Sailing Leg from Buzios to Vitoria and Vitoria
13thJune to 25th June 2013
13th June 2013 Thursday
Sailing leg from BUZIOS TO VITORIA (192 nm).
We left Buzios 12h00 on Thursday 13th June 2013. We sailed with the screecher around Cabo São Tomé, passing well clear of this Cape and also clear of the many oil platforms laying to the East of the Cape. We head for the 1000 m drop off for some fishing.
Along this stretch we come across many dozens of fishing boats, both drifting and trawling at night. You can never rely on a Brazilian fishing boat to have the correct lights and most of those drifting with long nets (allegedly up to two miles long) carry no lights at all so as to avoid attracting flying fish. Theoretically they have radar and will see you, but we shine a light on our sails periodically.
14th June 2013 Friday
Friday was spend cleaning, washing and the afternoon catching up on some reading. Zack spend the day fishing and sorting out his fishing gear. Just before sunset his hard work was rewarded by a 10 kg Barracuda. We worked for more than an hour to get the steaks in the freezer.
15th June 2013 Saturday
With the day breaking we sail into Baía do Espírito Santo. A lot of cargo ships were lying on anchor waiting for their turn to enter the port.
We sail into Vitória to find a very modern, clean, wealthy, vibrant city, full of high-class shops and restaurants. The supermarket close to the yacht club was well stocked with a good variety of fresh produce. Although we did find a storm water discharge point, that had a sewage smell to it, close to one of the main beaches the water quality in the bay were significantly better than the water we encountered in Guanabara Bay (Rio). What a contrast - and a very pleasant one as well.
We moored outside the yacht club. It was a sunny day and many people were enjoying the Saturday on the beach. A popular activity was renting a stand-up board with a single long paddle to explore the beach and close by island in the bay. (Had to watch Zack taking photos of the girl- he claim he was capturing the dog on the board- decide for yourself!!!!????)
The Iate Clube do Espírito Santo (yacht club) was very welcoming and for a nominal R$ 22,40 (about R105) per head per day we had full access to a well managed exclusive club facilities including excellent bar and restaurant overlooking the harbour, swimming pool, and sauna. We moored stern to onto the fixed pontoon for fresh water and 220 Volt (60 Hertz) electricity. They got a 10-ton crane to stack fishing boats.
Some Facts from Wikepedia:
"Vitória (Portuguese pronunciation: [viˈtɔɾjɐ], Victory) is the capital of the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil. It is located on a small island within a bay where a few rivers meet the sea. It was founded in 1551. The city proper (area 93 km2 or 35.9 sq mi) has a population of 313,300 (2005) whilst the Greater Vitória metropolitan area has a population of more than 1,612,885 (2005), the 14th largest in Brazil. In 1998 a survey conducted by the United Nations rated Vitória as the fourth best state capital in Brazil to live in, rating cities on health, education, and social improvement projects.
Some of the first Portuguese colonists to settle in Brazil settled in Vitoria in the year 1535. The small island wasn't very well known until a bit later when the local tribal Indians resisted the colonial invation and an extra effort had to be put in to secure the Island of Vitória.
More people moved into the area due to the abundance of sugar cane and gold mining potential in addition to trying to escape the attacks. Agriculture was the primary industry of the island during the first several years, but slowly became more modernized between the year 1535 and 1889.
The year 1894 in Vitoria was marked mostly by the exportation of coffee, which at that time had a very high price tag and was desired by many other countries because of its taste and quality. Vitoria's location close to the sea was a key reason exports became very important to this small island.
The modernization of Vitoria included a railroad system, hospital, cemetery, park, state museum, state library, a public archive, and several schools.."
In the Iate Clube do Espírito Santo (yacht club) we met Heleno and after only just meeting us he invited us for lunch at his home. With a short notice his wife Marilia served us a pleasant lunch, introduced us to a big variety of traditional Brazilian dishes. Finally we have desert with fruit and cream. Then after that they let us taste all different kind of fruit that is unfamiliar for us. The cherry was Brazilian coffee in the most beautiful small silver cups and saucers. Spontaneously their warm open Brazilian hearts opened up for us and we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with them seeing various attractions in the city.
We drove by the famous chocolate factory (Garoto). Fortunately they were already closed. Apparently when on tour inside the factory you can eat as much chocolate as you like from there production belt but you are not allowed to take any with you. Saved us from a guaranteed headache due to sugar overdose.
We visit Covento da Peha (Church of the Rock). From the church you have a view of the city in all the directions.
It was a very special experience to be there while there was a service. Walking around the church with music and voices praising God. I could not understand but I enjoyed the peace of listening to the sounds of people praising… saying my own prayer for family and friends somewhere far away….
On the way back to the yacht club they decided that we must also visit the Agricultural show where you could buy several handmade products.
I was spoiled by Zack who bought me a most exquisite Orgidee (Hendrik kan nie help om aan jou te dink tussen al hierdie blomme nie!!!)
We had several tastings and every time when Marilia disappeared she made her appearance with even more products to taste. Needless to say we skipped supper completely. We bought several interesting jams, handmade sweets of orange peel and special coffee. It felt like being back at home at our annual church bazaar. We return back to the yacht club. In a few hours we have explored the tourist attraction of Vitoria accompanied by two very special people. They opened their hearts and home for us. After settling back in on Vagabund exhaustion took over, due to the lack of sleep of our previous night sailing, we locked up and enjoyed a solid 10-hour sleep.
16th June to 25th June 2013
Being on a pontoon inside the marina gave the unwelcome mosquitos an opportunity to pay us a visit. Even with our modified mosquitos nets in front of the windows, they still somehow managed to penetrate our defenses. They hide away until you have settled into a deep sleep; with the sound the mosquito bzzzzz the midnight feast will start.
My best decoy is Zack (his blood must taste like honey to them). As long as he is next to me I do not have to worry about mosquitos. On Monday night my decoy took all the hammering he could take. He retrieved to our bow port cabin with a closed door. I did not understand nor sympathized with his complaints until I was left alone. The mosquito attack was violent and precise. The next morning it looked like I had contracted chickenpox. At least 20 red spots on my face the cover stick could not hide it away.
War was declared. I up our defenses by improving our mosquito nets for the next two days and invested in some additional aerosol spray. This was not a local battle, as we have to secure Vagabund from any mosquitos before entering into a malaria areas. Dengue Fever is another disease carried by mosquitoes in the most parts of Brazil that also require medical attention.
Every time Zack hear or see a mosquito I have to dug and evacuate to avoid a “sorry” as he is swings the Zap bat around.
Our visit to the “Capitania” on Monday (17th June 2013) was easy and quick. We waved a taxi down across the main street in front of the club and with only R$8 we were standing in front of the big steel gate entrance of the Capitania. Vitoria Shopping Mall was on our way back and we decided to take a nice stroll. A big white majestic cross let us deviate from our route. Upon investigation the cross was erected for Peace after the Second World War.
We enjoyed the scenery and were spoiled with beautiful sunrises.
Upon return from our early morning kayak exercise we decided to go and investigated a French sailing boat moored outside the marina Apart from the tender tied up behind the boat we did not observe much activity. Only after a few calls in English we managed to see a weary head pop up from below the deck. We introduced ourselves.
Our lonely sailor was Herman Paris on sailing vessel Iris. An artist/musician and photographer that has purchased a home for himself in the form of a steel ketch. The boat was purchased in Turkey and he is on his way sailing to Reunion Island (close to Madagascar) were his ex wife and daughter is living.
While crossing the Atlantic from Europe you have to sail around the South Atlantic High Pressure close to South America to pick up the South Easterly winds of the Roaring Forties to slingshot you past Cape Town to South of Madagascar. Currently he is stranded in Vitoria with a broken engine.
On our second visit the most beautiful piano music greeted us. A small piano tied to the mast extension below deck is a first for us. He is a true artist and composer. Our SA pilotage book was donated with our well wishes to a speedily repair, fair winds and good sailing to Reunion.
Wednesday night another French sailing yacht arrived. Isabel and Philippe Chirinian on sailing vessel Voiler Azad were also sailing North on their way to the Caribbean. We have enjoyed spending an evening with Hermann, Philippe and Isabel on Vagabund. Exchanging stories and plans for the future.
The week was spend by getting the latest weather reports, exploring the city, attending to our mail, talking to our loved ones, get my phone to work again as well as solving a problem on my laptop by using Team viewer allowing our IT specialist back at home to remotely take over my computer and sort out all the glitches. Thank you Manie for always being on stand by and helping us out.
Every morning was started with coffee in our front garden….
Followed by our daily exercise of rowing for an hour in our kayak (always with a fishing reel and a repala at the back). With the kayak we managed to explore a new beach every day in the proximity of the yacht club.
Around the islands we encountered the most beautiful houses. A small church found its way amongst these houses right on the edge of the water.
The duration of our stay in Vitoria is determined by utilizing the correct weather window. The Islands of Abrolhos is 190nm North East of Vitoria with limited shelter and shallow coral reefs. Santo Andre is another 105nm further North. The river mouth entry is tricky and should be entered preferably an hour before high tide and in daylight.
We checked the weather daily and were relieved to see that our Northern passage will only be delayed for 10 days. We will be able to sail out on Tuesday (25th June 2013) afternoon.
We watched a Brazilian soccer game against Mexico with the Federation Cup at the local restaurant. When Brazil scored you could hear cars hooting and all of a sudden pedestrians cheering. Only realizing almost everybody is watching or listening when Brazil is playing. Another FIFA initiative was to make people aware of the illiteracy level of English (our single biggest frustration in Brazil).
With the weekend ahead of us we decided to invite Heleno and Marilia (our Vitoria Brazilian friends) for a South African dinner aboard Vagabund Saturday evening. We introduced them to barbequed chicken, “paptert”, special salads and afterwards rooibos tea with honey. I was spoiled with beautiful flowers and Zack with lots of fruit. People like Heleno and Marilia makes Brazil such a special place.
Our next planned destination is Abrolhos and Santo Andre, but I will keep you posted as soon as the technology is available again. Be safe….