Just do it - das SOM-Tagebuch
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Position-Report SOM 11:
Brasil to Argentina – from Porto Belo to Buenos Aires 03.12.05
Ihr Lieben, dear friends,
Long time ago since we sent our last message. Meanwhile we a had lot of experiences and now we would like to tell about.
Enjoy reading our short report. We would like to hear from you too. We are enjoing each message we get from you.
This translation may be influenced by a long night in one of the milongas (a kind of tango-session), Argentine red vine and and Martin´s english knowledge – so have fun and enjoy it!
With some tears in the eyes we leave all our new friends in Santos. Ronaldo, Graça, Dieter and Marcello are waving when JUST DO IT leaves it´s berth. But our trip stopps after a short distance. At the Yacht club of Guaruja where we take some diesel Anke fell so badly that we decide to stay one more day. A wise decision? We start the next day but the weather window is shutting quickly. Impossible to reach Porto Belo. So we look for shelter at the little island of Bom Abrigo. The name means “good shelter”. And this is true. We are not the only one. More than twenty fishing boats are already anchoring here and there are coming more and more. Seems that we choiced a good place. Two days later we are continueing and arrive at our destiny without any problems. There was only a midnight intermezzo: Anke has the first watch, I am sleeping in my berth.
„Martin!“ „Martin, please come! This damned fisher is constantly lighting at me. I don´t know what he wants and what I should do. Can´t see whereto he is steering.“
In a close distance to our bow a small fishing craft is crawling around. Half an hour ago we changed course to be clear of it. Now he is there again and realy close. Slipping in my shorts I hear that we are called on VHF in Portuguese. I take the job at the steering wheel, Anke jumps to the VHF. But communication is impossible. I call Anke.
„We have to free the preventer!“
Anke moves to the starbord side and looses the line that is fixing our mainsail which now disables our monouvriability.
„Call me if it is free.“
„Come back but keep your head down, perhaps I have to do an emergency shifting.“
Meanwhile the fishing craft is really close. Emergency manouvre or calm shifting? Now it seems to turn. No navigational lights, only moving working lights. Where the hell is front and stern of this f... craft? If this idiot would switch off these dazzling lights it would be much better. I decide to dodge to the right side like a car.
Some 55 yards distance. Anke tightens the mainsheet, I loose the lock and steer a turn to the right. The mainsail is flying round and in the same moment I recognize:
„That´s impossible, it turns to the left!“
Same direction like we. No panic. Think fast. If we both turn again we will hit. I can guarantee on this. So I steer on to an 180° turn and we can sail in front of it. And it is unbelievable it turns again now to the right side. Well done. We change course a little to get more distance. A really bare act. We can hear some shoutings and see a furious blinking light. Anke is sitting at the VHF, furious too of course:
„Porque voçe nao tem luzes de navigaçao?!!“
And look: the navigational lights of the fishing craft suddenly are enlighted.
In Porto Belo we spent nearly two weeks. Met the first penguins (magellanic penguins – Spheniscus magellanicus) and make new friends, Eric and his father who own a tiny little swimming restaurant, and Peter, representative of TO, who is helping in all matters and supported us sending wheather information via SSB. We dropped our anchorage in front of the luxury yacht club which facilities we were allowed to use for free. Waiting for the next wheather window was no problem. We were walking in the surroundings, strolled in the village and we made the clearence for leaving the country. Our visa is expiring. But things go different than we expect. The next step should lead to Rio Grande do Sul but we miss the promised wind. The engine is working and working and the next cold front is coming on. Trusting the wheatherforecast we did not stock up our Diesel. What a shit. We consume to much, impossible to reach Rio Grande. So we have to go to Laguna to stock up. But you can´t enter the entrance by night, too difficult. Ok, than we will go to 20 miles distant Imbituba first. This little industrial port is easy to enter day and night. Our choice was well done. We just dropped the anchor when the cold front is arriving with strong winds but JUST DO IT is sheltered and save. More and more fishing vessels arrive looking for a sheltered place. 5 long days we have to stay. A first effort to reach Laguna failes after half distance. The next front strikes us back to Imbituba. And now it is becoming cold. The first time since we left Falmouth, England we start our little stove!
Entering Laguna ist spectaculous. The water is shallow. Breaking waves are running across the entrance. Spray seems to be like flags on the top of the waves. Surfers paradise. And there should be the entrance? With low speed we approach. We don´t like to return to Imbituba once more. Mainsail down. Store and save all movable things. Save the notebook. Close the hatches. Moving on. Anke shouts corrections using the fixed waypoints. Right in front of the beginning breakers its only possible to steer by eyeball navigation. In front of the left breakwaters head are some rocks, the right head sometimes is hit by the running breakers. We observe. The breakers climb to hights of two and more meters. They seem to be 100 meter long. Commonly there come three, four furious breaker followed by a calmer sequency. Our plan is to wait for the next big waves and than to start with full power before the next breakers arrive. On the righthand breakwater we recognize some cars and fishing men. Spectators! Okay, but when things go worse they will organize some help. We stay and wait. No breakers coming. What´s that, what to do? Seems to be peaceful on the seaside. I push the lever on the table und our brave engine jumps to 3.300 rpm. The acceleration of JUST DO IT seems to be extremley slow. 10,5 tons are a big mass. Or is this a question of perception? Anke gives me the speed-data of the GPS.
Why the hell are we so slow?
My godness, 250 meters can be very long.
Sounds better, half of the distance remaining - than we will pass the heads of the breakwaters. On portside arrives a wave and breaks on the rocks of the portside breakwater. Too small, can not harm us.
And then JUST DO IT passes the heads. Lever back upright, sharp turn to the right, don´t miss the target.
Laguna is a little paradise. A friendly partially pitoresque small city laying at a wide shallow lagoon. We are the only guests of the little yacht club. Highlight is a daily water show. Dolphins and fishermen have founded a well organized working team, and we have laliza-season. First the fishermen who are standing on rocks at the shore or waiting in a canoe hit the water surface with their nets to signal the dolphins. Then they come, Bottlenose Dolphins, relatives of „Flipper“ of the old TV-series. They drive the fish to the fishermens nets. This event lasts some hours and the catch is shared between both parties.
Two cold fronts later we start again, accompanied by the dolphins. Finally they say good-bye with their characteristic smile. Going out becomes more adventoures than coming in, but we succeed and face to the open ocean. The wheather forecast promises good winds from the best direction. But reality is a little too good. Wind is increasing up to 40 knots - nearly a little storm. But Uncle Henry, our wind-steering is working brilliant. Less brilliant am I, fall nearly aboard. Bare stupidness. Remember: Sea does not forgive any failure.
Then we meet the first albatrosses. Black-browed albatrosses (Diomedea melanophris). We reach the long entrance of Rio Grande do Sul in the darkness and need hours to reach the Museo Oceanographico where we can stay for free. And we get an unexpected overwhelming welcome. We have early morning, but the crews of NEW DAWN, MATAHARI and BREAKPOINT jump out of their beds to welcome us with horns und a lot of hellos. Even employees of the museum and the director are waiting for us! Here they had a different wheather-forecast which prognosted the strong winds. So they watched our trip with some worries. In the evening Lauro, the museums director makes a currasco, a grill party for all, declaring himself to be the grillmaster.
We use our stay for a trip to the national park Aparados da Serra. Want to visit the canyons. We get a nice room in lovely pousada Pedra Afiada. They have only a few guests and al last we are the only ones. Nevertheless we are treated with excellent breakfast and dinner. Spent the days walking, climbing (at the climbing wall of the pousada), visit the local atlantic rainforest and we can do a ride. Two hours later I am very satisfied to leave the saddle because it was to small and I always hit my backbone on its frame. The landscape is different to the coastal landscape. Wooded hills, a lot of meadows. The change from the woodlands to the downlands is marked by steep valleys, deeply cut in the rocks, the so called canyons. On the way back we met Indigenas the first time. Descendants of the Indians. They live on a certain part of the national road. Their huts made from wood, gras and plastic plane are placed offset the road. In most cases near to the lagoon. Obviously they live on fishing. At the road they offer baskets made of coloured grass and little carved animals. We buy a little tatu (armadillo) which quickly becomes vived in the weekly SSB-chat.
Back again in Rio Grande Lauro urged us to go to the port authorities. We wanted to avoid this because now we spent more than six month in Brasil. Seems that he has got some troubles. Made a big press event when he gave some cured penguins back to the sea. The failure was that both yachts which transported the penguins did not check in and out. For us this meant three days of running from Pontius to Pilatus for an clearence to come in and out the day later. The funny thing was, that we now are less then six month in Brazil officially, though we stayed here nearly eigth month. You could write a book about authorities. But this time it is the last bureaucratic act. With tears in one eye and but a smile in the other we start again. Time to see new countries. Just in the harbour we meat a Southamerican Seabear (Arctocephalus australis) which we take as a good sign. The trip is good and calm. Only Anke has a nightly close encounter. In the light dark haze appear two white and a green light. But then the red too. That means danger of collision! Anke calls the cargo vessel on VHF. He answers promptly “What is the matter?”
„This is sailing Yacht JUST DO IT. I am the small radar-echo just in front of your bow. Please change course.”
„Don´t worry, I change course. To which side?”
„It doesn´t matter, but please pass by in a comfortable distance.”
„Ok, I will pass at your starbord side.”
The cargo vessel turns so little bit and passes in a quarter mile distance. Anke is angry and calls the vessel again. Sh tries to explain that more distance would be more pleasant.
„Please, Sir, why did you pass so near. This was not a comfortable distance.”
„I do not understand, this was a safe distance.”
„For a small sailing yacht, this distance is not comfortable. We are so small compared to your vessel and with the actual wind we move very slow. We can not make quick emergency manouvers.”
Later we have the idea that one has to explain a bridge officer that on a yacht on ocean passages sails are always fixed by a preventer for safety so it can not make quick manouvres. We fear that a bridge officer thinks a sailing vessel is small and vivid to turn.
Next day just in time for the sunset we reach Punta del Este, Uruguay. We decide to drop the anchor, to sleep and to go on tomorrow. The anchor is falling, some poor feet. Then the windlass blocks the chain! Tear the chain via muscle-power. A new task for Buenos Aires. Next morning the windlass tears the chain aboard. Better than nothing. One night at the Rio de la Plata than we reach the next destiny. The second time in a few hours we change the courtesy flag. So many changings of colours in a short time. For us this is really unusual. Buenos Aires welcomes us with bright sunshine. A lot of sails in front of the harbour, seems to be a race day. That is the reason why we cannot get an berth in the old traditional Yacht Club Argentino of 1883. We have to change to Puerto Madero. Not worse. The berth is not cheap but we can deal some discount. Puerto Madero ist next to the cities center and we can walk to downtown in a few minutes. And the former barracks and warehouses are well equipped with countless restaurants and bars.
But now we have to drop a dot. We will report of Buneos Aires in the next SOM (which means StandOrtMeldung = position report) and hope it will follow quickly.
Euch allen Daheimgebliebenen und Woandersreisenden gute Zeiten und fair winds
Martin + Anke
SY JUST DO IT, z. Zt. Buenos Aires, Argentinien
Som11-1: Pinguin (our first one near Porto Belo)
Som11-2: closeencounter (fishing vessel at night, a little too close)
Som11-3: SchwacherSkipper (ohne Mampf kein Kampf - difficult to translate, means no food no fight)
Som11-4: Laguna (fishermen huts, only one aspect of this little town)
Som11-5: LaurosParty (when will we get meat?)
Som11-6: Ankeklettert (Anke is climbing - not Lola is running [title of a German movie])
Som11-7: Kleiner Mann (little man - no fear of big animal)
Som11-8: Flaggen (flags – 7,5 month Brasil left behind, new colours)