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27/01/2015

Nexus - Slow night but beautiful sailing day!

We had a slow night with light winds but kept the gennaker flying through it, in the morning the wind picked up to 13-15kts and we've had a beautiful sailing day today. We have 1,440nm to go, and NEXUS is sailing well and smoothly. We're still sailing in company with NDS Darwin, with Celebrate, Ghost and Alpheratz within 40nm around us. It's nice to have company, although with various levels of motoring and sailing patience between the boats! No fish yet, although we heard Saphir landed a 100lb Marlin....not what we're looking for! A Mahi Mahi or Yellowfin would be nice though! All is well.Russ and Laurie on NEXUS 15:00 01/27/2015 at 13 23.1'S;14 00.0'W. read more...


27/01/2015

Celebrate - "Playing the Angles"

PLAYING THE ANGLES by Jay AilworthFor days the wind has been quiet - too quiet,We have a kite but could not fly it.The wind has been fickle and all wrong,Our main and jib being limp like a wet sarong.The diesel drone has been annoying,Cats paws of wind constantly toying.Time, distance, and fuel remaining are a major consideration,Having no wind or fuel with miles to go would be a grave miscalculation.But then this morning the sea bestowed us a gift,The wind is up offering us a lift.Now the engine is cold and quiet,With the spinnaker up with wind to fly it.Hopefully this is the end to our woe and remorse,At last we are sailing on our lay line course.Until next time...Charlie, Cathy & Jay. read more...


27/01/2015

Celebrate - "Captain Cook"

CAPTAIN COOK by Jay AilworthMostly we get fed from a bowl,So we do not spill is the ultimate goal.The captain does the cooking,Who knows what he puts in while we are not looking.Sunday is supposedly a day of restBut for us something else makes it the best.Because of the gentle urging of the mate,Our intrepid skipper feeds us from a plate.During our morning meal,It is my trick at the wheel. I get my plate handed to me first,While the mate brings coffee to slake my thirst.Now that I am on course with all sails set,It is time to tuck into a tasty cheese and salami omelet!Until next time...Charlie, Cathy & Jay. read more...


27/01/2015

Celebrate - "St. Helena Interlude", a poem

ST. HELENA INTERLUDE by Jay AilworthWe have ended our three day St. Helena interlude,Now heading for a distant western longitude,Salvador, Brazil is our next port of call,1790 miles of open ocean before we make landfall.The wind is light and from the east,Not good for us and we are feeding the diesel beast.We need to be free of the island's effect,So wind and waves can combine for the proper cause and effect.The ocean is so large and we so small,If it stays this way it could be a mighty long haul.Until next time...Charlie, Cathy & Jay. read more...


27/01/2015

Exody - Days 15/16 - The boat - eating islands of Kuna Yala

Three wrecked yachts, one less than a week old marked the danger points on our arrival this morning at Porvenir to clear formally into Panama. The locals were still busy stripping the hulls - apparently usually done in less than a week - the masts were already gone (we understand they use chainsaws!), three of their long ulus tied up alongside one boat.Then on arrival at Lemmon Cays later today a large 90 foot motor sailor was on the reef right by the clearest and recommended route in- still fully masted and all deck gear and sails present - so must have been even more recent - we are looking out for lights tonight in case there is anyone on board still guarding the vessel. All sorry sights and fully justifying the warning from the local cruiser friend of one of the fleet that these. read more...


26/01/2015

A Plus 2 - Douanes et Customs inspiration, Panama, Coup de Chapeau

"Clearance" n'est pas un terme français. Nous disons plutôt que nous allons "fairenotre douane"... "Douane" est dans notre civilisation (trop) continentale, un termegénérique dont la conséquence est en principe le paiement d'une taxe... Dansl'empire qui nous a succédé, je veux dire celui de sa Majesté, "clearance" consisteen l'accomplissement d'un triptyque - immigration, douane, police - avec option"autorités sanitaires" dans les contrées où ne sont bienvenus que de solidestouristes, avec dot et appétit si possible. On notera ici la différence ; soutenirles caisses de l'état d'un côté, réguler la démographie de l'autre. Secomprendra-t'on un jour ?Seconde curiosité, nous disons chez nous "passer la douane", ce qui nonobstant lanotion de franchissement d'une porte qui peut s'ouvrir ou se. read more...


27/01/2015

Celebrate - St. Helena on the Horizon, a Poem

THE FIRST LEG by Jay AilworthThe first leg of our Atlantic crossing is nearing its end,St. Helena lies 175 miles near the horizon's bend.Napoleon spent his last days walking upon her shore,A minor footnote after decades of conflict and war.We simply seek some rest and relaxation, Soon underway again to our next destination.Of course on a boat the work is never really done,We have projects to do and things to fix while anchored in the tropical sun,No matter what, we will make the time to have a little fun.Until next time...Charlie, Cathy & Jay. read more...


27/01/2015

Ayama - CHICHIME AND PORVENIR

We dropped anchor in the lagoon between the 2 islands having negotiated the narrow channel between the reefs.A wreck on the reef was a sad sight.A pot luck lunch (where every yacht brings a dish) was arranged on the island so it was another social afternoon, drinking the milk out of coconuts with a slug of rum added.Paul from the Arc has arrived with the bearing for Ayama so now we can haul out in Shelter Bay the marina at the east end of the Panama Canal. Per and I went for a swim on the south side of the island where it was flat water.When we arrived back at the dinghy dock Anna was stood on the dock and Stefan was halfway into the dinghy exposing some very white buttocks as his shorts were slipping down!!!He had had to go in the water to undo the chain locking the dinghy to the. read more...


27/01/2015

Ayama - CHILLING IN THE SAN BLAS

As we approached the West Holandes Cays we had an escort of dolphins. They are so playful and fascinating to watch as they dive and leap around the bow.I love them.We arrived in the afternoon which made it easier to see the reefs as we came in from the east.The charts are NOT reliable so Per was in the bow giving directions between the reefs.A few of the Arc boats were anchored in the Swimming Pool anchorage and we joined them.Having dropped the anchor Stefan dived down to check it out and it was well dug into the sand.Per and I had a swim off Ayama but even though we are behind the reef there is a strong current and it was hard to swim to the bow but a quick float back to the stern.Stefan put a buoy and a rope off the stern so I felt safer.I had visions of me disappearing off to the. read more...


26/01/2015

Exocet Strike - Update 26th Jan 2015

Arrived in Islas Linton, great sheltered anchorage,surprised at how many other boats there are at anchor here, must be 60 plus,some look to have been here quite a long time. Seems very sheltered in the Leeof the island. Apparently there are lots of monkeys on the island who are veryinquisitive and have taken over a derelict house. The island looks very desertedand overgrown. Karma Wins and Allegro have joined us in theanchorage, Allegro arriving just before dark. Tomorrow off to Shelter Bay marina in Colon to getready for the big adventure of going through the Panama Canal, which we arescheduled to do on the 1st and 2nd Feb. Update tomorrow! John. read more...


26/01/2015

Free & BrEasy - Nearly on the Rocks!

A week is a long time in a circumnavigator's life, at least that's what last week has been for us. After a peaceful, uneventful 1750 nautical miles of passage across the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Town, we sighted the clouds topping the peaks of St Helena, last Thursday morning. We had previously crossed the Greenwich Meridian and started acquiring degrees west of longitude, from zero, to get to 5 degrees 45 minutes West at St Helena. We had also put the clock back by two hours in a single day, to Greenwich Mean Time which is now the same as UK time. No more was the sun setting at 9 pm, but at a civilised 7 pm, which helped the night watches grab a few precious hours of sleep.As is our wont, we were with the "slow boats" of the World ARC fleet and arrived too late to get a mooring buoy. We. read more...


26/01/2015

Exocet Strike - 26th Jan 2015

How time flies. We checked into Panama this morningon the San Blas Island of Porvenir, an easy 5 mile sail from Chichime, no reefsexcept right at Porvenir where some unfortunate soul had parked their boat inthe reef last week we believe, its on a reef called Sail Rock.   Checking in to any of these countries is alwaysfun, we saw four people this morning, one to check the boat in, Coastguard typeagency, then onto the Kuna Indian rep to pay $20 each for our Kuna permit, thanonto immigration to get our passports stamped and pay $100 for our immigration,finally to see the navy chap to make him happy, its a real trial butnecessary I guess.   We are now heading off at 8 knots to an anchorage40 miles nearer to Shelter Bay Marina in Colon to anchor overnight and then havea leisurely. read more...


26/01/2015

Folie a Deux - What do large spotted dolphins, Napolean, Whale Sharks have in common?

The Answer:All are a part of our experiences at St Helena Island in middle of the South Atlantic! 1700 nm from South Africa, 1900nm from Salvador, BrazilWe arrived at St Helena on late Thursday Afternoon, Jan 22.We had been escorted on our approach to the island by two of the largest dolphins we have ever seen, 15 feet long with spots.On Friday Morning, we cleared into customs, immigration, and port control.Then went to the bank for St Helena Pounds [only good here and Ascension island] The rest of the day was spent touring the island, visiting the Briars, where Napoleon stayed for a couple of months while his prison home in Longwood was being built.We saw that as well as the room that he had died.Then it was off to his tomb where he has interned until the French dug him up 19 years. read more...


26/01/2015

Nexus - Sailing again on a beautiful day!

After motoring for the night, the wind came back with a squall early in the morning. Initially it was right on the beam so we had the white sails out and were sailing well, then it died down a bit and moved aft, so we decided to roll out Fat Albert...our 100% gennaker and we're sailing well and quietly without the banging of the boom...delightful! We're making decent progress at 6-8kts in 13kts wind and it's a beautiful day! We're sailing in company with NDS Darwin, with Celebrate 30nm south and Alpheratz and Ghost 38nm aft, so we have good radio communications with our faster friends which is nice. We're still working on the fishing...no joy yet. I think I'll throw a line around the tackle box and toss it in this time.Russ and Laurie on NEXUS 13:00 01/26/2015 at 13 31.4'S;11 09.8'W. read more...


26/01/2015

A Plus 2 - SAN BLAS vision

Pâtés de sables échevelés de cocotiers éparses coiffés par l'alizé,plantés sur des massifs coralliens disséminés dans un grand lagonprotégé du nord par une longue barrière de corail, les San Blasressemblent bien au rêve de l'eden immaculé et des béatitudesidéalisées, loin des intrigues sociétales de la vie urbaine. Terrain defuite pour les chercheurs de rupture, terrain des indiens Kunas n'ayantpas encore tout à fait noyé leur culture et leur identité dans la télé,l'internet et les dollars distillés par des touristes encore peunombreux. La longévité des civilisations de faible démographie se mesurecertainement en proportion inverse des richesses en hydrocarbures, icibien absentes. La biodiversité ici, c'est l'homme avant les petitsoiseaux. Les Kunas sont des gens fiers, beaux,. read more...


07/12/2014

Take Off - Our first squall

Although the full moon lit our way so gently last night was quite unsmoothdue to wind changes all the time. We suspected several squalls so the spinnakerwent up and down all night in prevention. However we seemed everytime to “miss”them. This morning was a grey morning, no sunrise from the sea and heavy cloudsahead of us. However the heavy clouds were all along the horizon so we thoughtit was just normal rain. We sailed through it, got a bit wet, the wind wassteady and we thought this was smooth. The wind started to blow stronger and wasup to 30 knots when it then dropped gently down to 17 knots. And from nowhere astrong wind hit the boat, Jörgen stearing had difficulties in answering the windand the broach was inevitable. And then came the real rain – just like pouringhundreds of. read more...


26/01/2015

Exocet Strike - 25th Jan Update

Spent a night in East Lemmon Cays, interestingpilotage in, no way could it be done at night. Not such an interesting place as the Swimming Poolbut breezy and so cool. We tested the water maker and converted approx 100litres of sea water to drinking water, great technology, and very simple,forcing water through a very very fine filter membrane. It takes approx 400litres sea water to make 100 litres drinking water .It was a test in case therewere any issues so we could fix in Panama, just as well since one fitting leaksand needs replacing. Today we headed over for the rendevous at Chichime.This we had been advised was not such a safe or great place, in the event it wasperfectly OK. Nice very sheltered anchorage to the south of the island and veryfriendly welcome from the Kune indians who. read more...


25/01/2015

American Spirit II - Day 384; Our Last Full Day on St. Helena; We Go Swimming with a Whale Shark One More Time; & How St. Helena Got Its Name; Sunday, January 25, 2015

St. Helena was discovered by the Portuguese navigator Joao da Nova Castella on May 21, 1502; and was named after the mother of the Emperor Constantine. Her name was...Helena; and her birthday, you guessed it, was on May 21. Up at 8:00 AM. Coffee and tea.Breakfast at 10:00 AM: scrambled eggs; cut up spiced potato; fruit cocktail; and brown bread. For Joel and me. Jeanine had yogurt and granola. We turned on the generator to charge batteries and made water for 3 hours. Joel transferred pictures from his camera and mine to his computer so we can send some to the our rally web site later today. We took the water taxi into the wharf at 11:40 AM, along with one empty jerry can that we had forgotten to have filled with diesel yesterday. When we got to the dock I asked our whale shark tour guide. read more...


25/01/2015

Exody - Days 13/14- San Blas Bliss

By nightfall on Thursday 22nd most of the 15 World ARC boats were there with us at the Swimming Pool anchorage, with two just around the corner behind adjacent 'bug' island and another two still at their landfall anchorage to the west.A barbecue ashore was organised for Friday 23rd and we had a great afternoon on the well groomed Barbecue Island, looked after by three Kunas who sold us cold beers, coconut water or coke, lit the barbecue and also kindly boiled up the large spider crab we had just bought from a local family who visited us in their ulu (long dug out boat/canoe.The charge of $2US a head to land on the island was not grudged in any way! We barbecued another portion of our dorado catch.On the way in we were invited by Sarah and Luc on board the phenomenom that is Makena for a. read more...


American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming 10 feet above a Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming 10 feet above a Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Swiming with Whale Sharks
American Spirit II - Whales on the way to St Helena
American Spirit II - Whales on the way to St Helena
American Spirit II - Sperm Whale on the way to St.Helena
American Spirit II - Sperm Whale on the way to St.Helena
25/01/2015

Celebrate - "Degrees of Magnitude"

DEGREES OF MAGNITUDE by Jay AilworthZero degrees is a definitive longitude,One that carries a high degree of magnitude.A line on the chart that separates east from west,Possibly a trick question on a geography test.This line has nothing to do with season or clime,But for a navigator is literally the beginning of time.For me crossing this line is a first,Off watch asleep in my berth I crossed feet first.Until next time...Charlie, Cathy & Jay. read more...


25/01/2015

Allegro - QUINTA-FEIRA, 22 DE JANEIRO DE 2015

Largámos de Santa Marta, na Colômbia, na terça-feira dia 20 de Janeiro, ao meio dia local. Largada alinhada na linha de partida, para ficar bem na vista aérea de helicóptero. Deve ter ficado mesmo muito bem!Vento mantido entre 20 e 24 nós, com rajadas frequentes de 30+ nós. Mar muito desencontrado, com ondas altas, 4-5 metros. O barco a rolar de um lado para o outro todo o tempo, com saltos de cada vez que uma onda, ainda mais desencontrada e maior, o apanhava de lado. Uma não vamos esquecer - maior que as outras, pegou no barco que começou uma surfada muito grande mesmo, que nos manteve calados até ao seu fim. Quando vimos o anemómetro nem queríamos acreditar - 15,4 nós…Quem pensa que o Mar das Caraíbas é tranquilo e bom para passeios, desengane-se. É dos mais mexidos que apanhámos até. read more...


25/01/2015

Aretha - Chichime Cay, San Blas Islands

630am. 25th January 2015The boat is quiet apart from the sound of the waves lapping against the hull and the cries of tropical birds on the Islands next to us.Nichola woke me some 20 minutes ago for me to take my turn on anchor watch. This is where we maintain the watch system through the night just to make sure the anchor doesn’t drag. Having had only one shot at anchoring as the light went last night and being only metres away from the reef behind us there is no margin for error. If we do drag anchor we need to know about it and be able to respond immediately.Testamant to the importance of this was the sight of a yacht on her side on the coral reef as we entered the anchorage last night. She had clearly either missed her navigation marks or had dragged anchor. Either way, she was high. read more...


25/01/2015

Nexus - Chugging across the South Atlantic on a nice day

Well, our hopes were high when we left St Helena yesterday and saw 12kts on the beam, but we soon learned it was just the wind funneling across the island as it died to 5kts over the first hour. So we're all motoring...ugh. Beautiful day and night, and very calm seas only seem to amplify the disappointing drone of the motor. We've taken a northerly route to look for wind, as the GRIB files show that if there is any wind it might be a couple of knots higher in the north. Our plan is to come up to the 14th parallel or so, and turn west to hopefully head straight for Salvador with the wind on our quarter. No joy fishing yet, but we've heard Ghost caught a Mahi Mahi behind us, so we're hopeful we'll have fresh fish on the table soon! 1800nm to go and all is well.Russ and Laurie on NEXUS. read more...


25/01/2015

Firefly - Clockwise around the Hauraki Gulf

Sunday 25th January 2015 is yet another beautifully sunny day here in New Zealand - since New Year we have had only one cloudy day. During the last week we have sailed around the Hauraki Gulf in a clockwise direction reaching Waiheke Island from the Coromandel Peninsula. From there we have stopped at Ponui Island, Pine Harbour Marina near Beachlands, Rangitoto Island, Tiritiri Island and the Whangaparoa Peninsula. This evening Firefly will be berthed in Fairway Bay Marina as we are about start a month of road travel. Before leaving the Coromandel we visited the Rapaura Water Gardens near Tapu, successfully hitch hiking the 20 miles south without having to wait very long for lifts. The various ponds were fed by a small river and the tranquil setting was deep in the bush. The water lillies. read more...


24/01/2015

Celebrate - "Nautical Slip and Slide"

NAUTICAL SLIP AND SLIDE by Jay AilworthThe wind blows steadily over the wind without fail,At last the joy of a true downwind sail.The mainsail sheeted out and straining to starboard,While the poled out jib makes a triangle to larboard.The boat has an easy motion side to side,The twists and turns are easy to abide.The bow responds to each rise and fall,The wind at the stern becomes a sirens call.Gaining momentum on each an every crest,This is sailing at its best.This is not quite a roller coaster ride,But what comes to mind is seagoing slip and slide.. read more...


24/01/2015

American Spirit II - Day 383; We Take a Tour of the Island; See Napoleon's Homes and Tomb; & Swim with a Whale Shark; Friday, January 23, 2015

Up at 6:00 AM after staying up late the night before. Needed to get going because we have a lot to do today.Breakfast at 6:30 AM is scrambled eggs; cut up spiced potato; chilled pear halves; and brown bread.At 7:50 AM I send out an email concerning our British Airways lost bag to Zandra in Cape Town and Janet in Tampa. BA says that the bag has been delivered to Cape Town. Great.At 8:10 AM we depart on the water taxi to the wharf; and at 8:30 AM we enter the Custom's office and then proceed to the Immigration office, to clear out of the country. They are closed on weekends and since we're leaving on Sunday morning we must clear out on Friday. In St. Helena, once you clear out you have 72 hours to depart.Next we head to a bank to exchange South Africa Rand, US dollars, and Euros for. read more...


24/01/2015

Aretha - Roughing it up - 10 51 North, 77 10 West - One week back at sea

On our circumnavigation, we were told there were 3 parts of the world to expect the roughest weather: 1- Biscay2 - Columbia3 - The Agulhas current off South Africa.Well, we’ve now crossed the second of these and it was more demanding than the first (Biscay). The last 24 hours have been testing on the boat and us. We had 35 knots of breeze with seas coming from lots of different directions. We topped out the speed last night at 13.6 knots surfing downwind in the dark with 3 reefs and a poled out headsail. It always feels so much faster in the dark when its been doing by feel and you can’t really see what is going on.The wind softened today to 25-30 knots and maintained the confused seas. Heading across the Colombian basin, the wind was pushing us in the direction of Nicaragua. We. read more...


24/01/2015

Nexus - Swimming with Whale Sharks! Farewell to St Helena...

We had a magical experience swimming with Whale Sharks yesterday! It was a National Geographic moment snorkeling around and under these gentle giants, who didn't seem to be at all bothered by our presence. Apparently St Helena Island has about 30 of them resident in their local waters, and they run regular snorkel boats out each evening to swim with them. Definitely a bucket list item if you ever have the chance to do it, the experience is indescribable. Later on we had a large pig roast and lamb roast dinner at Anne's with several of the local townspeople and had a great evening. Earlier in the week we had an island tour on a 1927 Chevrolet truck, of all of the sights of St Helena, several of which were locations where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled here. There was a lovely home where he. read more...


24/01/2015

Luna Quest - Thursday, 23rd January

Noon Position: 09.35N 78.40WDaily Run: 140 milesDestination: Cayos Holandes in the San Blas IslandsWe are anchored off an idyllic little island amongst the many islands in the San Blas group of islands. They are of a size that you can walk round them in a few hours. They all have pristine white beaches with azure waters lapping on to them, where palm trees offer some shade to the elderly couple (Julia and me) walking on them. On one of islands, that we dinghied to, we came across three Indian families where the children appeared very happy swimming and playing in the water. Hesitant at first, they soon discovered we were friendly and then walked with us wherever we went. A little footpath led us to their settlement of a couple of huts made entirely of stakes and leaves for the roof. They. read more...


24/01/2015

GarliX - Tag 14 Zeitsprung San Blas Inseln

Es fehlen uns die Worte für dieses „Stück Welt“. Es ist ein Zeitsprung im wahrsten Sinn. Die San Blas Inseln gehören zu Panama und liegen ca. 80sm vor dem Panamakanal. Es sind ca. 378 Inseln, wovon nur ca. 49 bewohnt sind. Obwohl die Inseln zu Panama gehören, sind sie extrem unabhängig. Soweit zu den Fakten. In jedem Guide steht, dass diese Inseln nur im Tageslicht befahren werden sollen; möglichst um die Mittagszeit. Wir sind hier morgens um 4Uhr angekommen…. mussten also noch gut 2h im sicheren tiefen Wasser vor „uns hin warten“. Dann hat sich eine Welt eröffnet…. Inselkleckse, die max. einen halben Meter aus dem Wasser ragen und voll bedeckt sind mit Palmen. Drum herum türkis - blaues sauberes Wasser. ABER - auch nur im Tageslicht sichtbare Korallenriffe. Geankert haben wir bei 8m. read more...


23/01/2015

Exocet Strike - Update 23-1-2015

Today we had a great day with a BBQ on BBQ Islandwith most of the other World ARC boats. We made a silly mistake and didn't pullour dinghy up on shore or make it off well enough, result dinghy was floatingoff with the wind and tide, fortunately Jean from A Plus 2 and Paul from Juno sawit go and leapt into action with Juno's dinghy to retrieve her. Many thanks Pauland Jean.Now back on Exocet and ready to welcome Pete and Mindy from WaywardWind for dinner. John. read more...


23/01/2015

Celebrate - Napoleon's Last Days, Centuries Old Military History and Stunning Views on Tour in St. Helena Island in the Mid-South Atlantic Ocean

This very remote British island territory can only be reached by boat currently, but an airport is under construction.The first all-day tour stop was Napoleon's initial housing, Briars Pavilion, where he waited for permanent quarters for himself and entourage to be completed.Briars was a charming house and gardens where he was officially a guest of the family who owned the property.Napoleon's last residence on St. Helena and where he passed away was Longwood House.The house contained elegant furnishings and the garden areas were lovely.Napoleon picked the peaceful Sane Valley as his burial place.Later, the French Government removed his body from the tomb for burial in Paris.The island's military history dates back its strategic location during the British Empire.It was also used as a. read more...


24/01/2015

Exocet Strike - San Blas moving on

All the World ARC boats were on the move today,most of were in an anchorage called the Swimming Pool, and about half went to anisland group called Coco Banderas, and six of us went to East Lemmons and ananchorage just south of Yansaladup. interesting pilotage to get here butworthwhile. tomorrow we expect to all meet up in a placecalled Chichime.   On our way here we passed a lot of other smallerislands, where there appears to be a strong tourist trade developing. lotsof  tents, backpackers and locals using fast boats to get from one islandto another. It does seem that this whole area is gettingvery commercialised and thus spoilt, big shame. John   . read more...


23/01/2015

Aretha - High Winds & Confused Seas - Day 6. 11 42 North 74 21 West

It’s a dark night and the seas are confused as they come from different directions. Aretha is being bounced this way and that on the waves as Alan the autopilot picks a course through the seas. The wind is building - it’s risen from 18 to 25 knots and we’re expecting up to 40 knots overnight. I’m grateful we’re onboard Aretha - these are the seas she was designed for and she feels rock solid. This is a big wind acceleration zone and the winds are known as the “Crazy Winds”.We’re 20 miles North of Santa Marta in Colombia and not far from Barranquilla. The advice is: Keep well off the headland at Barranquilla, currents from the rio Magdalena estuary really strong & loads of rubbish,trees & the like closer in.  Fun and games then!The children, Nichola and Caroline are all. read more...


22/01/2015

American Spirit II - Day 382; We Arrive in St. Helena; See a Sunrise Green Flash (No. 30); & Have a Good Day in St,. Helena; Thursday, January 22, 2015

Up at 6:00 AM. St. Helena is 20 miles away. At 6:15 PM I can see the lighthouse on St. Helena; a rotating light every 20 seconds. The sky is still full of stars; the wind is 12/13 knots and we're moving at 5.6 knots thru the water and 5.8 knots over the land. I adjust the auto pilot to go 15 more degrees to port as we're heading too far right of the rumb line. At 7:23 AM the island is obscured by clouds; maybe rain clouds. Like all islands in the tropics, each small island has its own weather system. At 7:35 AM I check in with St. Helena port control. Adela calls me at 7:35 AM and says they saw me on AIS all night long. However, I can't see their AIS. I'll have to talk to Peter when we get in and let him know he may not be transmitting properly. Adela is 3 miles ahead of us. At 7:45 AM I. read more...


22/01/2015

American Spirit II - Day 381; Green Flash No. 29; We Catch 2 Fish; & a Great Afternoon/Evening of Sailing; Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jeanine says she called me 5 times to get up at 5:50 AM, but to no avail. Left door to aft cabin open, so I woke up at 6:12 AM. At 6:32 AM I relieved Jeanine. The wind is 13 knots and we're moving at 6.4 knots thru the water and 6.5 knots over the land. There is a low, solid overcast, with no stars visible. Really dark out. At 7:30 AM the dawn is fast approaching. Lot of clouds visible now and a light rain is falling. The sky is a little clear behind us, and with the wind coming from behind I'm hopeful that the clouds will clear and it'll be sunny today. At 9:00 AM the wind is still light at 9 knots, and we're motoring at 6.0 knots thru the water and 6.8 knots over the land. Still clearing; it might be a nice day. During the 10:00 AM net Sandra from Sweet Pearl hosts it. Only 5 or 6 of. read more...


22/01/2015

Exocet Strike - San Blas Islands

We had a great nights sleep after an epic pilotageinto the San Blas Islands, Mike, a South African who has been here for two yearsgave some great advice and at 1300 we had a radio net where he gave a lot moreadvice re where to anchor etc. It seems that the beautiful tranquility has beendisturbed by a lot of commercial operations and maybe we are visiting at thelast opportunity.  We of course are part of the problem of exploitation,but we do try to minimse our effect. We have just moved from one good, but slightly rolyanchorage to one that was challenging to get to, dodging reefs that are in thewrong place on the electronic charts is always fun. We are however safe andsound, surrounded by reefs, and small tropical islands, if the sun is outtomorrow, then the sight will be. read more...


22/01/2015

Exody - Days 11/ 12 - First Fish and San Blas Swimming Pool

Folks look askance when you say you have caught a dolphin - but we did catch a dolphin fish (aka dorado, mahi mahi) late on Wednesday on the first outing of the new reel provided in Trinidad last month by Marian's brother David.My brother Martin thought we had hooked a monster marlin or tuna such was the weight on the line, but it turned out to be a more modest one metre long male dorado, estimated at 6kg - still enough to feed us three at least three times.It was landed without the gaff and after about twenty minutes with two of us on the line having furled the genny almost completely to slow the boat to under 3 knots.Quite a challenge to dispatch and dismember without fouling the teak and the leather wheel- (quote Dagmar of Garlix - "no blood on my boat" - not possible if you want. read more...


22/01/2015

Ayama - WONDERFUL SEND-OFF FROM SANTA MARTA

About 11.30 yachts starting heading out of the Marina for the midday start.The starting line was between a dinghy and the end of the Marina.5 minutes before the start a tug parked itself in the middle of the start line!!He had come to give us a send-off with his water hoses.After various hilarious radio conversations he did move to one side.Yachts were all a bit like race horses lining up for the “off”.One even had her spinnaker poles out sideways ready to go goose-wing…she looked a bit like one of the racing chariots in Ben Hur and she was given wide berth.Suddenly we were all off..the helicopter flew overhead and the tug squirted water out on both sides…apparently a real honour for us. A sad but wonderful send –off from Santa Marta, her charming and friendly people and all the amazing. read more...


22/01/2015

Ayama - LEAVING SANTA MARTA

We've had a wonderful visit to Santa Marta but time has flown and we leave at midday today.Sunday was spent doing various repairs and maintenance.I spent the afternoon in the laundry ..not one of my favourite occupations but sociable as it is the best spot for internet access. In the evening some crews went to a beach for dinner.Per and I did our usual street food forage and finished up sitting on the pavement drinking aquadiente with a charming family.Colombians seem to have a very positive attitude about their future and have a great deal of faith in their president.Definitely a country to visit and enjoy. Monday There was an archaeological visit in the national park which actually turned out to be a hike through the forest to a beach.Stefan and Anna saw a blue heron …Anna has a. read more...


22/01/2015

Luna Quest - Thursday, 22nd January, 2015

Noon Position: 09.38N 78.23WDaily Run: 140 milesDestination: San Blas IslandsOur electronic depth alarm decided to go off mid ocean without responding to silence it. No matter what we tried it refused to be switched off. We are reliant on the depth sounder as we head into the San Blas Islands, where we have to find a spot to anchor amid many small islands and coral reefs…... There is always something that does not work at the very time you need it most.The winds settled down to around 23 knots from the East that enabled us to pole out our staysail opposite to the poled out genoa, but not for long. By night they went northeast again to give us a tight point of sail without one of them protesting. We lowered the staysail and carried on on with the poled out genoa only. Our speed reduced. read more...



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