Friday, 19 April 2019

Grenada, 19th of April 2019

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

Two days before we made landfall in the Falkland Islands the Furious Fifties flew into a rage and tore our number one genoa to shreds. This sounds worse than it actually was as the sail was well past its best before date. With the shreds wrapped around the forestay we arrived in Port Stanley in the wee hours of the morning, dropped anchor in front of the town centre and went to sleep. Only a few hours later we awoke to a blast of a horn: there was a port control vessel next to Sarema and we were told to immediately move further into the bay to make room for a fleet of Taiwanese and South Korean fishing vessels. The fleet comprised more than fifty huge, strange looking vessels specially designed for catching jiga, a type of mollusc that is considered a delicacy in Asia. Fat chance the jiga has of surviving such a fleet!

Near the town centre, there is only one small floating dock for visiting boats which is also used by cruise liners’ dinghies to disembark/embark their passengers and naturally, the cruise liners have priority. Because it was the peak of the tourist season there were cruise liners arriving almost daily which meant that any sailing boat using the dock had to leave it the evening before or by seven o’clock in the morning at the latest. During our stay, we had to move in and out of the dock repeatedly in order to get fuel, buy groceries, visit the Historic Dockyard Museum etc. Leaving Sarema unmanned at anchor was not an option thanks to the brutal winds of the Furious Fifties that forced us to re-anchor a number of times. 

Upland Geese (Chloephaga picta)

The price of fuel was a pleasant surprise, only 60 Falkland pence = c. 85 US cents per litre. All kinds of fresh produce, on the other hand, were both scarce and pricey undoubtedly due to the geographical location of the islands. So, instead of buying plenty of salad ingredients as we had originally intended, we stuffed our deep freeze with mutton and lamb chops. A kilo of mutton didn’t cost much more than a kilo of carrots! 

Crash before Calm

48.56,737 S, 54.08,437 W
Just two days after leaving the Falklands we heard a loud bang from the deck: the pad eye of the inner forestay had broken, and the forestay with the jib and the Profurl was swinging violently from side to side. Before we arrived at the scene the Profurl had already made a tear in the mainsail and ripped apart most of the protective netting at the bows. Once we had managed to bring the forestay under control we wrapped the sail around the forestay, tied the package together with all the halyards available, and attached it to the railing.

The following morning we took the sail down and detached the slightly bent Profurl aluminium profiles most of which had to be taken apart by means of an angle grinder. The jib was mended and then transferred to the outer forestay which was conveniently vacant due to the loss of our number one genoa earlier.

As usual, we dropped a lure into the water every morning and took it up in the evening. After about two and a half weeks of continuous fishing without catching a thing, we came to the obvious conclusion that there were no fish in the ocean. However, one evening when reeling in the lure it became apparent that there were fish in the ocean after all, a little while ago at least two! 

One day there was a beautiful yellow bird sitting on the railing. Where he had come from only heaven knows as, at the time, we were more or less 600 nautical miles off the Brazilian coast, and we hadn’t seen another vessel for days, not even on our radar. The bird stayed two days with us and then disappeared as mysteriously as he had arrived. All we could do was to wish him the best of luck on his journey to the unknown!

    Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Refuelling in Salvador de Bahia

We had known already in advance that this time of the year the leg from the Falkland Islands to the Caribbean would not be easy windwise. So, it didn’t come as a surprise when, except for the few windy days at the beginning of the leg when the pad eye broke and one gale some time later, day in, day out we had no wind, little wind or headwind. We tried to sail as far to the east as possible in search of winds that never materialised. Finally, we gave up and headed for Salvador de Bahia, Brazil to replenish our empty fuel tanks.

     Upstairs, Downstairs

We spent three days at anchor in front of Isla Itaparica where we removed the jib from the outer forestay and replaced it with our number two genoa. After this brief and ‘undocumented’ visit to Brazil (checking in and out of the country alone would have taken us at least two days), we were ready to continue our voyage to the Caribbean, hopefully non-stop henceforth!

                    A golden mackerel, aka mahi-mahi (122 cm), and Pekka in his tropical sailing outfit, the altogether. 

Hats off to Sarema

By the 9th of April, our good boat Sarema had logged a total of 100,000 nautical miles since her launch! Sarema may be a bit slow as big girls sometimes are but, more importantly, she is extremely trustworthy, steadfast and persevering. Many a time when we have been drained of all energy, she has bravely carried on and taken us to safety. We are extremely grateful to her for all the miles she has carried us and for the wonderful adventures we have had the privilege of sharing with her!

Ten days and 1.338 nautical miles later, on the 19th of April, we dropped anchor in Prickly Bay, Grenada. It had taken us 54 days to sail 5,692 nautical miles from the Falkland Islands to the Caribbean. The voyage was so long and wearing (=boring!) that we developed an allergy to sailing, long distance sailing in particular. Hopefully, our condition is not something that a few days under swaying palm trees and an occasional rum punch wouldn’t cure. We’ll soon find out!