back to South Africa Log
Atlantic Ocean Log
Saturday February 16th, 2002
Checked out with port control, immigration, and customs. They are all open 24 hours a day here in Cape Town, which makes it easier. It's also free. We have found that information/procedures are not consistent from office to office and port to port, but the officials are friendly, so we are not complaining. -DWH
11:20am: Lines are free. It is about 1700 nm to St. Helena. As we leave we have a beautiful view of Cape Town and Table Mountain. We also pass Robbin Island. This is the prison island where Nelson Mandela and his ANC buddies were held for several years. -DWH
5:30pm: Once we were clear of the mountains the wind got steady and started to build. It is now about 30 knots out of the south. We are moving along at about 8 knots. It is a little bumpy but is an excellent start. There are birds and seals everywhere. -DWH
7:30pm: Wind still strong, maybe even up a little more. Dropped the main (which had been double reefed). Now sailing with just the jib. Still making excellent speed. -DWH
10:00pm: Wind usually over 30 and sometimes 35-40 knots. The seas are building up and breaking.
Sunday February 17th, 2002
When I wasn't at the helm, I was napping in the saloon with my foul weather gear and harness still on. It is not too threatening, but is definitely interesting. Stacy was at the helm at about 3am when we took a big breaking wave over the stern. I heard her scream, and when I looked out there was water everywhere. They have been breaking around us all night, so I guess we were going to get hit sooner or later. It continued to be rough into the day. Stacy has not been able to eat much. She has been close to getting sick a couple times. I usually don't have too much trouble, but last night when it was dark and I could not really see the horizon, even I was starting to feel the affects. Once it was light out it was better and actually pretty nice sailing. It is fun watching big waves rear up and then break (as long as they are not breaking in our cockpit). I also entertained myself by watching the numerous albatross that have been flying around. I spent 2 hours trying to catch one actually flapping his wings. It never happened. They seem to be able to glide along the wave tops forever.
Noon: Our position is 31 58 S, 16 04 E. We have made about 170 nm since leaving Cape Town.
The water temp is now up to about 65 deg F. When we rounded the Cape of Good Hope and hit the Benguela current (cold water from the South Atlantic) it had dropped to about 50. That current continues up along the coast, but we are starting to get out of it. It will soon be warm enough that we will be enthusiastic about bucket baths in the net again.
4pm: For the first 20 hours out of Cape Town the bar was way up and steady. We must have been right on the edge of the south Atlantic high. It started to drop around 7am and is now down about 6. We are still in fairly dangerous waters, but the likelihood of anything really nasty drops off considerably as we get above 30S. -DWH
Monday February 18th, 2002
It was another rough night. The has wind stayed up in the 25-35 knot range. The seas are not real big, but they are confused. We've gotten hit by waves from all directions. These confused seas make it difficult for the autopilot, so we have been hand steering. We are really looking forward to reaching the trade winds where, along with steady wind, we should also get more regular seas. Jo saw a couple whales this morning. One made a couple passes right next to the hull. He said it was about 20 ft. long and had spots on it's back. Later a different whale passed right in front of the boat. He said a big, black dorsal fin came about 2 feet out of the water. Stacy and I were both napping during all this fun. He yelled for us, but in both cases we were too slow. -DWH
The first fish remains unidentified, the second has a good chance that it was a killer whale! -Jo
Noon: Our position is 30 04 S, 13 47 E. We made 157 nm in the last 24 hours.
Later: The wind has dropped. The main is back up. The auto pilot is working. Stacy is still feeling sea sick, but I expect a full recovery as the seas mellow out. -DWH
Flying fish are back!
8:30pm: Just talked to Laura from Wings of Time on the SSB. They are about 4 or 5 days ahead of us and doing well. Laura had a funny story. They had trouble with their autopilot for the first day or two after leaving Cape Town. She said it was driving like it was drunk. After some investigation they found that the cause was a large quantity of beer. Huh? They had a case of beer sitting next to the autopilot compass. Once the beer was moved the autopilot went back to normal. -DWH
Tuesday February 19th, 2002
4am: Wind died. Motoring.
6am: Wind up a bit. Sailing again.
9:30: Jo and Stacy raised the spinnaker. This is the first time it's been up in months. This, like the reappearance of the flying fish, is another good sign. As good as South Africa was, we are all really ready for that good old trade winds passage making
Noon: Our position is 28 39 S, 12 07 E. We made 112 nm in the last 24 hours.
Cape Town radio really blasts out on the VHF. We are at least 250 nm from the nearest transmitter and are still picking them up.
In the Indian Ocean we all did regular exercise. By the time we reached Richard's Bay we were feeling strong. Since then we've had almost three months of nearly free beer, wine, and steaks. I still feel good but not quite the same. Now that we are getting back into that trade winds cruising mode, I decided it's time to get lean and mean again. I can't say that the push-ups and sit-ups felt good, but I'm happy to be getting back at it. And afterwards I took a bucket bath in the net, much better than those hot showers at the yacht clubs. This is what I've been missing. (Reading a good book, Edward Abbey's "A Fool's Progress", while the autopilot steers us under the spinnaker doesn't hurt either.) -DWH
Wednesday February 20th, 2002
2am: Wind died. Drifting. 3am: Motoring. 6am: A light wind has picked up from the SW. Sailing again.
Noon: Position is 27 35S, 10 49E. We made 108 Miles in the last 24 hours. Spinnaker is up and we are making 6 knots towards St. Helena. I am so happy because I can finally make food, eat it, and then work on the computer. None of this is possible when you are sea sick. My only relief the first 48 hours was sleeping in my bed. I was even sick during daylight at the helm, that should let you know how confused and rolly the seas were. -SLC
The last couple days have been beautiful - mild seas, nice breeze, sunny sky - and the sailing has been pleasant, but we haven't seen much sea life. We've had the fishing lines out. I had one light hit as I was pulling a line in to change the lure, but it didn't really seem like the fish wanted it too badly. Then, in the early afternoon, Jo took a look over the side of the boat. There were fish everywhere. Our lures were still in the water with no action as we watched a steady stream of fish cruising by for hour after hour after hour. I wonder where they are all going and why they are not hungry. I know I'm hungry. We just need a little cooperation here. -DWH
Thursday February 21st, 2002
It was an easy night flying the spinnaker, nothing to keep us company but the moon and the stars. -DWH
Noon: Position is 26 04S, 08 57E. We made 135 nm in the last 24 hours.
7pm: It's been an easy day flying the spinnaker and reading books. -DWH
8pm: Talked to Jeff from Wings of Time. They are having as much fun as we are except they have also caught fish. Little Nicholas, 18 months old, has his sea legs and is all over the boat. Laura, who is very pregnant, is also doing well. They are glad to be in the South Atlantic and not the rough South Indian Ocean. Day after day of 25-35 knots with an 18 month old and one in the oven sounds very trying. We also got another update on the great pirate attack. Last word is that there was no contact between the boats and absolutely no shots fired. The more we learn the more we realize that nothing actually happened. -DWH
Friday February 22nd, 2002
Another easy night with the spinnaker still up. The forecast for this area changes little (SE10-15 or SE15-20 everyday), and it seems to be pretty accurate. Over the last two days the wind has been pretty much from the SE, varying through a range of maybe 40 degrees, and the speed has been between about 8 and 20 knots. It really makes for easy sailing.
Noon: Position is 24 23S, 06 54E. We made 151 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 876 left to go. -DWH
4:30pm: Called Cape Town Radio on SSB. I was hoping that I could place a collect call to the US through them. I'd like to call Ridge, Steve, and John and wish them good luck in tomorrow's big ski race back in Wisconsin. That service was available in Australia, but unfortunately is not supported in South Africa. Too bad. Well at least I know there is someone in Cape Town listening out in case we need help. (And I hope everyone has an enjoyable race!) -DWH
8:30pm: We finally dropped the spinnaker after almost two and a half days. The wind wasn't too bad, but the autopilot was struggling to hold course. It is also cloudy, so we will not have much light to deal with it tonight. Better to be cautious even if it means going quite a bit slower. It will probably be back up again in the morning. -DWH
Saturday February 23rd, 2002
Midnight: Wind died down, the spinnaker is back up, and the autopilot is working.
4am: We have crossed the Tropic of Capricorn (23 27S) and are now officially back in the tropics. We have also cleared the Valdivia Banks, the area where there was the "situation" between the yacht and the fishing boat. We have heard that there are a lot of fishing boats in the general area. We our course to avoid most of the banks and have not seen any boats at all. -DWH
Noon: Position is 22 56S, 04 54E. We made 144 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 732 left to go. -DWH
We saw our first boat since the first couple days after leaving Cape Town. It was a large fishing boat. They called us on the VHF, but their English was difficult to understand, we didn't recognize their language. At first I was concerned because they might be calling to warn us about lines or nets, but after a few minutes it became apparent that they were just being friendly.
Since it is easy sailing, we worked on a few projects. Jo worked in the starboard head (refinishing the walls and wood work), and I worked in one of the lockers where we store food. We have had a squeak coming from that locker for quite some time. I took out all the food, cleaned everything, and found the squeak. There was a board that was loose. Six screws later, and the squeak is gone for good. I think I have now eliminated all the noises from the inside of our hull. These noises bother Stacy when she is trying to sleep. She is a happy girl now. -DWH
Looks like another nice night of sailing with the spinnaker. -DWH
Sunday February 24th, 2002
It was a peaceful night. It is so comfortable sailing downwind with the spinnaker. Ladybug usually has a pleasant downwind motion. With the spinnaker up, we make good speed even with light wind, so the waves are not overtaking us very quickly. We are averaging around 6 knots, but it seems like we are just floating along. -DWH
Noon: Position is 21 30S, 02 44E. We made 147 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 585 left to go. -DWH
I was really determined to catch fish today, so I tried a new strategy. I put my latest homemade lure (a hook, a chunk of lead, the finger tip from an old rubber glove, and the shiny material from a bag of wine) on a handline on the starboard side. I put a big musky lure (10" of wood and hooks) on a handline in the center. Finally I put a rubber squid with some strips of shiny wine bag material on "the Provider" (my heavy pole) on the port side with lots of line out so it was quite a far behind the other two. I figured that the fish did not have a chance. The musky lure would draw them in with its wild motion. They would then either hit that or the homemade lure. If they let those two go by, the last one would sneak up on them, and the fish would probably hit it out of instinct. It seemed like a good plan, and in the early afternoon I had a hit on the Provider. Unfortunately it got off after only a few seconds. Meanwhile Stacy was knitting like a fool. She had purchased some hand spun, hand dyed yarn before we left South Africa and was quickly turning into a hat for me. Once it was done she put it on my head and declared that it was my new "lucky hat", just what a fisherman needs! About a half hour later I had landed a nice skipjack tuna on the Provider. It was just the right size for dinner, so as soon as it was in the boat I went to pull in the other lines before we caught any more. Too late. Another tuna grabbed the homemade lure. Luckily for him, he wasn't hooked too badly, so I sent him back to the sea. While cleaning our dinner I checked the unfortunate fish's belly. He was a pig! His stomach was packed with a squid (about 3-4" long) and a large flying fish (about 7" long). I finished cleaning the fish, and dinner was soon cooked. I had my first real tuna sandwich in a long, long time. Fantastic! -DWH
8:30pm: Just talked to Wings of Time. They made it to St. Helena this morning. It sounds beautiful. Jeff saw what he thinks was a huge manta ray swim under the boat right in the anchorage. He said it was at least 20 feet long. They also have several large dorado hanging out under their boat. Now we are really excited about getting there. -DWH
Monday February 25th, 2002
Another easy night of sailing with the spinnaker, but at 6am the wind died and it had to be dropped.
10:00 Spinnaker back up.
Noon: Position is 20 11S, 00 50E. We made 132 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 453 left to go. -DWH
1pm: Jo is working on the starboard head. I am cutting patterns for the cockpit cushions. The wind has died, and it is raining lightly. The spinnaker is back down.
2:15pm: Dave vs. the Dorado! Well, I think I won because we are going to be eating the dorado for dinner, but he got a good lick in before he was down.......................We finished yesterday's tuna for lunch. Encouraged by my success yesterday, I put out the same combination of lures. It was only about an hour before we had a fish, this time on the "Jake", a 10" musky lure manufactured in Wausau, Wisconsin. The advertising for the lure claimed that it was the "best that money could buy", which turned out to be true at least as far as the quality of the hooks is concerned. Once I notice that we had a fish on, it only took a few minutes to get it to the boat. I was alone in the cockpit, so rather than gaffing him, I just lifted the fish out of the water. Just as I got him in the cockpit he started to flop around violently (Dorado are famous for this as you will know if you've read our Pacific log or seem Jo's videos). The next thing I knew there was a fish hook through my thumb. Ouch!!!! Now I have a 27" dorado flopping around with one end of a musky lure in his mouth and the other end of the lure stuck in my thumb. HELP!! Jo and Stacy quickly appeared. Stacy helped hold the fish down while Jo spent a couple minutes cutting the hooks out of his mouth. Life got marginally better once the fish was disconnected. Then we attacked the hook in my hand. We tried cutting it with a wire cutters. No luck. These were top quality hooks. Eventually we got out the vise, clamped the hook securely, and cut it with a hack saw. This took several minutes but was not too painful. Jo kept very cool. He's a good man in a crises. I imagine that it is more difficult working on a hook through someone else's flesh than it is to work on one through your own. Once the hook was cut I cleaned the wound and then pulled the remaining part of the hook through with a pliers. I cleaned it a little more, applied some antibiotic, and put a loose bandage over it. Jo cleaned up the blood (from me and from the fish) and filleted the dorado. Stacy made me lay down, got a hot compress for my thumb, and poured me a glass of red wine. Even when things go wrong, life still isn't too bad. -DWH
The dorado is down and out..................
............but he got his parting shot in before he gave up.
4:30pm: Spinnaker back up!
Boy am I glad Dave wasn't hurt worse. As we were leaving Cape Town I ran into a woman in the Yacht Club shower who mangled her foot (lost lots of flesh and had 2 pins to repair the bone) about 100 mile off shore. They came back to S. Africa and her foot is healing well. But it really is scary to think about having a major accident out here at sea. But I keep telling myself this is a very safe place for us to be(not much traffic trying to get to work on time, or crazy people stealing to buy drugs or crazy terrorists), and we have lots of resources in a pinch.
After we cleaned up the blood and cooked the fish it was time to treat ourselves. Dave and I settled down to watch the new movie that Ryan and Linda sent for us. I have been saving the movie for a time just like this, when we needed a little distraction. So there we were in the middle of the ocean laughing hysterically and crying with sympathy for our new found idol Bridgette Jones! A big thanks to Ry and Linda for sending us such a great movie. -SLC
We had a great sunset. There were some dark low lying clouds that seemed to squeeze the hot red into a narrow strip along the horizon. Excellent. Now it's 11pm and we are 6.5 nautical miles from the prime meridian. I will be the only one awake to celebrate our arrival back in the Western hemisphere. I will let you know if it feels any different.....well, we have arrived in the Western hemisphere and there aren't any fireworks appearing in the sky but the red wine from South Africa still tastes great. It feels really good to be one step closer to home. -SLC
All kinds of excitement today. Taking my usual afternoon nap, when I hear "Jo, Stacy, I need help!" Quickly I make it up on deck and I see that Dave has caught a small dorado. Cool, dinner! Then I start to wake up and realize that he was trying to tell me something else. Nasty! One of the other hooks of the lure went right through his thumb. Him and the fish are attached to the same lure, and the fish is still trying to wiggle away. I run downstairs on command and grab the wire cutters. To no avail, the hook is too damn hard! Another set of pliers, but that does not help either. Time to reassess. 1st step, separate Dave and the fish, so we cut the fishes lip and now we have one less problem. I run downstairs and find the vise. If we use the vise to crank on the wire cutters, maybe we can get through. All we manage is to bend the wire cutters. OK! I have an idea, lets clamp the hook on the vise, and I'll get the hack saw. I start sawing and the blade goes dull before I finish the job. I quickly grab another blade. Finally we cut through the hook. Dave finishes the job by cleaning the wound and hook as best as he can and slips the hook the rest of the way out! Wow, what a day. At midnight we cross the prime meridian, finally returning to the western hemisphere. 400 miles to go, and we should be to St Helena by Friday!
Tuesday February 26th, 2002
Early morning: Wind slowly shifting more towards the west. Dropped the spinnaker and put up main and jib. -DWH
11:30am: Wind shifted back. Spinnaker back up.
Noon: Position is 18 49S, 00 49W. We made 123 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 330 left to go. -DWH
I was minding my own business digging in the water locker when a wave splashed the deck. Well, I thought, we are not really going fast enough for water to splash that high --- wait those are squid all over the deck! The deck was quickly being stained with black ink, so we gather the little guys up and rinsed the deck. We used one for bait, and the rest got fried in oil and lemon juice. YUMMY! -SLC
Here are some of the squid that landed on our deck.
Spent the afternoon working on a few small projects: making patterns for cockpit cushions, fixing leak in dinghy, finishing the St. Helena flag, etc.
Wednesday February 27th, 2002
What a beautiful morning. The full moon was setting in the west, and the sun was rising in the east.
Noon: Position is 17 25S, 03 01W. We made 151 nm in the last 24 hours. Our planned route has been modified with the addition of a detailed approach to the anchorage, which added a few miles. We now have 184 nm to go. It is a beautiful sunny day and all is well on board. -DWH
8pm: Talked to Jeff on Wings of Time. They are leaving St. Helena tomorrow morning, so we will not get there in time to see them. We will still keep in contact with them on the SSB, but we will probably not see them again, at least in the near future. We wish them the best of luck with the trip home and with the new baby. -DWH
Thursday February 28th, 2002
6am: It's been another beautiful night of sailing under the full moon. We are trying to make good speed in hope of reaching the anchorage at St. Helena before dark. Right now we are doing a little better than 7 knots, and our chances look good, but we will have to wait and see if the wind holds up. -DWH
Noon: Position is 16 10S, 05 10W. We made 145 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 39 nm to go!
12:30pm: Land ho!!
We came around the north tip of the island still flying the spinnaker. St. Helena is basically a mountain sticking out of the ocean. It is a very dramatic sight, very beautiful in the late afternoon light. It is also very isolated - 1000 miles for Africa, 1700 miles from South America, and 700 miles from Ascension Island which is the nearest other land. We don't believe that it has an airport so the only way here is by boat. There are about 5000 people living here. I guess you'd better like your neighbors, huh?
7:30pm Anchor down (for the first time since Cocos Keeling!). The ferry service met us as we came in and directed us to a spot. The customs and immigration officials will not be coming buy until tomorrow. The fridge is on cooling our beer and champagne. Jo just dove in for a swim (also the first since Cocos Keeling!) and I'm next. Then we have a big pot of maffe tiga waiting for dinner. What a wonderful life. -DWH
Friday March 1st, 2002
We had to wait for the officials to come out and give us clearance this morning. While we were waiting we heard some radio traffic between a really large yacht and the fuel dock. The yacht must be 70-80 feet long and has a huge mast with 5 sets of spreaders. They had also come from Cape Town, but needed to take on fuel. We were a little confused. It seems like everyone had pretty steady wind on this passage. A boat like that should have been able to make the passage easily in 8-10 days with no motoring. We later heard the details of the fuel transaction. The yachts "fuel manager" back in the US had transferred the funds for 1300 gallons. Wow! We probably used about 2 or 3 gallons. I guess they motor or motorsailed the whole way. You'd think that someone with such a nice boat would at least order the paid crew to actually sail it once in a while.
We were boarded by the health inspector and a police officer around 9:30am. We did some initial paperwork and got instructions on the fees and procedure for finishing the clearing in process in town. There is a 20.50 pound fee for the health inspection and an 11 pound fee to immigration for each person. We haven't had to pay any clearance fees for a long time, so it seemed a little expensive, but it's really not that bad. We also had to show proof of insurance. Otherwise we are only allowed to stay for 48 hours. Anyone who does not have insurance can purchase a 2 week policy in St. Helena for 5 pounds, so that isn't really a big deal either. -DWH
After paying our clearance fees, we took a good look around town and found a nice place for a beer and cheeseburger. Next we went to check email. Then we had a couple of beers before heading back to the boat. We had a nice spaghetti dinner and went to bed early while Jo set the town on fire. -SLC
Saturday March 2nd, 2002
Made spice cake while Dave worked on "Ladybug for sale" stuff.
Yesterday we headed to shore around 11 am. We made a quick stop at the police station to show them our health insurance documents. Health insurance is required for a stay longer than 48 hours. Then we bought some postcards and had a soda at a bar with a huge verandah on the main street. After the bar we went down to the Arts and Crafts shop to have a chat with Danny. I met Danny the second day we were here and I wanted Dave to meet him. He does beautiful watercolors of local images and scenery and is very friendly. Danny is from Australia but fell in love with a St. Helenean woman while in England. He has lived here for many years and really loves it. But he says that he must leave the island for vacation every couple of years so that he doesn't tire of island life.
Our next mission was to hike up Jacob's ladder, after climbing 700 hundred steps straight up we were out of the main town district. It did not take more than a few minutes for some one to ask if we needed a lift somewhere. A guy named Brian let us climb into the back of his pickup truck after we explained that we were just out for a day to see the country side. He offered to drop us anywhere along the road to his house which is on the other side of the island.
Looking down Jacob's Ladder onto Jamestown.
A view of the harbour of Jamestown.
The view from the back of the pickup was AMAZING! The cliffs on the coast are very dry, rocky and brown, but inland there is green everywhere! We found mountains, deep valleys, cattle grazing in the pastures, tons of birds, a group of donkeys and incredible views of the ocean from up high. The roads are one lane, so on coming traffic is a little interesting. Luckily there is not much traffic and we found the roads to be more like paths and were just perfect for an afternoon stroll. After enjoying the scenery for a few hours we found a car headed back to town and asked for a ride.
A few donkeys along the side of the road.
We found ourselves to be a bit sweaty and hungry after the hike so we drank a couple of sodas in the park and munched on the great bread from the local bakery. The town is very friendly, everyone greets you as you walk down the street. I think after a week we would get to know quite a few people by their first name.
After our adventure around the island we decided to get our kayaks out. Dave went for a snorkel and I paddled along the coast for about 30 minutes. The coast is very rocky and steep with a few caves which makes for interesting scenery. Dave found the water nice, 75 degrees and very clear. Lots of big schools of small fish. By the time I made it back to where I left Dave, one of the kids had on his fins and was trying to get in the kayak with him. He definitely made a new friend!
We finished off the day with a tour of the anchorage in our kayaks. It's a great way to visit other yachts. Talked to the people on s/v Imagine, a big Dean cat. They just bought their boat and started cruising in South Africa. They had a rough passage and decided that they need some help, so they are waiting for a captain to arrive for South Africa.We also met a young South African couple with 3 children. They are also new to cruising. It is interesting to meet some people just starting out, makes us feel very experienced. -SLC
Sunday March 3rd, 2002
Working on emails and web page stuff. Jo went for a kayak and hike this morning. -SLC
Stacy and I checked out the coast in the kayaks this afternoon. There are a lot of old fortifications here. We also saw dolphins. On the way back we did the anchorage cruise and ended up on Sea Bell, also a catamaran, for a glass of wine. In talking to different boats it sounds like many people had similar experiences in their passage for South Africa, lots of wind and rough conditions for a few days and then nice steady wind and sunny skies the rest of the way. It also looks like we did quite well speed wise. Most other boats, including the other cats, took two weeks or longer to get here. It took us 12 days and 8 hours.
Monday March 4th, 2002
Spent the day hanging out, working on website stuff, and doing a little hiking. Stacy and I went to "Anne's Place" for a dinner date. -DWH
Stacy and Jessica, Anne's granddaughter
Tuesday March 5th, 2002
We had hoped to do a tour of the island today, but it was pretty rainy. The taxi driver suggested that we wait until tomorrow. So instead of doing the tour, Stacy and I tried to finish up the website. In addition to all the normal stuff included in the update, we also added a "Ladybug for sale" page. It's sad but true. Once we get back to the Caribbean/ Florida we will sell the Bug and head back to work. We are advertising early in hopes of being able to set up inspection visits for when we reach the Caribbean. So, we headed into town with our disks only to find that the power is off. We ended up spending most of the day hanging around waiting (and having a few beers). It finally came back on around 3pm. We updated the website, placed out online add with "Soundings" (www.soundingsonline.com), and sent a few emails.
While in the internet cafe we met a woman named Cecile. We didn't really have time to talk there - power just came on at 3:00, and they close at 3:30 so we were all in a hurry - but we did have a beer with her later. She is South African. Even though she didn't have any sailing experience, she decided to give it a try and signed on as crew on an Italian boat. She seems to be having fun, but from the stories the boat she is on does not sound that great. The captain does not like them to fish, does not let them play music, and there is alcohol on board. Boy does that sound like a party! Not only that, but the boat must be a dog. It took them 19 days from Hout Bay. Anyhow, we wish her the best of luck. If she is having fun now, she'll really have a blast on a more laid back boat. -DWH
Wednesday March 6th, 2002
It was rainy again this morning, but we decided to go ahead with the tour. Our guide/driver was Robert Peters. We rode around the island in the back of his truck and saw all the sights. Napoleon was exiled here, so we saw the house where he lived and also his tomb. Robert was very friendly and talkative. By the end of the tour we felt like we knew as much about his family as we did about the island.
Robert explains some of the history of St. Helena
Cecile, Jo and Stacy at Napoleon's tomb
After the tour we prepared Ladybug for our passage to Brazil. -DWH
5pm: Anchor Up! 1912 nm to Salvador, Brazil.
St. Helena anchorage as we are leaving.
Spinnaker up. Broad reach in 12-15 knots of wind. Not a bad way to start another passage. -Jo
11pm: Wind picked up. Dropped chute and unfurled jib. Still doing 5 knots. -DWH
Thursday March 7th, 2002
12:30am: Southern Cross to the left. Big Dipper to the right. Orion sinking into the sea directly ahead. -DWH
9am: Spinnaker back up.
Noon: Position is 15 46S, 07 30W. We made 103 nm since leaving St. Helena 19 hours ago.
5pm: We have made 138 nm since leaving St. Helena 24 hours ago, a good start to the passage.
Friday March 8th, 2002
There is a little noise coming from the aft part of the port hull. I've heard this before back in the Indian Ocean and South Africa, but it is getting more frequent. After a little investigation I believe that it may be from the lower rudder bushing. It sounds like it is a little loose. It does not sound too bad, but should be checked and probably replaced the next time the boat is hauled out of the water. -DWH
Noon: Position is 15 29S, 10 24W. We made 169 nm in the last 24 hours. The wind has been SE15-25 most of the time. We had the spinnaker up for all but about 1 hour, when we dropped it for a little rain squall. -DWH
2pm: Just had a cruise ship pass going the opposite direction. St Helena gets about 20 cruise ships a year, and there is one scheduled for tomorrow. I bet this is the ship. Stacy made an interesting point: it will probably be this very cruise ship that carries our post cards off the island. -DWH
7pm: Dropped the spinnaker for the night. Still doing about 5 knots or a little better with just the jib. It should be a relaxing night.
3:10 am Great moon rise! -SLC
Saturday March 9th, 2002
Noon: Position is 15 18S, 12 47W. We made 138 nm in the last 24 hours. The wind has continued to be SE15-25 with scattered rain. The spinnaker went back up at 11am. The sky seems to be starting to clear. The lines are out, but no fish so far. We will still eat well though as Stacy is busy in the kitchen making treats. -DWH
Stacy was a bundle of energy today. She cooked, did her workout, started on a Brazilian flag, and still had time to give my an excellent hair cut. -DWH
Spotted a ship around 21:00 heading north. Crossed behind us. -Jo 2nd ship? spotted around 22:30 -Jo
Sunday March 10th, 2002
Last night on the radio Jeff and I agreed to "get serious" about fishing and to have reports for each other tonight. So, I'm going all out. I have the Jake musky bait in the center on the hand line, a homemade lure on the handline on the starboard side, and a rubber squid on the on the provider with lots of line out. This has proven to be a good combination in the past. In addition to all that I'm wearing my lucky hat, popped open a beer, and ate a tuna fish sandwich from canned tuna (All proven methods of getting fish to bite, though seldom used together. This is powerful magic.). Now all I can do is wait................
Noon: Position is 15 12S, 15 43W. We made 170 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 1332 nm to go to Salvador. -DWH
Stacy finished our Brazilian flag.
............still waiting. Talked to Laura at 18:00. Jeff didn't catch anything either. Will try again tomorrow.
7pm: Spinnaker down for the night. -DWH
Monday March 11th, 2002
7:30 Chute's back up.
All lines went out this morning. I'm really in the mood for fresh fish. -DWH
Noon: Position is 15 01S, 17 53W. We made 126 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 1206 nm to go to Salvador. -DWH
Stacy and Jo were productive doing little boat projects again today. Dave was a lazy turd and spent most of the day eating, reading, and taking naps (a very low gravity day, Hi Ho).
Still waiting. Stacy and I have been trading off on talking to Wings of Time on the SSB. It was her turn today, so she was the one to tell them "no fish story" again. But what luck they had! Yesterday, about a half hour after we talked, they caught a 4 foot marlin. Like us they've had marilin on before, but this was the first time they ever got one to the boat. After taking some good photos they let it go. Wow! When Jeff says he'll have a fish story, I guess he means it. -DWH
Tuesday March 12th, 2002
7am: Sky is just getting light...fishing lines are out. We are cruising along at 7 knots with the spinnaker.
Noon: Position is 14 37S, 20 40W. We made 162 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 1044 nm to go to Salvador.
7pm Still no fish?!?!?! We had a good day of boat projects. Dave worked on the speakers. Round speakers don't look so great in a square hole. But he has fixed one, and I think it looks pretty good. I worked on cushions for the cockpit. I started with the smallest one, and it turned out pretty nice. Jo spent the better part of the day working in his head trying to smooth out the walls and get it ready to paint. -SLC
Wednesday March 13th, 2002
2:30 am: We are now half way to Salvador!
When I put out the fishing lines this morning I noticed that 2 of the 3 treble hooks on the "Jake" were bent. I guess we had a hit yesterday and didn't notice. It may have all been very quick as is often the case when hooks get bent on the hand lines. With the pole we hear the drag as the line goes out, but on the hand lines it just goes tight and holds or it doesn't. With a big fish the hook(s) bend before the 250 lb line breaks. Well, now we at least know that there are fish out there. I am so in the mood for a little raw tuna. A 15 lb yellowfin would be perfect. -DWH
Noon: Position is 14 11S, 23 02W. We made 140 nm in the last 24 hours.
The wind has been light the last couple days, but now it has really dropped. We are getting 3-5 knots apparent, just enough to keep the spinnaker flying.
Half way party! -SLC
Cooks and creations, pizza and cake.
We spent the late morning and early afternoon working on boat projects. I worked on the stereo speaker mounting, Stacy worked on the cockpit cushions, and Jo worked on the head. We really want the Bug to be looking good for the upcoming party in the Caribbean. After finishing our work Stacy made pizza and Jo made cake to celebrate reaching the halfway point of our passage. -DWH
Thursday March 14th, 2002
Midnight: The wind is still very light, just a whisper of breeze. It is very pleasant sailing, but we are only doing 4 knots or a little less. Oh well, as excited as we are about getting to Brazil, I'm also pretty happy where we are right now. This is a fine place to be. -DWH
Noon: Position is 14 23S, 24 34W. We made about 90 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 816 to go. The wind has continued to be very light, and at times it is difficult to keep the spinnaker flying. There just isn't much one can do with 2- 3 knots of apparent wind. -DWH
2pm: Wind has shifted to be E or even NE at times. Jibed the spinnaker.
Added 11 gallons of fuel to top the tank off. 2113 engine hours- Jo
Friday March 15th, 2002
1am: Wind is picking up a little. We are occasionally seeing 6 to 7 knots apparent wind. This little bit of extra wind really helps out, with boat speed jumping to 4 - 5 knots. -DWH
Noon: Position is 14 17S, 26 13W. We made about 97 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 720 to go.
About 13:40 we see a bulk carrier headin north east. They pass aft of us and we talk on the radio. M/V Rick Banks with a Packistany crew carrying sugar from the port of Santos, Brasil to Lagos, Nigeria. Friendly guy I'll tell you! -Jo
Another day of easy sailing w/ light NE winds, working on boat projects, and dragging fishing lures behind the boat. It's a fine life, but I am sooooo hungry for sashimi. -DWH
Saturday March 16th, 2002
8 am: The wind has picked up, and we are back to a respectable 6+ knots. Brazil, here we come! -DWH
Noon: Position is 14 10S, 28 00W. We made about 104 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 716 to go.
It was a day full of activity. I helped Stacy with the cockpit cushions. We now have 3 of the 7 cushions done. I finished a book, "Mr. Arkadin" by Orson Wells. This is probably the 8 or 9th book I've finished since leaving South Africa. I think I'm averaging better than a page a mile. I spent about 3 hours studying for the USCG captains license exam. I studied a little back when we were in the Pacific, but lost steam. Jo has been studying pretty hard lately and has motivated me to get back at it. I did my exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, and stretches) and took a shower up in the net. And I finally ended the day with dinner and a cup of wine. Stacy and Jo also had full days. In addition to working on the cushions, Stacy also made a fantastic mafe tiga (rice with peanut sauce) for dinner. Jo has been very busy working on videos. He has finished a couple off during this passage.
We had another unsuccessful day of fishing. Once again we discovered at the end of the day that something had hit the Jake musky lure. One of the hooks was ripped off the lure and the lip that causes it to dive was also missing. The old Jake is pretty beat up and has only produced one fish. I probably should have had it on the pole instead of the hand line. The hand line seems like it is a more efficient way to catch fish, but it is a little misleading. Usually when a fish hits it is hooked well and jerked to the surface where it is pretty helpless. This all happens in the first second or so, but it really takes a lot of force to do this to a big fish. We end up with a lot of bent hooks, and there are probably even more cases where the hook just rips out. We very seldom notice these cases as it happens so fast - the line goes tight for a instant and then is back to normal. This is why I don't think we will ever catch fish much bigger than 20 or 25 lbs on the hand line if we are going over 5 knots. On the other hand, when a fish hits on the pole, we immediately hear the drag. Rather than bending the hook or pulling it out of the fishes mouth, the line is pulled off the reel. Now we have a chance to "play" the fish, although that can also be difficult at over 5 knots. The fish also has a fighting chance as it is not totally overwellmed as is the case with the hand line. I think if we ever do catch a big fish like a marlin, it will be on the pole, and we will end up stopping the boat or at least slowing way down to play it. -DWH
Oh, one other "fish" item. We finally finished the dried Wahoo from south of Madagascar. We've been enjoying it for the last four months, but Stacy put the last of it in the mafe tiga. Now we really need to catch a fish. -DWH
Sunday March 17th, 2002
1 am: The wind was 10-15 during the day, but has died down a little and has shifted to the east or maybe even a little south of east. We are still doing about 5.5 knots. It is a beautiful, starry night and the boat has a very comfortable motion. -DWH
4am: Thank goodness for the autopilot, I can't imagine if I had to steer all the way across an ocean. As it is the Autopilot has been doing most of the work on this trip. The wind is very steady in speed and in direction tonight, so I am able to play on the computer, read a book and make tea when I am on watch in the middle of the night. I still have to check the horizon for ships every 5 minutes or so, but at least my hind end is not glued to the captain's chair like it is when I have to steer.
The green bananas that Jo got for us on St. Helena are almost gone. I think the guy he met from the coffee plantation gave them to him from his own tree. The bananas were very short and fat but after they turned ripe we found them to be VERY sweet and delicious. They almost make your teeth hurt they are so sweet.
6am: Spotted a ship to the north of us, he is traveling east (his course looked parallel to ours). -SLC
It is quite a coincidence,what I wrote last night........." I think if we ever do catch a big fish like a marlin, it will be on the pole, and we will end up stopping the boat or at least slowing way down to play it.". When I took over for my 10 am to noon watch, Jo had already put out the two hand lines and "the Provider", our heavy pole, with my latest homemade lure (a hook, chunk of lead, finger tip from a yellow rubber glove, and strips of silver foil from a wine bag). At 10:20 the fish hit and hit hard. It was the Crew of Ladybug vs. the Marlin!! Jo came out quickly and dropped the spinnaker. Stacy was right behind him and took over the helm. The fish started with a series of fabulous jumps. I could see and feel that it was much bigger than the one I had on in the Pacific. After two or three minutes of jumps and runs, we settled into real battle mode. Stacy and Jo kept the boat pointed away from the fish, and I worked to gain line. The line came in, the line went out. Eventually I gained on it, and by 11:00 the fish was right behind the boat. We were both obviously tired but the battle wasn't over. A couple times I got it to within about 6 feet of the surface but could do no more. The battle continued......line coming in, line going out, Stacy driving the boat to keep the fish behind us, Jo ready to video. Another hour passed. We seemed to be pretty evenly matched. I wasn't able to muscle it up to the surface, and it could not get away. Finally around 12:30 I was able to get it to the surface next to the boat. It was quite beautiful, about 7-8 feet long (bigger than me!), and probably weighted close to 150 lbs. Jo took some quick video, but the fish was camera shy and made another run. After another 25 minutes of hard fighting I got it up to the boat again. Stacy took a couple photos, and then we cut the leader. He floated a little and then slowly swam away. I sat down on the cockpit floor, totally spent after 2 hours and 35 minutes of fighting the fish. I hope he recovers well and lives a very long life. -DWH
A tired fisherman and a tired fish.............
At noon our position was approximately 13 47S, 30 17W. We made about 134 nm for the day.
Monday March 18th, 2002
I'm a little sore this morning but nothing too bad. I hope my fish friend is doing well. -DWH
Noon: Position is 13 22S, 32 39W. We made about 140 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 344 to go. The weather is wonderful, 10-12 knots out of the east and lots of sunshine.
1pm: Tried to tune in to Trudy's net out of Barbados (21400mhz at 13:00Z). I had a hard time hearing Trudy, but was able to hear Eagle Dancer giving his position.
Spent the day working on cockpit cushions, reading, and studying for captains exams. It was just another pleasant day with the autopilot steering and the spinnaker pulling us along. -DWH
Tuesday March 19th, 2002
At 1:30am I thought I saw a white flare to the north. I was not sure what to make of this. I woke up Jo and Stacy. They watched that direction, and I tried to call on the VHF. There was no response to the call. Next we shined our spot light on the spinnaker and also in that general direction. Our thinking was that if anyone was trying to signal us, that this would show that we were actually awake and watching. Jo and Stacy stayed up and watched with me for about a half hour, and I continued to watch very closely in that direction for another half hour. We didn't see anything else. In retrospect it was probably a bright shooting star and not a flare. My first impression was that it was a flare, but the more I think about it the more I think I'm probably wrong. -DWH
3:15 am: I just saw an extremely bright falling star. I guess Jo and Stacy will have to accept my apology for waking them up. I suspect that it is pretty easy to see a falling star and think it is a flare. It is fast enough that by the time it gets your attention, it is already gone leaving you to ask "What did I just see?". On the other hand, actual flares burn long enough that there is time to consider what is being seen while it is still burning. The mind has time to think "What is that? Is that a flare? It's lasting too long to be a falling star and look how it drifts with the wind. Yep, that's a flare." In this case I think I did the right thing in waking them up because I wasn't sure, and in fact was initially convinced that it was a flare. Having now gone through the process of trying to discriminate between the two, I'm much less likely to make the same mistake again. -DWH
5am: Dave let me sleep an extra hour. So I should be well rested, but I still feel very sleepy. Just not a morning person. Anyone in my family could attest to that. I can really understand Dave's confusion about the star/flare. Jo and I saw a star falling around dusk a few months back and it was extremely bright considering how much day light was still in the sky.
6:15 am: Saw a ship North of us. He was traveling North and I did not get much of a look at him. -SLC
10:30 am: Yet another ship heading north. It passed about a half mile ahead of us. -DWH
Noon: Position is 13 06S, 34 52W. We made about 131 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 213 to go.
When we left Australia and I started doing regular exercises on the boat my goal was to get up to sets of 50 for my pushups and stomach crunches. I finally did that today. It feels pretty good. Another big accomplishment today, Stacy finished the cockpit cushions. She had been working pretty hard on them, with a little help from me, for the last week or so. We had a little party to celebrate. Stacy made homemade soup and bread. We put the new cushions out and pulled the portable stereo speakers out into the cockpit. We also opened a bottle of red wine. It is the life of luxury. The cushions are so comfortable. -DWH
Stacy relaxes after all her hard work.
6pm: Talked to Wings of Time on HF. They are doing ok. They have adverse current so they are not too happy. They had another 'monster' fish hit their lure. Monster means anything that breaks or bends a hook. I Could hear little Nicholas in the background.-SLC
Wednesday March 20th, 2002
3:40 am: Another ship heading north. I guess a lot of traffic comes up this coast from southern Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. There would also be traffic that has come around Cape Horn. It is a good time to keep a careful watch.
4:30 am: only 125 miles to go. I am getting excited to see land tomorrow morning!!
7:30am 2 more ships during my shift
11:30 We have been greeted by dolphins! We must be getting close to land! They stayed with us for almost 45 minutes.
Noon: Position is 12 58S, 37 03W. We made about 128 nm in the last 24 hours. We have 87 to go.-SLC
The wind has been light the last couple days, has been even lighter this morning, and is now not sure what it wants to do. The spinnaker comes down and we motor, the spinnaker goes up on the other tack, the spinnaker comes back down and we motor again..........................
It's been about 3,000 miles since we caught our last tuna. Except for the excitement of catching the marlin, fishing has been pretty much a bust on this passage. Then suddenly the drag was screaming on the Provider. As I grabbed it Stacy notice that fish had also hit on the two hand lines. Stacy grabbed one and Jo grabbed the other. All three of us were pulling in fish. Stacy quickly landed a very fat 25" skipjack tuna. Next Jo landed a 21" skipjack. While those two (the fish) were making a bloody mess of the cockpit, I landed and released another skipjack. Skipjack is known as being most excellent for sashimi, so we fired up the fridge. (We learned in Tonga that sashimi is much better if cooled for a few hours) Half the meat went in the fridge and half went in the oven. We also loaded the fridge up with beer and champagne for tomorrow. Time to celebrate! (Side note: both fish were females with eggs. The smaller one had an empty stomach. The larger one had a dozen 3-4" fish in it's stomach. I guess we know why it was bigger.) -DWH
Stacy and Jo w/ two nice skipjack tunas.
Thursday March 21st, 2002
1 am: Lights of Salvador are clearly visible to the west, and we have been able to see the lights of airplanes taking off and landing (must be a very busy airport) since sunset. -DWH
6am: rain cloud passed over to wash the boat a little. I tried to open the jib, but the wind only lasted as long as the rain.
7am: Tiny bit of wind. Opened jib and turned engine revs down to 12 instead of 15. I think we had a few dolphins join us for a couple of minutes. Too dark to see, but I could hear them splashing. They didn't stay long. I can even smell the land now. Not sure how to explain, but kind of organic like wet roots in the soil. I smell something smoky too, maybe from a factory. I knew it was a big city, but soooo many lights. -SLC
10am: Had sashimi and beer for breakfast. Salvador is right in front of us. It is always in impressive sight, approaching a large city from sea. -DWH
1pm (10 am local time) we are tied up at the pier. Time to start celebrating! -SLC
There are two marinas right next to downtown. We knew that the first was $20US/day. (Jo checked on the internet from St. Helena). We checked out the second. It is very nice - friendly people, lots of space, really nice piers, and about $8/day. Once the boat was secured, Jo headed into town to take care of the formalities. While we waited, Stacy and I got Ladybug shipshape including spending two hours scrubbing the entire boat with fresh water. By the time we were done she looked fabulous - clean, with new cushions out, and with stereo speakers in the cockpit playing Brazilian music. Excellent. Jo got back just as we were finishing up. He was half way done, but it was lunch time and he also needed a break. Lots of walking in the hot sun had worn him out. We celebrated with a little champagne. Then Jo took a nap, and Stacy and I dug into the sashimi. It was fantastic, maybe the best we've ever had. We invited our neighbor, a Frenchman named Jean Jack (sp?) over for a little fish. As a welcome to Brazil gift he brought us some fruit. We talked, ate fish, and drank a little wine. Afterwards Jean Jack took off, Stacy and I had a little nap. When we got up Jo had returned. Even though the check in required a little walking, it sounds like it was not too bad. For one thing, it was free. That's always nice. It also sounds like the officials were pretty laid back. They didn't ask at all about what we had on the boat as far as tobacco, alcohol, etc. We still had a big piece of tuna left, so we gave it to the friendly marina guard. Then Stacy and I headed into town. We bought a Portuguese/English dictionary, had a soda and corn on the cob, and then tried to make phone calls home but had no luck getting through. -DWH
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