Fafner Log


Date: January 9, 2009

Location: 53º 48.548' S 71º 38.354' W anchored in Bahia Woods, Straits of Magellan, Brunswick Peninsula, Chile

We moved off our mooring and rafted up to some workboats (with our new buddies on Tandem and Malou too) on our second day in Punta Arenas. We've spent the past few days playing musical boats as the work boats needed to get in and out. We shifted dock lines and moved three sailboats as one block. The fun was decreased by one boat when Malou left for Ushuaia early on Wed. We've entertained the guys on the boats no end. I think they were getting attached to us though. When the laundry guy brought our clean clothes to the dock they came and got us, and when Alex and I came back from a grocery run they helped us get the bags off the dock and onto our boat. Finally, when they needed to tell us they were going out and we needed to move they stopped knocking on our hull and waiting for us to emerge, one of them would come on our boat and stick his head in the companionway and just talk to us. We traded our tattered little American flag for a pristine Chilean courtesy flag with one of the guys. I think they will miss us.

Yesterday we went on a tour to a penguin colony and there were penguins as far as the eye could see. We paid money to ride a ferry to an island that we actually passed in the dark. I consider it money well spent. We rode in speed and relative comfort. The people watching alone was worth the price of the boat ride. Geoff and I decided we are about 25 years too old to be out here. We were surrounded by 20-something backpackers. I enjoyed observing them in the wild. We also enjoyed all the penguins on the island. It is breeding season so the adults had chicks. The babies hatched in December but are already quite large, almost adult-sized. However, they act like kids and are still fuzzy. We took many pictures and tried to smuggle one out in our backpack, but we were given away by its fish breath and honking. Oh well, it is probably happier in its hole than in our bilge.

Today we passed Cabo Froward which is as far south as we will go. From here it is a long climb north. For now we are working our way up the rest of the Estrecho de Magellanes and through a few pasos into Canal Smythe to Puerto Eden. Keep the good weather thoughts coming please.

Date: January 4, 2009

Location: 53º 10.439' S 70º 54.727' W moored off Punta Arenas, Chile

Last night Geoff had us in turns helping him watch because we didn't stop and anchor, we just kept going. There seem to be two wind speeds so far, blowing and blowing harder. We arrived this morning during a blowing harder period and after much purposeful misunderstanding with the prefectura about anchoring, they arranged for us to pick up a mooring. The wind went back to blowing while we were mooring which was just as well for us. The mooring is designed for a fishing boat and has a line so thick we couldn't even think about cleating it to anything we have on the boat. We tied our lines through the loop in the rope. It took both Claire and I to haul it out of the water to look at it. I lost the boat hook briefly when the boat drifted back and I couldn't hold on. Alex got the gaff and we snagged the boat hook as it floated by. Finally we dropped the dinghy and Geoff and Claire went over and tied a second line to the loop. We tied the dinghy behind the boat and went below to have breakfast. The wind flipped the dinghy. Luckily we hadn't put the outboard on it. All we had to rescue was one of the oars before it went to Tierra del Fuego without us. We are waiting a bit before we go ashore to check in. Malou arrived not long after us and is moored next door. We were catch-a-mooring cheerleaders for them. Tandem has yet to arrive. When we're all here we're going to celebrate New Year's. I have champagne chilling in anticipation.


Date: January 3, 2009

Location: 52º 21' S 69º 05' W at 1200 hours

Ah, the power of prayer and positive thinking, we are inside the Straits of Magellan. Thank you one and all. This morning dawned grey and rainy, but the wind was down. Claire kept watch with me. We spent our morning watching: the barometer fall, generally followed by the grey clouds thickening with an accompanying wind increase. When the wind grew beyond our comfort range we reduced sail and got rained on. When it cleared some, we put sail back up and repeated the cycle. We heard from Malou and Tandem on the radio so we know they're inside too. This afternoon we zipped through the First Narrows on the proper tide. We saw 11 knots of boat speed. The black & white dolphins were back too. We've been calling them Oreo Dolphins because they are white in the middle with black dorsal fins, tails, noses and underbellies. Alex objected to the name because she thought the dolphins had more white than Oreos had creme filling. Simple enough, the dolphins are Double-Stuffed. Somewhere a wildlife biologist is pulling out his hair over us.

We are about 60 nm from Punta Arenas. It all depends on wind, tide & current whether we make it in tonight or early tomorrow morning. As I type the wind is up again. Geoff says 20 is the new 10 (in relation to wind speed around here) so we shall see.

Date: January 2, 2009

Location: 51º 17' S 68º 01' W at 1200 hours

sorry, no caps, i'm typing with one hand and holding the computer with the other. in addition to yet another kind of dolphin today, we found wind, or rather it found us. so much for sneaking out of puerto deseado. as i type we are approx. 36 nm from the entrance to the straits of magellan. i'm not sure how long it is going to take us to cover that distance. send good thoughts our way please. you get extra points if your thoughts manage to calm the wind and knock down the waves.

Date: January 1, 2009

Location: 49º 09' S 66º 42' W at 1200 hours

We had a lovely Christmas in Puerto Deseado with our new friends on s/v Tandem, Florence & Allein. However, the day after Christmas was not so lovely. The wind came up and we had to leave the friendly tug we were tied to (and easy access to shore) and head out across the river to anchor. We spent the next 5 nights out there swinging with the tides and listening to the wind howl. One day it was so windy I swear even the penguins stayed ashore. We had company when another French boat, Malou, (the boat we sort of met in Puerto Madryn) arrived and anchored. A couple of evenings the wind died down in the late afternoon so Claire & Geoff dinghied ashore to check weather on the internet. We found our weather window and left late yesterday afternoon on the falling tide. Yeeha! When the tide is with you it sure helps with boat speed. Tandem and Malou left as well, so we are all out here together heading for Punta Arenas. Last night a bunch of black & white dolphins came over to play around our bow and this morning the girls saw a whale. It was big and dark and bumpy and indifferent. It just floated behind the boat and spouted once. I guess you can be laid back when you're big.

Date: December 24, 2008

Location: 47º 45.346' S 65º 54.328' W tied up to "Yamana" in Puerto Deseado, Argentina

We arrived in Puerto Deseado today. We had trouble figuring out exactly where to go, so the Prefectura sent out an inflatable complete with two guys in dry suits to escort us to an anchorage. The first place we tried was too shallow. The next place we tried was too close to rocks once we had enough chain out. Where we are now isn't "Just Right" but it will do. We are tied up to a tug on a long pier. We rock and roll and wiggle next to our new friend. Alex is making cookies which we hope will go a long way toward making him like us. He was more or less told by the Prefectura boys to let us tie up. Geoff and Claire have already been to check in. They were impressed by the old VHF that was quite large. They were also impressed by the thick file the Prefectura had that was labeled "Fafner." It had our contacts in addition to sightings of us reported by fishing boats. This is a case where I'm happy Big Brother is watching us. I wonder how diligent Chile is. We'll be here for a few days and then once the weather is good enough we move again.

And now it's time for decorations, holiday music and some liquid Christmas cheer.

Date: December 23, 2008

Location: 45º 12' S 64º 40' W at 1200 hours

We've got a new game, Birdie Bowling. We play it with Fafner and groups of floating sea birds. It really works best if the group of birds contains at least 20 birds and if the birds are of mixed varieties. When the boat is aimed at a group of birds, the game begins. Drive straight at the birds. Altering course to intercept floating birds is cheating. (I know this sounds like "Chicken" but it's not because I can guarantee that the birds will move every time. In "Chicken" you are not really sure your opponent will give in first.) As you get closer to the birds watch them and make predictions about which way they'll go. Once the boat is inside their comfort range - which is species dependent - the birds take off and scatter like bowling pins. Then the automatic pin-setter comes down from the sky and settles the birds in a new spot. We've found that albatrosses will wait the longest before moving, but frequently try to get away from us by flying toward the bow. I swear there's booby somewhere in their genetic make up.

Date: December 22, 2008

Location: 42º 55' S 64º 11' W at 1200 hours

The weather looked okay for the next few days so we left Puerto Madryn and are heading to Puerto Deseado. It's about 350 nm, depending on wind and current we expect to be in on Christmas Day. Ho ho ho. We also have a few penguin facts for you - this all started when we were wondering what a group of penguins is called -

a place where penguins breed is a rookery

a group of baby penguins is called a kreche

a group of penguins on land is called a waddle

a group of penguins in the water is called a raft

We're starting to pass rafts of penguins as we go to Deseado. We're looking forward to waddles and kreches too.

Date: December 21, 2008

Location: 42º 45.531' S 65º 01.712' W anchored in front of Puerto Madryn

We arrived safe and sound and very tired on the 19th. We encountered tidal currents and made slow but steady progress into the gulf to Puerto Madryn. We managed to muster enough energy to talk to the Prefectura on the VHF, watch an episode of Numb3rs and then fall into our bunks.

Yesterday we were surprised to wake up to warm sunshine and calm waters. There is a French boat anchored here too. We saw their dinghy tied up to a fishing boat tied to the pier. The fishermen were very nice and allowed us to tie up as well. We went in to town to finally check in with the Prefectura and then did some wandering. I found a Carrefour (grocery store), the Catholic church and many statues. Two of the larger monuments with statues were for volunteer firemen who died in a big blaze in 1994 and local boys who died in the Falklands War, which is referred to as the Malvinas War around here. The wind was up and cloud lines were running through, so we decided to wait until it died down before taking a possibly wet dinghy ride back to the boat. We went to a cafe and Claire finally decided to try a hot chocolate. A hot chocolate is called a submarino. You receive a glass of frothy hot milk and a swiftly melting chocolate bar. It works and tastes good. When we went back to the fishing boat the French crew was at their dinghy too. The wind and waves had not calmed down, in fact they had increased. Sigh. The French crew took three trips to get themselves and their stuff back to their boat. Geoff and Claire went to our boat while Alex and I decided to wait (in vain) for a lull. I found that the fishing boat was open and was prepared to inhabit it all night long if necessary. But Geoff returned with our foul weather gear and we made it back. We then spent a night listening to the wind howl. The warm weather and calm winds were just the precursor to the W/SW wind that arrived in the night. The falling barometer should have been another hint. I'm glad we made the decision to duck in here. We've had gusts up to 43 knots, but we're in a part of the gulf to avoid big waves.

We think maybe we'll move on tomorrow, but we'll wait and see what the weather holds in store. Turns out that Peninsula Valdez is a marine sanctuary and that Punta Tomba (just south of here) is a large breeding ground for Magellan Penguins. If not for this wind I'd be perfectly happy here scouting wildlife.

FYI - We heard that we are on the 'Lectronic Latitude for early December. It's on the Latitude 38 website, called 'Lectronic. Our blurb is called "Taking the Long Way Home."

Date: December 19, 2008

Location: 42º 54' S 63º 52' W at 1200 hours

Yes, there are penguins in the water. Now Alex and I have seen them too. Geoff has yet to spot one. We try to point the penguins out to him, but the contrary things dive just before he looks. Our guide book says that penguins are mischievous. What kind of tricks can a penguin pull? We thought maybe they had a penguin version of ding-dong ditch involving albatrosses. The penguins wait until an albatross gets itself settled down floating on the water. Then a penguin dives down, swims up under the unsuspecting albatross, pulls on the albatross' foot and them swims away to the general laughter of its friends and discombobulation of the albatross.

We are at present making for Puerto Madryn in Golfo Nuevo. Unpleasant winds were predicted so we chose discretion over valor. We should be there in 3 hours, give or take. Of course, that's what the chart plotter has been saying for the past 3 hours... Isn't that always the way, the closer you get - the farther your destination becomes. That sounds like there should be some philosophy in there somewhere.

Date: December 18, 2008

Location: 41º 32' S 61º 36' W at 1200 hours

A quickie message - somehow we're off schedule for sending messages. We keep checking the weather at odd times and messages go out & come in at those times. The girls and I invested quantity time today trying to take the definitive picture of an albatross. Those darn birds are a lot like dolphins. You can be swarmed with them doing all kinds of tricks, but the instant you take out a camera, poof, gone. We got some nice photos of waves. We'll keep trying. And speaking of birds, Claire thinks she saw a penguin swim past the boat. Now we're really on watch while on watch.

Date: December 17, 2008

Location: 39º 47' S 59º 18' W at 1200 hours

The Argentine Prefectura (Coast Guard) take their job very seriously. For the first time in our trip we are required to check in with them twice a day. I find it comforting that the authorities have our "flight plan." Claire has been the one talking to them. The first time she talked to the Prefectura officer he obviously had paperwork in front of him because as soon as she identified us he asked if we were still going to Puerto Deseado. They keep track of our course, speed and eta. I think we may supposed to be checking in with any fishing boats that pass us as well. We're having a harder time doing that. Mostly because of our non-fluent Spanish. We've had fishing boats pass us, but if they were talking to us on the VHF, we don't know. A couple of them altered course and came close enough to read our transom and waved. Perhaps they WERE reading our transom to tell the Prefectura they passed us. We're loved.

Date: December 16, 2008

Location: 38º 09' S 57º 27' W at 1200 hours

We think we have a weather window to move a little farther south, so we left Mar del Plata this morning. The port we'd really like to get to is Puerto Deseado, but we don't think we'll make it that far on this run. We're looking at something in the Golfo Nuevo depending on wind direction. It was hard to leave. Three more cruising boats showed up and I was bonding with other people heading south. It's nice to know we are not alone. We didn't do any tourist stuff, just boat projects. We'll save the exploring for more exotic locales. But we did manage to spend time with the yachties drinking beverages and swapping stories.

Date: December 6, 2008

Location: 12/4/08: 35º 04' S 55º 00' W at 1200

12/5/08: 37º 14' S 55º 27' W at 1200

12/6/08: 38º 02.466' S 57º 32.280' W tied up in Yacht Club Argentino, Mar del Plata, Argentina

Our weather window presented itself and we took it. We left Punta del Este on Thursday morning. Unfortunately, neither auto pilot was working. Brunhilde and Siegfried appear to have taken a holiday together and didn't make it back to the boat in time for our departure. So we're getting in touch with the old time sailor-man spirit of sailing and taking turns hand-steering. For the first time in all the time we've had Fafner, we found a way to utilize the lower steering station. We had to revert to a two-person watch system. One warm person was below steering while watching the chart-plotter. A second person was dressed in many layers and out in the cockpit watching the real world. We all took turns both driving and watching, but everyone developed their preferences. Claire is a driving machine (fours solid at the wheel)and Alex gets the prize for most hours logged on continuous outdoor watch (15 hours straight). Geoff and I are ready to hang out below and feed each other grapes while the girls take care of things. Aside from the auto-pilot thing, we had a pleasant run. The wind was down, the sky was blue and the albatrosses were entertaining. This morning the fog rolled in for our arrival in Mar del Plata but now the sun has burned it away and we are enjoying the sunshine tied to a dock in the Yacht Club Argentino. This enlightened club must like guests because visiting foreign yachts are allowed one week's stay for free! Guess how long we plan to be here.


Date: December 3, 2008

Location: tied up in Punta del Este Yacht Club

We had an excellent time with our Thanksgiving guests, Geoff's sister, Sonia and her son, Anatole. The Reader's Digest version is: we went to an animal preserve/zoo where we saw capybaras & bushwhacked through an abandoned aviary that now houses bats, went to the beach a lot, drove around unsuccessfully looking for horses to ride but found several cool estancias to see, went to the beach some more, ate beef, walked around Montevideo, shopped, watched snipe races, (the western hemisphere and orient championship races were held here) avoided overweight fishermen-loving sea lions on the dock and went to the beach some more. Oh, and we ate beef. The delightful ice cream shop we found deserves its own mention. We visited often.

Now we are getting ourselves and the boat ready to continue on south. We'll keep you posted.

Date: November 16, 2008

Location: @ 0050 hr:34º 57.236' S 54º 57.042' W anchored in Bahia de Maldonada, off Punta del Este

@ 1900 hr:34º 57.672' S 54º 57.042' W moored in yacht club, off Punta del Este

We've been incommunicado and we apologize. Where to begin? We had an eventful last day of the passage. We now have an even better barometer story than our one from Spain. At 0400 the barometer read 1005.0 mb and we were 74 nm from Punta del Este. During the kids' morning watch we actually saw the wind shift before it happened by looking at whitecaps on the waves. The wind gained in strength and the barometer rose as the day passed. We decreased sails until we were down to a double-reefed main, no mizzen and we had rolled up most of the little jib. We were going slowly, but made progress. Around noon (baro at 1010.4 mb) we tacked and discovered that, ARG, we tacked 180 degrees. We decided that God put diesel into our lives to be used. We rolled up the rest of the jib and put on the engine. We spent the remainder of the day creeping creeping creeping our way to Punta del Este. Our baro continued to rise: 1013 mb @ 1600 hr, 1017 mb @ 2000 hr, 1019 mb @ 0000. At midnight we were in the harbor and looking for a place to anchor. We anchored, made some dinner and by 0300 were to bed. We were all very tired and we didn't even try to send any messages.

The next morning, the Port Captain was calling us on the VHF. We ignored him on the grounds that maybe there was some other sailboat anchored in the harbor that he was trying to contact. Eventually a boat came alongside us containing the Port Captain. It turns out that he was concerned for us and wanted to check that everything was okay. After breakfast Geoff and Claire went ashore to see our new friend and scope out the facilities. The marina is reasonable and we have moved to a mooring. So we found the grocery store, showers and laundry. FYI - When we all left the boat to go ashore the baro read 1022.6 mb We treated ourselves to an afternoon snack on shore from a cafe overlooking a beach. We watched families playing on the beach and sipping mate from thermoses, couples walking hand-in-hand and sipping mate from thermoses, and surfers catching waves and probably taking breaks to sip mate from thermoses.

Today the internet recognized sailmail and now you are up-to-date with us. We are cleaning up and getting ready for Sonia & Tole to arrive. And we happy to be here, the people are friendly and we've received a warm welcome.

Date: November 15, 2008

Location: 34º 51' S 54º 22' W at 1200

Date: November 14, 2008

Location: 33º 52' S 51º 59' W at 1200

Yesterday we started noticing some birds. They looked like gulls, but were buzzing the boat like boobies. So we thought they might be goobies. But then we remembered that albatrosses roamed these waters, so our new friends became goobatrosses. I was content to leave it at that. Alex and I were rather charmed by the term goobatross. However, Claire and Geoff wanted to find out what they really were, so Claire got out our seabird book and looked them up. We think we have been joined by two different kinds of albatrosses, Grey-headed Albatrosses and Yellow-nosed Albatrosses. I admit here and now that I have never actually read The Ancient Mariner poem, so I'm not sure why the mariner killed an albatross. Perhaps they were in competition for squid, but albatrosses are kind of large so wearing one around your neck would be inconvenient at best. We think they are cuter in their natural habitat than as neckwear, so we'll be kind to ours. Claire named ours Jimmie. He's got three friends, Harpo, Chico and Groucho. We're trying to make them guess the word of the day.

Date: November 13, 2008

Location: 31º 50' S 50º 23' W at 1200

What do you want for dinner? What are my options? Rice with sauce, pasta with sauce or potatoes with sauce. Hhmm, let me think, what did we have yesterday... We're looking forward to shore and an infusion of inspiration and fresh supplies. FYI we finished our potatoes.


Date: November 12, 2008

Location: 29º 45' S 48º 58' W at 1200

Date: November 11, 2008

Location: 27º 17' S 48º 19' W at 1200

We checked out of Brasil on Monday and left on Tuesday. We've had grey skies and rain so far, coupled with up & down winds. Bleah.

Date: November 9, 2008

Location: 27º 26.005' S 48º 29.223' W anchored off Praia de Jurere, Ihla Santa Catarina, Brasil

We're in port again. We're making a stop 1)to get uninterrupted sleep and 2)to check out of Brasil. We were technically aiming for the city Florianopolis, but we anchored off a nice bay on the north side of the island instead of navigating the scarily shallow path to Florianopolis itself. We're actually just outside the moorings laid by the yacht club. We have tomorrow to run around and then if the weather is good we're off to Uruguay. The people who showed us around Rio said that Floripa (what the locals call Florianopolis) is a great place to eat shrimp for little money. Alex is ready. Claire and Geoff have gone ashore on a recon mission.

Date: November 8, 2008

Location: 25º 57' S 46º 12' W at 1200

Our passage continues, and so does my Carmen Miranda Museum story. After lunch we walked to see the Teatro Municipal which was designed like the Opera House in Paris. Alex has become a fan of the musical Phantom of the Opera, so she wanted to see it. We only admired it from outside. It was being worked on and not speaking Portuguese slowed down my ability to charm the guards into letting us take a peek inside. All the while our walking was bringing us closer to the CMM. We had to get back on the Metro and then walk some more according to our maps. Ha. It felt like we walked in circles. Perhaps we did because we asked locals for directions when we thought our maps stopped making sense.

And then we found it in the middle of a park next to a children's playground. For such a colorful personality as Carmen Miranda I was expecting a vibrant and exciting building to house the museum. The museum was in a bunker. It was a low, concrete, circular structure that was wider on the bottom than on the top and it had ports in the sides. I guess recycling does not only apply to cans and paper but buildings as well. Inside was more vibrant. They had displays of some of Carmen's jewelry and replicas of outfits. The nice man watching the door was very excited to see us, I think he hasn't had a chance to give away his informational papers printed in English in a while. So we looked at photos, jewelry & costumes and sat for some videos from her movies. And that was it. The entire collection could easily fit into our living room. Spaced out in the bunker allowed us to walk around the displays as a family group. I'm not sure the kids were too thrilled, they were skeptical of my museum choices to begin with, although Alex enjoyed the outfits. Me, I'm happy, I saw her hat with fruit in it. Would you believe she had several with different collections of fruit? Ah, chickie chickie chickie boom boom boom.

Date: November 7, 2008

Location: 24º 26' S 44º 38' W at 1200

We did most of the major tourist sights in Rio on Tuesday with Gilda and Fernanda. On Wednesday we were on our own with our maps and pamphlet from the marina office and our copy of Lonely Planet South America. I asked Gilda if there was a particular church we shouldn't miss and she said to go see the Candelaria Church. Put that on my list. I had been reading all of the tourist info and I had also found a treasure, a gem, a must-see for me - the Carmen Miranda Museum. I was too embarrassed to ask Gilda to take us, but I was not too embarrassed to drag the family there when on our own. First we went in search of the church. We got on the Metro which was not as scary as it was made out to be; it was not chock full of pickpockets and muggers, it seemed to contain the usual assortment of regular people going about their business. We found the church downtown and went in oooohing and aaahing. It was beautiful. As luck would have it, we arrived just before noon, when Mass started. We didn't stay long, the girls were feeling uncomfortably under-dressed in their tank tops. They did feel better when I pointed out the guy in one of the middle pews eating a sandwich.

After the church we went to a modern art museum. We only looked at one exhibit featuring videos of fire extinguisher performance art and a fish reading a book. Then we went to see an ex-imperial palace. It was also a modern art museum. While the exhibits in there were also interesting, it was a mistake. I thought we were going to the imperial palace that kept the room where one of the presidents shot himself as it was. The kids wanted to see that one, not really the art museum. Too many imperial palaces. Then we got ourselves to Bar Luis (a Rio institution according to Lonely Planet) and had German food for lunch.

Carmen tomorrow.

Date: November 6, 2008

Location: 22º 56' S 43º 04' W at 1200

We left Rio today just before noon, so I have a noon position for you although it is not far out of the harbor. We had an excellent time in Rio. We were again lucky enough to be introduced to some locals who were happy to show us around. We packed a lot of tourist things into one day. In short we: drove past the downtown and shipping port, drove through a favela by accident, went around the lagoon which is a ritzy neighborhood on a lagoon, walked on Ipanema beach saw micro-swimsuits and drank coconut water, took a funicular train up a mountain to see the Christ statue(in the fog), had lunch in Copacabana near the beach, admired a gondola ride up another mountain from the ground, cruised past the Rio Yacht Club and saw lots of statues and old buildings. Whew, and that was just Tuesday with Gilda and Fernanda. To be continued...

Date: November 3, 2008

Location: 22º 55.168' S 43º 10.197' W tied up in Marina da Gloria, Rio de Janeiro

We arrived in Rio this afternoon. We watched the BIG statue of Christ as we came into the harbor. We can still see him from the marina. The family is waiting for me to finish so we can go find some dinner. I'll write more tomorrow after we meet someone and do some running around.

Date: November 2, 2008

Location: 22º 34' S 40º 36' W at 1200

On our chart we saw a patch outlined in red with the bold type "Restricted Area" in the center. Hhhmmm. Upon further investigation we discovered the area was an oil field that prohibited anchoring and fishing. Sign us up! We'd much rather dodge large, stationary, well-lit (especially the ones that spew flames) oil platforms than fishing boats any day/night. We've spent most of the last 24 hours traversing our restricted area. We've been shadowed by picket boats and buzzed by helicopters, but not disturbed by even one fishing boat in all that time. This afternoon I finally spotted a fishing boat. I pointed it out to Geoff who was in the cockpit with me. He looked at the chart. We had just, just, just crossed out of the restricted zone.

Date: November 1, 2008

Location: 20º 41' S 39º 35' W at 1200

Last night we saw whales. They broke the surface about 2 boat lengths in front of us, swam leisurely past our port side and then set to playing and spouting off our stern. It was both scary and incredible. We're about 250 miles from Rio, yippee!

Date: October 31, 2008

Location: 19º 24' S 38º 02' W at 1200

I'm finished with Salvadore stories. Today we've seen both fishing boats and ships. I wonder what would have happened if I had called them up on the VHF and yelled, "Trick or Treat!"?

Date: October 30, 2008

Location: 17º 06' S 37º 10' W at 1200

Salvadore cont. cont. After drinks Wagner mentioned he had a Sam's Club card. My head started spinning with a desire for items in impractical quantities. We made a plan, everyone would go home, shower and regroup at Sam's for shopping and then dinner. The girls thought the adults were crazy and they elected to stay on the boat and call it a day. Not me. I had visions of diet cokes by the case, bags of frozen chicken parts and fun-sized chocolates dancing before my eyes. But, by the time Sergio picked us up and we made it to Sam's Club it was closed. Ack! So we went to a Bom Precio Supermercado instead and I contented myself with 12 packs of diet cokes, fresh bread and Doritos. Then we went out to dinner. We went to a place that had some traditional Brazilian food in addition to other stuff. Wagner told the waiter that it was Geoff's birthday, but alas, the waiters (all 15 or so of them) couldn't sing because it was after 10 PM and the neighbors would complain if they were too loud and apparently the waiters won't sing if they can't be loud. Needless to say, Geoff hid his disappointment well. We ate and drank and talked until we were the second to last patrons in the place. We were home around 1 AM. I haven't done that in a long time.

Our passage goes well too.

Date: October 29, 2008

Location: 14º 53' S 37º 53' W at 1200

Salvador cont. We had some local tour guides for our next foray into Salvador. Lucky for us Ricardo's brother, Sergio, lives in Salvador. He and a friend, Wagner, picked us up and drove us around to see sites farther afield than walking distance from the marina. We went to another church, something something something Bonfim, which roughly translates to the church of the good end, a reference to Christ's death. John Paul II said mass there in 1991. It was beautiful with lots of gilding. There were of course saints around, but most of the statues and paintings featured Jesus Christ.

From the church we went to a mall. We had lunch (steaks and shrimp) in a food court. Definitely not the usual food court fare. Then Claire got an ear pierced. She wanted her ear pierced to mark her equator crossing. The place we found to have it done was a little kid haircutting place. We walked in and spied a screaming child sitting in a chair made from an itty bitty car. Hee hee. We told her she couldn't have her ear pierced unless she could fit in one of the cars. There was a room upstairs with no screaming children and full-sized chairs, so now she has a pierced ear. And in 2 short weeks she can look for a small gold ring.

Then we saw a fort and then watched sunset on a beach drinking beers and caiparanhas. We like Brasil.

Date: October 28, 2008

We left Salvador just after 1300 today so I don't have a position for you. We had a most excellent time in Salvador. We went up to see the Pelhourino (a part of the old town) one afternoon. The Pelhourino is on top of a hill. The Brazilians are very civilized when it comes to viewing places on top of hills. They built a huge elevator for pedestrians. Alex was spared walking up flights of stairs. At the top we were too slow and were ambushed by some people selling trinkets. First they tied ribbons on our wrists and explained that these were 1)free and 2)to grant three wishes if we kept them on. Next they gave Alex and I "gifts" of one necklace each. They put the necklaces on us. After hearing about muggers I was worried for my original jewelry, but my necklace was still there. I tried to take the gift off to give it back, but no, it was for me. After all this was completed, then they brought out their wares. More necklaces. We did buy something in the end. Later at lunch we noticed other people also wearing ribbons on their wrists and gift necklaces similar to ours. We thought maybe it was a grand, tourist catch-and-release program and now we've been tagged so the i (tourist info) people can track our movements.

We wandered around and looked at the architecture. I found a church for us to go into. We're Catholic, so I thought I was used to saint stuff. Boy oh boy, do the Salvador Brazilians take their saints seriously. The church had a side chapel called the Hall of Saints. There were about two dozen life-sized martyrs in it. They were a little disturbing. We won't even go into the crucifix with streaming ribbons for blood.

Date: October 23, 2008

Location: 12º 58.687' S 38º 31.262' W tied up in Bahia Marina, Salvador, Brasil

We arrived yesterday. The entire Baia de Todos os Santos (named by Amerigo Vespucci for the date he arrived, Nov. 1, All Saint's Day) of which Salvador is a part, is huge. It is a little like San Francisco Bay in that there is a narrow entrance that opens to a large, more protected body of water. We opted to go in to a marina and spent yesterday finding customs and lunch. We are really feeling our lack of Portuguese. I tried to call the marina on the VHF prior to our arrival. A man from the marina answered and asked if I spoke Portuguese. When I said "No," he asked me to stand by. I thought he was going to find an English speaker. Nope. After about 10 more minutes we were just outside the marina breakwater, so I called again. The same man answered and explained that he didn't speak English and enthusiastically welcomed me to the marina. Two young guys from the marina were out in a dinghy and making large arm motions at us. We took those to mean follow us. They did. They helped us get the boat moored to a dock and directed us to the office. One of the women in the office speaks very good English and helped us get settled. We got a couple of maps and the address for Customs and set off to finish checking in. We had lunch at a building that now houses tourist souvenir shops, but was once used to house and sell slaves brought from Africa. While we ate lunch we watched a couple of groups perform capoeira (a martial art/dance). After lunch we got an unplanned walking tour of the docks on the waterfront on our search for the Customs office. Eventually we found the Aduana-Customs office almost back where we started from near the Mercado Modelo. Now we've had showers, a full night's sleep, Brazilian food and we're new people. I'm ready to tackle grocery shopping in Portuguese.