Tuesday April 20, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 05 degrees 55 minutes South latitude and 034 degrees 41 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 005 T @ 3.0 kts.
Wind: E @ 10
Swell: E @ 1.0 meter
2045 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. Oh boy, here we go again.
We are currently paralleling the coastline north until South America breaks away to the West. Then we will head NW, about 200 miles offshore, hopefully in the Guyana Current, 1775 nm to Barbados then the final hop west to Saint Lucia. God is it hot. Keeping an eye out for ships and squalls.
Anyway, a big horrah to Nicolas, Jean Pierra and Tiago at the Jacare Marina. With Brazil closed, they did all our provisioning: Fuel, water, food and even SIM cards. Not much else to say. Ash got a bit sea sick yesterday, and my day way 18 hours +. Time for coffee!! More tomorrow.
Wednesday April 21, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 04 degrees 54 minutes South latitude and 034 degrees 48 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 345 T @ 0.8 kts.
Wind: Variable @ 3
1068 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia.
Tim woke up early and got the yacht ready for cast off. We spent the previous days cleaning for the journey ahead, doing laundry, changing oil filters, and a bit of time for reading and resting. We got all stock shopping done by Jean-Pierre so now have a pantry full of local Brazilian cans, snacks, and of course 4 packs of Brazilian filter coffee and a dot of their favourite white Rum for Tim. Tim has to find storing space for everything which is always a challenge, so by cast off time the floor is empty and we are ready!
The slow motor down the large lagoon / mangrove swamp was peaceful early morning. I stood on the deck as lookout while Tim was at the helm as the ocean entrance has markers for the channel. It is approximately a 6 nautical mile trip, with the northern side of the river natural and the southern side developed. I spotted 2 different types of butterfies floating across the large expanse of water, saw the early morning ferries with local workers going across from the northern to southern side. Just after the first markers, as the fresh and salt waters mix with the tide, I spotted a large turtle on starboard side, who just put his head underwater and swam away fast as he could.
As we neared the lighthouse markers, we could see a tug boat exiting ahead with a pilot and a ship Falcon Nostos approaching. It was here I spotted either an Otter or Seal alongside in the waves. The ship captain kindly delayed his entrance to allow us to exit so he held his position and then gave two loud hoots to let us know he was about to start his engine, so we passed him very nearby and got a few great pictures.
I later then went below and tried to make us a lunch, and this was not the best idea for starting an ocean passage as after 20 minutes I started feeling whoosy. So ‘take the path of least resistance’ was Tim,s advise, (who had to eat breakfast cereal for lunch) and I then set out in the cockpit with eyes on the horizon. After a few hours I became pretty tired and rested until 9pm so I could now start my watch. By this time Tim had stopped motor and switched to sail. Today I am feeling good and have my sea legs back.
Tim : Oh boy, here we go again.
My USA friend, Giles, plus Jan, on sailing vessel Petrel, arrived Jacare Marina hours after we departed. They will rendezvous with us in Rodney Bay Saint Lucia.
So you all remember prior to getting to the Maldives, my forward starboard lower standing rig failed. Parts were sent and finally pieces put together in the Seychelles. Well, of course they mucked it up!. Today the same standing rig failed at the eye swage. Instead of swaging longitudinally, they did it in concentric circles, which basically cut the wires.
So I managed a temporary fix using spectra flat webbing and 8mm spectra cord. Ash hoisted me up on the old spinnaker halyard. That somehow became tangled on the winch and was stuck. No problem, send up the other old spinnaker halyard. Surprise, that too became tangled and stuck. So now swinging around the mast, I asked Ash lower the main sail and I will go onto the Main Halyard. Oh, and please do not get this tangled or we will have no more lines!! That eventually worked, but to lower me after Ash had to cut the original two spinnaker halyards from the 2 winches. I wanted to replace them anyway. So there I was, crying like a little girl and Ash, hands bloodied. Ok, maybe not bloodied, and truth be told, I was crying like a 12-year old girl!
Oh well, the plan is a total re-rig in Saint Lucia as we will have some time there to attend to maintenance. I had a premonition, and my son Matthew, in fact, has all brand new hardware, eyes and studs, to re-rig the boat. He will mail to me in Saint Lucia. Now just need to get about 250 feet of 316 stainless rigging wire, 1 x 19, 1/4 inch diameter.
Our route, if you are interested,is North to 04 15 S, 034 30 W, then left to about 305 T, 1000 meter contour to find the Guayana current, direct to the SW corner of Barbados, 12 52 N 059 43 W (ABOUT 1775 NM) then between Saint Lucia and Martinique (Saint Lucia Channel) to avoid ash from the volcano, then direct to Rodney Bay.
Thursday April 22, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 04 degrees 03 minutes South latitude and 035 degrees 04 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 310 T @ 4.7 kts.
Wind: E @ 3
Swell: E @ 1.0 meters
1880 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia.
Last night a little feathered family of 3 came to perch on the solar panels at the back of the cockpit after dark, around 9pm with a bit of chattering in-between themselves, they got comfortable for an evening above the ocean with the stars as their backdrop. One had it’s butt over the edge and the little green solar light would flash on and off making it look like the bird had swallowed a tracer. Despite sailing through a rain cloud with increased wind for half an hour, they remained in place and would not give up their perch for the evening.
We have passed a number of ships within these first 4 days, and most of them have changed course on our behalf passing behind us. So the coastline seems much more busy than the Atlantic Crossing we have just done. A fishing boat towing a line passed right next to us and pushed us off course too.
The ocean is calm and flat with not much swell, so it is pleasant on the yacht and easy to make a meal and rest, and there has been dispersed cloud cover that has shaded us from the actual heat of the day as we head towards the equator.
Wind has been mininmal, so yesterday we motor sailed about 10 hours. I’d say we are already experiencing the doldrums, despite being 350 nautical miles from crossing the equator, meh! I would have anticipated reaching the doldrums a bit more north, but from 2 south and northward, there is lots of wind. Just not here.
Wind remains mininmal and we are motor sailing this morning as well.
Finally, my prayers to one of my oldest and dearest friends, Kurt, who is going in for heart bypass surgery today. Hold Fast Kurt!
Friday April 23, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 02 degrees 40 minutes South latitude and 036 degrees 56 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 315 T @ 5.0 kts (motor).
Wind: Variable @ 5
Swell: E @ 0.5 meters
Cloud: 60%, some rain
We are NE of Fortaleza. 1770 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia.
So we are writing this very early this morning around 04h30 as the ocean world around us starts to light up for the day. Oh, how beautiful it is. The clouds are banked up high on the east side reaching right up into the sky above, the colours are dark blue, dark grey, light blue, and the sun rays are lighting up behind the clouds in warm gold that reflects onto the water and turns pink in colour. Rather spectacular, ever changing and just an awesome way to start the day.
The clouds have changed in this area of latitude. Unlike the formations on the Atlantic Cape Town to Natal crossing, where they formed a very low bank in a circular formation all around the horizon. Here the clouds can be deceiving, as they are large and high and consist of different cumulus formations in north, south, east, west that vary in size. They give you the impression that there is wind, but alas, there is none. Perhaps a reason the clouds reach up so high is that there is no air movement so they mushroom higher and higher and then these open up and rain when they get too heavy, creating wind only beneath them.
Always remember this!
Grapes must be crushed to make wine
Diamonds form under pressure
Olives are pressed to release oil
Seeds grow in darkness
Whenever you feel crushed, under pressure, pressed or in darkness, you’re in a powerful place of transformation. Trust the process.
Finally, Update on my friend Kurt: “Hey Tim; he is good about a hour he was done with surgery.† They doctor said he was better then they thought he was. Should be off the breathing machine in a few hours.” Hold Fast Kurt!
Saturday April 24, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 01 degrees 22 minutes South latitude and 037 degrees 58 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 315 T @ 4.5 kts.
Wind: E @ 10
Swell: E @ 1.0 meters
We are 150 nm N of Fortaleza. 1670 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. I think we are in the Guayana Current, 1.0 kts NE!
Sea Mounts, meh! Sea mounts are basically underwater mountains. While there is no danger of hitting anything, the sailing above and around them is normally very, meh! Yesterday there were 4 such mounts. In 3 the water depth went from 3000 meters deep to only 48 meters deep! Wow, a big mountain!
We also made friends with a giant brown Petrel. We named him Giles, since my USA friend Giles’ boat is named, Petrel! A curious big brown bird with white stripes under his wing. He would land near the boat, study us as we sailed 50 meters or more away, then fly up to us and land again. This behavior went on for over 1 hour. Then poof, gone! Giles had a dinner engagement and flew away. I love these encounters with other animals.
As we approach the ocean waters outside the Amazon river mouth, the mind races, as this river must be the greatest river on earth. On our charts the Amazon river mouth area is a large outlet that splits up into two rivers that create a large circular island more inland that then open up into a large low-tide ocean area with maximum depth of around 66 metres. The region south of the Amazon river mouth consists of lots of low lying sea mounts, which indicates that this area is a major food source in the ocean. Possibly the main food source for the entire Atlantic Ocean, and probably the most important one.
It is devastating to see how these ‘absolutely crucial to survival’ ocean food sources are both polluted and over-fished and how mankind’s stupidity and selfishness creates a break in a food chain that has consequences for the largest of creatures namely the whales.
We are not all in the same boat. We are in the same storm. Some have yachts, some have canoes, some are drowning. Just be kind and help whoever you can.
Sunday April 25, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 00 degrees 24 minutes South latitude and 038 degrees 50 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 355 T @ 1.9 kts.
Wind: E @ 5
Swell: E @ 0.5 meters
Cloud: 10% – hot
1595 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We will cross the equator sometime later today. Hoorah, finally back in the northern hemisphere!!
Yesterday morning, our friend Giles the Petral came back for a visit. He followed us for a bit, then flew off again.
Aches & Pains: Yes, it takes it toll, after 60 days of being confined to 36ft, the body does start to ache and pain and the muscles become sore and stiff. So we stretching for now in limited space and looking forward to good walking and hiking in St Lucia.
Radio: Tim is looking forward to listening to some of the frequencies once we cross the equator for some news and talk shows. First on the list is the Caribbean Maritime Mobile Net, daily at 1100 ut (except Sunday) on frequency 7250. Any other suggestions?
Finally, from our friend Duane (where do you find these news items?)
The worlds largest Spider was recently video just half a dozen yards inland from the Amazon river. It is called the “Bird spider”- because that is mainly what it catches, however, this one was filmed carrying off a dead possum it found. more than 18 inches in diameter , and resembles a Furry black Tarantula. Check it out on You Tube next time its available. 6 yeas ago, Archaeologists found a perfect fossil specimen of a “daddy-long-legs”type spider in N.China. It measured, 8 feet from leg to leg. Amazon, is ancient and Mysterious. so, dangerous in fact, that 80% of it’s†tributaries remain unexplored by modern man. They have found that the river was inhabited by more than 1M people, as far†back as 8000 years ago.
So remember, stay on the boat. Stay on the boat!
Remember, Hate no one, no matter how much they have wronged you.
Live humbly, no matter how wealthy you become.
Think positively, no matter how hard life is.
Give much, even if you’ve been given little.
Forgive all, especially yourself.
Tomorrow is Ash’s equator crossing ceremony, oh boy!
Oh, an update on the Saint Vincent Volcano:
Satellite image of SoufriËre St. Vincent volcano on 23 Apr 2021
Explosive activity continues. Volcanic Ash Advisory Center (VAAC)
Washington warned about a volcanic ash plume that rose up to estimated 7000
ft (2100 m) altitude or flight level 070 and is moving at 10 kts in NW
The full report is as follows:
FVXX24 at 03:16 UTC, 23/04/21 from KNES
VOLCANO: SOUFRIERE ST VINCENT 360150
PSN: N1319 W06110
SUMMIT ELEV: 3865 FT [1178 M]
ADVISORY NR: 2021/058
INFO SOURCE: GOES-16. NWP MODELS.
ERUPTION DETAILS: REMNANT VA AND LOW LEVEL EM
OBS VA DTG: 23/0250Z
Monday April 26, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 00 degrees 04 minutes North latitude and 038 degrees 49 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 345 T @ 1.9 kts.
Wind: E @ 6
Swell: E @ 0.5 meters
Cloud: 90% – hot/rain
1581 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed only 15 miles yesterday, it stunk!! No wind!
Add to that another rig wire broke, this time the forward, lower, port side wire (last week was the lower, forward, starboard wire), and I have now climbed this mast two times at sea. Getting old. Add to this these were the two wires replaced by the pro riggers in the Seychelles and inspected by the pro riggers in Capetown, and you can understand my frustration. I have all the hardware for a total re rig. I will do it myself in Saint Lucia!
Our friend Giles the Petral came back for a visit. He followed us for a bit, then flew off again.
Feels good to be back in the Northern Hemisphere again. So, moving on to more fun things:
The Order of Neptune (written by Tim, who else?)
Welcome Ashley Jacqueline.
Neptune and all the inhabitants of the sea send ye their greetings.
Ye have chosen to transition from a slimy pollywog to a well respected
shellback, the most trustworthy of all the inhabitants of the sea.
To make such a transition, ye must complete 3 tasks:
1). Ye must ask forgiveness from all the sea creatures, and tell them that
as a terrestrial ye will protect their home.
2). Ye must feed the sea with a token of ye terrestrial food. Ye must
recognise the need for giving back what ye have taken.
3). Finally, ye must baptize yeself to the wonders of the sea by immersing yeself in sea water..
Upon contrite execution of these tasks, ye will be welcomed by ye sea
brothers and sea sisters, and by proclamation recognized henceforth as a
trusted ally of the sea, a shellback.
Ye ordeal will begin today at Mers Passage. Go prepare and may God have
mercy on ye soul.
Speech for King Neptuneís representative:
I, Tim, stand before you as acting representative of King Neptune. What was
your offering to King Neptune? (response – pancake) Do you Ashley formerly renounce
your status as a pollywog and pledge to honor King Neptuneís domain in all
your adventures within her boundaries? (response – yes) I hereby declare that
Ashley Jacqueline has proven herself worthy of the title of Trusted Shellback and is thereby
initiated into the Ancient Order of the Deep. Rise, Shellback, and
Tuesday April 27, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 00 degrees 48 minutes North latitude and 038 degrees 58 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 345 T @ 2.9 kts.
Wind: SE @ 9
Swell: E @ 1.0 meters
Cloud: 90% – hot + humid
1550 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed only 31 miles yesterday, it stunk!! No wind! and SUPER HEAVY RAIN!! These local storm cells are so powerful they actually change the direction of our tiny sailboat, sucking us towards them! Alas, we probably need to be 5 degrees latitude north before we are completely out of this weather. I guess it is no surprise the Amazon rain forest is just west of us!
South Africa has 3 main estuaries that feed the entire Indian Ocean, namely, Knysna, Richards Bay and the St Lucia estuary system, and all 3 of these systems have been tampered with by mankind. Richards Bay coal mining operations are honestly so utterly disgusting and they pollute the hippo’s that were abundant in this estuary, so that today there are only an handful of hippo left. These sweet hippo swim right out into the ocean and probably are how whales began in dinosaur times (next Mike the Dog adventure). Fish come into these flat water area’s to spawn as the salt to fresh water ratio is perfect and the fingerling fish remain protected until they are able to return to the ocean. So the estuaries and the water system are the breeding ground for all the Indian Ocean fish. The importance of these estuaries, mangrove swamp systems needs to be taught to children. These water systems are not playgrounds for motorboat sports, noise, oil and diesel pollution, ship garbage dumps, or property developers dreams, who build bridges across them that stop the natural water flow. They are the bread baskets of the ocean and they need to be kept clean and remain as natural and untouched as we can leave them.
The day you realize that you are good enough and don’t need to prove yourself to anyone is the day you set yourself free.
Wednesday April 28, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 01 degrees 36 minutes North latitude and 039 degrees 19 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 345 T @ 1.2 kts.
Wind: E @ 5
Swell: E @ 1.0 meters
Cloud: 90% – hot + humid + HEAVY RAIN
1512 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed only 38 miles yesterday, it stunk!! No wind! and SUPER HEAVY RAIN!! I used to
think these local storm cells are so powerful they actually change the direction of our tiny sailboat, sucking us towards them!
BUT LOOKING AT OUR RADAR i’M BEGINNING TO THINK THESE STORMS ACTUALLY FORM AROUND US, THAT WE ARE THE MAGNET!
According to my airline friend:
“It sounds like you are experiencing the weather that took the Air France jet down. There is always a line of storms, massive storms in that area.
You are of course not in a position to go around them by minimum 40 nm in asailboat so I guess you just have to put up with it. I’m sure once you get
further north it will improve.”
Do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day
Rage, rage, against the dying light.
Thursday April 29, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 01 degrees 47 minutes North latitude and 039 degrees 25 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 320 T @ 1.4 kts.
Wind: E @ 8
Swell: E @ 1.5 meters
Cloud: 100% – hot + humid + HEAVY RAIN
1505 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed only 7 miles yesterday, even after motoring. Some current was pushing us backwards!
Moral is at an all time low on Intrepid. Communication between Ash and me have completely broken down. Sleep deprivation has probably caused most of it. Brazil was not restful as we were quarantined and only there to provision. I am now doing all the watches, so I sink back into my old military days: stay on task, concentrate, little communication unless directly related to the task. Of course that is probably exactly what Ash does not need. Frustrated yesterday by what I perceived as her hyper sensitivity, I told her that if she did not like how I am sailing the boat, she can get off in Saint Lucia. That put her more into a funk. I wish I never had made that statement! I was wrong. Ash I’m sorry.
The sailing in the ITCZ is horrible. Each day begins with torrential rain that lasts for hours. The boat is saturated and smells like a high school gym locker. Yesterday Ash said our stove was not working. Turned out rain water had dripped into the “throat” of the stove!
After the rain comes variable or non existent winds. Point of sail, ha! I laugh as I watch my wind gages turn continuously 180 degrees. The sails and rig are constantly pounding. The cabin sounds like being inside a drum. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom! I have taken in the jib and will only fly the stays’l, if at all. The main sail is double reefed. Yesterday, we actually went backwards!
Then there is the continuous rocking of the boat. It is all day long!
Motoring is not a real solution, since we only have limited fuel and our 3 hour weather updates shows this monster changes continuously. Basically the local GRIB forecast is almost always wrong, meh! Where does the ITCZ end????
Welcome to the doldrums! The only nice event yesterday was the return of Giles the Petral. He, or she, flew around the boat 5 times then landed next to us. Ash fed her some bread and Giles stayed with until dark. My new friend.
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 02 degrees 04 minutes North latitude and 039 degrees 32 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 280 T @ 2.0 kts.
Wind: E @ 5
Swell: E @ 1.0 meters
Cloud: 800% – hot + humid
1492 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed only 13 miles yesterday. Gotta love the ITCZ!
The beatings will continue until moral improves. Thank Neptune moral is improving!
Yesterday Ash made the most wonderful dinner. My bowl of cornflakes was getting a bit Spartan.
Neptune and I sparred all day trying to claw our way north and west. It poured down heave rain for almost 11 hours straight. The GRIB then showed a major wing event in our area for last evening, 25+ knots. Thankfully it never happened. I guess I’d rather have too little wind than too much wind.
So day by day we are inching (sorry metric folk), I hope, towards the edge of the ITCZ and the doldrums.
So having my coffee as I write today’s blog and Giles the Petral is back. Probably to check up on us, yeah!!
Oh, one last item before I forget, again. The past 3 nights we have sailed past a large ship, with bright white lights, port of us. My radar shows it never gets within 4nm of our position and seems tro move to maintain that distance. They are broadcasting NO AIS signal. Hmmm???
Wonder is the beginning of Wisdom!
Saturday May 1, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 02 degrees 17 minutes North latitude and 040 degrees 03 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 280 T @ 2.2 kts.
Wind: NE @ 8.5
Swell: NE @ 1.5 meters
Cloud: 80% – hot + humid
1468 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed only 24 miles yesterday. Updated ETA is another 21 days until Saint Lucia, oh boy! But we finally managed to break through the 40 degree West Longitude barrier, sweet!
Happy May 1st from the only Covid free zone on the planet! At least Saint Lucia health recognizes this fact and stated that there need be no quarantine when we arrive, save except waiting for a Covid test result. That test cost $ 290 USD each, ouch! I’m in the wrong business.
Today’s GRIB weather forecast shows some wind all day, so I’m hopeful. From my friend Mike: I know from your records that current issues in the ITCZ will, as before, pass into favorable winds and better sailing…..in due time. The blessing of the ITCZ is its ability to teach the priceless lesson of patience.
So during the heavy rain, she vanished, so we thought that was where her journey with us ended, but alas! she arrived again this morning to greet us. So yes we are getting attached to this ocean bird, and her visits are appreciated. She is very curious, but does not attempt to land on the yacht. She lands alongside about 1.5m away from where we sit in the cockpit, and then floats alongside and when she drifts too far behind, she takes off and lands again. Honestly too sweet.
The Cloud Planitarium:
Very early morning the equator crossing gave one of the most incredible 360 degree display of micro climate cloud formations. It was akin to sitting in an amphitheatre cloud like planitarium, with every type of cloud on display in micro form. There were small rain clouds, simple ones pouring rain down over the ocean like you would find inland in summer, then there were grey double layers, with the rain fall happening from the darkest highest layer, smaller puffs creating horizontal lines, beautiful white singular clouds. If you pay close attention to these formations, they are giving you a micro display of all types of weather to come. As one proceeds northwards, the formations become larger, but the principal given in the display remains the same.
Other than that Ash made the best tuna fish cakes last night, could eat those every day!
Monday May 3, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 02 degrees 24 minutes North latitude and 041 degrees 14 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 280 T @ 2.7 kts.
Wind: NE @ 7.0
Swell: NE @ 1.0 meters
Cloud: 50% – hot + humid
1419 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed another whopping 26 miles yesterday. Will we ever get out of this wind hole! Updated ETA is still another 20 days until Saint Lucia (based on an average speed over ground of 3.0 knots – if we actually find the Guyana current and wind, this will likely be revised), oh boy!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ASH!! I wish for you all the happiness of the universe. I guess I have to be nice all day!
We have not seen Giles the Petrel yet today. I miss him already. According to Edmund, he is most likely a Great Winged Petrel. Thanks Edmund! Giles is as expert flier. Many of you may not know in my past life I was an aerobatic pilot and instructor. I spent years flying loops, and rolls and spins. My daily uniform included a parachute! But my efforts in some of the most modern aircraft ever built, are amateur compared to how effortlessly birds, like Giles, can fly. They are truly amazing.
Our travels so far have been frustratingly slow. We rely mostly on weather information via GRIBs. Gribs are computer generated weather data (I think from the USA) that have NOT been verified by a meteorologist. Meaning sometimes wrong. Boy, has that been the case lately. I usually request an update twice a day, 3 hour increments, for 48 hours. Lately they have been very inaccurate. Case in point. At 3 pm local time yesterday, at Intrepid’s location, the Grib showed wind 4-6 knots @ 167 degrees. We were at that time heading 265 degrees (west) and going directly into an 11 knot headwind! Nothing on the Grib showed that weather. Makes route planning arbitrary. That’s why we so appreciate outside weather input. Yesterday I received two route planning ideas. We are now heading west to get out of this wind hole and re enter the Guyana current. An alternative route to continue north and out of this wind hole was unfortunately received a bit too late, but thanks Steve anyway! The joys of sailing, grrr!
The sea state is also full of surprises. Yesterday we sailed through a narrow band of very turbulent ocean. At first I thought another sea mount, but nothing on the chart save the “Amazon Ridge” was depicted. It was like sailing through a jet of bubbles. Maybe an underwater volcanic vent? A Submarine, ha?? Another day at sea.
Finally, our course over the ground. 2 days ago we were headed to the sunset, compass said 300 degrees, beam reach with 6 kts of wind, 2 sails flying. Our GPS said we were heading 069 degrees, or east! The fun of sailing in the doldrums!
Did you know?
Mexico has a place called ‘zone of silence’ where clocks don’t work, radio’s stop working, and compass’ spin violently.
Tuesday May 4, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 02 degrees 33 minutes North latitude and 042 degrees 44 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 275 T @ 3.0 kts.
Wind: NE @ 1.0
Swell: NE @ 1.0 meters
Cloud: 20% – hot + humid
1365 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 54 miles yesterday. ETA is still another 19 days until Saint Lucia (based on an average speed over ground of 3.0 knots – if we actually find the Guyana current and wind, this will likely be revised), oh boy! Our mileage is based on our route, and not just straight line distance.
We are pushing hard to get west and back into control of our destiny. ie, out of this wind hole and the doldrums! Finally it seems the wind is building.
From our sea brother Steve:
“There is a strong current approximately 150nm wide which sets on a line most close to the rhumb line between the Jericoacoara promontory which was close to due South of you yesterday, and the island of St. Vincent. There are some complications. Do not get too close to the Amazon estuary. There will be a big wind hole off there for pretty much the whole next week, and the current dies off around there and becomes complicated. The further North you are the better in terms of wind. BUT there is a powerful though narrowish COUNTERCURRENT heading dead against your intended direction, so SE, which comprises a large eddy off French Guyana. Inside of it you will have strong current with, but avoid the line between the NE corner of Brazil at Rio de Fogo and the Island of St Maarten in the windwards. That said, NORTH of that line there are very good winds and mild favourable currents. So either go West and head at the nearest point of French Guyana to pick up the favourable current but avoid the windhole and complex current off the Amazon estuary, or else head straight North and go in a larger ocean loop, with weaker favourable current but much better winds. either side of that Rio de Fogo to St. Maarten line should be good. Around 70-120nm off French Guyana is the best money current wise.”
I think by tomorrow mid day we ought be back where we need to be, sweet!
Yesterday Giles the Petrel came back for a visit. This time he brought a friend! Intrepid is like the Pied Piper for Petrel’s.
You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.
Wednesday May 5, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 02 degrees 42 minutes North latitude and 042 degrees 47 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 280 T @ 1.1 kts.
Wind: NE @ 1.1
Swell: NE @ 0.5 meters
Cloud: 30% – hot + humid
1322 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 43 miles yesterday. ETA is still another 19 days until Saint Lucia (based on an average speed over ground of 3.0 knots – if we actually find the Guyana current and wind, this will likely be revised), oh boy! Our mileage is based on our route, and not just straight line distance. Absolutely pathetic.
We received a message yesterday that our friend Giles, the American Giles, on Petrel, pulled into Fortaleza Brazil with a broken steering cable. I am trying to help coordinate a fix in that remote part of this world. There are surprisingly lots of resources worldwide to help sailboats in distress. I’m sure Giles and I will be telling tall tales in Saint Lucia soon.
Giles situation has reminded me of the true nature of ocean sailing. It is perseverance, determination, grit, fortitude, courage, tenacity and the belief that you have not failed if you have not quit. This is why we choose to be here. It is not half-naked women sunning themselves on the deck. It is hard work, exhausting and transformative. We complain and moan but we never give up. We want to suck the marrow out of life, not wait to die in our perfectly preserved bodies. We are not “groupies;” we do not look for attention and accolade. We do it because this is what we do, We are a band of brothers. We share a common bond few others would understand. We help each other. Real sailors just know what the other person is going through, what that person needs, and offers without any expectation of reciprocation. Unfortunately, like so many other activities, sailing is now being flooded by faux sailors. They have all the modern toys, but are void of the true nature of the sailor themselves. They half-heartedly “offer” help, but always have something that comes up instead. Then also there is the modern “business” of sailing, the mouthy marionette bureaucrats and the insurance companies, who will single-handily destroy sailing all together. As an example, I was recently told by an agent from the Pantaneous insurance group that “we determine your boat is too small for an ocean crossing.” Gee, in a matter of weeks, this small boat will have successfully made two cirum navigations, that is 6+ ocean crossings! I guess the “experts” and the “authorities” really don’t have a clue, but we are conditioned to listen and obey. Just look at this covid circus. Maybe sailing is more about the sailor and not the machine. Sailing is truly a metaphor for life. It is about the individual, not the system. It is about the mind, not the machine. It is about action, not excuses. It is about being in the arena, not in the stands. It is about living your life, not just being a compliant self-righteous snowflake.
This too will pass Giles, tomorrow is another day! Well, that’s my 2 cents for today. We are the intrepid sailors, on board the Intrepid.
Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.
Thursday May 6, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 02 degrees 51 minutes North latitude and 043 degrees 12 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 280 T @ 1.8 kts.
Wind: NE @ 8
Swell: NE @ .0 meters
Cloud: 100% – rain + hot + humid
1292 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 30 miles yesterday. ETA is still another 18 days until Saint Lucia (based on an average speed over ground of 3.0 knots – if we actually find the Guyana current and wind, this will likely be revised), oh boy! Our mileage is based on our route, and not just straight line distance. Absolutely pathetic. The GRIBS shows this area to fill in with wind, but they have been very inaccurate!
We received a message yesterday that our friend Giles, the American Giles, on Petrel, is safe: “at Marina Park Hotel, got 4 lines holding me and have to go authorities†tomorrow, very nice people, will spend 5 days here to try and fix my stuff. using they’re internet at the restaurant, feel like a ducking king.”
We have been sailing through these huge floating mats of green plants. We have seen them since the equator. Somehow, we don’t think they belong out here, but not sure what they are? Their “seeds’ have entered each of our boat through hulls, it is a pain!
Also sailed with a pod of dolphins. They are still my favorite sea animal. Smart, curious and absolutely beautiful souls.
From our friend Mike, about gun logic in my USA:
1 – Eleven teens die each day because of texting while driving. Maybe it’s
time to raise the age of Smart Phone ownership to 21.
2 – If gun control laws actually worked, Chicago would be Mayberry , USA .
3 – The Second Amendment makes more women equal than the entire feminist
4 – Legal gun owners have 500 million guns and probably a trillion rounds
of ammo Seriously, folks, if we were the problem, you’d know it.
5 – When JFK was killed, nobody blamed the rifle.
6 – The NRA (National Rifle Association) murders 0 people and receives
($$$$ 0) nothing in government funds. Planned Parenthood kills 350,000
babies every year and receives $500,000,000 in tax dollars annually.
7 – I might have no problem with vigorous background checks when it comes
to firearms, so long as we do the same when it comes to immigration, Voter
I.D., and candidates running for office.
8 – Folks keep talking about another Civil War. One side knows how to shoot
and probably has a trillion rounds. The other side has crying closets and
is confused about which bathroom to use. Now tell me, how do you think that
Finally, from our friend Duco: “Better to die standing up then live on my knees”.
Friday May 7, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 03 degrees 13 minutes North latitude and 043 degrees 55 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 280 T @ 3.1 kts.
Wind: NE @ 12
Swell: NE @ 1.5 meters
Cloud: 30% – hot + humid
1242 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 50 miles yesterday. ETA is still another 17 days until Saint Lucia.
Yesterday was an ok day of sailing. Finally the wind is filling in, sometimes too much wind. With the fear of squally, I reefed lots at night. It cut our speed, but with 2 broken standing rig wires, I’d rather go slow and arrive, than not.
Boredom is setting in. We have now been 64 days at sea since Capetown. It’s getting a bit old, but has to be done. The Petrel came back again yesterday for a brief visit. A few ships heading south, otherwise pounding out the miles.
So, when there is not much else to talk about, there is always controversy.
Dominus Sui – You have a mind, use it!
There is opportunity within our new covid world, especially for families with children in school. Take advantage while authorities have their guard down.
We do not educate, we school. Education and schooling are very different, yet are portrayed as being the same.
What do students learn from school?
1) Immediate and absolute compliance with any authority:
We are taught “civility,” don’t talk back, don’t question, don’t argue. Do what you are told. Listen and obey. The students that disagree are labeled as “bad” and shunned by the other students.
2) You are always being watched:
From bathroom “passes” to homework, we watch and control every aspect of your life. You need our permission for all things. Imagination and exploration are just a waste of your time.
3) We teach you what to think and how to think:
Of the countless things you could learn, we have determined what you will learn. Again, questioning is “bad,” and you simply do not have time to learn other things by yourself since we control your time. The “authorities” and “experts” have determined what set of cultural and moral values are deemed appropriate. Any deviation is immediately stopped.
4) Nothing is actually worth doing:
As a student you are expected to remain on task, 100% focused, until the bell rings. At that time you will suspend your activities and move onto the next activity that only we deem appropriate.
5) Your worth as an individual person is determined by a group of impartial experts.
“A” students are good. They comply with all instructions. “F” students are failures. They simply do not follow instructions. We design the tests that will determine your ranking within our closed society. You may not explore other options.
We must rebel against the insanity of modern schooling and return to educating: Creating an individual meaning-model for you as a unique individual in this world.
There is, and will only be, one you. Unique, autonomous and “Dominus Sui,” master of yourself.
Saturday May 8, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 03 degrees 30 minutes North latitude and 045 degrees 02 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 310 T @ 4.5 kts.
Wind: NE @ 18
Swell: NE @ 2.5 meters
Cloud: 20% – hot + humid
1173 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 69 miles yesterday. ETA is still another 16 days until Saint Lucia.
Yesterday was a good day of sailing. Finally the wind is here, sometimes too much wind. With the fear from 2 broken standing rig wires, I’d rather go slow and arrive, than not. So we have reefed the sails to bare minimum.
With all our new followers of our intrepid journey, I thought it may be fun to tell you a bit about myself.
I am Timothy John Brill
I am a soldier, mountaineer, pilot, sailor, author and father. I’ve been shot at, drank some beer and was there when the fat lady sung.
I have 3 sons: Matthew, Alex and Cody. I also have 2 grandsons through Matt: Lucas and Jayce.
Matthew. My ROCK. You are a beacon of light on a stormy night. Calm, strong, dependable. You give comfort. Your love gives me peace.
Alex. My PHILOSOPHER. You are an old soul. Empathetic, perceptive, theoretical, and a natural leader. Your spontaneous wisdom is my compass.
Cody. My CRAFTSMAN. You are my master artist. Sarcastic, comedic, insightful, and genius. Your scholarly and reflective observations about life focuses my efforts onto what is really important.
You can thank my boys for encouraging me to do this world sailing trip. Truth be told, probably because they were tired of me complaining about the neighbors, ha.
I have a BA in Philosophy and MA in Theology. Not sure how to reconcile that with being an Infantry officer and gun lover? I climbed amongst the Himalaya and Andes mountains, am an aerobatic pilot and instructor, sailing around the world, and writing kids books for my 2 grand kids. I love adventure and taking risks. I love hiking, climbing, skiing, camping, and have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
If I remember, our website has some good links. First go to www.sailintrepid.com It’s a work in progress, and with Ash’s help, may become interesting one day.
There is a link to pdf copy of a philosophy book I wrote years ago: “A Whole New Attitude.” Let me know what you think.
Also a link to a world trip I did with my boys 10 years ago: “Brill Family Adventure.” It is in reverse chronological order, so begin with November 2009.
Finally, a YouTube video (maybe under “Videos”), “Sailing in Ireland,” which I made about our very first time on a sailboat, in Kinsale Ireland.
Next time I will talk about my next adventure with my friend Duco. It’s called “Spirit.” It is our airplane building project.
Did you know?
There is a rebellious little planetoid that orbits the Sun in the opposite direction to all the other major objects in the solar system. Nobody is sure how ‘Niku’ acquired such an orbit. Data suggests there is more going on in the outer solar system than we are aware of, including the possibility of another orbital plane.
Sunday May 9, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 04 degrees 03 minutes North latitude and 046 degrees 32 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 295 T @ 5.1 kts.
Wind: NE @ 20
Swell: NE @ 2.5 meters
Cloud: 80% – hot + humid
1072 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 101 miles yesterday. ETA is revised to 13 days until Saint Lucia.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all you mom’s!
Yesterday was a good day of sailing, but very rolly. It was a bit rough. Last night was just a bit scary. Besides total blackness, 20+ gusts of wind, some rain, waves breaking over the bow and big swell, there was the lightening! The sky lit up for hours. I hate lightening at sea. At one point I noticed the shackle pin on our movable back stay came out. It was luckily on the deck (I do have a spare). Solution, put on harness, tether yourself to the boat and crawl(yes crawl)out on deck to make the 5 minute fix. I think I hate that more than lightening. Nah, I hate lightening.
I think we are near that Guyana current and I hope the wind, and swell, dies down a bit. It is a bit uncomfortable right now. Now time for some sleep. We are both pretty tired.
‘Don’t let yourself be controlled by three things :-
people, money, or past experiences’
Monday May 10, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 04 degrees 33 minutes North latitude and 047 degrees 58 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 300 T @ 5.1 kts.
Wind: NE @ 21
Swell: NE @ 3.0 meters
Cloud: 100% – hot + humid
970 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 102 miles yesterday. ETA is revised to 11 days until Saint Lucia.
It is 1am. I am in the cockpit, pile jacket, storm jacket, Gorton’s fisherman’s hat, harness and tethered to the boat. The horizontal rain stings my eyes. It is pitch black except for the red dome light down below. I stare at my compass, 10 cm away. 330, 330, magnetic heading 330. The winds are gusting to 30 kts. I hear the roar of a wave in the background. Will this be the whale who will finally swallow us I wonder. Without notice, BOOM! as the cockpit fills up with 15 cm of sea water. This was the good part of the day.
Yesterday su8ked! Yeah I know. I am always so negative and tend to rant. Yet ocean sailing is not holding hands and singing Kumbaya! The swell hit us broadside all day yesterday, and is still here as I write this entry. It is exhausting. You cannot cook. It is impossible to stand. Forget trying to aim into the toilet. Heck I’m 50% with just getting a cup of coffee. Twice last night after I made coffee, a big swell caused Intrepid to roll so vigorously that the coffee I poured ran out of the cup and all over me. Sleep, ha. Plenty of time to sleep when you are dead. I find it easier to literally crawl on the floor than try to stand. It is unholy! Ash had the best idea, stay in your bunk so as not to get hurt.
Since we departed Capetown, about every 75 minutes comes a powerful rogue wave from the northeast. Last night that wave hit us so hard I thought we collided with a ship. I was catapulted across the saloon. I now have bruises on top of bruises.
As the sun comes up, we cheated death again. So yeah, I am a bit negative. That is ocean sailing. It is exhausting, unpleasant and barely tolerable. It is not wake up to fresh coffee and say “Good morning Mr Petrel. Look, another rainbow. It’s going to be a beautiful day in the neighborhood, oh boy.! Far from it. Our Brazil coffee is awful and our Brazil food has mostly all gone bad. Then there is the can of mystery meat, so yuk even the Petrel would not eat it. Oh, and don’t forget the imitation tuna bits, from China, in a can. Mmmm! Seriously, how do people in Brazil live on this crap.
The real question is why, why do we endure all this misery. The answer lies in wanting to live, to suck the marrow out of life, to be in the arena, tired, bloodied and with mud in your ears. Life is to be experienced and lived. Life is not some mouthy-marionette bureaucrat collecting a paycheck for sitting in his cubicle while waiting to die.
As much as I am hating this right now, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My only true regret is there is never enough rum, rrr!
Finally, quote from the late Author Ransome (thanks Duco):
“The desire to build a house is the tired wish of a man content thence forward with a single anchorage.
The desire to build a boat is about the desire of youth unwilling as yet to accept the idea of a final resting place.”
Tuesday May 11, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 05 degrees 34 minutes North latitude and 048 degrees 55 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 300 T @ 2.1 kts.
Wind: E @ 15
Swell: E @ 2.5 meters
Cloud: 50% – hot + humid + rain (really!)
900 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 70 miles yesterday. ETA is revised to 10 days until Saint Lucia.
It’s official. The last 72 hours have been the most uncomfortable sailing I have EVER done. You can’t even sit on the toilet without holding on with both hands. Cooking – no. Sleep – no. Crawl instead of stand – yes. This is horrible. Add to it my main halyard is somehow wrapped around my lower starboard spreader, the upper port spreader and upper starboard spreader, and you have the making of another exciting day. Oh boy!
Oh well, found this funny (thanks Duane)
“TIM AND ASH- HEADS UP!†
Literally! Sometime between 5PM eastern and 5 AM eastern, there is a100 foot long, 22 TON, Chinese Rocket tumbling back into Earths atmosphere. NASA and every other scientist on the Planet has stated, They have NO Idea ,where it is going to come down! 10% will burn up in Earth atmosphere, but, ifit hits a major populated area, it could cost thousands of lives. NASA has only stated that it will come down somewhere between New York†City and the southern tip of Chili. from 1K miles west of the Baja peninsula, to†anywhere in the mid-Atlantic. IT is the brightest object in the night sky compared†to any nearby star. IF the China virus wasn’t enough, now we have to panic about space debris moving at 18K MPH!Be Aware of your surroundings! Michio Kaku† says, there is a 70% chance it will land in the water……UM…. WHERE YOU ARE!”
“Well, in case you didn’t hear already, Chinese Space Junk, wobbled in over†Hawaii, ended up in the Indian Ocean. It made impact just 96NM from the Maldives. Yup! Wherever Tim Goes, some catastrophic event is sure to follow. You suffered a great deal of time in the Maldives, and your wish nearly came†true to see it wiped off the face of the Earth.”
Until the lion learns to write, every story will always glorify the hunter.
Wednesday May 12, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 05 degrees 59 minutes North latitude and 050 degrees 06 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 300 T @ 4.1 kts.
Wind: E @ 18
Swell: E @ 2.2 meters
Cloud: 60% – hot + humid + rain (really!)
We are just north of French Guyana. 825 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 75 miles yesterday. ETA is revised to 10 days until Saint Lucia.
Night time is just scary. It is so dark you cannot see your hand in front of your face. There is no moon and fewer stars, owing to the clouds. In the background you hear a rumbling. It gets louder and louder and BOOM, shake, rattle, rattle, rattle. We have just been hit by another of those weird rogue waves from the NE. The cockpit fills up again with 10cm of seawater. You were unlucky enough to be sitting outside and so now are soaked. This goes on all night. Morning comes and you are happy to have cheated death again. Ah yes, the fun part of sailing. You already know the rest!
Ash somehow manages to cook, and even make coffee. I can’t even pee into the toilet. But we have both accepted this is the way it will be for the next 9 or 10 days to Saint Lucia.
So, the other day I said I would talk about Spirit, my next adventure. To do so we need go back a few years to New Zealand, and the six months I spent there in 2018/2019. In that time I saw all New Zealand has to offer: Hobbiton, bubbling mud and a Kiwi. I was also baptized into that weird religion knows as the “All Blacks.” It was a great experience, a beautiful country, but a bit too isolated and bureaucratic at times.
Case in point, the young German woman at the Opua Marina. Each morning promptly at 0800, she began her rounds, with clipboard in hand and two, #2 sharpened pencils. She was hunting for demerits. One of her “pet peeves” was that all boats need to be uniformly tied to their slips. The stern of each boat had to be in a perfect line. Poor you if your boat was not in compliance. Ans Neptune help you if you had an unauthorized dinghy tied behind your boat.
But an anal as this sounds, nothing beats New Zealand in how anal they are with electric cords. In fact, for you to just plug into an electric outlet, your electric cord need be inspected, and a certificate of inspection issued with a copy given to the Marina office, by a government authorized electric cord safety inspector.
It is here that I first met Duco Pulle, the real inspiration for Spirit. He was a tall, slim, well spoken gentleman from the Netherlands. He spoke perfect English. Pretty much like every other person I met from that region. Or I should more correctly say Professor Duco Pulle, an electrical engineering university professor. His treasonous crime, worthy of a lifetime of demerits, was his electric cord was not only not certified, but it was in a coil lying on the dock finger. As everyone knows, a coiled electric wire is actually an electric coil, which is a major fire hazard. When Professor Pulle calmly tried to explain that was not likely, more demerits! He was not compliant. What happened next made me think I found a kindred spirit. Duco lifted the coiled electric cord off the slip (New Zealand) and placed in, still coiled, on the topside of his boat (Netherlands) and basically told the German gal that she had no legal jurisdiction over a Dutch flagged boat. She agreed, made a note on the clipboard, and carried on. Of course, nothing actually changed except that an all important check was able to be made on the even more all important form, and at the end of the day all was at peace in the universe.
So, Duco, in demonstrating my exact view of all that is bureaucracy and bureaucrats, we were destined to become good friends, and so we are. Spirit will be our Seeley SeaRay airplane building project. But more on that next time.
Get out there and make a change.
Be the reason someone believes in good people.
Make a difference in someone’s life today.
Reach out to an old friend, make a call or write a note.
Be Kind, We all are having challenges.
Thursday May 13, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 06 degrees 41 minutes North latitude and 051 degrees 39 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 310 T @ 5.1 kts.
Wind: E @ 17
Swell: E @ 2.0 meters
Cloud: 20% – hot + humid
We are north of French Guyana. 720 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 105 miles yesterday. ETA is revised to 8 days until Saint Lucia.
Yesterday was an good day of sailing. Still very bumpy, but we live with it I guess. It has been a journey of contrasts. We went from doldrums to the wild coast we are in now!
Ash doesn’t complain, but is thinking about her friends I complain in all of my 4 languages: English, Sarcasm, Sexual Innuendo and Drunken Sailor. Neptune understands.
Already planning our next, and final passage, via the Panama Canal into Mexico. Still my favorite cruising area anywhere. Christmas with family and friends in La Cruz, by Puerto Vallarta. It has taken me almost 4 years since I departed Puerto Vallarta, looking forward to this life journey coming to an end.
Tomorrow we can talk about oil fields and pirates. Yes, the Pirates of the Caribbean.
Friday May 14, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 07 degrees 55 minutes North latitude and 053 degrees 42 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 300 T @ 5.0 kts.
Wind: NE @ 16
Swell: E @ 2.0 meters
Cloud: 70% – hot + humid
We are northeast of Georgetown Guiana, over the Guiana Plateau in about 1000 meters of water. Still very rolly! 584 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 136 miles yesterday. Our best total mileage in one day since we departed Capetown 71 days ago. Our ETA is revised to 5 1/2 days until Saint Lucia.
Yesterday was an great day of sailing, although we still cannot stand without holding on to something. Funny how our boat speed is on a bell curve. Too little or too much wind and our speed decreases. 14 – 17 knots is Intrepid’s “sweet spot.”
For those who have not traveled into the Caribbean, there are 2 types of islands. There are the rocky islands, with steep cliffs, volcanic in origin, like Saint Lucia. Next there are the sand islands, basically sitting just above sea level, with reefs, like the Bahamas. Nothing in between.
Both types are subject to the North Atlantic hurricane season, which officially begins on June 1. That is why Ash and I are stopping in Saint Lucia. We don’t want to risk getting caught in a hurricane.
We will head towards Barbados then sneak in between Saint Lucia and Martinique to the northwest corner of Saint Lucia where we can access Rodney Bay. This route hopefully keeps us well away from the oil drilling platforms that surround Trinidad and Venezuela. It ought also keep us away from any threats from pirates.
Pirates of opportunity (which pirates are not?) are increasing around that same area. As the economy of Venezuela crumbles, robbing a defenseless sailboat is the new jobs program. It used to be Somalia, now its Trinidad. I’ve heard rumor that you can request coast guard escort when traveling into Grenada, but we are giving all a wide berth.
That brings us to the ongoing debate of being armed or not being armed. I think a good stainless shotgun may be warranted, but so too could be a can of bee/wasp spray. Aim for the eyes, oh boy that hurts. Your best bet is to probably avoid the conflict areas all together.
Saturday May 15, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 09 degrees 04 minutes North latitude and 055 degrees 18 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 295 T @ 4.5 kts.
Wind: NE @ 16
Swell: E @ 2.0 meters
Cloud: 30% – hot + humid
We are 300 nm east of Venezuela. Still very rolly! 455 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 129 miles yesterday. Our second best total mileage in one day since we departed Capetown 72 days ago. Our ETA is revised to 4 1/2 days until Saint Lucia, Wednesday mid day up to Thursday morning, depending on our speed.
Yesterday was an good day of sailing. Still very lumpy confused seas. We saw no birds, no ships, nothing. Just our little ping pong ball bouncing in the ocean.
Since we are near Venezuela, Ash wrote about a little known branch of her family tree, Stiebel.
Some Interesting History from the Stiebels
George Stiebel was born in Jamaica to a German Jew and Jamaican. At age 14 he became an apprentice carpenter and by age 19 he was then involved in the reconstruction of Ferry Inn. In the 1840’s George purchased a ship and moved cargo between North and South America, and he later purchased 2 more ships for his business in the West Indies. In 1851 he married Magdalene Baker, a Moravian missionary daughter and they had a son and daughter. Then in 1856 his ships were destroyed in a storm that he managed to survive, and he also managed to save some of his money in a leather belt. He began over again as a street peddlar in Venezuela, and ultimately invested into a gold mine. In 1873 he lost his son, so returned home to Jamaica. He was active in philanthropy, started the Great Exhibition in 1891 to bring tourism to Jamaica and got Companion of the Most Distinguished order CMG from Queen Victoria. He purchased a large number of properties in Jamaica on his return in 1873, including a cattle pen called Mindard in St Ann and this is now a National Monument in Jamaica called Devon House.
Sunday May 16, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 09 degrees 59 minutes North latitude and 056 degrees 59 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 300 T @ 4.1 kts.
Wind: NE @ 14
Swell: E @ 1.8 meters
Cloud: 30% – hot + humid
348 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 107 miles yesterday. Our third best total mileage in one day since we departed Capetown 73 days ago. Our ETA to Saint Lucia is Wednesday mid day up to Thursday morning, depending on our speed. We are almost 230 miles due east of the southern tip of Trinidad. With the potential of pirates, I will keep my distance. In fact, I need to nudge our course a bit more to the north anyway. Still very uncomfortable with the swell!
Yesterday was an good day of sailing. A small group of porpoise had fun swimming next to, and under, our boat. Maybe they liked our music: Dire Straits. Last night a lone pelagic bird decided to take a break on our solar panels.
We departed South Africa a bit too late in the season to safely sail any father this season. The Atlantic Hurricane season is here. So we will stay in Saint Lucia until early fall, then move onwards. I have lots of boat projects to keep us busy. First of which is to clean and dry Intrepid. She took a beating on this crossing. Everywhere inside is either wet or damp. Mildew and mold are everywhere, even on Ash’s clothing and hats. Nothing several liters of pure bleach can’t handle.
Did you know an average cloud weighs about 500,000 kilograms (1.1 million pounds). Well now you do!
Monday May 17, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 10 degrees 46 minutes North latitude and 058 degrees 02 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 330 T @ 3.8 kts.
Wind: NE @ 16
Swell: E @ 2.0 meters
Cloud: 50% – cooler
270 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 78 miles yesterday. Our ETA to Saint Lucia is Thursday morning, depending on our speed. We are almost 170 miles due east of the northern tip of Trinidad. Still very uncomfortable with the swell!
Just when you think blue skies, Neptune says “hold my beer.” That was yesterday, and this morning as well. Yesterday morning was continuing to be a great run. The weather forecast showed more of the same weather we were experiencing the past 48 hours. Then, for no particular reason, the wind stopped, down to 4 kts, and no current. At one point our boat speed was 0.8kts. What?? We used this slack time to raise our main sail (to the 2nd reef anyway). No sooner than I got back to the cockpit, dark clouds appeared and the wind was gusting 30!. Oh, lets not forget the heavy rain. Ash and I managed to pull in our jib using a winch for the furler line. But the 2 lines going to the jib were horribly tangled. No problem, we managed to de-power our sails. The wind just as suddenly stopped. I went forward to untangle the jib lines. We put out a reefed jib and things looked good, until bam, a second squall. Jib comes in again. All this time pushing as hard as we can with our legs on the tiller to regain our hearing, or something close anyway. When the wind eased we put out our stays’l, not wanting the “chinese fire drill pull in the sail” event a third time. Our speed was down, but we maintained this sail combination all night. It was safer with our already broken standing rigging.
Small squalls hit us all night. Yet nothing showed up on the Grib weather forecasting we were using. About 5am local, one of the control lines to our Monitor wind vane (Penelope), broke. I woke up Ash and asked her to take the helm why I donned my harness and changed the line. First I had to climb over the back of the boat to take off the broken line. Next I had to thread a new line in its place. Not hard, only almost fell out of the boat only once! I replaced both control lines in Capetown. This is now the third time I have replaced a line since Capetown, a comment on just how rough this passage has been.
As I write this blog, we continue with the reefed main and stays’l combination, at least until I’m convinced the threat of unstable air has passed.
So Warren asked what will be our first meal and drink in Saint Lucia. Me, pizza and Mt Gay rum and coke. Ash, banana, fresh bread, yogurt and a smoothie.
From our friend Duane: “last year the USA lost 8.8 Million acres to wildfires.- This years prediction is 9.6 Million acres, based on U.S. div. of forestry data. 80% of the western U.S. is in the extreme/exceptional range- believe it or not-†never previously seen in modern History (250 years).”
Tuesday May 18, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 11 degrees 57 minutes North latitude and 059 degrees 08 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 310 T @ 4.0 kts.
Wind: NE @ 14
Swell: NE @ 1.8 meters
Cloud: 30% – hot + humid
175 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 95 miles yesterday. Our ETA to Saint Lucia is Thursday morning, depending on our speed. We are almost 65 miles due south of Barbados. Our route will bring us just west of Barbados and direct towards Saint Lucia.
Yesterday was another enjoyable day of sailing. Sunny, warm, saw a few ships. But two questions still remain. First, what is the origin of this rogue wave from the NE? It comes every 75 minutes and hits us with such force it knocks little Intrepid off course. At night you can actually hear it coming, sounds like a freight train. Second, what is the origin of all this yellow “seaweed” like plants we have seen since the equator. It does not look natural. Maybe the volcano? We have lots of pics and will post when we get to WiFi land.
Speaking of the volcano, boom, we have been running into debris from the St Vincent volcano. Another obstacle, oh boy!
Needless to say, Ash and I are really looking forward to land!! A 73 day, and counting, passage!
Finally, our blog would not be complete without news from abroad, From Duane:
“I† got† a call from Jack at the observatory in AZ. he said ‘HEY Tiger, I got something right up your alley”! Yeah. Go ahead?there are more than 200 objects moving across the night sky, greater than80K feet ( laser measured), and traversing the western hemisphere, all in different directions. Each little white light can cover about 10K miles†plus, from one end of the horizon to the other in about 8 seconds- meaning,the objects are moving at about 22K MPH! Sure enough! I went out side and monitored about 20 of the objects in action,for several minutes. took a single photo on my phone capturing 2 of them together. We know that Trump, didn’t build a “space force”, just for something to do in his spare time, But, what do they know that we don’t? Is there a genuine threat to Earth? Humanity? Existence? we know were not alone, but give us some†details, before we all become statistics…. or FOOD!after just twenty minutes of heart pounding excitement, Nothing. not a blip. not an airplane. not a shooting star. all movement and objects- GONE. I used my flight tracker app during this event. there were 3 aircraft within 200NM from here and 2 departures from Reno. None of them were mistaken for the 20 objects I saw- or more than 200, by Jack in AZ. Keep your eyes on the skies. something’s going on…. but, What?
Wednesday May 19, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
At 1200 UT sailing vessel Intrepid is 13 degrees 09 minutes North latitude and 060 degrees 09 minutes West Longitude.
Heading: 340 T @ 4.0 kts.
Wind: NE @ 14
Swell: NE @ 1.8 meters
Cloud: 30% – hot + humid
90 nm to Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. We sailed 85 miles yesterday. Our ETA to Saint Lucia is Thursday morning.
It seems our ship computer is failing, so time for a replacement. We will let you all know when we arrive.
Thursday May 20, 2021 (Where are Tim and Ash?)
Ash and Tim arrived in Saint Lucia. From Capetown we sailed 6500+ nm, 77 days at sea and a 10 day rest in Brazil. Now we wait for health, customs and immigration, oh boy!
We will contact you again with periodic updates.
Oh, regarding the yellow plants (from Warren):
“I was also surprised at the huge amount of that floating yellow brown gunk, Sargassum. It made it very difficult to fish, as my line needed to be cleared of the gunk every half hour or so.
Sargassum is a genus of brown (class Phaeophyceae) macroalgae (seaweed) in the order Fucales. Numerous species are distributed throughout the temperate and tropical oceans of the world, where they generally inhabit shallow water and coral reefs, and the genus is widely known for its planktonic (free-floating) species. Most species within the class Phaeophyceae are predominantly cold-water organisms that benefit from nutrients upwelling, but the genus Sargassum appears to be an exception. Any number of the normally benthic species may take on a planktonic, often pelagic existence after being removed from reefs during rough weather; however, two species (S. natans and S. fluitans) have become holopelagic-reproducing vegetatively and never attaching to the seafloor during their lifecycles. The Atlantic Ocean’s Sargasso Sea was named after the algae, as it hosts a large amount of Sargassum.
Apparently it is also edible, and very healthy.”