Sun/Mon 24/25th Feb08

Sunday

Went with Heiko & sons crayfishing in Grossebucht and Essie Bay, on the west coast, in the morning at low water - or, rather, son Stefan went to catch the crayfish (wearing TWO wetsuits plus an essential neoprene helmet) while I walked around or sat and enjoyed the scenery! Stefan got twelve legal-sized crayfish - he measured as he caught them & returned under-sized ones immediately. They're very strict here & liable to put up road blocks to check on people's catch. The rock formations were fascinating
- these are the oldest rocks in the world and clearly volcanic in origin, well worn, often stratified & with lots of rose quartz embedded n them.

I was then taken first to Diaz Point, with its replica of the original cross put up by Diaz, to see the view & the seals on Halifax Island, & then we went for a 'scenic drive' in Heiko's new 4-wheel-drive car into the desert nearby - pinkish sand, lots more old worn rocks and lots of different scrubby plants, many with tiny flowers. We nearly got stuck in one place on a steep section of the sandy track - but the drive proved its worth!

After helping to eat some of the smaller of the crayfish I came back to the boat to get some work done - I've been well looked after by Diane & Heiko, getting out & about or simply chatting, ever since getting here & needed to sort out a few things on "Nereida'.

I came past the very pleasant, newly-built premises of the 'Yacht Club' - more a popular bar for the locals than a yacht club (very few local yachts here & no slips!!) but it does have showers.

One of the things I did was to look over my forthcoming passages in detail - handy to have the Nobeltec charting software which makes that all so very easy! I checked on total distances for each passage and estimated the time needed for each (on the basis of 120ml days - hopefully, they'll be nearer 150ml days, but there are sure to be slower ones). I should be transiting Panama in early May.

Monday

I'd hoped to sew the tapes between my mainsail batten ends and cars - one had come completely undone getting here. First I had to release the sailcover & undo the batten end connections in order to take the sail off the mast. The wind gets up strongly after midday, often becoming around 30 knots - as today. By the time I'd stitched a torn telltale back in place, released & untangled the twisted sailcover, re-tied the reef lines and slowly & painfully (literally - it hurt my hand & fingertips!)
persuaded the jammed zip along the foot of the sail connecting the cover to do up, it was far too windy to remove any part of the sail from the mast - so that's now tomorrow's job.

I came below & found & sorted through my paper charts, ready for the next few passages - across the Atlantic via St Helena to Fernando da Noronha, on to Trinidad (for wind-generator and watermaker parts), through the Caribbean via Bonaire & on to Panama.... two months of long passagemaking with a maximum of four stops.

Written by : Mike

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