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leg 13: Brazil, Cabedelo to Lancois



After much faffing about we eventually left Jacare marina around midday with Matangi in convoy for a spearfishing rendezvous offshore before we continued up the coast to Lancois. Once we exited the river mouth it became apparent that spearfishing would be impossible so we waved goodbye to Matangi, who we probably won’t be seeing again, and slammed our way out into the swell until we could put in a left hand turn up the coast. We had the current with us which was a huge help and 30 knot squalls alternating with no wind at all.

On the second night out Denzell came to wake me for my 1am watch with the question “why is the floor wet?”. That’s a very bad question to be asking when you are miles offshore in a boat and the water should very definitely be staying on the outside. We quickly discovered that the valve we’d fitted to the engine water inlet had failed and the engine bay and bilges were flooded. The engine was under water but the level hadn’t reached the starter motor or battery yet. Mad panic to pump out the engine bay before the salt crept any higher. Truly a terrible way to be woken for your nightwatch. Denz, the engine whisperer, miraculously managed to get the engine started and we breathed a cautious sigh of relief.

The following five days passed with squalls alternating with no wind and we collected 75 litres of rainwater to put in our tanks, which meant we could have a freshwater shower which is quite a luxury. The swell became very uncomfortable once we started crossing the shallow continental shelf, we had 100 nautical miles to cross in water shallower than 50m to get to Lancois. There were also heaps of fishing boats with no AIS (which meant they didn’t show up on the chartplotter) so we had to keep a beady eye out. We were screaming along with the current and were set to arrive in the dark so we spent most of the night with no sail up to delay our arrival until first light.

Lancois was a pretty little island with beautiful sand dunes to explore and shallow fresh water pools to wallow in. The tidal drop was 5m which made getting ashore at low tide a very muddy endeavour, and then if we stayed ashore too long it would be a swim back to where we’d anchored the tender. It was also rather disconcerting to be facing a line of breaking waves at high tide only to be facing a sand dune when the tide went out.

We organised a beach braai in the dunes with the other boats in the anchorage, all either South African or French, with one Swedish boat to add some diversity. Fish, prawns, garlic bread and the last of the South African wine with toasted marshmallows to finish.

After the bustle of the city it was wonderful to just relax and do very little on this sparsely populated little island, but after a few days we were getting itchy feet again. We had heard that there was a rocket launch scheduled at the space centre in French Guiana and we thought we could just make it in time if Irene sailed fast.


squalls all around...

...followed by rainbows

breaking waves in front of us at high tide and a sand dune on the low tide




fresh water swimming hole, a little shallow though

spot the scarlet ibis

collecting fresh water, we didn't risk adding it to our main tanks though

















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