South Africa to Caribbean – day 14 arrival in St Helena
Our position at 10.00 (09.00 GMT) Thursday 2nd February was in bed!! Haha We are on a buoy at
Our last day was a good days sailing with a F3 SE wind giving us a speed of between 5.5 and 6.5kts – perfect trade wind sailing, the twizzle rig was out all day. I watched another beautiful sunset at 8pm then as I looked forward to make sure we weren’t going to bump into anything I spotted land. It’s a wonderful feeling to see land after a long passage. I remember as a child my sister and I always tried to be the first to see the sea on the way to our summer holiday and that’s what we are like on passage, I’m always trying to see land before Bill! We continued to our waypoint off the north east corner of the island as darkness fell. For the cruisers coming along after us the island had about half a dozen red lights showing on the island in the dark, none of them are navigation lights, in fact there isn’t a single navigation light to guide you in. We found the island out of position slightly when we pinged it with the radar but that might be that our radar needs calibrating. The island is like Niue in that it falls away quickly and doesn’t have much of a shelf or any beaches. At 3.30 the wind died and Bill put the engine on reaching our waypoint at 4.30. Another hour later and we had made our way to the mooring field, fortunately a couple of boats had anchor lights on because it was very dark. Earlier Bill had got out our 1,000,000 candle power torch to spot the buoy when we arrived and it had tested ok. As we reached the mooring field with the sound of the waves crashing on the cliffs and not being sure exactly where they were, the torch decided not to work! I was up at the bow trying not to shout and wake everyone up while Bill decided to go down below and try and get the friking thing to work as we were drifting closer to the sound of the crashing waves on the cliffs. We knew the position of our allocated buoy but at that point I was just going to pick up any buoy and we would move in the morning but I couldn’t see one (the little hand torch I had was useless). Bill appeared without the big torch working but with the diving torch which is powerful. Finally I could see the buoy in front of us and luckily it was no 25. It took a couple of attempts to pick up the line but finally we got it and the engine went off at exactly 06.00. After making sure the boat was secure we just crashed into bed only to be woken at 10.00 by the harbour master knocking on the side of the boat having brought the customs lady out to check us in. The customs check in took about 10 minutes and was very efficient, we have to go ashore to see immigration. We have changed our clocks to GMT so now we are in the same time zone as the UK.
The journey from Cape Columbine to St Helena was 1679 miles which we did in 283.5 hours or 11 days 20&1/2 hours giving us an average of 5.9kts. So we are about a quarter of the way to Florida. To complete this journey of almost 7000 miles in 14 weeks we must achieve 500 miles a week (easily doable). As the journey from cape town took 2 weeks we have over 700 miles in the ‘bank’ so we hope to spent a week or two here before moving on to Ascension island.
I’ll post more when we’ve been ashore and taken some photos. Thank you to everyone for your emails and comments on our journey.