Transat Diary - Day 10 + 5 hours and 40 minutes - Land Oh Brazil!
Day 10 + 5hours and 40 minutes (2023-01-14)
With our 10th-day run completed, it was time to calculate how much distance we still needed to cover to reach our destination and how long would that take us.
We estimated it at around 4 hours, we could already see the clouds and haze accumulation on the horizon giving us a clue regarding the archipelago’s position. More and more of these big brown birds with blue bills were following us, together with a new bird that we guessed would be a male of the same species. A white bird with the edge of the wings with a broad band of dark colour and a still pale blue bill.
Since crossing the equator, our point of sail had progressively become upwind, and we were currently sailing on 60 degrees of AWA (Apparent Wind Angle). The predominant swell was now coming from the Southeast, but it was still possible to feel a ground or base swell from NE. Quite a peculiar motion onboard, but not uncomfortable at all.
At this point, we also started, once again, noticing the influence of the West setting current that was making the approach to the island slightly challenging. We needed our point of sail to be a bit higher.
Luckily the new jury-rigged autopilot was strong enough for that purpose, and we slowly, slowly managed to punch through the challenge of this arrival.
This was the first time we had ever noticed how bizarre the angle of approach could look despite being absolutely correct. When we looked to the bow of the boat it looked like we were totally going to miss the island passing on its south and that we should bear way towards the Northwest side of the island, the side where we could anchor, but if you looked at the info of the chartplotter and Navionics on the iPad we were clearly just on the right angle to get to our destination and not miss it by miles to the north of it. This was not only quite confusing to grasp but also slightly worrisome. If we missed the island, motoring would be needed, and that could become a very tenuous time.
Eventually, we started seeing the shade and shape of the Morros (mountains/hills) on the horizon behind the haze. They looked so pointy and sharp-shaped. A bit "Jurassic Park" style...
The birds around us were no longer the same, they were now Frigate birds with their very angular shapes.
With the island now on the horizon we felt like little kids on a car ride, constantly wondering when were we arriving, annoying each other, constantly making childish voices saying: "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"
This is always such a painful moment on passages the moment we can see land, we just want to arrive at that very moment, but it still takes us hours and hours.
After a few hours of trying to stop the current dragging us past the island, the view when looking at the bow was still confusing, the entire island was visible on the starboard side instead of the port side. It was driving me mad, and then the stupid thoughts of a tired person started going through my mind, did we need to change any settings on the chartplotter and Navionics on iPad now that we were in the Southern Hemisphere? Only nearly 1 hour later, I started to be less worried as progressively, but slowly the island started becoming visible on the port side of the boat more and more.
And then, all of a sudden, there we were on the Northeast tip of the island just by the Marine Natural Reserve, about to get some protection from this current. The current bent slightly now not annoying us so much, and as we got closer to where our anchorage should be, we decided to furl the Jib and motor in, avoiding this way those annoying moments for someone that is extremely tired of now there is no wind, now there is a gust passing through the islands only to be followed by no wind.
We were already feeling the need to just stop and rest hitting us now that we were so close, almost as if there was a "psychological damn" holding as much of tiredness back as possible, and now it was just letting go.
As we got closer, still trying to understand where the anchorage was because all we could see was ocean swell rolling in we started taking notice of the shape of lots and lots of little boats, a grab of the binoculars let us surprised to see so many small motor boats and barely any sailboats!?
We made our way towards them and were quite surprised to see the depths they were in, they were all on moorings in depths of 20-30 meters!
Hmm, started to get slightly worried about this place, we kept coming closer to shore weaving through all these boats, but the depths only reduced small amounts.
It’s quite an interesting experience to hand steer a 50ft through a mooring field of 30+ ft boats after having spent more than 10 days in the great wide ocean. The perception of space is very strange.
For some reason as I was steering and asking John if there were any submerged or discreet moorings ahead of us, I was so worried about having anchor down before dusk not realising it was still morning local time.
Eventually, John spotted a sailboat, a 40ft anchored or moored quite close to the massive breakwater just by a little beach/alcove where it looked like the swell was not rolling in as much. It was quite distant from where all the anchorage markers were on Navionics and even on Noforeignland, but we decided to go have a look. The sailboat was on a mooring, but we managed to squeeze ourselves just behind it and the tiniest catamaran. As we anchored several motor boats, clearly tourist boats passed quite close, it seemed we were in some sort of informal passage within the mooring field, but they figured out their way around us easily.
Anchor down, engine off, logbook done, navigation instruments off.
We were now in Brazil!
My iPhone connected to the local network and updated the time, it was before lunchtime.
A quick call and sms to the family over the IridiumGO, and we settled for maybe 1 hour of rest before starting to tidy up the chaos onboard before we settled for a proper rest. This meant the following morning we could immediately start troubleshooting our problems before even going to do the check-in.
Around us, the motor boats kept wandering, towing tourists holding a small foam board and with their heads in the water checking the bottom with a snorkel.
Total hours of the trip: 245h40m
Distance: 1347 nautical miles
***In the spirit of sharing our dreams and experiences we have shared this blog post in the NOFOREIGNLAND.COM website sailors community.