So after 31 days at sea we finally arrived in Rio on the evening of the 9th Oct!
Whilst the flew into the bay with a hard pressed Code 1 spinnaker (the biggest) underneath Sugar Loaf mountain and Christ the Redeemer, lit in pink at night; the last 48 hours down the coastline of Brazil were not without incident.
First we spent hours on whale watch dodging hundreds of Humpback whales migrating south along the same route. In a few cases we had whales jumping out of the water literally 10’s of metres from the boat. Whilst we could spot the whales fairly easily during daylight, their blow spouts indicating their location, during the hours of darkness it was simply a matter of good luck not to hit one.
Having managed to dodge the bulk of the migrating whales the next task was to pick our way around the numerous oil fields and drilling platforms along the coast, ensuring we didn’t encroach on the prohibited area. During the night the horizon was like Blackpool illuminations with the sheer number of these rigs.
It was whilst we were slipping between a huge field just North of Cap de Frio and the coast during the penultimate night that we had the misfortune to sail into a trawlers net. This immediately got stuck around our keel and rudder and brought 50 tonnes of sailing yacht doing 12 knots to a stop with a few 10’s of metres. Unable to risk using the engine to get us out of the net, we were left with cutting the it away from our rudder and then trying to sail backwards off the net to free the keel. This took us an hour and a half to achieve……. We did almost manage to get some fresh fish as a result though. Then as the sun rose the wind died away again just hours away from our destination, so a further frustrating morning sat going nowhere. Finally it filled in to give us some exhilarating sailing into Rio at the last and a welcome cold beer awaiting for us on the pontoon. Steak was then consumed! Twice in fact!!
The lasting memory from the leg though will be the torture of the doldrums and the relentless heat – I will not hurry to go back there! Thanks to them we now have scant time to prepare the boat for my second ocean crossing – the South Atlantic and Cape Town.
Maybe a trip up Sugar Loaf can be squeezed in before we leave……