2nd Report for 2008:
Brazil and the journey to the Azores
(March 15th - June 7th)
From other sailors we had heard the most differing comments about Brazil, ranging from "one of the best cruising grounds" to "we could have skipped that part".
We had to see for ourselves and Brazil wasn't that far from the
best route to Europe anyway and as there was no point in arriving in the northern
hemisphere too early in the season, we took the opportunity to drop by for two
We had chosen Salvador de Bahia as our landfall. While Rio sounded interesting, we didn't think that fighting our way up against prevailing winds and current was such an attractive option. In the relatively short time that we allocated for Brazil, we could only sample a few places of this gigantic country anyway.
Now we would just cover some 600 of the more than 3000 mile coastline and didn't plan to
travel far inland. Still, we thought, we should get some good impressions.
The first sight we had, was one of a long skyline of vast high risers - maybe last seen in Asia. But once closer, a quite desolate state of most buildings becomes apparent. Nevertheless it all looked rather interesting and picturesque.
Friends had recommended that we stay at the small down town marina, (Centro Nautico), and not in the in large marina, slightly further south. This big marina is said to charge twice the price and one would be just between a large number of motor boats belonging to the wealthy few, who only come to their fully crewed boats for short excursions on the weekend.
As can be seen in the previous three pictures, the smaller marina is right in town, just below the elevator that connects the upper und lower town. It is well guarded and fenced off. Right next to it is the large building of the Modelo market, a place where local artifacts are exhibited sold to tourists.
While after a long journey like ours, one should be prepared for stark contrasts, we were still surprised by this very different world. At first glance noisy, very dirty and uninviting.
Long walks to harbor officials, all along streets covered with human excrements didn't help to improve on our first impressions, and so for the first time on our world tour we thought, we might after all have arrived at a place that we wouldn't really come to like.
But we tried to keep our minds open and not let first impressions lead us to early verdicts.
After a long sail across the South Atlantic, we had been looking forward to eating out in the evenings at nice places for a good price.
Unfortunately we were told by all yachties we asked to forget the idea as it wasn't safe to go out in the evening.
we had good food on Taniwani and music from all around for the whole night.
The main attraction when visiting Salvador is the old upper town, the "Pelourinho".
Picturesque with many wonderful
buildings, it is unfortunately not representative of 'normal' Brazil, but is rater a tourist hotspot.
The lower town with various local businesses and many derelict buildings offers some contrast.
In either place friendly people warned us to not stroll around after dark, and not to show your camera.
when we walked away too far from the well secured tourist streets of the
Pelourinho, a nice gentleman personally walked us back to the ' safe' area.
We were just moderately careful, didn't take much money or credit cards along, and we didn't take the big SLR camera, but found that the tiny waterproof Olympus made almost equally fine pictures.
so we can say that during our two months stay in Brazil, we never had any
trouble, nor was anything pinched from us.
Capoeira, the "Dance of War" can be watched at several street corners of the Pelourinho.
This faked fights, accompanied by rhythmic music include phenomenal acrobatics.
and taking pictures naturally requires a small donation. Definitely a must see.
Itaparica, a nice and clean village at the northern tip of similarly named island, is the next and obvious destination when leaving Salvador to cruise the Bahia.
prominent church dominates the view from the well protected and very popular
tour the island on land one can easily hire one of the many classic VW-vans.
There is a little marina at the far corner of Itaparica village and it belongs to the same company as the Centro Nautico in Salvador.
It is a good place to keep the dinghy and close to the famous fountain that provides excellent drinking water.
Itaparica has several restaurants and two of them right in the marina. The smaller one of these is run by a Turkish guy, and features music once a week.
us a great improvement over Salvador, where we couldn't go out for dinner for safety
Later we learned to know the piano player and singer, a very nice Brazil-German cruising couple, about to leave for a longer trip.
Thatoff course gave us another reason to come back to Itaparica.
But for now we move on inside the Bahia. One cruising guide describes the Bahia as one of the greatest cruising grounds in the world - we wouldn't quite agree with that, but it is quite interesting and nice to check out for a few weeks.
Going from place to pace in the Bahia is usually in the order of less than 10 miles and with very little wind.
One nice thing is that you meet many of the local, traditional cargo sailing ships.
They carry huge sails to still make progress in the light winds, and if necessary they patiently wait or tack through of the narrow estuaries.
For our next destination we chose to go up the Rio Paraguaçu, one of the bigger rivers that feeds into the Bahia.
We went as far as we felt safe with our limited charts and anchored in front of a small town, called Maragogipe.
Now, this was a nice and 'normal' place with no tourism and friendly local folks.
looking for shelter from the frequent and serious rain squalls, we found that
the main place of the town was covered with a roof for just that reason.
We were quite impressed to see, or better hear, these mobile speaker systems, that people seem to put much effort into individually building them into their cars.
The car on the picture above has huge boxes in the booth, inside the car and under the hood! In this case it provided the musical background for the whole place, where in one of several little pubs, we had the Brazilian default drink. No, that is not Caipirinha, it's Beer.
sailors either have beer or just get wet, the locals have umbrellas.
Only a few miles from our anchorage in front of Maragogipe, we saw one of these huge derelict churches of which Brazil seems to have an infinite supply.
Built by the Portuguese in the wealthy colonial days, most of them are now rotting to death, as it would be virtually impossible to restore so many of them.
inspected this one by dinghy and one of the locals told us long stories about
only we couldn't understand much of it.
Cruising (motoring) back out along the river, we had a really sunny day without squalls and we really enjoyed the surrounding landscape.
We moved on to another place in the Bahia, a small anchorage enclosed by four islands, with only two small entrances.
While we were in the Bahia it was pretty common that there was no wind until sometime in the afternoon.
Still, silently and patiently the cargo sailors creep along under their huge canvas.
They seem to regularly carry sand and building material from somewhere up the Rio Paraguaçu on to a cove at Ilha do Frade.
We happened to go the same way to a small enclosed anchorage between Ilha do Frade and Ilha Bom Jesus and a few other tiny islets.
Off course, with our unfair usage of the engine we were at the anchorage at Bon Jesus, many hours before the afternoon squalls would drive those cargo sailors in through one entrance of the anchorage and out the other.
them was a true pleasure on every day that we were anchored there.
Bom Jesus itself is a much poorer place than Itaparica with no paved streets and buildings in rather poor shape. Nevertheless it is a nice place to explore, with friendly people and all basic shopping.
The really amazing thing is that one only needs to move out the other entrance of the anchorage and be right in front of a huge cargo ship terminal and a massive power plant.
we liked the little anchorage so much that we returned to this place on our
second round through the Bahia.
when returning to Salvador for a week, we found the place nicer compared to our first
impressions arriving from far away. It does seem to take some time to like
Brazil, especially if the visit is towards the end of a world cruise, rather
than the beginning. It certainly helped that we met the nice couple that we saw performing
at the restaurant in Itaparica, and found out that they too were yachties.
Bernadette, the singer, came from Bavaria 11 years ago and is since with her new
friend Ronaldo, the piano player. They are on their slow way up north from the
Rio area and plan to cruise to the Caribbean next.
They had been hanging out in the Bahia and knew the vicinity rather well. When we asked them whether it was worthwhile to visit the area around Moro de Sao Paulo, just south of Salvador, they encouraged us to do so, and told us that they would also go there in a few days, when relatives from Germany would come to visit.
we got ready to say goodbye to Salvador and go through the somewhat lengthy process of clearing out. In Brazil one needs to clear in and out of every major
port, for us that would be Recife, but only a few weeks later. First we sailed
to Itaparica again to enjoy another performance of our new friends, and then we
sailed down to Moro de Sao Paulo,to enjoy some of the finest time we had in
de Sao Paulo is a major tourist attraction in Brazil. Situated on a hilly
promontory at the river mouth, it features several beautiful beaches towards the
open sea. Numerous boutiques, little hotels and beachfront restaurants serve the
vast amount of tourists, virtually all form Latin American countries. For
visitors like us mainly interesting because it offers internationally connected
cash machines and internet access, both not so readily available in Brazil.
Per Ronaldo's recommendation we did not anchor right in front of Moro, but rather sailed two miles further into the river to drop the hook in front of a village called Gamboa. There it is much calmer, with no swell from the sea, and the dinghy can easily and safely be parked on the beach at one of the little restaurants. It is easy to get back to Moro by taking the regular and very cheap ferry service. As Ronaldo predicted, we liked Gamboa and became frequent guests at the restaurant Nativa, which offered fantastic food at low prices.
Soon our new friends also arrived at Gamboa and we had a nice time at the restaurant, with a number of great musicians who were returning from a wedding and happily improvised while having a drink at Nativa's Place.
our friends moved on upriver already the next day, we decided to check out Moro
to satisfy our curiosity. We strolled the fancy strreets of the place and walked
along the numerous beaches in almost unbearable heat. At some point we gave in
to one of the teasers who offer a lounge at the beach, some shade and
Caipirinhas. We lasted about an hour there, including a swim amongst another
hundred sun bathers.
Next day we moved across river to a very beautiful anchorage locally known as "Curral", a nice long sand spit with palm trees.
the time we moved further upriver, our friends with their visitors on a tighter
schedule, were already a day ahead, and we just saw them disappearing around a
corner when we reached to little town of Cairu, the last place in relatively
deep water. From then on it is difficult for sail boats like ours to proceed,
unless you know the river very well. We had copied waypoints from a Brazilian
river cruising guide, which had categorized the next stretch as difficult. So
far we never had less than 4m of water, but now?
Hoping that we could catch up with Ronaldo we tried anyway, but it was soon shoaling rapidly on our forward looking sonar. This and a fairly strong running current made us feel uneasy and so we gave up and anchored just off Cairu.
We went to check out Cairu and the monastery that is being renovated. A young boy offered to guide us and we accepted. We asked him if he knew a pilot that could guide us further upriver the next day and he thought he would find us one.
The chief of the monastery, apparently German wasn't present that day, but we got a rather nice tour anyway. An impressive amount of wonderful old churches are slowly decaying all over Brazil and so it is nice to see that at least some of them get rescued. A lot had been done on the monastery of Cairu and yet it seemed like at best half way done.
out from the monastery, our guide proudly told us that he had found a pilot and
that this man wanted to go upriver to the same village anyway.
"Tomorrow?" - "No, no, today! Now!" - "But the tide is
falling and it is already later in the afternoon?" - "No problem,
let's go!" And so we paid the young boy and boarded our dinghy together
with Nee, our new pilot.
spot where we turned was just a shoal ridge and soon after that we were in quite
deep water for some time. There in deeper water Nee wanted to helm the boat and
soon he was happily steering and singing like a Venetian Gondolier. This all
went fine until the river widened to look more like a lake. It was shoaling
again and Nee gave the helm back to Harald, pointing out where to go. "Nee,
it is shoaling, we will be stuck soon". "Hm, turn this way." -
"Well, we are stuck, I have to go backwards" - "OK, I think we
need to try over there".
It went on like this, we tried here and there, but
couldn't find a way. Luckily, with the forward looking sonar we would see that
it was getting too shoal and slow down, so that we always could back off easily.
Nee asked for a cell phone - he called somewhere and a long discussion went on.
Than he told us, just wait, my brother is coming. So maybe 20 minutes later a
fishing boat showed up and told us to follow them back from where we came for a
while and then in an intricate pattern zigzag across the wide river and
eventually to their village of Canavieiras.
Despite rather low tide we always
had plenty of water under the keel. By
the time we anchored in front of the small village the sun had set. "Leoalouvac" Ronaldo and Bernardet's boat was
also anchored here but they were gone in their Dinghi and so we settled in one
of the three floating oyster bars. Beer and oysters were excellent, we think the
best oysters we ever had.
When Ronaldo returned he told us, that we were helped by the 'right' family (Nee's clan), but that we had chosen the bar of the competition! The 'right' bar was pointed out to us and we were told the oysters would be even better there...
we also heard that Ronaldo, Bernadete and their visitors had chartered Geni, the same boat that guided us in. Tomorrow
skippered by Nee's father it should take them further through the river system
to the town of Boipeba of same named island. Off course we didn't
hesitate when asked if we would like to join them in the morning.
Nee's father surly knows every bit of the river. We towed our dinghy behind and recorded the track on the hand-held GPS, so that we could make it back in the evening.
Bernadette and her visitors would stay at a small pousada for a few
days, but Ronaldo preferred to join us in our dinghy to get back to his boat
with us in the evening.
The day out was a big success. Our way through the labyrinth of river forks, lead back out towards the sea to the village of Boipeba on the same name island.
is also a pass out to the sea again, but both the long way through the labyrinth
as well as the usual bar would be too shallow for us, even at high tide.
We had a great walk along the seaside of the island, across several gorgeous beaches, before we reached a simple beach bar where we feasted on loads of fresh lobster.
A nice hike back
to our dignhy right across the island and a swift ride back at 4 times the
speed, brought us to our anchorage and rounded off a real memorable day.
Another day and many good oysters later we carefully navigated our way back to Cairo. Now, with the good tracks recorded it was easy.
We anchored a little off the town where we could watch the fishermen setting their traps in the rain.
a few short dinghy rides to Cairo and we had refilled our last two diesel jerry
cans, that we thought we might need when crossing the ITCZ later.
We still had plenty of time to enjoy Brazil, as we wouldn't want to leave for the Azores until mid May, and now it was just mid April.
we didn't move far back from Cairo and stopped soon at Galeao, another small village,
but straight across from the estuary that leads in to Valencia, a fairly big
At very high tide it is actually possible to get close to Valencia with the big boat, but for us it seemed much easier to just dash across the river and into the canal with the dinghy.
It was a nice ride, with many things to see along the way.
Unfortunately, we seemed to have hit a holiday again, so the intended shopping didn't happen.
we found a nice kiosk, with an extremely friendly and motivated keeper, where we
enjoyed drinks and snacks, while watching life in the city.
In the mean time the tide had fallen and we had to drag our dinghy out of the mud at one of the taxi boat pontoons, where we had tied it up.
But all was fine and soon we enjoyed the trip back as much as then ride into town.
river is so busy, there is always something interesting to see.
The otherwise less interesting village of Galeao, has yet another attraction, than just a good anchorage to visit Valencia.
Only a short walk up the hill is a little fortified church from where the view over the river system is stunning.
It is particularly nice in the late afternoon light.
Next day, just another few miles back we stopped again at the nice anchorage of Curral. We like this long sand spit that separates the river from the sea.
In a minute one can walk across to the sea side and admire a seemingly endless sand beach stretching north as far as the eye reaches, while on the inside there is a safe and good anchorage in the river.
Not much is going on here, except...
... during the day a few tourist launches make short stops to have their guests wander around the sandy spit.
In the picture one can also see the hill and the lighthose of Moro de Sao Paolo in the far.
Then one last stop in the river, off course at our favorite Gamboa.
And from there again the usual short trip with the public ferry to Moro as it is one of the few places where international cards work on the ATMs and where you can get internet access.
This time we also chose to hike up the hill to the lighthouse from where there is a great view across the popular beaches.
A last day in Gaboa, then we think it is really time to move on.
And so we have a late lunch or early dinner again at Nativa's our favorite place. Really good food at a price where it makes no sense to cook on board.
we get ready to set off the next day. We plan to sail to Recife next, which is
more than 400 miles further north.
Compared to the long coastline of Brazil, the 400 miles to Recife is nothing, and given there are hardly any places in between that we could safely approach or stay at, it is in a way the next practical stop.
wasn't so good with varying wind and in a gust at night the Genoa came down and
landed in the drink. Like six years before, the shackle connecting the sail to the top swivel had
No problem for the tough cloth of our new Genoa, which is woven Spectra, but this way it wasn't white for a long time, now featuring many stains from the red anti-fouling. As always these things happen at night and so we waited and sailed with the much smaller stay-sail through the rest of the night, especially since one had to go up the mast to bring down the top-swivel.
When we tried to set the Genoa again in the morning, unfortunately due to a mistake on our part, the halyard extension parted from the wire halyard and the Genoa was in the drink for the second time.
Now, also the halyard had run out of the mast an landed on deck. Threading this back into the mast was definitely work to be done in the harbor. Still we didn't have to do without Genoa in the now rather light winds, as we were able to use our spare halyard, to sail the rest of the way to Recife.
Recife has a long natural breakwater, formed by the reef that gave it its name. It is more than two miles long and parallels the shore, forcing the river to flow all the length along the front of the city.
The natural reef has been improved by man and even has a road going out about half its length. A bit further out than the road goes, there are some rather interesting pieces of art, the Parque de Esculturas de Francisco Brennand.
A famous Brasilian artist, mostly working with ceramics and the art slightly reminding one of Hundertwasser.
Definitely an eye-catcher on the breakwater.
Right across from it, are the nicest parts of the city's waterfront. Many beautiful old buildings, maybe half of them restored by now, the other half still in very desolate state.
Despite spreading across a couple of islands connected by bridges, Recife gives a much more homogeneous impression than Salvador. In Salvador there is the picturesque old part, almost exclusively devoted to tourism, and wide spread other parts where people live.
in Recife, one has the impression to be in a rather 'normal' town. In short, we
liked it better.
Only short walks apart are expensive and fancy new shopping centers, simple markets, or like in the picture, shops that sell used but good technical parts. One could find almost anything there and off course for negligible price.
Much fewer yachts visit here than in Salvador and also there are fewer of the many typical upper-class motor boats and yachts.
For visiting yachts there are two choices: The Pernambuco Yacht Club, which is located on the breakwater about half way in, not far from the before mentioned art park. The other choice is the Cabanga Yacht Club, further in and around the first river bend. It can only be reached at high water and best by following the club tender.
The later has pile moorings and small pontoons to climb onto. It also has water and electricity. On the down side it is further from the city, doesn't have the refreshing wind and thus more smell and mosquitoes.
Different, the Pernambuco Yacht Club: No water, no electricity, just good moorings out on the river. The poor, 24 member club is very welcoming, and Eduardo, the manager, could not be more helpful. He helped us clearing in by coming along for the rather long walk to the harbor authorities, he helped carrying water and was there whenever we needed anything.
The club house is the old bridge of a tugboat sitting on top of a wooden shack, which hosts a well frequented restaurant. Showers are available in the simple toilets that serve the restaurant, but they are kept clean and if you time it well, you have it all for yourself.
The really good thing is the 'parking lot' that goes with it. It is well ventilated in the most spectacular place right in front of the heart of the city.
For an autonomous boat the much better place, even if you can't even think about running the water-maker in this typical Brazil river. Not even at high tide.
picture shows Taniwani moored in front of the Pernambuco Yacht club, looking
southwest. The other marina is behind the tall building, which is actually two
tall buildings where the work seems to have stopped some time ago.
This is the view from Taniwani's mast, looking north towards the harbor entrance. The hill in the back is Olinda, a beautiful tourist trap that will be described a few pictures down.
is usually a row boat ferry service, either from the yacht-club or art monument
which can be seen on the breakwater.
And this here is looking west from Taniwani's mast, towards the city.
As can be seen by the bridges, the city spreads over several islands.
The tide flows in, the tide flows out..
and in doing so, amongst other amazing things the river brings along many green floating islands, usually with some herons traveling on them.
And here is the view from Olinda, one can actually see Taniwani as a small white speckle right in the middle of the canal.
Olinda, meaning something like "Oh how beautiful" is just to the North of Recife.
can be seen it is rather green with some very nice old buildings.
Olinda is said to be one of the first European settlements in Brazil and was the capital of Pernambuco until Recife with its natural harbor outgrew it and took over.
many old churches and monasteries from those days, it is today an UNESCO world
It is definitely a rather nice place to stroll around. We heard that unlike in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, in Olinda, admission to Carnival is free.
We were off course three months too late for the spectacle and could only admire some of the impressive dresses.
Like the Pelourinho in Salvador, Olinda today lives almost entirely on tourism. We were told it is comparably expensive to live in Olinda today, and so most people who work in the tourist business, live outside.
there is not the busy local life as one can experience in Recife.
After almost two weeks in Recife it was time to move on. We had been thinking about taking one more stop on the Brazilian coast, but then thought it easiest to clear out of Brazil in Recife.
So it was time to say good buy to our new friend Eduardo, who had been taking care of use so nicely.
As we planned to make a brief stop at the off shore Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha, we were only half cleared at Recife, as a few of the authorities have an outpost there.
Ruling out Peter and Paul Rock, further Northeast, the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago is the easternmost settlement of Brazil.
From Recife it is only a short 300 mile trip.
several years now the Archipelago is a nature preserve and only a small area is
open for commercial use. Yachts may also only anchor in that area.
What was once a cruisers dream destination, is now skipped by the majority of the yachts, given the restrictions and the rather high fees.
In addition, the anchorage off the little tour boat harbor is only partly sheltered and is often very uncomfortable.
We had very varying feedback from friends on other boats, but it seemed to boil down to the recommendation that a stop of 2 or 3 days is a decent choice.
we wanted to see for ourselves why opinions about Fernando de Noronha vary so
With its unusual rock formations and the many little secluded sand beaches it is definitely a beautiful island.
We had good conditions and found the anchorage not so bad.
Also swimming and snorkeling around the boat was really a great treat, as it was the first time this year that we could do this in crystal clear water.
Something we had really missed in the murky waters along mainland Brazil and so we enjoyed our first evening despite disappointingly few fish to be seen.
It seems that as long as you are not going ashore, they do not come and charge you the steep daily fee of around Euro 70. And despite the fact that they can well see you though their big telescope at the harbor masters office, they are 'generous' enough to only start the clock ticking once you come ashore.
The harbormaster is extremely friendly and helpful, a good coffee is included in the fee.
you decide to spend the money, you also would want to see all of the island, or
at least the part that you are allowed to get to. That is best done by rental
car - the harbormaster will happily organize one for you.
The standard car is a buggy, and on the sand and dirt roads it is amazingly comfortable, much more so than the typical off-road car of today.
One of the things we were told to do, is to go snorkeling in the tide pool at a bay near the eastern end of the runway.
Well, we just drove there to see, but than were told by the ranger that we would have to go back to the station to obtain a time slot.
found they allow about twenty people every twenty minutes, and since it wasn't
fully booked at the moment, we were allowed to join the next group. This is what
The island is heavily marketed and tourism is blossoming. Restaurants are about twice the price as on the mainland, and that is still cheap by our standards.
Harald went to a dive shop and went out with the dive boat for two dives. It was nice in the clear water, but not overwhelming, again amazingly few fish, at least by our standards.
To be fair, it is still worth stopping in Fernando de Noronha and we would stop there again if it was on our way.
We had the car for two days and that is enough to see everything.
So, on May 18 we paid our dues to the harbormaster and weighed anchor the next morning after breakfast.
The trip ahead of us would be just short of 3000 miles and lead us through 4 quite different weather systems.
At the beginning we would still be in the area of the Southern Atlantics SE trade winds, then we would enter the ITCZ, eventually reach the NE trades and finally, way north an area of frontal westerly winds.
the SE trades we would try to make more east, to have it easier once we hit the
We set course for Peter and Paul Rock which is already north of the equator.
The southern trades were light, too light for fast progress, but we could make more east and thus missed Peter and Paul Rock.
After 2 days and pretty exactly 300 miles we passed the equator. Wind had picked up a bit and at this point we were making good progress.
We managed to get another 100 miles further towards the Northeast before we hit the ITCZ which had all sorts of wind and no wind in it. On the good side we got westerly winds for over a day.
this point one is passing the area where the hurricanes are born, but they are
babies here called tropical depression and we were far enough east by now that
one could pass in North South direction at any time of the year. It is just inconvenient, with rain squalls, irregular wind.
After about 3 days in the ITCZ we hit the NE trades at about LAT 7N.
The trades picked up quickly to a steady force 6, which makes for a fast but also less comfortable ride.
is still a quite decent life on board and in the sheltered cockpit it is also dry
despite driving the boat into 3 meter waves at 7 to 8 knots.
The picture shows what happens if you try to work on the foredeck: The foremost deck-locker, a very wet locker by definition had filled with water and the fenders stored in there were about to leave the boat. We didn't redice speed and thus while Harald was sorting out the problem in the bows, Taniwani virtually drilled through a bigger wave. Harald was jerked back by solid water for a few meters and not surpricingly the life jacket inflated.
Now we appreciated a bit more what we were doing: Going to windward for the next 1800 miles.
But the foredeck compared to the cockpit or cabin are different worlds and so we had not too much to complain, especially since we were now doing constant 170+ miles a day.
A week after crossing the equator, we crossed our outgoing track at 16-25 N, 030-36 W and thus technically completed a circumnavigation. It was just under 36,000 miles to return to this point.
with our old friend Neptun we celebrated this special event with some good
The Cape Verde Islands were now just 300 miles to the east of us and certainly reachable if we were to tack upwind for three days.
But we are set for the Azores and push on.
The day after crossing our own track, we cross the track of Aventura, the boat on which Harald first sailed across the Atlantic in 1972 with his father.
Just another day on we passed under the sun, which was still traveling north with us. While the sun was then exactly above us at noon, it wasn't hot by any means, rather did we have the feeling that it was getting a bit cooler every day.
And again one more day and we left the tropics behind.
Live on board had its rhythm, reading, sleeping, eating and off course looking out and checking things. In a way quite relaxed while Taniwani works her way north against the wind.
While Harald uses his normal aft-cabin berth, just with lee-clothes, Beate's favorite pace in sailing conditions is in the passageway to the aft cabin.
We were aiming for the westernmost of the Azores, the island of Flores. While we had been to most Azores Islands, we had never been to the two western ones and hoped to have this opportunity now.
Watching how the weather in the northern Atlantic developed, we saw our hopes dwindle over time, with a serious depression creeping in from the West.
Well, we would arrive before the front hits, but Flores does not have a harbor that gives good shelter in bad conditions and even if we were safe at anchor, there would be no way to land the dinghy or leave the boat alone.
For our progress the approaching bad weather meant that we would loose the trades a bit earlier.
But so far we had not used much diesel and the tanks were full and so we had no problem motoring through the brilliantly clear water for the last two days.
was back to anchorage style and we had nice events like when our friends the dolphins
came to play.
Given the imminent bad weather, we had changed plans to sail straight for Horta which we reached after 18 days at sea just after midnight.
A well known place that now was the first port to return to after rounding the globe.
At this time of the year, yachts arrive, (and leave), continuously. We rafted up four deep to wait for the morning to clear customs.
With so many boats going through Horta, the marina and the officials are very efficient and we were soon cleared and given a nice place with on a pontoon deep in the marina.
Soon we found our picture that Markus and Felix had painted on the wall back in 2002.
would restore, and complete it so that it would last another few years.
Celebrating the event, Taniwani was decorated with all the courtesy flags from all the great countries we had visited.
We would stay in Horta for some time and then leisurely explore the other islands, before moving to Madeira and finally back to mainland Portugal....
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NAjad 490 round the world