Firstly, we are so sorry for the missing articles! We have been having a blast cruising up the Caribbean. In between the cocktails, cleaning and exploring islands we have had little time to write. Not to mention the wifi has been less than satisfactory. Anyway heres the next one. Enjoy!!:
Leaving the iconic rock of the Brazilian island behind us, once again we set off on a long passage with one less crew member. Now only having 5 people on board we decided to change our watch schedule to 3 on 6 off. Unfortunately, this watch schedule did not work very well and quickly we returned to the 3 on 9 off watch schedule we were used to. This was at the cost of me losing Dantelle as my watch buddy. Yet again, it was back to the monotony of doing long distance passages. The nights got broken with squalls and the odd container ship that would pass near by. We were warned about possible debris in the sea and the countless fishing boats that hug the coastline up to 100 nautical miles away from land. We opted to sit about 200 miles off the coast. The passage did give us good fortune with a huge current pushing us along Brazil’s coastline.
A few days after Fernando de Noronha, Catching Up celebrated her first Equator crossing, unbeknown to the rest of the crew Andre nominated Werner to be King Neptune’s assistant as none of our crew had crossed the equator by sea before.
Werner had to be the assistant because Andre was leaving Catching Up in St Helena long before we’d be crossing the equator. On leaving Fernando de Noronha, Neptune’s assistant began giving us his series of instructions. We were all told to memorise our boats saying. On route to St. Helena Andre asked us each to give words describing how we felt the first time we saw Catching Up at the Waterfront Marina in Cape Town, using our given words we made up this rhyme for Catching Up!
“When I’m spontaneous things are good, being confident makes me happy. A phenomenal experience will emphasise it. Being a part of all of the above and appreciating it is a privilege.”
King Neptune’s assistant chose a sea creature for each of us. Mum- Manta Ray, Dad- Octopus, Dantelle- Dolphin and me-Crab. We had to look like it, move like it and answer difficult questions about it. Needless to say any wrong answers would result in a small sip on Neptune’s “Magic Potion.” After the great fun, it was back to the monotony of passage
A few days later, the next big celebration took place on Catching Up! My 24th Birthday. I woke up to start my watch at Midnight to a squally, bumpy sea. The watch was just non-stop waves from our right hand side (starboard) meaning the helm seat would constantly be hit by a spray of salt water. Nonetheless, I powered through the watch and returned to my slumber. Later in the morning, I awoke to the crew bustling around the boat trying to bring some normalcy to being in the middle of the ocean. Dishes were being washed and coffee was being made. Sitting down I was brought all my presents that the crew had somehow hidden on a 50ft yacht since Cape Town. Dantelle yet again spoilt me rotten, as did the rest of the crew. New gifts in hand I settled back to enjoy the rest of the day. That evening I was yet again spoiled with an amazing BBQ using the last of our South African steaks. Dantelle baked and iced an incredible chocolate cake for dessert. It was probably the most unique and isolated place I will ever spend a birthday in and ii will definitely be a lifelong memory!!
The days on passage are always quite similar so to celebrate new milestones or birthdays are always fun. There are always challenges that need to be overcome like the non-stop movement as waves constantly hit the yacht from its side. This endless movement was very tiring for the crew, when we were finally passing the top end of Brazil cutting our way into French Guiana when we probably had our worst waves on passage. The strong current and wind pushed up some very rough waves combined with the steep incline of the sea floor meant the waves were uncomfortable at that point. It also meant we were making incredible time. Our days were never under 160miles and our max on the entire passage was 202 miles in 24 hours.
We passed into the territorial waters of French Guiana, we decided that we would just continue on to Grenada rather than stop there. The decision meant we would return to our 200-mile distance off shore and on track to the possible danger zone with pirates. The waters off French Guiana were incredible; oil rigs being towed with 8 tugs surrounding it lit up the sky. More cargo ships lined the coast as we sailed onward to Grenada.