Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fortaleza to French Guiana

We, that is Taremaro, Springtime, Watussi and Mila decided to stay the weekend in Fortaleza and leave on Monday the 23rd October. We all set off in a nice breeze early the morning and very soon Mila left the others behind. From Fortaleza to De Grad des Cannes in French Guiana is 1035 nautical miles, and I anticipated that it would take Mila 7 to 8 days to cover this distance. All in all I had a very fast trip and did it in six days. The second day the wind blew 34 knots with very large swells. This made for very uncomfortable sailing as the wind was on the beam and with the spray and waves breaking against the boat, one got drenched in the cockpit. We were planning to visit the Island Lencois but with the strong winds and swells we decided to give it a wide berth.
It is a tradition amongst the cruisers to have a drink on King Neptune when you cross the equator the first time. As this was my first time, I had a beer on King Neptune at 11.37 Wednesday morning, and ask him nicely to give us less winds and calm seas. There must have been a misunderstanding because the next days I had no wind. This forced me to start the engine and motor for some hours.
During the stormy conditions, Milo the boat cat, had a party as there were an abundance of flying fish on the deck. For two days he totally ignored me, as we had strong words. It is not nice to tramp on dead fish 3 o' clock in the morning.
Rob on Taremaro and Allan on Watussi decided to join me and visit De Grad des Cannes. I laid a course for De Grad and arrived this morning, Sunday, anchored in the river near the marina and expect Rob and Allan to join me Monday morning.
It is beautiful and calm here with very lush trees and vegetation. Plans are to stay here for a few days and then join the rest of the crowd at Isle du Salut.
That's all for now and will tell you more with my next update.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Fortaleza and time to say goodbye to Brazil

Yes, the time has come to say goodbye to Brazil. It has been an experience to see the North of Brazil and to have met the friendly people and made wonderful friends. My visa for Brazil expires on the 1st of November, so it is with great reluctance that I have to slip the dock lines and continue to French Guiana. We are four yachts leaving, Springtime from South Africa, Watussi from England and Taremaro from Holland. Stopping over in Lencois, an island near Sao Luis, if the weather permits.

We had good times in the marina. Leasure hours at the swimming pool, braai's on the pontoon and a potluck dinner one evening, attended by all the yachties. We were entertained with live music and singing by Allex, Allan, Thomas, Martin and Marcel. Dominique gave us her firespinning act. It was nice for me as a single person to be tied up next to Springtime and be spoiled with dinners by Johness and the crew. I will miss her bobotie!!!!!!!!!!

Fortaleza, like all the other places I have been to in Brazil, is no exception. People are friendly, transportation is good, new air conditioned busses at very low rates. There are plenty of clothing and footwear shops and nice evening markets along the beach front. This is a women's paradise for shopping. One can sit on the sidewalk, drink a beer or eat something light and watch the people walking by.

We took a bus trip inland to Guaramiranga to visit the last forest area in the province of Ceara, visiting beautiful little towns along the way. Nice mountain areas with waterfalls or cachoeiras as they are called, but very little wild life. My favorite little town was Guaramiranga. These areas are about 120 kilos from Fortaleza and worth a day trip.

Last weekend we had the Ceara Music Festival at the Marina Park Hotel. Over 50,000 people, mostly the young crowd attended the 3 day concerts. Started at 6 in the evening and ended at 5 in the morning. So for three nights we had to use earplug's, as the Brazilians like to play music very very very loud.

The only negative side of Fortaleza is the crime and mugging on the streets, one must always be on the alert, don't wear any jewelry and go out in groups. Colyn on yacht Polly was mugged at knife point in broad daylight at a bus stop and lost a carry bag.
That is all for now

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Fernando de Noronha to Fortaleza

After spending a week anchored at the Island it was time to leave. I am very disappointed in the Brazilian authorities. We had a person from the Brazilian government visiting the Cabanga Yacht Club to give a talk on the environment and the strict control on the Island. This is rubbish, they have managed to degrade the Island in a very short time. There are to many people on the Island and it has turned out to be a money making environment. The last day before we left a school of dolphins came into the bay and swam amongst the anchored boats. Four boats loaded with tourist came and were charging up and down at full speed, chasing the dolphins, for the tourist to see, Is that how you control the environment? Nothing was said or done to them. I am very lucky to have seen the Island before man took over.
The sail from Fernando to Fortaleza was very fast and we had good winds but a very choppy sea, so the ride was not all that comfortable. I left Monday afternoon at 4, with 2 other yachts, to be at the Isle das Rocas atoll early the next morning, but the wind was to strong and the sea to choppy to anchor. I left and arrived in Fortaleza on Wednesday evening at 10 and anchored in the bay at the Marina Park Hotel. After a good sleep I moved Mila into the marina the next morning. Plans are to stay in Fortaleza until the 20th and then sail on to French Guiana. The marina here is full. Most of the yachts are planning to move north and I have made new friends and met old ones that were in Salvador. This is the joy of sailing, one becomes part of a big family.
The Marina Park Hotel is a five star with very nice facilities, swimming pool and a gym. Unfortunately this cannot be said about the marina. They do very little or no maintenance. Colin on his Yacht Polly was here four years ago and he says nothing has changed for the better. The electrical wiring is a nightmare. One is not allowed to anchor outside, so you have to make use of the marina.
That's all for now, I will give an update on Fortaleza soon

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