eventually found our way!! The cold Benguella current has followed us up the coast and it definitely does not feel tropical here. The waters around us are full of seals jumping and playing and I guess they are also busy devouring fish but we are spared the gory details. A nearby sand spit is covered with hundreds of seals. Thankfully we are upwind of them.
They have a nice yacht club with restaurant, bar and dinghy dock next to the anchorage. Tomorrow we shall go exploring. Tonight we'll have a good night's sleep!!
The first couple of days we had lighter breezes than expected and we had to do a bit of motoring. We had a full moon Friday night and as we were watching it rise a nearby whale put on a bit of a show for us. Not sure what it was doing but it seemed to stand on its head and wave its tail at us for quite some time. That night we also ran into some fog for a couple of hours and everything on the boat was soaking wet which really made it feel quite chilly. Yesterday afternoon the wind filled in a bit and is directly behind us. We had a pleasant overnight sail with just the headsail. This morning we raised the mainsail and were merrily traveling along wing and wing until the sky starting getting cloudy and the wind got gusting close to 30 - so now we are back to just the head sail. Life is much simpler with just a head sail!! All going well we should arrive into Walvis Bay and back into the tropics on Wed. About 400 miles to go.
We moved to the Royal Cape Yacht Club yesterday to do our check out procedure with Port Control, Customs & Immigration. Relatively quick and painless with no fees. Enjoyed a pleasant happy hour at the club with Jaga II, Neptune's Highway and Nero. We leave this morning and shall travel in company with them up to Namibia. We are headed to Walvis Bay about 700 miles away and expect to arrive in about five days.
Will probably leave Cape Town later this week. Just checking that our new modem is working OK with our satellite phone so that we will be able to download weather and send updates to this website along the way.
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