Day 54: The rough stuff

Egret takes a battering after a few days anchored in a national park

Day 54: The rough stuff

Position: 19° 31.44S 39° 35.50W

Course: 223°

Distance travelled: 4039.3 nm from Gibraltar

Average speed: 5.5 knots

Conditions: see below

It had to happen sooner or later. In Egret’s case it happened much later. In Egret’s travels we grew more comfortable with wind and waves as time and miles went by. None of our trips to date had been beset by anything too big. All of this changed this morning.

We are getting our bell rung. Friends of ours gave the Egret crew a beautiful cast bell with the Egret logo cast in. The bell only rings when Egret’s bow, stern or sides are where they aren’t supposed to be. When the bell rings today Egret’s bow is pointing nearly straight up or straight down. Egret is not in sea swells. Sea swells can be quite high but they are nothing more than small hills your little ship rides up and down with no theatrics. These are waves that are being driven by 27-36 knots of northbound wind against the southbound Brazil current. The Brazilian coast is shallow near shore so two things happen at once. The current accelerates crossing the shallow water with the wind stacking the waves up tighter against the current.

The waves are 8′-12′ plus. They are very close together. We have reduced speed twice to our current 1425 RPM so we don’t overpower the waves and drive through one sliding down the backside of the wave before. Once every 20-30 minutes we take a slug of green water over the bow ending up hanging on the pilothouse glass like an aquarium for a second then disappearing.

Now for the good news. The waves are almost directly on the bow, and they’re not making our stabilisers and autopilot work too hard. We are able to sleep including Steve in the forward berth, even if it’s a bit uncomfortable.

Before hitting this weather, Egret spent three days anchored in the beautiful Brazilian National Park of Arquipelago Dos Abrolhos, 30 miles off the Brazilian coast. The big attractions are the huge reefs in the area and the whales.

The morning after arrival we lowered the dinghy and visited the only small island you may land on accompanied by park guides. Much pantomime, gesturing and flapping arms later we got the gist of the birds and turtle population from the guides. The birds are capable of diving three meters under water! We had a great time on the island taking lots of pictures and invited the guides to the boat. We gave each of them a big bag of frozen mahi mahi. The next day was whale day with three humpback whales in 50′ of water quite close to Egret that were swimming back and forth.

After spending a rolly night when the wind shifted we were ready to be on the move again but the weather further south wasn’t cooperating. At noon we decided to go visit a small village. Soon after we got a weather warning and decided to leave in a race against the weather…


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