Pic: Michael & Matt working on the water pump pulley.
Pic: Michael working in the cramped engine room.
Pos: S05deg57.38min / W026deg11.42min. It's been a beautiful day sailing today. The wind got a bit brisk; we saw 30 knots, but it was dead behind us, so we ran with the full main and no headsail. Winds are forecast to moderate over the next few days...we'll see. In a previous blog entry, I mentioned "cotter checks". Today, routine surveillance, again, paid dividends as we found a crack in our starboard aft, lower turnbuckle, It's not all the way thru the turnbuckle, but with crevice corrosion, you never know. I've rigged up an extra SS wire strop and hitch to support the stay anyway; tomorrow I'll dig out the spare turnbuckle, but hope to be able to wait until we're at anchor in 3-4 days before replacing it. We've been enjoying lots of fresh fish, prepared pan-fried and poke. The humidity and heat are definitely rising; we're down to swimming suits and T shirts most all of the time. AWA.
at 3:38 PM
Pos: S06deg43min / W020deg30min. During the night we picked up a favorable SE wind, 15-20 knots, and are now aiming at Fernando de Noronha. Our watch schedule is 3 hours on, 6 hours off, beginning at 1800 hours. Sue does a SSB radio net with other cruisers at 1900, and I've been attempting to hear our 0630 HAM net; no joy there. We've still had little success with Sailmail and have been using our Winlink connection. By 0500, water is on for coffee. I usually let Matt sleep thru the 0600 wake-up call if nothing's going on. Yesterday, I had to wake him as a ship was on AIS and closing with us. His CPA (closest point of approach) was 4 miles, but I had to get on the 0630 net and don't take anything for granted; we needed a visual watch on that ship. Matt's got two fishing lines in the water early on, but so far, no luck. We all do a lot of reading, swapping books with other cruisers or at book exchanges where we find them. "Cotter checks" are done twice daily, sunrise and sunset. This is where we look at wire terminal ends, sail stitching, cotter pins and rings, and generally check the rigging, lines and anything else. Any required small repairs or changes are addressed during the daylight, when possible, as are sail changes. Of course, it doesn't always work out that way! Have I mentioned food? We eat well aboard Infini, and our reefer and freezer (5 cu ft each) hold a lot, as do our pantry and dry storage lockers. The day goes by quickly; we still enjoy the sunrises and sunsets. Of note, as we're heading northwest, sunrise is getting later in the morning; today it was at 0720 hours. The color of the Atlantic here is a kind of cobalt blue, just beautiful. There are still birds fishing, way out here so far from land. So, hope this brief description gives some idea of life aboard; we hope you're enjoying your time as much as we're enjoying ours!
at 4:06 AM
It was an interesting morning. The iPad locked up and we were unable to get into any of our programs, including one of the navigation programs we use. Hmmm. I managed to sort that out by getting on the internet one last time, doing a Navionics chart program update, and crossing my fingers. Success. Aboard, I wanted to run the watermaker before departure and it was good that we did. One of the plastic fitting to the low pressure gauge snapped right off, and water was pumping into the bilge. Hmmm. Got that sorted out and all's well; can't carry enough spare parts. Finally, at 1245 we slipped the anchor and were off. Winds were SSE-SE 15 knots and the sun was shining; it's about 1100 miles to Fernando de Noronha, a National Park off the northeast coast of Brazil. Matt hooked a black jack fish 5 minutes after we left, but released it; we hope that's a harbinger of good fishing to come.
We joined our friends Etienne and Denise of sv La Luna for a road tour of the island. Car rentals are arranged thru the Obsidian Hotel as well as the petrol station. First, we drove up the nearby hill to see the view. The switchbacks were numerous and the road steep and narrow, but it only took a few minutes to reach the top. Leaving there, we went to the BBC Atlantic Relay Station. There, we had an informal tour with one of the engineers and learned the history of the Transmitting and Power Stations. The site serves as the main electricity and desalinated water supplier for the island's 800-900 residents. It also receives radio programming from London via satellite link, and feeds it forward to Africa and South America stations. After, we had a cheeseburger at the Two Boats Village before going to Green Mountain to hike to the bamboo forest and Dew Pond. This was a good trek up and around the mountain, and again, the views at a height of about 2800' were awesome. It was quite muddy in several sections, but we were able to rinse off when we returned to the residence house of the farm. It was late afternoon by the time we searched for the lava caves. After one false start just above Wideawake Airfield, we drove a bit further before finally seeing a small sign for Commodore's Cave. Ascension is a very small island, and aside from a few volcanic cauldrons and other hiking areas, other interesting things to do concern the local wildlife; birds, fish and turtles. It was an enjoyable day, and we returned aboard to prepare for departure in the morning.
Pic: Sunrise arrival to this volcanic island.
at 7:02 AM