Day 66: Argentina bound

Egret checks out of Brazil after a few days in Florianopolis

Position: 28° 16.10S 48° 32.48W 
Average speed: 7.2 knots
Conditions: Confused seas, 8′-10′ SE

Scott and Mary Flanders left Gibraltar on 16 September, and we’ll be following their journey every step of the way, thanks to this unique online “blog”. For the first instalment of their diary, click here .

Egret is under way again and on the way to Mar Del Plata, Argentina bouncing along in confused 8′-10′ and occasional larger seas in 24.2 knots of wind. It is amazing how our little ship runs through this mess. Egret’s coffee carry-o-meter needle is barely lifting off the scale. The good news is that it’s raining and keeping the water on the pilothouse glass somewhat brackish.

Florianopolis is everything Salvador should be and perhaps will be in time. It’s a beautiful modern city on the island of Ilha de Santa Catarina with the mainland city of Santa Catarina west across the bay. We did our final provisioning in a multi-story mall as attractive and modern as any in the US. Squealing kids were enjoying a holiday program downstairs complete with a couple of Santas. With our final load of jungle fruit, bread, meat, etc? the Egret crew took a very wet ride in the rain aboard our tiny little rubber boat loaded with three crew and filled to the gunwales with plastic bags of goodies.

In all of Egret’s travels, customs officials have been courteous, pleasant and professional. Officials in Florianopolis were no exception. First the navy officer at Capitania dos Portos (Port Captain) gave us nine days to leave after checkout because he understands weather issues. He told us a story about how recently a navy ship brought 350 army troopers up from the south in 15ft seas. One hundred fifty of them were hospitalized on arrival because of seasickness. Next was the Policia Federal. We were ushered in front of quite a crowd to mesa 6 (table 6). A young English-speaking officer cleared us out after a thorough inspection of our papers. The Federal Police are not sailors and are used to giving only 24 hours to leave once cleared (true in most countries). After explaining our weather situation they too gave us a time extension of 72 hours.

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Our last official clearance check out was Alfangeda (Customs). Here we met our knight in shining armor. Because Florianopolis is not a commercial port with its shallow bay and few cruisers, customs no longer checks boats out of Brazil. We were told to go to a commercial port about 50 miles south. This presents two problems. First we would exceed out 72 hour federal police timeframe and second the complexity of anchoring in a commercial harbor, dinghying ashore and finding the police, etc, etc? The cruising guide was very wrong. Our customs officer, Ricardo Navarro, is a sailing regatta official at the local yacht club. He went way beyond the call of duty and gave Egret a personal ‘Pass’ to exit the country. Best of luck to Ricardo for the help he gave us.

We will sign off now, and watch the albatrosses working the wind and waves in front of our little ship.

Photo: Mary Flanders with the catch of the day



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