Ohana Sailing Adventure

1600 Nautical Miles Down…

…1800 to go.

When the girls and I left Ohana during her trip north from Buenos Aires, we had a relaxing time, but both girls said that they didn’t want to be off of our boat and away from Ted again like that. So although our plan of slowly cruising up the Brazilian coast had changed to getting up to the Caribbean as quickly as possible in two big jumps, we decided to take a gamble and move Ohana as a family.

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The girls learning from Pikin
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Releasing our mooring – we’re on our way!!!

Favorable weather (a cold front with southeast winds) came through just after our delivery captain, Pikin, flew in from Buenos Aires. He had helped bring Ohana from Argentina, and we hired him again to help with this huge geographical jump. The winds started out rather light, but the motion the first day out on the water was AWFUL. Even though the cold front brought winds from the right direction, it also brought with it large, confused seas. The girls (once again) were asking why we had done this to them, the motion erasing memories of the weeks of beautiful sandy beaches and playtime in Angra dos Reis. We pulled into a little town called Buzios for a few hours for a respite from the motion and to let the winds catch up with us.

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Sailing ‘wing-on-wing’, catamaran style

We thought we would be able to ‘tuck in’ to ports like that along the coast if the girls were having a rough time, but we soon discovered that the reality of moving up the Brazilian coast is different. It would mean adding on almost an extra day each time we wanted to stop, as we were staying about 50 miles offshore. It was also arguable that once the girls’ vestibular systems got used to the motion, pulling into port for a break would set them back and make the motion feel worse when we started again.

So we soldiered on. And almost to the hour of Pikin’s prediction of four days, the girls adjusted to the motion. In general, the waves smoothed out more also, although there were still plenty of times that the ocean got really lumpy and unpleasant. We stopped on a mooring for a night when things got too rough, at Ilha de Santa Barbara, part of the Parque Nacional Marinho dos Abrolhos. But the biggest help is that Ted and Pikin blessed me with no watch responsibilities, using me only as a ‘backup’. That let me focus solely on the girls. So we did school when things weren’t too bumpy, did crafts, played games, read together, listened to Harry Potter on Audible, snuggled, and watched movies when all else failed. As much as I hated some of those first few days and the way the girls felt, I also treasure all of those shared moments.

And we were blessed with some amazing sights along the way. We saw a huge number of whales, some dolphins, and some amazing sunsets. Not to mention the astoundingly beautiful night sky. Words fail me when I think of the vast expanses of stars overhead. The night sky at sea, when there are no visible lights from land, is simply breathtaking. We got to learn about our home even better, and we took advantage of having Pikin on board to learn from him as well. And we caught our first fish!

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We’re taking a few days here in Fortaleza in the northern part of Brazil to relax, re-provision, and wait for the best weather window to move north. This part of the trip is entirely offshore without a chance of ‘tucking in’ to port anywhere. It is trade wind sailing (meaning wind and waves at your back – the best way to have it), but it also means crossing the equator and the intertropical convergence zone. For those who don’t leave the Weather Channel on 24/7, that’s an area around the equator with fickle winds and doldrums, sprinkled with a few thunderstorms to keep it interesting. It’s an estimated 11 days offshore…some blog posts will still be coming about our time in Brazil while we’re traveling, but we’ll have no internet and only the most basic of communication abilities through our Iridium Go. So wish us well, and track us through the link to the right!

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