Posted by: catamarantwooceans | March 3, 2014

Crossing the South Atlantic part 4 – The End

                Fernando de Noronha to Fortaleza

28.2.14 – Friday – continued – We went out, looking back at the receding island’s skyline. Calm seas, fair wind and a moonless but clear night greeted us.

85 miles to the west of Noronha lies Rocas atoll , which on the chart looks like the diver’s wet dream; two small, narrow islands and a lot of reefs, where one could anchor and snorkel. The atoll was only three miles to the south of the straight line to Fortaleza and thus not a big detour, we decided to take a look – see, changed course by 3 degrees and sailed on.

1.3.14 – Saturday – The atoll is the top of an underwater mountain and eight miles to it the bottom leveled at about 20 meters deep. Having consumed the one before last of the tuna we caught on the way to St. Helena, we started fishing again. A very big barracuda took our line and was returned to the water for fear of Ciguatera.

Getting close to the atoll, aware of the Brazilian strict control inn such matters, I made a call on V.H.F and was answered by a Brazilian Navy lady radio operator who, in answer to my query, advised pleasantly but categorically that anchoring near the atoll was not allowed since it was a part of the Marine National Park. We just made a "Fly-by", taking pictures of the wind swept, desolate place and continued to Fortaleza.

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The forecast was for light, 10 knots, easterly wind; in the morning it was augmented by a factor of 5 knots, as afternoon turned into early evening it went down to less than 5. This coincided with our need to charge the batteries so we motored until dinnertime, when the wind came back at 8-10 knots.

2.3.14 – Sunday – It is 0345 and I’m writing this during my 0200-0600 watch. Dany handed it to me saying:"the wind is back, keep it that way". Very soon it went up to 18-20 and our speed over ground showed 7-8 knots; now we were sailing too fast! Fortaleza marina is not a place to go into in the dark, so after having our pizza lunch we reefed the sails to ensure arrival around 0830.

Among the sounds of ropes being pulled I discerned a sort of screech. "Dany! a fish!" I hollered and rushed to the fishing rod, closing the friction lever in the nick of time before the line ran out completely ; less than a meter remained. I started reeling in while Dany did a superb job off slowing the boat down, rolling the jib and sailing close to the wind with main stalled and flapping.

When the fish was brought to the stern, it was a large wahoo, Dany used the gaff to lift it, not without difficulty, into the cockpit. It measured 145 centimeters and weighed 15 kg!

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It took us 90 minutes to process the catch and clean the boat and we had in our hands 30 man meals of great tasting fish.

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3.3.14 – Monday – Just after 0900 we entered the marina. This is it; we reached mainland Brazil, South Atlantic ocean crossing concluded. It was a long one, although not really difficult – there is a feeling of achievement.

The marina in Marina Park Hotel is not an easy one to enter; you have to tie stern to using your anchor and with the surge in the marina makes it a bit difficult. Peter and Annie, of yacht "Toccata" assisted with the lines. We then joined them to go to the Immigrations – Customs and port manager. Customs were horribly slow… But why am I writing all this? It’s not important! We are here, Gili will join on the 7th and we’ll go on towards the Caribbeans!

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                           In Marina Park Hotel

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Responses

  1. No doubt ,for such a fish it’s worth sailing till Brazil

  2. Congratulations Miki and Dany. Kol-HaKavod. Wish you two and Gili a pleasant sail to the Caribbeans.
    It was a pleasure and honor to be part of the team for some of this magnificent voyage.

  3. Great Stuff !!! , almost there just a little more and your mission will be complete.

    Best Regards,

    Zulu


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