Category Archives: Sailing

The OCC Azores Rally

Great catching up with old friends

I was really happy to discover the OCC were planning a rally in the Azores at the same time that we would be there. Peter Café sport was celebrating their 100 year anniversary and together with the OCC put together a week of events.

We arrived on Saturday 16th June a day behind Ken on Antaras. Our old friends Norman and Sara had arrived on Norsa a few weeks earlier. It was good to meet up for a meal later that day.

The end of the pursuit race

Free beer and wine brought out a crowd

 

The start of the week began with the end of the Pursuit ‘race’ at 12.00 on 18th June and despite many boats having to motor to the Azores through lack of wind, there were quite a few boats crossing the line. I watched from the harbour wall. Time was allowed to check-in, collect badges from OCC rally control and generally catch their breath before the first event that evening. Jose was offering free wine, beer and gin & tonics before everyone followed the leaders to the fort in Porto Pim where a large pig was being barbecued.

The fort at Porto Pim

The pig roast

 

There were speeches from the mayor in Portuguese, with a young lady interpreting, followed by a speech from John Franklin and Jose thanking every one. Several of the sailors had completed their 1000 mile qualifying trip on the way to the Azores and were rewarded with an OCC burgee. The food was very nice and plentiful, the setting in the evening sun was glorious.

Norsa on their way out of the harbour

 

 

 

The next morning we said goodbye to Norman and Sara because they were anxious to get back to the uk.

Bill walking

Looking back up the steep bank

Meanwhile the group was divided up with some going on a guided walk in the morning but we joined the afternoon walk. Something was lost in translation because I, along with a number of other participants, thought we were going on a guided walk of the town but instead we were taken on a wonderful bus trip to the centre of the island and taken on an 8km route march! It wasn’t so bad and the views down towards the ocean were impressive. It was a fairly easy walk except for one area that had collapsed during a recent landslide and it was necessary to scramble down one side on pumice rocks which turned themselves into ball bearings, and then back up the other side which fortunately had steps cut into the hill side. After 3 hours we eventually re-joined the bus for the trip back to the harbour. There was just time for a shower and a quick change before a scrumptious dinner at Peter café sport courtesy of Jose.

Beautiful views out to sea

Beautiful Hydrangeas

 

 

The flowers in the hedgerows are beautiful here.

 

 

Not sure what these are but they were beautiful

Wild strawberries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful ferns, lots of amazing greens.

The path followed an open culvert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The forecast for Wednesday was cloudy so sadly the planned walk around the caldera was cancelled.  Jose came to the rescue once again with lunch provided at Peter Café Sport. I, along with many others, although sad not to see the caldera, was quietly relieved at not having to do 2 walks in 2 days.  That evening there was a visit to the Volcano museum with a reception which by all accounts was excellent but we chose an early night.

Early morning view of Pico

A full ferry

 

 

Thursday saw every one emerging from their boats early for the 15 minute walk to the ferry port to catch the 7.30 ferry to Pico. Once everyone boarded the trip took about 20 minutes.

 

Looking back to Horta from the ferry

The interesting vineyard

The group was divided between 2 coaches, ones having lunch and those not. Having made our picnic we joined the no lunch coach although they travelled together. The first stop was to a vineyard but with a difference. The vines were being grown in clumps behind little dry stone walls expertly built, it reminded us of Lanzarote where the vines were grown in little hollows. The reasoning behind this is firstly it protects them from the wind and secondly the bricks heat up during the day and then during the night the cooling causes condensation and therefore making them self watering.

There are red windmills like this all over the island

 

 

 

 

 

The beautiful red windmill in the centre looked lovely but probably didn’t function any more judging by the sails. Everyone took turns in climbing the little ladder to get a better view of the vines.

 

The cafe garden. Can you see his goat?

 

 

We stopped for coffee by a little roadside cafe who didn’t appear to know we were coming when he saw 2 bus loads of tourists descending on him but coped very well.  The coffee here is really nice and only €1 a cup. They don’t know what cappuccino is but a latte is the same. The area was very rural with a lovely garden behind the cafe.

One of the very good exhibits

 

 

 

Eventually we arrived at Lajes and were taken to visit the whale museum. The group were shown into a video room to watch a video of how the whales used to be caught. I didn’t want to watch anything like that and chose not to watch it. I’m glad I didn’t because apparently it was fairly graphic.

The view from our lunch spot

The view across the harbour. Our lunch stop was just to the left of the photo

 

 

After the museum visit the ‘lunch included’ coach gathered its group and left for a restaurant outside the town. Bill and I took our picnic and climbed up to an old fort for a wonderful view looking down on the harbour while we ate our lunch and had time to explore the pretty village.

The streets of the old town were very narrow

 

 

 

Very pretty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love all the shutters

Lake in the hills

 

 

Our coach joined the other one as we set off over the hill to the northern side of the island. A brief stop by a lake gave us some lovely photos but the mist was coming in so we moved on.  The coach continued over the hill and stopped again before descending to Sao Roque do Pico for more photos.

Very beautiful island

A natural pool in among the rocks

 

 

We stopped at a natural swimming pool among the rocks. Unfortunately no one had brought any swimmers with them although a couple of people jumped in in their underwear – no not me!

Stunning coastline

 

 

 

Amazing rocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting arch

 

 

 

 

The last stop was a little village with more splendid views.  You used to be able to walk across this natural arch but it’s breaking up now so we viewed from afar.

 

 

Bill bought a bottle of the brandy. The last bottle on the right hand side of the top shelf.

 

 

There was a little distillery there and we were offered a free tasting. Bill couldn’t resist the old 51% proof Brandy and bought a bottle. It was back on the ferry and then back to our boats before another quick change in time for a delicious dinner in Praia do Almoxarife, a coach ride across the hill.

 

Back on the coach

James, Ken and Bil

Friday was allocated to whale trips but we didn’t go although the ones that did had some excellent sightings. I went along to Peter Café sport for a tour of Jose’s Scrimshaw museum with Jose himself giving the tour. He has an excellent collection which was brought to life so much better for knowing the history of it all. I was fascinated and spent an hour peering into the many glass cases.  That evening everyone dressed ‘smart casual’ for the final dinner and prize giving. It was amazing how everyone scrubbed up and looked wonderful in their smart clothes. We shared a table with Ken and Eiloo of Antaras II and James and Patti of LaAdventura. Ken won a prize for being the first single hander to arrive,. Speeches were made and prizes handed out before a wonderful buffet dinner was served.

Bill and I feel so fortunate to have been in the Azores the same time as the OCC rally. Let’s hope it isn’t 100 years before the next one.

Advertisements

June Update

This is also very late but here is the June update. I hope it isn’t too boring but I put the waypoints in for my yachtie friends.

Lovely fountains near the apartment

We arrived safely back in Florida and Kate had very kindly booked an apartment for us all to stay in for 3 nights. Bill and I had wanted to get back to the boat to start getting it prepared to head north but I was quite ill when we got back and the rest in the apartment was very welcome. I had had a nasty cold for several weeks in the UK and added to the jetlag combined with the heat I wasn’t improving. I retained my cold right through June, just couldn’t shake it off. The apartment was in a nice area with the Disney parks a short bus ride away but at $105 ++ per person we didn’t visit them.

 

One of the pools

 

There was a nice pool and gym which Kate and Mark enjoyed while I rested in the air conditioning for the first day but joined them the next day. Again the most convenient way to get back to the boat with all our luggage was hire a one-way car, a shiny red Dodge. Sorry forgot to take a photo.  After travelling three sides of a square because I’m rubbish with GPS (give me a map any day) we were eventually on our way. We stopped at a mall on the way back but it was fairly uninspiring.

 

 

The car didn’t have to go back until the next day so we made use of it to stock up the boat with food and wine to take back to the boat.  This is a boring photo of the local supermarket car park but look at the size of the cars! More about them later.

Harbourtown marina has a nice little pool which Kate and Mark enjoyed while I sorted the boat out. It easier on my own. When we had left on the 9th May it was a nice temperature but now after 3 weeks away the temperature had soared and the pool was the only place to cool down.

Happy birthday Kate

 

Sunday 4th was Kate’s birthday and I had a nice salad lunch with a cake to celebrate.

There was a double celebration that day because our Blue Water rally friends Peter and Margie drove up from Miami to join us for lunch. They had brought bubbles for the double celebration.  We had a great time chatting to them not having seen them since 2011 in NZ at Kate’s house so lots to catch up on.

Bill, Sue, Margie and Peter

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ICW is lined with these huge houses

 

Finally on Tuesday 6th we got going.  Unfortunately there was a thunderstorm brewing and I didn’t want to go on the outside. We were already late and didn’t want to wait another day so travelled up the ICW instead. Once we passed through the opening Fort Pierce north bridge we were committed and couldn’t go back.  As the wind was coming from the south Bill pulled the headsail out and we sailed slowly up the waterway. Most of the Florida section is lined with these huge homesteads that are obscene in their size.  At first we thought they were hotels or apartments but then we realised they were 1 house.

Day boats

 

 

Most of them have their own jetties with various types of boats on them.  These are very popular and potter up and down the waterways. I would think they have a fairly shallow draft so don’t have to keep within the channel.

 

 

Irritating stink pots

 

Unfortunately there are also a lot of these. Just look at the wash this was kicking up. The owners have a total disregard for anyone else on the waterways. There are ‘no wash’ signs everywhere but they ignore them.

 

 

 

 

It’s shallow outside of the channel

 

It’s really important to keep with in the channel, a few feet out of it is very shallow as you can see from these boys just able to step out of their vessel.

We found a nice little anchorage for the night just north of the Eau Gallie fixed bridge. For my yachties friends the waypoint is

28°08.11N

080°37.343W

The next day we were off again and sailed with just the genny again. Mark enjoyed taking a turn on the helm. By lunchtime the wind had gone and it started to rain. The decision was made to go into a marina. Oddly enough it was also called Harbourtown marina.  It was in the Canaveral Barge canal at

28°24.51N

080°40.757W

At $104 for 2 nights, which, for a transient berth, was a bargain for America.  We stayed 2 nights enabling us to visit the Kennedy Space centre at Cape Canaveral, which was just a taxi ride away. If you come to Florida forget the Disney parks, do the Kennedy Space center we had a great time there.

The rocket garden

Bill had a sit in a rocket.

 

The day started off sunny and we explored the Rocket garden but the clouds built up and brought the rain later in the day. Your ticket includes a guided bus tour of the launch sites and we were able to get quite close to them although you have to stay on the bus.

This is the huge crawler that carries the space rocket from the hanger where it’s assembled to the launch pad at a really fast 1 mile an hour.

 

The crawler base

This is one of the launch pads.  You can see the crawler tracks.

This is one of the launch pads.  You can see the crawler tracks.

 

The bus stops on the Cape Canaveral island at further exhibition halls. This was a simulator for a rocket launch and these screens were showing an actual launch. I have a video of the whole thing. The floor was shaking and it was very loud, it was really exciting. It would be fantastic to witness an actual launch.

 

Rocket launch simulator

Part of the simulator

The Saturn V

 

The main hall had a really Saturn V on display.  Bill was very excited to see it.

There were lots of smaller exhibits to see before getting back on the bus to go back to the main site.

The space shuttle

 

 

One of the main exhibits on that side contained an actual space shuttle. We all queued for the Shuttle Launch Simulator, which was fun. We all laughed while trying to speak as our voices were all shaking with the simulated speed.

This is an actual space shuttle not a model.

The space shuttle

 

 

Everything was very well presented and I would recommend it.  Back to the marina to cool off in their pool and put some washing on.

 

 

Our selfie. haha

Following English boat through the open bridge.

The next day Friday 9th we discussed going outside again, there’s an inlet at the end of the Canaveral canal, but there was no wind and it was quite a long way out so we continued up the ICW.

More bridges.

More beautiful houses but the ICW was as boring as it looks. The water was filthy and Camomile was starting to get a dirty mark around her waterline.

More big houses

Titusville bridge

We traveled just 4 hours that day and stopped at Titusville to give our guests a chance to go ashore. We anchored just south of the bridge at

28°37.170N

080°47.928W

During the evening a band set up by a bar under the bridge and they played some really nice music. Kate and I were dancing around the deck all evening. Unfortunately the next day we discovered another blight of the ICW.  As the screens hadn’t been in, the boat was full of mosquitoes and we were all covered in bites, except Mark, they didn’t seem to like him!

Kate and Mark had decided to spend the last few days of their holiday back in a hotel in Orlando; I think the air conditioning was calling because it was very hot on board and the ICW is fairly uninspiring.

Daytona beach south

Saturday 10th no wind. Bill and I got up at 6.00, lifted the anchor and got going.  It was 38 miles to Daytona beach where Kate and Mark were leaving us so we decided to get there as soon as possible so they could enjoy the beach. I found another small marina that just had a little space for Camomile at

29°09.272N

080°58.541W

It was called 7 Seas marina and was very friendly. No pool but washing machines and showers for $93.09 for 2 nights. It was just outside Daytona and the beach was a short walk away.

Daytona beach north

Daytona beach bills itself as ‘The World’s Most Famous Beach’. It’s the birthplace of NASCAR, which started in 1947. Its origins go back as far as 1902 to drag races held on the beach’s hard packed sand. We were a bit further south than the actual Daytona beach but it all looks the same. It was a beautiful beach. Kate and Mark went off to explore. When Bill and I got down to the beach it reminded us a bit of the Gold coast in Australia.

This was our first and only time on the beach on the East coast south of Virginia. There aren’t any suitable anchorages along the coast. The inlets were quite bouncy until you were well inside the ICW. Most of the anchorages in the ICW are fronted by beautiful houses but nowhere to land among the private docks. We noted some public jetties but they were often full with local ‘day’ boats and a fair walk to the beach. So Daytona was our one and only walk on the beach.

Mark with 2 breakfasts

Sunday 11th was their last day and Kate kindly treated us all to breakfast in Pat’s café.  Mark over ordered and managed to get two breakfasts but he still eat it all! The marina manager very kindly offered to give them a lift into town to catch their bus back to Orlando so we said our goodbyes and they left.

The next day the marina manager offered to take us to the supermarket, as we needed to restock the boat before we headed north, everyone was very friendly there. We left in the afternoon and motored south to anchor by the Ponce de Leon inlet ready for an early start in the morning. The anchorage was at

29°03.671N

080°55.890W

I’m not sure I would recommend it because the anchorage was full of midges of some sort and in the morning we were both covered in bites, particularly Bill.  His chest was covered in little tiny red bites.

Time was pressing on. It was 13th June and we were still in Florida. Our insurance company had asked us to be north of 35° north before 1st June and we were still at 29°N.  On reflection we should have got Camomile much further north before going to the UK. Hurricane season had started and we weren’t covered for a named storm although hurricanes are very rare in June.  In fact it was the opposite there wasn’t any wind forecast; another reason I would recommend trying to get north early. We had been advised by friends who had sailed these shores on previous years ‘Go north quickly, come south slowly’ although it’s a bit late in the season that was our plan, to try to get north as quickly as possible.

St Augustine waterfront

That morning there was no wind but we left early and motored on the outside covering 62 miles to St Augustine. We arrived in the rain and tried 3 times to anchor but were told by a local there’s no holding and to pick up a buoy.  It was at

29°53.66N

081°18.55W

The next morning we decided to have a look at the town before we moved on but went to pay for the buoy first. It was $25 for the night plus we were informed we had to ‘check out’ by 11am, it was 10am. After complaining bitterly the harbour master relented and gave us until 1pm!

Juan Ponce de Leon

St Augustine was founded by the Spanish in 1565 and is the oldest permanent settlement in the US. Juan Ponce de Leon discovered it in 1513 and has his statue erected near where he stepped ashore.

The entrance of the big government building that dominates the town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beautiful Basilica

 

 

 

 

We wandered into the Cathedral Basilica and found a striking building inside. Some of the walls and woodwork had beautiful murals painted on them.

The interior was stunning

The altar was beautiful

 

 

The altar was sitting on a marble floor and had a centrepiece behind the altar covered in gold and surrounded by the organ pipes. Really stunning. It was also cool in there.

 

 

The main street

Quaint houses

 

We walked down the pedestrianised St Georges street. I felt it was on the edge of being Disneyfied but stopped just short of being a historic theme park because many of the buildings are original, if heavily restored.  After stopping for coffee we continued. Some of the buildings were very quaint.

The original school

Castello de Marcos

 

On the edge of town is the Castello de San Marcos, the country’s oldest masonry fort completed by the Spanish in 1695.  For many years it was the northernmost outpost of Spain’s vast New World empire.  It protected St Augustine from pirate raids and Spain’s major rival at the time, Great Britain.  The fortress is a hollow square with diamond shaped bastions at each corner with only one way in or out.

The bastions

 

 

Cannons in one bastion were positioned to create a deadly crossfire with those in two other bastions.  The fort’s commanding location on the west bank of the town allowed its guns to protect not only the harbour entrance but the ground to the north against a land attack.

Cannons lined the upper walls

 

 

In 1763, as an outcome of the Seven Years (French and Indian) War, Spain ceded Florida to Great Britain in return for Cuba. After the American Revolution Florida was returned to Spain until 1821 when Spain ceded Florida to the United States. Over the years it fell into disrepair until it came under the National Park service in 1935.

 

The sleeping quarters

 

 

St Augustine was a garrison town and no one lived inside the Castillo. The soldiers lived in town with their families and came to the fort to stand a rotating guard duty. They slept on these platforms and prepared their meals in this room.

 

The inner walls

Camomile on her buoy

Fascinating tour. These days it just looks out over a bunch of yachts including Camomile.

We returned to the dinghy at exactly 1pm and left the buoy motoring to the outer harbour to anchor by the lighthouse at

29°53.19N

081°17.06W a nice peaceful overnight stop.

 

The St Augustine waterfront

Back out through the inlet

Thursday 15th we left early and headed back out to sea. I noticed a ‘buddy’ on the AIS and discovered it was Solstice with Don and Phyllis on board. We haven’t seen them since St Helena.  After a quick chat on the vhf I discovered they were heading into Jacksonville.  It would have been nice to catch up with them but we had made the decision to push on.  We motored half the day and sailed half so a bit of an improvement.

Big factory in the entrance

 

 

At 7pm we dropped anchor at Fernandina beach (no where near the beach) right on the Florida/Georgia border. There was a fairly ugly factory of some description just inside the entrance to the harbour. It had huge piles of sawdust on the side and Bill said he thought they were making some sort of fibreboard.

 

Sad sight

 

We also passed a boat yard with a number of dead boats on the side, which were probably remnants of hurricane Matthew that went through here last year.  We had seen lots of broken boats in the shallows on our way up the ICW.  The anchor was dropped at

30°40.229N

081°28.110W    just behind the British boat with the French name Ile Jeudi (Thursday Island).  We had seen them on the water a couple of times.

We were ashore the next morning when we bumped into them, they were Bob and Lyn and we had a great chat over a coffee. Having left all our sailing friends in the Caribbean it was nice to make some new ones.

Beautiful church

 

The residents of Amelia Island, home to Fernandina Beach, are quick to tell you their town is just as old as St Augustine but unfortunately they can’t prove it. It certainly has the familiar historic theme park look. Everywhere we’ve been so far is so manicured, almost unreal it’s so clean and tidy without a blade of grass out of place. I guess we’re used to the scruffy island states of the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Beautifully kept properties

 

 

We followed the walking tour recommended by the tourist office but unfortunately it started to rain so we found a nice Pizza restaurant and stopped for lunch.

 

 

Traditional shop fronts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting veranda

Shop selling Christmas trees in June

Later that afternoon I noticed this amusing shop. Were these the first Christmas decorations on sale in June?

Saturday 17th first thing in the morning we were off again. After motoring all morning the wind picked up in the afternoon and the engine was turned off. We decided to continue overnight as we had some decent wind for a change. It meant we would miss Savannah and the state of Georgia but we needed to keep going.  Ile Jeudi were sailing in front of us and decided to do the same.

Are these the biggest fenders you’ve seen?

Big houses on the Charleston waterfront

We dropped anchor in Charleston, South Carolina at lunchtime the next day. We were both tired and stayed on board. I think sailing for 1 night is worse than doing a week. You don’t get a chance to get into a routine.  Our waypoint was

32°46.555N

079°57.222

We had a couple of days in Charleston with a strong north wind blowing, which we couldn’t go out in. Typical, decent bit of wind and it’s on the nose.

Edmonston-Alston house

Monday 19th we went ashore with Bob and Lyn and had a nice lunch together. Charleston or Charles Towne, named for Charles II, was settled by English colonists on the Ashley river in 1670.  By 1740 it had become one of the busiest ports on the eastern seaboard, the centre of prosperous rice-growing and a trading colony built on the back of slavery. Charleston was a key trading centre for the slave industry and bustling slave auction houses clustered along the river.  In 1861 the first shots of the Civil war rang out at Fort Sumter that we had passed in the harbour entrance. After the war the labour intensive rice plantations became uneconomical without slave labour and the importance of the city went into decline.  The southern most tip of the peninsular has the bulk of the antebellum mansions and about a half a dozen of these majestic homes are open to the public. In the afternoon we looked around the town and visited the Edmonston-Alston house, which was beautifully restored but no photos allowed.

Everything’s big in America

 

 

Tuesday the wind was still blowing in the wrong direction so Bill and I went ashore again. Bill wanted his photo taken next to this monster, the bonnet was right up to his shoulders.

 

 

One of the grand paintings left

 

Continuing out tour of the town we visited the Aiken-Rhett house.  The only surviving example from the urban plantation times, it gives a fascination glimpse into antebellum life.  Constructed in 1820 for Gov and Mrs William Aiken it remained in the family for 142 years.  Many of the rooms were closed off for decades and it is being kept in a ‘preserved-as-found’ condition.

 

 

Love the windows

Would have been some lovely parties here once

 

 

 

The furniture and interior is unaltered since the mid 19th century.

 

 

The original slave quarters

Inside the slave quarters

 

 

The role of slaves is also preserved and it’s possible to wander through the dormitory quarters behind the house.

 

 

The old cooking range

 

 

 

This kitchen would have been used to cook meals for the entire family. They were very nervous of fire in those days and didn’t like it in the main house.

 

Joseph-Manigault house

The beautiful dining room

 

 

The Joseph Manigault house a few blocks away is a complete contrast. The three-story Federal style house was once the showpiece of a French Huguenot rice planter. The rooms open to the public were beautifully furnished.  The third floor is still a private residence.

 

For ladies that write letters

Beautiful fireplace

 

Beautiful hallway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing chandelier

 

 

 

Formal garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a small neoclassical temple in the garden.

We were told there are some beautiful plantations outside of the town open to the public but you would need a car to get out to them. Maybe another day.

On the Wednesday Don and Phyllis arrived on Solstice so it was nice to catch up with them.

Thursday 22nd the wind dropped so we decided to leave along with Ile Jeudi and Solstice.  We motored in the morning but the wind picked up in the afternoon so we were able to sail. The intention was to go to Georgetown but it seemed a shame to stop as we had some wind so we continued. Ile Jeudi went into Georgetown but Solstice continued with us into the night. The engine went on at 10.30 the next morning and we motored into Southport, North Carolina. There was a storm coming and we needed to be in secure in a marina for a few days.

Bill – Solstice, Bill Neal and Ruth – Rutea

 

 

Then the confusion started. We were calling Solstice on the VHF when another Solstice answered – it was our old friend Bill who we hadn’t seen since 2014 in Malaysia, how cool was that. Added to that when we arrived at South Harbour Village marina Neal and Ruth on Rutea were there and we hadn’t seen them probably since 2013! It was great to catch up with them all on Rutea for drinks later.

The marina was at

33°55.11N (getting nearer to 35N)

078°02.90W

it cost $125.20 for 2 nights and had nice showers and a washing machine.  It was quite a way out of town but Bill had a car and drove the 5 of us to a nearby group of bars and restaurants where there was a good band playing.

Quaint church

Don and Phyllis on Solstice

The other Solstice had gone into a different marina (South Harbour only had 1 space free) but on Sunday 25th we left South Harbour and joined Don and Phyllis to continue our journey. The storm had gone through but the seas were still a bit rough so we decided to continue up the ICW again for the day and dropped anchor in Wrightsville at 3pm.  Our waypoint was

34°12.352N

077°48.003W

Motoring up the ICW

Solstice travelling behind us passing under the bridge

 

There had been no wind and we’d motored all the way. In the ICW all the fixed bridges 64ft, give or take a foot depending on the tide, if they are less than that they open.  Some will open on demand, some have timetables but ask the bridge operator.  The depth in the ICW in the channel is supposed to be about 10ft but Camomile draws 2 metres or 6 feet and has touched the bottom a couple of times but it’s only soft mud.

 

Wrightsville waterfront

West Marine store

Monday 26th we went ashore with Don and Phyllis in search of a supermarket and found a West Marine opposite. While we were out Rutea and Ile Jeudi arrived so we invited the 4 of them to join us and Don and Phyllis on board Camomile for a drink that evening. The interesting thing was the six of them didn’t know each other only us.  It was interesting introducing everyone and all had a great evening.

Beautiful evening

Ile Jeudi ahead of us

Tuesday 27th we joined Solstice and Ile Jeudi for the journey to Beaufort. We exited at the Masonboro inlet but again motored all of the way 70 miles; crazy.

It was late when we arrived at Beaufort but just got our anchor down as the sun dipped below the horizon at 8.30. That’s one of the advantages of heading north the evenings are drawing out. Solstice came in behind us.

Solstice and Camomile at anchor

 

 

 

Our waypoint was

34°42.886N

076°39.887W

 

 

An original routemaster

 

 

Wednesday 28th we went ashore and enjoyed walking around the town. I was very excited to see this London bus which is exactly the sort of bus my Dad used to drive many years ago. In the US it isn’t mandatory to have a front number plate so this bus was still displaying it’s original English number plate at the front. Also on the side it still had it’s bus number and destinations in London on display. The tourist company were using it for tours around the area.

Original sign

One of the oldest

 

 

This little house from 1778 is the oldest existing one in the village.  It looked very small compared to most of the other homes although Beaufort had some cute little places.

This one was my favourite, such a sweet little house.

Beautiful church

The whole town was very attractive and many houses already had their 4th July decorations on display. This was the beautiful village church.  One thing that struck us as we walked around Beaufort that, along with many of the coastal towns we’d visited, we didn’t see a single black face.  In Beaufort the only one we saw was a guy cutting someone’s lawn.  We had seen various groups of kids on summer school on our journey along the coast but not one non-white face. I’m not sure what that means but we found it slightly disturbing.

The next day Solstice and Ile Jeudi left for Oriental further up the ICW and that was the last we saw of them this year. We wanted to wait another day and make the final push over the 35° latitude before the end of the month around the outside.

Our dolphin escort

Friday 30th the winds were forecast to blow from the south. We motored back out through the Beaufort Inlet and had to motor 20 miles south around the cape lookout shoals before we were able to turn north and sailed the rest of the day with a dolphin escort. During the afternoon it was in a north east direction towards Cape Hatteras before turning north towards the Chesapeake bay.  Rutea and Bill on the other Solstice were also making the journey that day although they were about half a day behind us.  At 10pm we finally crossed the 35° line.  Cape Hatteras has a dreadful reputation in these parts and we weren’t disappointed. As we rounded the cape at 1am we were hit by a huge squall that completely overpowered the boat for about 10 minutes until Bill was able to regain control but that was in July…..

Finally sailing

May update

I can now continue with my blogs. This is long overdue but this is the May update.

Monday 1st May we checked into America. It took all morning. The biggest problem was not having an American phone and the satellite phone wouldn’t call the number the coastguard gave me. It’s necessary to have a check in number, which you get calling the phone number, before the customs will even speak to you. For yachties following us, the custom’s have an internal phone you can use when you get there. We spent several hours establishing that! We also assumed they would want to inspect Camomile and tried to obtain a marina berth for a few hours but that was unnecessary because they decided they didn’t want to inspect so we stayed at anchor.

Very clean American mall

The next day was my birthday and I decided I wanted to go a real American mall, Bill’s idea of purgatory but off we went. While there we got a new phone for me on an American contract so I can facebook and message as much as I want. The number is 561 301 6266. I had a wonderful time browsing around the shops.

Yum yum yum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had lunch out, which was delicious, but the best was the strawberry shortcake for dessert. The first of the ‘Everything is big in America’ pictures.

The next day on the 3rd we headed north leaving at 6.30am going back out through the Lake Worth inlet at

26˚46.348N

80˚01.719W

The wind was from the east and gave us a good push with the sails hoisted. We entered back into the ICW (inter coastal waterway) at

27˚28.537N

80˚16.137W

and then into Harbourtown marina at Fort Pierce.

Camomile in Harbourtown marina

The entrance waypoint is

27˚28.030N

80˚19.569W

The space is the marina was very tight. As you can see Camomile is way over the edge of the berth but the marina weren’t concerned. It will be fun getting out but we’ll work that out later.  This would be Camomile’s home for the next month. The cost was $623 for the month working out to a little over 55c per foot per day. We were later to realise what a bargain this was. In the US you pay by the foot for a day or a month. The monthly rates are a lot cheaper than the daily rates.

As many of you know the purpose of the beginning of our stay was to fly back to the UK but the first job was to clean Camomile inside and out, which took most of the next day.  I had spent several hours cleaning Camomile’s decks then it started to rain!! Should I have bothered. The couple on the motorboat next to us were very friendly along with most of the other boat owners.  Word got round there were a couple of Brits in town and everyone was ‘Just stopping by to say Hello and welcome’.

The smallest car available to hire.

Spent the rest of the week sorting out the boat, washing and packing.

Monday 8th we picked up our hire car. A one way car hire worked out the cheapest way to get to Orlando airport which was only a 4 hour drive away but America doesn’t really do public transport. When we arrived at the office in town and had completed the paperwork we were shown to our car. I pointed out that I thought they had given us the wrong car. I had booked a small compact car. ‘No’ he said ‘this is a small compact car’!

Selfie by the fountain

 

 

Tuesday 9th we drove to Orlando airport. I was really excited. We were flying to Miami and then to Heathrow. Orlando airport is huge and full of shops selling Micky Mouse hats. There was a beautiful fountain in the middle of the building.

 

Getting our flight ready

 

 

Our flight was delayed twice and was transferred to Philadelphia where we had to take a later flight to Heathrow. All good in the end.

It was wonderful to see Thomas at the airport. All the planning for this event and finally we were in the UK.

 

Logan is such a cutie

 

Had a busy first week. On the Friday Bill went off on the stag weekend to Barcelona to the F1, with James, Will the best man and some others. Thomas had a great time. I spent 3 days with my younger sister shopping for my wedding outfit then 3 days with my middle sister enjoying chatting with her and my niece Kirsty and my great nephew Logan, who is adorable now. It’s a year since I’ve seen him and he isn’t a baby any more.  Bill and James were back from the stag and working on James’s van.

Thank you to my sisters for having us.

We then returned to Kent to stay with Sonal’s mum Meena. Thank you for having us Meena.

Working in the cookie kitchen, do you like my hair net?

 

 

 

 

 

During our second week James was back at work so Bill helped Thomas put some finishing touches to their house, which ended up taking quite a time. I had a day in the cookie kitchen making cookies. I didn’t eat many……

Kate and Bill catching up.

 

 

 

A week before the wedding on the 20th we were invited to a family party of Bill’s relatives at cousin Sally and Rob’s. It was wonderful to see everyone. Bill’s sister Kate was there who had flown in for the wedding and Bill and she had a lovely catch up. It was also the first time we’d seen our nephew Will in almost 5 year, he had grown very tall.

 

3 delicious cakes

Bronwyn blowing out her candles

 

 

There were 3 cakes for 3 celebrations Mike and Angie’s 25th wedding anniversary, Bronwyn’s 80th birthday and cousin Wendie’s 60th birthday. We had a wonderful day.

 

 

The Chilston park hotel

Amanda and I with the Ferrari

 

Our third and last week was spent shopping for boat bits, of course, clothes to take back, more visiting, hair dressers, nail painting, more last minute bits for the wedding that it just flew by.  Finally on 27th the big day arrived. A group of us had stayed at the Chilston Park hotel which served the most amazing breakfast. James and Thomas were there and we had had one last family evening together – when everything was finally completed.

On the morning of the wedding Thomas’s friend arrived in his Ferrari to take Thomas to the venue. My sister and I had a pose in front of it.

My two sisters-in-law Claire and Kate, the very tall nephew Will, Uncle John and Auntie Hilary

 

 

 

 

Guests were arriving at the venue when Thomas’s party arrived.  Everyone looked beautiful in their wedding outfits. It was a glorious day, they were so lucky with the weather.

My favorite photo. My sisters Angela and Amanda

 

 

 

Sonal’s mum Meena. Our babies were getting married.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill and I outside Bradbourne house, the wedding venue.

Thomas and his best man Will

Thomas leads his bride up the steps.

 

 

 

Finally the bride arrived and looked absolutely stunning. The wedding was outside on the steps that made a stunning setting. Sonals’s dress was exquisite.  She had done a wonderful job of blending Indian style accessories with the traditional English wedding theme.

 

Slinky the ring bearer

 

 

 

 

Their little dog Slinky was a ring bearer. They were attached to his collar. Will led him up the steps to Thomas so he could receive the rings.

Thomas had asked Bill to do a reading but instead Bill wrote a poem and read it to them at the end of the service. Here it is

Welcome

And so I am called – to give sage advice
It’s a special occasion – so I’ll try hard to be nice
All things considered – I really feel I oughter
Because today – I gain a beautiful daughter

It is a brave step – to be husband and wife
One that’s at least – for the rest of your life
So be a friend and an ally – as well as a lover
Be tough be gentle – care for each other

Be quick to unsay – the wrong things you said
You can’t always know – what’s going on in their head
Compassion and compromise – tolerance too
Strive always to see – another point of view

Share fair the burden – of everyday chores
You both work so hard – but make time that is yours
Show respect and interest – for each other’s dreams
Be fast to forgive – however tricky it seems

Put up with the in laws – when they get you upset
They love you and care – so sometimes will fret
Are they smarter than you? very probably not
do they know useful stuff – well they’ve been round the block

All these good things – in plentiful measure
Will build you a life – you’ll both love and treasure

Did I hear you say – is that right are you sure?
It can’t be that simple – there must be some more
After near 40 years – of matrimonial bliss
I’m pleased to say – we’re still working on this
So
A talented woman – a beautiful bride
How lucky is Tom – to have you at his side
And how lucky am I – that it now falls to me
To welcome you Sonal – to my family

Bill reading his poem

Signing the register

We all moved into the grounds for the photos. Everyone has hundreds but this one is one of my favourites.

Claire, chief bridesmaid, Sonal, my beautiful daughter-in-law, Jasmine, my beautiful niece, Jen, Sonal’s sister-in-law

The beautiful bouquets

Lovely photo

Thomas giving his speech

Cutting the cake

and of course there were cookies

Amazing photo. I’m going to have this framed.

This was the first Indian style dance then it was followed by a first English dance

The girls looked beautiful dancing together.

My wonderful flowers

It was a fabulous day and one of the nicest things was the wonderful mix of cultures.

So now I’m no longer Mrs Redgrove – I’m Mrs Redgrove senior.

The following day Thomas and Sonal had invited any one who had stayed in the area over night to join them for a drink at a lovely village pub near where they live.  It also gave us a chance to say our goodbyes to everyone as our time in the UK was coming to an end again.

Bill with his award for writing the best technical article for the Westerly magazine

 

We spent our last two days in the country with our old neighbours in Teston. Relaxing and going for walks in our old neighbourhood. James was able to join us for a day. Thank you Gill and Nigel for having us.

Also Bill had won an award at the Westerly AGM earlier in the year and we were able to unpack it and photograph it before leaving it with my sister.

 

 

Our plane awaits

 

Tuesday 30th May it was back to the airport where our plane was waiting for us. Sorry to all the many people we didn’t get a chance to see this visit but we plan to return April next year for 6 months so we’ll see everyone then. Thank you to everyone we were able to see for making our visit very special and to Thomas and Sonal for allowing us to share your special day.

Despite being on 3 different flights we managed to meet up with Kate and her partner Mark in Orlando airport. Their journey will be in the June update.

xxxx

 

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 57 we made it.

This is the same blog but I’ve added some photos.

Our position at 16.30(19.30 GMT) Saturday 18th March was
14 26.39N
060 53.38W
The anchor is down, thank God, literally as we’ve arrived safely in Martinique after completing our circumnavigation.

Our last 30 hours was fairly uneventful except for the mini drama of nearly using the Hydrovane rudder. Bill had noticed the steering was behaving oddly on his night watch and put the autohelm on. In the daylight he looked over the stern to see the Hydrovane rudder looking bent. We hove to (stopped the boat) to look at it and discovered the pin clipping it into position had broken. Fortunately Bill always ties it on as well so we hadn’t lost the rudder. It was brought back on board and was a passenger for the rest of the journey. Incredibly Bill doesn’t have a spare, he had already used it, so we’ll have to get one along the way. That was our only breakage on the whole trip which is pretty incredible considering the miles we have covered.

Barbados in the distance

We continued to sail through the day although the wind started dropped in the afternoon and we motored for 2 hours because we (I) didn’t want to slow down, until it picked up again. Barbados came into view about 4pm as we sailed past the north coast with the lights from the resorts twinkling in the dusk. I watched a cruise liner leave Barbados on the AIS and was SOOOO tempted to call them up and ask for a lift! I ate my last 4 squares of chocolate during my last night watch.

I awoke to 100% cloud cover and a line of squalls matching across the skyline. Bill went back to bed for his second sleep while I sat in the cockpit with the umbrella up because it was also raining. The wind disappeared so the engine was on again. The cloud and mist continued through the morning and Martinique was hiding behind it. St Lucia appeared about 8am, which is the island south of us, and Martinique about 8.20, but disappeared again. When Bill got up I made pancakes for our last breakfast at sea because we seem to have missed pancake day while we’ve been out here.

Camomile right on the line

I started to come out of my chrysalis like a butterfly and began to sing again, I haven’t been singing for a while and although Bill says it’s nice to hear me singing again I think he’s just being kind because he prefers it to the silence! As we were about an hour away from our finishing line the sun appeared along with a pod of spinner dolphins jumping out of the Caribbean blue sea to welcome us. The wind started to blow and the engine went off. As Martinique emerged from the cloud we were quite close and able to see the lovely houses built into it’s verdant green hills. As we’ve already written we crossed ‘the line’ at 1.30pm Bill and I hugged each other with me in tears and Bill pretty close. It’s just amazes me we actually managed to do it.

Turning Camomile back to Le Marin, Martinique

We turned Camomile back towards the marina and had to motor quite hard against the wind to get there. Even though it was only 4pm when we got to the channel we decided not to go into the marina but anchor in the bay in front of St Annes for the first night to ‘wind down’ slowly from the journey. Once we go into the marina my feet won’t touch the ground with washing, cleaning, shopping, etc.

Heading into the anchorage

 

 

 

Once anchored I felt an enormous sense of relief that we were safe and could relax. We spent a short time sorting out the boat then the bottle of bubbles came out. We didn’t have posh Boli like someone we know (!) but a nice South African sparkling wine that was very nice along with some cool white wine too. I had intended cooking lemon chicken and apple crumble but I put some Pringles and cheese and biscuits out to have with our drink and dinner got forgotten.

The celebrations begin

I spoke to Sara on Norsa for the last time on the net (the SSB doesn’t work very well in the marina) and said an emotional farewell, they have another 7 or 8 days out there but they aren’t coming in our direction. Not sure when we’ll see them again – the down side of cruising. 😦
So to sum up the journey we left Simonstown 9 weeks ago and spent 3 days in Cape town before leaving on 19th January. The journey from Cape Town to here was 5634 miles altogether but we stopped in St Helena for 2 weeks and 2 days. The passage just from St Helena to here was 3857 miles that took 27 days 9 hours or 657 hours giving us an average speed of 5.8kts which isn’t bad considering we’ve had anything from 3kts to over 8kts along the way. It has become our longest passage and, as I’ve already said, it won’t be beaten. Of those 657 hours the engine was only on for 77 hours, half of those were for charging the batteries when the day was cloudy. The solar panels and wind generator kept the batteries going for the rest of the time.

So we go into the marina later today for 5 or 6 days then we will start to make our way north to complete the rest of the 1500 miles or so to get us to Florida. We’ve got 6 weeks or so to do it which, hopefully, will be enough time. The plan is Martinique this week
Antigua next week
St Martin first week in April
BVIs second week in April
Sail to Turks and Caicos third week in April
Sail the last 700 miles or so to Florida (on the inside route) during the last week in April If there’s anyone on that route that we know we would love to meet up.

All well on board.

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

Camomile completes her circumnavigation

This is the same post but I’ve added some photos.

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP We’ve done it!!

Bill and Sue on the bow of Camomile

At 13.30 this afternoon Camomile crossed the ‘finishing line’. We have sailed around the world traversing all meridians of longitude, the equator and then met our outgoing track here. Eventually we’ll complete our journey and head back to the UK but for now we feel we can call ourselves circumnavigators. Very emotional moment. Can’t believe we’ve actually done it, just Bill and I on our own but that’s basically how its been for the last 8 years. We’ve joined rallies and cruising groups but once you leave port, particularly on ocean passages, you are on your own; completely unassisted.

The line between the green crosses was our track from 2010

From the UK we’ve traveled 58525 miles so far on the worlds oceans and our circumnavigation from this spot on the 11th January 2010 and back to it today was 52365 sea miles or to put it in another context, two times around the earth’s equator.
This voyage has taken us 7 years 2 months and 7 days visiting 44 countries, some more than once, and more islands then we could keep count of – maybe we rushed it!

We haven’t arrived back with a tatty worn out boat either, Camomile is in better shape than ever. During our circumnavigation Bill has kept her well maintained and she has had new electronics including new autopilot, vhf and ssb radios and a new dinghy and outboard as a result of insurance claims from storm damage. Bill has replaced the standing rigging and most of the running rigging (ropes), she has had new sails, stackpack, cockpit cover and bimini, a new cooker and I’ve replaced the kettle three times. Bill also repainted Camomile and replaced all the woodwork (grab handles, toe rails, etc) and the propshaft. So I say to all you yachties working on your boats getting ready to leave, like Bill’s rhyme says JUST GO, there’ll be plenty of opportunity to finish your boat on the way round.

Back stooped and shoulders sagging
Soul and body really flagging
Worn out and weary, time to retreat
Before this daily grindstone has me beat

Cast your mind to a white sand shore
Green palm fronds over sea azure
Trade winds there cool a simpler life
And roaring breakers mute that strife

Above blackest night and pin prick stars
Milky way and meteors
Beneath glowing wake eats up the miles
as mast and deck heel to the sails

Go cruising now my friend don’t wait
’till fatty fare ‘n stress slow up your gait
Real loved ones will support you swim or sink
Life’s hour is later than you think

exert from the Rhyme of the Middle Aged Mariner by Bill Redgrove

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 46

Our position at 10.00 (12.00 GMT) Tuesday 7th March was
00 19 NORTH
037 39W
on a course of 325T with sunny blue skies.
Our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 today was 126 miles. Average 5.2kts we motor slower than we sail. We have 1512 miles to go to Barbados

WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WE HAVE CROSSED THE EQUATOR FOR THE FINAL TIME.

The first time we crossed the equator was with our wonderful friends on the Blue Water rally on the vessels Enchantress, Lucy Alice and Briet they had come to support us after a shroud fitting had broken and we had nearly lost the mast. With the mast strapped down we were unable to sail and they all escorted us to the Galapagos islands sailing alongside us while we motored 900 miles. We all had a wonderful equator crossing party on our own boats while watching each other throw various concoctions over each other as we crossed the line. It’s on the website somewhere I think around March 2010.
The second time was in 2013 after Sail Indonesia as we motored up towards Singapore on our way home after Mum had died.
The third was in 2014 after Sail Malaysia East in the Makassat strait between Sulawesi and Borneo in Indonesia on our way to meet Thomas and Sonal in Lombok. The forth was on our way back up to Singapore again later in 2014.
The fifth was last year 2016 on our way south through the Maldives (it was hot then too)
The sixth and definitely last time was at 3.30am this morning – we are back in the northern hemisphere to stay.

Camomile crossing the equator

The last few days have been stiflingly hot on board with no wind plus having the engine on made it really hot below deck. We kept having to close the hatches because of the rain showers; I hope to never be this hot on board again. Yesterday, in all that heat, we took the twizzle down as we hadn’t had any rain for several hours and the sails were dry. We didn’t want to take it down while there was a chance of more SE winds but the forecast was for NE winds tomorrow. We dropped the downhaul and Bill took the poles off the sails first taking off the ‘twizzle links’ and re-stowing the poles on the guard rails. We can have both the headsails up at the same time and pull them both to one side or the other but with the possibility of stronger north easters coming Bill decided it would be best to drop the sails and take it off. With no wind they came down easily, lines were swapped, shackles undone and the single headsail reattached, hoisted and furled away. The second sail had come down nicely and Bill and I managed to flake it the best we could on deck and roll it up. It’s now sitting under the table until we can take it ashore in Barbados and fold it properly. All this was done in the midday sun! We didn’t realise until the job was finished how hot we were. I have to have a sleep early afternoon so I can do the first night watch but I just couldn’t sleep because I was bathed in perspiration, I couldn’t cool down.

The black clouds are behind us now and we feel so fortunate to have had such a benign crossing; not a single flash of lightening. Up to the day before yesterday we had only ran the engine for a total of 11 hours just to charge the batteries. It has now been running for 42 hours as we’ve motored through the ITCZ and finally went off at 9.30 this morning as the wind started to fill in from the East. The mainsail went up for the first time since leaving Capetown and the wind is strengthening. We aren’t making our course yet but as the wind gradually backs to the NE we’ll get back on course.

We saw our first ship yesterday, in fact we saw two. There have been several on the AIS recently but they were the first ones we’ve had a visual on. Will need to keep a better look out.

I made a stir fry last night. I sliced up half an onion, half a red pepper, half a green pepper and ‘matchsticked’ a carrot. Stirfry with a chicken breast sliced. I then added a jar of basil, garlic and chilli stir fry sauce from Thailand and some noodles. All cooked in about 10 minutes. YUM.

Bill ate his last apple last night in celebration of our equator crossing, I had some grapes – or they were until they were made into wine. Haha.

Finally a very Happy Birthday to my little sister Amanda. Enjoy your last year of being forty something! See in May, lots of love. XX

All well on board. 🙂

The blog goes through to facebook but we can’t see facebook or your comments. I’ll catch up with them all in the Caribbean. If you wish to email us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (take out the gaps) Stay safe everyone.

South Africa to the Caribbean – day 12

Our position at 10.00 (09.00 GMT)Tuesday 31st January
18 36S
002 47W
We have 230 miles to go to St Helena and our 24 hour run from 10.00 yesterday to 10.00 this morning was 125 miles, a bit better.

The wind finally died completely yesterday and the engine went on at 1.00pm and was on for the rest of the day and all night. The air temperature is a lot warmer now and the sea temperature is back up to 25.8C which we need for when we get to St Helena because friends ahead of us have reported whale sharks are swimming around the mooring field. I might get to swim with a whale shark hopefully. They are harmless by the way and only eat sea morsels. We saw one in the Maldives but it was quite a way away and there were so many tourists you couldn’t get near it

I was out of bread yesterday and the bakers was closed so I made bread. I also made some flapjacks so they will last us until we arrive. Last night I made bangers, mash and beans with an egg on top. Now you may be thinking that doesn’t sound very special but we are talking really nice pork sausages (haven’t been able to get pork for a while) and proper Heinz baked beans not own brand rubbish. I found 4 tins in a supermarket, they are coveted by cruisers.

A tiny moon came out last night after the most amazing sunset. The sunrise this morning was beautiful too. Must be getting near land.

Amazing sunrise

Amazing sunrise

So the journey continues. These blogs go through to our facebook page but remember we can’t see facebook or your kind comments but thank you for them, I look forward to reading them when we arrive. If you wish to contact us on passage please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (but take the gaps out) I love to hear from you. xx

South Africa to Caribbean – day 2 & 3

Day 2

The sand dunes of the west African coast

The sand dunes of the west African coast

Having gone to bed surrounded by fishing boats, the next morning they had all gone. By 8.15 we left the anchorage. There wasn’t any wind so we had to motor. There are quite a few lobster pots on this coast so to the cruisers behind us, be careful. The fishermen were moving between them.
The feature of the day was wildlife. We saw lots of seals and birds, several pods of dolphins but the real treat was whales and a lot of them. Sometimes it was just a water spout but we had several breach right by the boat, which I wasn’t happy about, with the full tail display. Whales are something we haven’t seen a lot of so it was a real treat. Of course as soon as I got the camera out they disappeared.
This was our second day sail and the anchorage in St Helena bay around from cape Columbine was our goal. As we were rounding the cape the wind piped up and we managed an hour of sailing. Unfortunately the wind kept building and by the time we got to the anchorage we had 30kts over the decks. There’s a fishing harbour in the bay and we anchored on the north side of the break water for shelter. The waypoint was 32 44.37S
018 01.06E
There was quite a good signal so I was able to have a nice chat with Thomas and pick up our messages. Once we leave the anchorage there will be no more facebook or internet for a while. The wind continued to blow most of the night and the forecast for continuing north wasn’t good. We had traveled 57 miles.
Day 3
By the morning the wind had gone but the forecast wasn’t good for our 3 day passage to Nimibia. We listened to cape town radio. Firstly they were giving fog warnings for the area we would be traveling through plus Bill had noted that by the end of our journey there would be strong winds blowing off the Nimibia coast. We spent several hours trying to decide what to do. Eventually we decided that we would miss Nimibia and go straight to St Helena. It was a shame but we didn’t want to continue north that day and we didn’t have the time to sit and wait in the anchorage for the weather to improve. The forecast might change again, they often do, but the decision was made and we motored back out around the cape towards St Helena. Once I put our waypoint in it gave us a distance of 1645 miles to go. ARRRGGGG.
Within an hour the sails were up and we were making speeds of 7 and 8kts over the ground with a beam reach in a F4 SSW wind. By 4pm the wind was up to F5 and Bill decided to put a reef in the main and pull in some of the genny but we were still cracking along at 8 to 8 1/2kts, at least a knot or so of this was current in our favour but the sea was very lumpy. For the cruisers behind us the area between the 200m and 300m contour lines had Indian ocean style ‘washing machine’ waves and our beautiful clean and salt free decks were soon bathed in sea water coming right across the decks. All hatches were closed, even the little cockpit one that we leave open for ventilation. As the sea was still only 15.2C, it was making the wind cold.

My lovely Giraffe socks - thank you Hailey

My lovely Giraffe socks – thank you Hailey

That evening to do my night watch I had on 3 top layers and 2 bottom layers plus my UGG boots, hat and mittens! The wind picked up to F6 by 9pm so neither of us got much sleep with the boat being throw around by the wind, sea and our speed. We choose not to put another reef in because the forcast showed the wind was going to die down in the early hours so we decided to stick it out. By 2am the wind started to drop and by 6am it was back to F4 and we both took it in turns to get a bit of sleep.
At 10.00 this morning our position was 31 20.6S 014 58.9E with 1459 miles to go to St Helena. In 24 hours we had traveled 186 miles, an average of 7.75 an hour, this is a new record for us beating our top speed in the Pacific ocean in 2010.
So the journey continues. I hope these blogs are going through to our facebook page but remember we can’t see facebook or your kind comments. If you wish to contact us please use mdqf6 @ sailmail.com (but take the gaps out) I love to hear from you. xx

We made it

We have arrived in Richards Bay, South Africa, wahoo!
Our position is
28 47.6S
032 04.7E
Our 24 hours up to 10.00 today was 162 miles.
The whole journey was 1188 miles in 8 days 13 hours or 205 hours giving an average speed of 5.8kts. Really pleased with that.

Yesterday we sailed with 2 reefs in the main and the genny poled out to stop it slatting. We had F4 most of the day from the north east with the wind increasing during the evening to F5 but again from the north east so all good. The current was giving us an extra knot or two and our boat speed was 7 – 9 kts most of the day.
Last night was very dark and black without the moon and with the added worry of squall clouds. Bill took the early evening watch as the wind was forecast to increase and he experienced several 35kt gusts, although from the north east, with a bit of thunder and lightening in the distance but by 03.00 the wind died completely, as forecast, and the engine went on. It was very important we kept our speed up because the forecast showed a southerly creeping up the coast although it wasn’t due until after midnight but we wanted to arrive in daylight.
While on the early watch this morning at 07.00 the wind generator suddenly sprang into life and the wind anemometer spun round to the south. Sam had told us of this yesterday so we were waiting for it. Fortunately it didn’t go higher than about 10 knots and only for about 3 or 4 hours but in that time the sea started to mount. I changed course slightly and all was ok but I wouldn’t have wanted the wind to go up to 20 or 30 kts. The engine stayed on all day even though the wind backed to the north east later.
I went for a sleep mid morning and when I got up at midday the land was within sight. The smells that come off the land after you’ve been at sea for 8 days are interesting; here it was coal dust (big mining area). We spent the rest of the day motoring down the coast and arrived at the marina at 18.30 which was 17.30 south African time, after calling the harbour port control on vhf 12 to ask for permission to enter. The pontoons at Tuzigazi marina are in a bit of a state and I think we’ll just stay here long enough to check in and go round to the Zuluyacht club.
The next couple of days will be taken up with checking in with immigration (passports stamped), customs and maybe the harbour master, (each country varies), sorting out sim cards for the phones, cleaning the boat inside and out, washing, and restocking our food cupboards and the fridge. Once we’ve got internet I’ll add some photos to the blogs.
So we are in South Africa, WOW. Bring on Hluhluwe-iMfolozi wildlife park and game reserve, the hippos at iSimangaliso wetland park, Knysa harbour, Cape Town and maybe the Kruger national park with James and Hailey at Christmas to name but a few of the sites here.

Bill having a well deserved whisky and the cigar he'd been saving. x

Bill having a well deserved whisky and the cigar he’d been saving. x

Madagascar to Sout Africa – Day 7

Camomile’s position at 10.00 on Friday 21st October
26 06S
034 28E
Our 24 hour run to 10.00 this morning was 168 miles
204 miles to go to Richards bay

The main feature of our day yesterday was speed. As you can see our 24 hour run was good giving us an average speed of 7kts. This was achieved by the good winds and current we had yesterday. Although the winds weren’t strong, a nice F3 from the ESE giving us a beam reach, it was our second day with good current, that gave us the extra 1 1/2 knots. The Agulhas current has a fierce reputation in this area and around the Cape of Good Hope. Further north it doesn’t flow in the same direction all the time, as we discovered, but swirls around, hence the reason it was against us for 2 days. During the night we passed Ponta Zavora and now the current is more consistent and flowing north to south. That’s ok as long as you don’t get a southerly buster coming up against the current, which is what causing the big seas. We are in daily contact with Sam on SAMM (south African maritime mobile)net and his forecasts have been very accurate. We are now on the rhumb line to Richards bay and it’s looking good for our entry tomorrow. I spent 15 minutes on the radio with him this morning taking down 6 hourly forecasts for the next 48 hours. The main feature later today is NE 25 – 30 kts which is high but will be behind us so hopefully will give us a final push. One more day of prayers and fingers crossed.
Finally I want to wish my beautiful niece Kirsty and her fiancee Alex a very Happy Wedding day. Uncle Bill and I wish you a wonderful day today and a very happy life together. So sorry we can’t be there in person but you are in our thoughts. Look forward to seeing the photos. XX XX

%d bloggers like this: