Category Archives: Navigation

One week on Brazilian Ibiza

On the most southern-east point of Baia dos Todos os Santos (the Bay of All Saints) there’s a lighthouse. 40-meters-high tower perks on a steep hill – not the biggest on an island but the utmost. I take a trail to the left and soon from above I can see an ancient walls – it’s an old Portuguese fort, “welcome” for those, who come to Morro de São Paulo from the north.

More modern picture opens to my eyes as I follow a trail to the right. From there I can see famous beaches on the ocean side: the First, the Second, the Third… They have names but no one remembers them, just numbers.

There’s a quick way from a hill down to the beach – rapel. 30 reals for fast and safe “delivery” of your precious self. For experienced extremals like ourselves – of no big interest, so we save money for famous pastel.

Little tents that sell famous baiano dish pastel have occupied the right side of the Second beach. Pastel is bakery with various fillings inside: from palm hears to carne-do-sol (kind of meat). We choose a table on the corner and watch vacationers.

In summer (from December to March) Morro de Sao Paolo is overcrowded. People come to spend time on a beach, spend money (Morro is expensive!) and party. Parties start after darkness, when children are taken to numerous pousadas (any kinds of hotels/hostels), lined up along the coast, and clubs open their doors. When tide goes down, beach becomes a place for fun too.

Young people love Morro, where DJs play electronic music that can’t be found in Salvador “at daytime with a light” and that is conservatively dedicated to traditional dancing style axe.

But that’s at night. And now sun is shining brightly and time to chill myself. As long as we have come by yacht, we don’t spend time with a crowd but go to a tiny island – reef that is almost covered with water at high tide. Waves are turbulent here, and we can anchor just for a short time, just enough to have a look at local inhabitants.

I put a snorkling mask on – and meet many eyes. Eyes of tropical fishes that scurry all around. Together we are swinging in waves – right-left, roooouuund, right-left. It is so pleasant that in my next life I decide to be a fish near Morro de Sao Paolo.

During my journeys I always tend to search for places more deserted. I love to have solitude or, better to say, – companionship of nature. And that’s why the best part for me wasn’t Morro, tho in southern parts of it and on other islands of the archipelago we could find untouched pieces of nature.

Anchorages around the southern part of Morro de Sao Paolo don’t provide hope for calm sleep. All nights from our week-long stay on Morro we spent on a continent that is in 15 minutes by boat from an island.

Long sand stripe of Curral separates Southern Atlantic ocean from the river. Anchoring on a calm side, in less than 5 minutes walk across the narrow land we admired ocean tide. The only company for us there were… little crabs, with whom side by side we used to farewell the last beams of evening sun.

Curral S13 22.922 W38 57.574

Tip for sailors: going inside the straight to the right from Morro de Sao Paolo (if to arrive from Salvador), keep closer to the island and go all along till the small town with a beach, where many boats are anchoring. There’s a big sand bank on the right that is seen in low tide, but disappears under the water in high. Turn to the right after you will see a long peer on the island and head to a sand strip on the continent.

Tip for travelers: Boats from Salvador to Morro de Sao Paolo are pretty expensive. If you travel not on board a yacht, much cheaper way is:

  1. To take a bus from Salvador to Valença:

  2. Take a bus (or taxi-bus) from Valença‘s bus station (rodoviaria) to Ancoradoro – 20 minutes ride.

  3. Take a boat from Ancoradoro to Morro de Sao Paolo.

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Deep into the Canal da Itaparica

They say: “There’re more than 300 islands in Baia dos Todos os Santos (the bay of Salvador, Bahia)”. Well, if to count all minor rocks and reefs that almost disappear under water durinhigh tide, probably, there’re.

Anyway, the bay of Bahia is the second biggest in Brazil after Guanabara in Rio de Janeiro.

The biggest island is Ilha da Itaparica. It is well-populated and lays on the south-west of the bay. Its beaches on side of Itaparica are famous among tourists and vacationers. But we go to less crowded and more virgin places – inside the Canal da Itaparica.

From Marina Bahia in Salvador we first go in northern direction. A bit later turn to the north-west and make around the northern cape of the island. On the other side we enter a narrow straight (between Itaparica and the continent), where there’re no touristic boats with drunk youth and hysterically shouting music. Either very few motor boats, who hurry somewhere on the full speed, rising 1.5 meter wave.

We reach shallow part, and depth indicator turned on an alarm. Now depth won’t drop more than 3 meters.

 Many of beaches and even islands here are private. People slowly occupy every piece of wild nature, making it serve for their comfort.

The nearest point to stop after the shallow part is Itororo – deserted place with a waterfall right on a beach. The only inhabitants of this piece of earth are crabs, and there’s many of them! We scared the hell of them, going after dawn to take a shower under the waterfall.

Our previous attempt to pass till Itororo was unsuccessful. The straight is very shallow, and with a boat of 1.8 meters draft you need to know the way for sure.

For this time from dusty depths of the boat we digged out old maps of Bahia dos Todos os Santos.

They contain exact coordinates that, if being uploaded to MaxSea or other navigation program, show exact way. Here I share them with you, friends. Hope it will make someones life easier. Our previous attempts to find them in the internet didn’t lead to any significant results.

First – way from the town da Itaparica (on the northern cape) to Itororo. Coordinates are taken from the book “Roteiro Nautico do Litoral da Bahia”.

Nome do waypoint (name of the waypoint)
Coordenadas
(coordinates)
Distancia
(distance)
Curso
(course)
MARINA S12 53.249 W38 41.231 0 ft
ACMARI S12 52.998 W38 41.446 0.327 nm 320º true
TUBARA S12 55.312 W38 42.530 2.88 nm 205º true
CARAP1 S12 56.496 W38 42.951 4.13 nm 199º true
CARAP2 S12 57.069 W38 43.340 4.82 nm 214º true
SARAIB S12 58.038 W38 44.737 6.49 nm 235º true
IDACAL S12 59.570 W38 46.066 8.50 nm 220º true
PRAIHA S13 00.741 W38 46.965 9.97 nm 217º true
ITOROR S13 01.318 W38 47.015 10.5 nm 185º tru

To pass from Itororo to Caixa Prego we need to wait for low tide. Otherwise, it’s not possible to cross under the lines of electric wires and the bridge that contact the continent and the island. In maps this route marked “red” and has caution note that warns to watch out shifts of the tide and – even then – if the height of the mast allow to pass under the lines (ours is around 11m high).

Table of tides can be found here:

http://www.mar.mil.br/dhn/chm/tabuas/index.htm

From Caixa Prego there’s a way to cross from the Channel to the open ocean but the depths there are so little that we wouldn’t risk. If only with experience local on board.

But it’s possible to enter the river till the town of Jaguaripe – calm countryside place with an old church.

Nome do waypoint (name of the waypoint)
Coordenadas
(coordinates)
Distancia
(distance)
Curso
(course)
ITOROR S13 01.318 W38 47.015 0 ft
ITORO1 S13 01.797 W38 47.254 0.533 nm
FUNIL S13 02.659 W38 47.316 1.49 nm 184º true
JIRIB1 S13 02.798 W38 47.438 1.58 nm 221º true
JIRIB2 S13 03.220 W38 47.862 2.17 nm 224º true
JIRIB3 S13 03.470 W38 47.966 2.44 nm 202º true
JIRIB4 S13 03.997 W38 48.014 2.97 nm 185º true
CATU1 S13 05.310 W38 47.955 4.29 nm
CATU2 S13 05.716 W38 47.782 4.74 nm
CATU3 (Caixa Prego) S13 06.368 W38 47.981
JAG1 S13 06.834 W38 48.128 0.489 nm 197º true
JAG2 S13 07.718 W38 49.100 1.30 nm
JAG3 S13 07.450 W38 49.966 2.67 nm
JAG4 S13 06.774 W38 51.404 4.23 nm
JAG5 S13 06.782 W3851.753 269º true
JAG6 S13 06.372 W38 52.755 293º true
JAGUA S13 06.621 W38 53.488 6.39 nm 251º true

 P.S. I have maps and routes with waypoints of the whole Brazilian coast. So, if everyone is in need, I will be glad to share with you. Just drop me a message or a comment here in the blog : )

Diary of the crossing Canaries – Cape Verde

Crossing from Canaries islands to Cape Verde will take us 6 days. But the hardest time is not  days. We count nights, and there’re seven of them in front of us.

Night one

Cinderella’s fairy tale is over. It was left in Mediterranean sea, where dolphins escort yachts, nights are full of shooting stars and water is turquoise and warm. We’re in Atlantic ocean that is far less kind and nice.
There’re just two of us now, Cristiano and me. That means – shifts 4/4 hours. How to explain to the organism that now it is awaken for four long hours, after which it needs to fall asleep fast, not to waste a minute from only four hours of sleep that follow. And then to stay awaken again – no matter if it is day or night.
The first day of crossing prepared an unpleasant surprise for me. There was nothing unusual about weather but I started to feel sea-sick. Not a frequent state of health for me. In precious three months of sailing the only time I felt bad was at ‘afterparty’ day. But at this case I needn’t go to the sea to feel terrible.
Breakfast was abandoned. Luckily that wasn’t my watch so I went to struggle with my own treacherous nature to bed. My shifts are from 10pm to 2am, from 6am to 10am and from 2pm to 6pm. By the way, the system of 4/4/4 was first applied by James Cook. In case you didn’t know : )
During the first six hours we went to the south along Gran Canaria. Island’s massive is not a shelter for us, but opposite – Chris was expecting strong wind near the middle of the eastern coast of Gran Canaria.
Soon we turned. The next 7 nights our course – 220, plus-minus.
Weather is dull and and moderately windy – about 10 knots.
The first night is cold and humid. Chilly wind infused my thin summer clothes (Paris and hitch-hiking trip made me leave at home some wind-proof and warm things). And humidity – it’s everywhere on board, while in sea. In air, carpets, on the table and in socks, and in bed too. You breath it, walk in it, sleep in it. Only in sea I really feel that 90 percent of me is water.
I stuffed a deckbag with things, necessary for average Russian amateur sailor, crossing the Atlantic.

Survival pack “a la Russe”:

500 grams of nuts, bar of milk chocolate;

phrase book on Brazilian Portuguese, textbook on Spanish, collection of travel stories of Paul Therraux;

i-Pod with French and Portuguese study audiocourses;

headlight (for reading and looking forward); blanket, “loaned” from AirBerlin the last year in trip to Southern Africa.

Night Two

After Crisa’s shift from 2am to 6 am we have tea and cake on a deck. I ask him when, in his opinion, organizm is able to adapt new schedule. He answer that to him it usually happens on the 3d day. All right, it’s coming, can’t wait for this moment.
The second night is surprisingly warm! Despite the fact wind is from the north-east. Its gasps, varying in direction and strength, keep me awaiting for the moment, when the genoa (headsail as we call it among the Brazilian-Russian crew) will ‘turn flip-flop’ (self-made sailing English term).

The sky is covered with thick layer of grey clouds. The sun and the moon are lucky to get from behind just for few hours. Well, Canaries while our stay were not sunny too: we haven’t seen the sun for several days. Autumn has come to the northern Atlantic. I try to imagine what’s now in Saint-Petersburg…

Night Three

Night shift is a hard time: to stay awaken for 4 hours, but even harder to wake up. This night is not an exception. I almost hadn’t slept between the last two shifts. Despite tireness, mood is still all right.

We go 227, wind is not that strong on my shift from 10pm to 2am. I’m listening to Portuguese audiocourse. “Eu intendo Portiguese, e eu falo Portuguese”. Today I made four lessons, 30 minuted each. And French – I have started French course. I dearly miss Paris and my friends there…

At morning shift 6am-10am I tack and set genoa. Now we go more to the left – 217. I started to count time till arrival:  +4 nights are in front of us.

Night Four

It’s one color overboard. The sky and ocean look one piece – enomous black curtain. No horizon, no “in front” and “behind”. No moon and stars – only sparkles of plankton mysteriously shine for a brief moment in a wave, split by “Vagabond”.
It’s warm, almost pleasantly warm. Particularly, because there’s no wind. We go with a main sail – 207. GPS says it’s 70 hours till Cape Verde…
I feel random drops on my skin. Scarce tears of Atlantic.
I’m tired. Almost didn’t sleep the whole day. I’m weird creature: my body waits till the moment it is exhausted, then – happy two hours of oblivion, that follows refusal to take a nap again. Kind of self-torture.

For day the forecast promised strong wind, so we decided to try only genoa that is easier and faster to operate. We didn’t loose in speed, but the boat started to swing horribly, making my damn sleep impossible. I felt myself inside the Russian doll “nevalyashka”: you push her, and she always wakes up – making a dozen of right-left nods before. In 2 hours I crawled to the deck and asked Cris to set the mainsail back. Quick exercise in underwear – at least one hour of sleep.

Night Five

This day was hot, even sunny. Finally, it’s possible to stay a shift in minuskirt and top. Warm clothes go under my back. I slept a bit on both sets of my rest hours – from 2am to 6 am and before the lunch. It’s amazing! Only here really understand importance of sleep.

I do not feel perfect still but uncomparebly better if to remember the last night.
Chris cooks delicious lunches – my only normal meal a day. I suppose if he wouldn’t feed me, I would die from starvation. Generally, I don’t have appetite. That’s strange, because usually waving makes me extremely hungry, and food I consume is counted in kilos then. Looks like my tireness is bigger than my appetite.

Diet “Sailing a la russe”:

nuts, oranges, random fresh vegetables and water with lemon juice.

Now there’s  no wind at all, and sails are making “flip-flop”. Ocean is calm, and we go with the engine. Stars are dim. very few are able to struggle their light through thick clouds.
I touch the water with a torch. It literally starts to shine – this is plankton gratefully responsing on a beam of light.
While sailing at night, I recall my past. First time in 10 years without fear I’m back to my Golden age – my childhood. I couldn’t accept for many years that it’s over, my little fairy tale. So one day 10 years ago pushed all my remembrances to the dark cellar and screwed the door. Now they are free again. I remember everything so well as if it was yesterday. It’s cut in my memory and stay there forever unchanging. Every house, every tree and hole in fences – unique map of the amazing world, one-of-a kind story.
GPS shows 60 hours before arrival.

Night Six

Still little wind. GPS supposes we arrive at night from Saturday to Sunday. Damn, that means we need to slow down. We don’t want to enter the unknown harbour before the sunrise.
I dream about marina shower : ) And sleep of course. The last three attempts to fall asleep (3 times for four hours) were rather unsuccessful.
This sleep problem makes me talk to Crisa about searching the third crew member. Who’s in Cape Verde for the next week and ready for Atlantic-Brazilian adventure? Drop me a message : )
At night I rewatched “Truman show”. We’re all in someone’s show. Why not to try to open your eyes and imagination and start writing script by ourselves sometimes? Even if on the first glance someone else’s look more convenient and safe. Big world is worth exploring.
I see a lonely creature – fly fish. I hear  splash and point her with a torch. For the last days we haven’t met a soul. This is it, so-called “solitude together”.

Night Seven

This is really thrilling: no wind, no moon. Darkness. Splashes behind. There’re still some waves – its gousts appear randomly from nowhere. From time to time I see a glare of plankton as if there’s thunderstorm under the water – brief sparkle that dissapears in the darkness sooner than I’m able to praise its beauty in my mind.
Lonely light far away on starboard. And quiet, ominously quiet.
I’m waiting. In  Russia we have an expression: “Quiet before storm”. Law of contrasts that keeps the life running.
We make 2-3 knots (5 km/h) – speed of a walking man. Sails flop restfully. But I don’t want to ruin this sinister atmosphere with rude sound of engine. I’m waiting…

In 2 hours some wind has come. Skies have been cleared, and stars are seen now. One – extremely bright one – spotlights from the height as if someone examines me with a torch.  I send him a wink.
I’m charmed by the beauty of the small canstellation, which stars crowded close together. It’s right above me.

There’s no Big bear seen behind the clouds near the horizon. And Orion is not here yet, it shows up closer to the morning. My father used to tell me about stars, when I was a child.
I see a shooting star – magnificent present from Atlantic ocean. It crosses 1/4 of the sky in its last bright and free flight. Thank you, I have something to wish!

Far -far away I see the glare above the horizon.

This is land. This is Cape Verde.

Morning Eight

We go between Ihla de San Antao and Ihla de Sao Vincente. Silhoettes of the mountains wake up tired imagination. Their volcanic nature is apparent: that unique mixture of poor and splendid that charmes me so much. Waves crushes on solid black rocks that are separated by beaches of yellow sand.
We enter the harbor of Mindelo, where the only marina of Cape Verde is situated. We pass the port. Its rusty boats and dirty cranes do not look dull but picturesque, backed by beautiful scenery of mountains.
We have arrived to Cape Verde – Islands of Green Cape.

See you in Cabo Verde!

Today we leave amazing Lanzarote and start our way to Cape Verde!

Approximately 8-10 days in sea. We’re going to stop in Praia, Ilha Sao Tiago. According to http://www.noonsite.com, this island has a bad reputation because of numerous thefts.But I’m excited about this country much.

Not far from the bay Cidade Velha is situated – the village included into Cultural heritage list of UNESCO.

See you soon, my friends))

1000 and 1 …troubles

In Tarife we met Dominic – a sailor from Belgium, who adores Brazil. He couldn’t miss a boat with Brazilian flag – not a frequent quest in a small harbor of Tarife. Dominic works as a guide of whale and dolphin watching tours, taking excited tourists to the Atlantic for the adventure of their life. www.turmares.com

Arabic spirit infuses the whole town.

Dominic became our guide too – he showed us around numerous bars and pubs of old Tarife. Bar crawl started with calamari, continued with alco drinks, accompanied by crying of flamenco singers, finished on the boat with psychological discussion and smoking session. The evening was all right.

In four days the wind calmed down. But we were destined for Cadiz… The freezer died.

Actually, time in Tarife (and Gibraltar in the plan A) we devoted to preparations for Atlantic crossing. There was much stuff to fix, like pasting holes in a sail, checking the engine, cleaning winches, repairs of a deck table, fixing a loose rudder… And freezer. It theory, we could feel it with ice and buy more cans – some sailors do round-the-world trips without the freezer. But that was considered the last option.

As you understand, the master, who knew all about yacht freezers, lived in Cadiz…

…Autipilot wasn’t in list. It was another unpleazant surprise. But in Cadiz it decided to join the freezer. We were not glad of idea to steer 24 hours a day, 21 days consecutively.

Another unpleasant one was that there were no technicians in Cadiz. But we were still lucky: we found one in a small town in 3 miles from the city center – Santa Maria. Here, spent 15 minutes and 300 euros, we resurrected capricious electronics.  We are ready for departure.

The quay of our marina – artistic maritime Spain

Another news waited for us… On our way to Canaries we could be caught by 35 knots wind, the latest weather forecast indicated. We decided to stop somewhere between… in Rabat, the capital of Marocco, for example. What about Arabic fairy tale for night?

Our almost neighbors – the copy of the ship of the 16th century. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to meet the crew and kindly ask for a tour.

Cris on his site www.mundovagabond.com wrote a post about “gender” of a ship, a yacht. I can’t not agree: in amount of troubles SHE can be compared only to us, women : )