Greetings from Salvador Brazil

Here is a “log” of notes I jotted down during my trip from Lunenburg to Salvador.  I have also posted pictures to my trip album take during the journey, and here in Salvador. This is raw and unedited!!!!

Thursday Sept 23rd 2010

N43° 45.4380′
W63° 55.2119′
23:07  4242 NM to Salvador

We sailed from Lunenburg around 11:15am with a large crowd at the Fisherman’s Museum in attendance. Amongst them were several shipmates who have been on the ship since I boarded in Cleveland.  Danny,  Harko , and Colin were among them.  Dan will rejoin the ship in Salvador,  but Harko and Colin go their own way.  We had a few minor glitches with our new foremast rig, but they were overcome in true bosom fashion.   We lost the wind as we ventured out into the Atlantic so we began motoring late in the evening.

Friday September 24th 2010

We are continuing to “steam” as no favorable winds have appeared.   We had a visitor this morning for a couple of hours.  A very large sea hawk or sea eagle landed on the skysail yard and stayed an hour or so. After flying off to the west, it reappeared, this time on the upper topsail yard.  We took several pictures of the bird before it once again headed for land 100 nm away.  We wish it luck!!!  The bird had dark feathers on it’s back,  dark and light colored feathers on its tail, a white breast, white and black head  with a tuft of black and bronze feathers on the back of its head.  The beak had the sharp hook of an eagle or hawk.  We also saw our first porpoises traveling along with the ship investigating us. Today was Captain Klaas’s birthday, and Marianne made him a wonderful apple tart beautifully decorated and tasting wonderful!!!  Motor sailed  all day and into the evening.

Saturday September 25th 2010

Woke up at 3:30 am for watch to discover we were once again under sail. The predicted south westerly winds have come and we are sailing along close hauled at 9 to 10 kn.  It is very rough sailing in the gulf stream. We are heading for the Azore Islands, or more exactly a point 100 or so miles west of them.  This will put us in a good position to travel  straight away to the southwest coast of Brazil where Salvador is located.  Everyone wished me a happy birthday in the evening.  Marianne made me a very nice birthday tart, complete with candles! The crew gave me a Europa T-shirt as a birthday present. 

Tuesday September 28th 2010

We are approaching the middle of the Atlantic, attempting to maintain a south easterly heading which will eventually put us somewhere near the Cape Verde Islands. Winds are not cooperating like they should so we have been motoring when they are not.  We have not observed a lot of sea life… just a little sea weed (we are in the Sargasso Sea), and few flying fish here and there.  The watch routine has settled in and I am still keeping track of our voyage on my road map!!!

Sunday October 3rd 2010

Presently at Latitude N31 32 W45 12. Sailing along at 4-8 NM per hr. We are now in the center of the Atlantic Ocean according to the road map, and are also more than half way to the Cape Verde Islands where we will next change course.  We are now east of eastern most Brazil, but we need to travel another 900 nm further east to harness the tradewinds south of 15 degrees to get cleanly past the tip of Brazil.  Caught our second 3-4 pound Dorato / Mahi Mahi/ Dolphin fish today! This makes a total of three in the cooler now awaiting a fish dinner. 

Thursday October 7th 2010

Presently at  Latitude N24 17 W39 24,  Motoring and motor sailing the last  36 hours or so. We have been constantly followed by a  high pressure system which has winds not favorable for sailing the direction we need to go.  Stopped for a swim this evening…. Didn’t go in myself… water is still too cold for me.

Friday October 8th 2010

Presently at  N23 5 W37 331.  Sailing again as the winds have changed to North Easterly for the moment and we can once again sail for the Cape Verde Islands.   We had a little bit of excitement this morning. We sited a very large motor yacht the Pegasus II, and we caught a very nice sized Wahoo fish, about 2 and one half feet long.

Sunday October 10th 2010

It’s  2:30AM in the morning… on night watch.  Presently at  N20 44 W35 27.  Had great meal last night. We barbequed the Wahoo steaks from the previous day.  It was wonderful.  We are motoring as winds continue to be from the east  which does not help us go southeast!  Those trade winds have to show up sooner or later. The good news is that we have totally ducked any hurricane action. Otto is well north of us.

Thursday October 14th 2010

It’s 3:00pm in the afternoon. Presently at N11 51’ W30 19’.  Caught 2 more  wahoo tuna today.  One was over 4ft long and weighed 12 kilos with the other weighing 9 kilos. I expect tuna to be on the menu in the near future.  We are 600nm form the equator now and it is getting warm.  The water temperature is now 28 C or 82 degrees F.  The captain has declared a swim party for today from 6 until 6:30 pm.. just before sunset.

Sunday October 31 2010 – Salvador Brazil

We leave tomorrow for Ushuaia Argentina… another 3,500 miles or so south.  Saw the small magellanic cloud, actually a small galaxy near our galaxy, and TUK47, a large globular cluster on night 4 days prior to arriving in Salvador.  They are only visible from the southern hemisphere. Have spent the last two day roaming around  Salvador. Posted more picture from the trip…. Can anyone identify the BIRD setting in the rigging.  It  arrived about 100 miles from Lunenburg, stayed overnight, and left the next day. Looks like some kind of eagle to me, but it is not a bald eagle.  There are lots of fishing pictures. We caught a 4ft barracuda, and several 30 lb wahoo (tuna). They make great steaks on the grill. Even the barracuda was good!  Should return on November 29th, so this will be my last post until I get home.

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Dockside in Lunenburg

The last 10 days have been spent getting the ship ready for the trip to South America. I have posted quite a few pictures of these activities as well as pictures Lee and I took on our travels around Nova Scotia. We are  about an hour away from sailing, so this will be the last post prior to Brazil. If you want to keep up with the ship, you can do it at the ships website. There is a LINK to the right pointing you there. There is also a LINK on the right to the pictures I have posted to Picasa, Google’s free picture web site. Will be in touch in Brazil I hope.

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Exciting Times in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

We arrived in Lunenburg on Sunday September 12th late in the evening, so we anchored outside the harbor to sail in Monday morning.  There was a nice crowd on had to see us come in to Lunenburg under full sail! We used the engine only in the final docking process.  The permanent crew is now extremely busy doing what seems like an impossible list of repairs. To name a few, both heads on one of our 350 HP Caterpillar engines have to be removed checked, new gaskets put on, and re-installed, the lower of the three wood masts on the foremast must be replaced. This necessitates that all the lines and stays be removed from that mast so that the top two masts can be removed and the third mast replaced.  All four Yamaha outboard engines have been sent out for routine maintenance. Several large pipes carrying water for the air conditioning/heating system in the cabins need to be galvanized.  4 back stays on the main mast must be replaced also… and 30 or 40 additional tasks which are too number to give. Once everything has been taken out/down/apart, it must be repaired/replaced ASAP.  We sail for Brazil on the 22nd of September (actually the morning of the 23rd).

Now for the exciting times…. As we passed by Quebec City late in the evening, it grew quite a bit colder. The next morning, well out into the Gulf, we came upon a large group of whales, seals and birds, feeding on large schools of small fish.  We spent 45 minutes circling and whale watching. It was very interesting.   Further out into the Gulf, as we were exposed to the open ocean, the real fun began. The forecast was for winds in the 30 kilometers per hour, with gusts to 50 KPH.  This turned out to be an understatement.  By the end of the day the waves had built to 20 to 25ft and the winds were at force 8 to 9 on the Beaufort scale.  Many waves washed over the bow and onto the foredeck.  It was very difficult to get anywhere on the ship with it rocking and rolling in such a grand manner !!! Welcome to ocean voyaging!!!  The Captain changed the course a little to the south, and by morning the seas were once again tolerable.  No one will forget this part of the voyage soon.  As I said, we are safe and sound in Lunenburg 3 days ahead of schedule, thanks to a low pressure area which followed us across Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Gulf of St Laurence. The next leg of the trip will be a quiet one for this blog since I will not have any internet access. Will try and report on the trip to Brazil when I get there.  I may also post an article in the Bark Europa’s Ship Log. There is a link now on my blog to the ship’s log for those that wish to follow the ship. If all else fails I will finish this off when I return around December 1st.

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Gary sent some text messages – he is south of the Magdelen Islands (Quebec). The crew of the Europa enjoyed some interesting weather yesterday.

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The winds of November came early!

To paraphrase a famous song about sailing the Great Lakes, the trip from Chicago to Lunenburg has proved to be a fine sailing trip so far. We experienced some very large swells in Lake Michigan with brisk winds. Speeds of 7 knots were not unusual. We once again passed under the Mackinac Bridge, this time in the fog at 6am in the morning. Lake Huron was a disappointment as the wind was calm, or against us for most of the trip to Detroit. We went thru the Detroit at late in the evening with all calm and the city lit beautifully, but I woke up at 4am to the rocking of the ship as I was almost tossed out of my bunk. A front was coming thru, and we were making 10.5 knots on Lake Erie. Several wind changes required our presence for sail handling, with the wind changes being caused by severe rain squalls. We are on the bottom side of a low pressure system, and are expecting strong west winds the rest of today (Friday September 3rd) with our present speed of 8.5 knots we will be at the east end of lake Erie by midnight. Winds of up to 35 knots are expected on Lake Ontario. this should make for interesting sailing tomorrow morning.

We made it thru the Welland Canal overnight and in the morning after waiting for a while for a pilot we set sail in Lake Ontario. As forecast, Lake Ontario proved to be even more challenging than Lake Erie had been. We literally flew across the lake at speeds of above 10 knots for most of the day. We had the largest swells I have experienced on the Great Lakes, with some in excess of 3 meters. Winds of 30 knots were not uncommon, with the swells building towards the west end of the lake. Thru it all, we have had great meals. All of us marvel at Marianne and Daantje’s ability to produce great meals under such rough circumstances. We have all had a taste of what real sailing on a square rigger is all about. Now on to Lunenburg.

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Muskegon to Chicago

The trip to Muskegon was fairly uneventful with very little wind to sail. The tall ships once again gathered, this time outside the Chicago inner harbor. There was a large crowd at the end of Navy Pier, and after much cannon fire from the shore and from many of the ships ( not ours of course) we tied up at Navy Pier on Tuesday evening the 24th of August. I left the ship almost immediately to visit with Lee, friends and relatives. Returned to the ship on Sunday, and we cast off the lines early Monday morning to head for Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. This is what the Dutch call a delivery trip, so we will not stop anywhere along the way. I will be attempting to upload pictures and update my blog along the way as internet connectivity presents.

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Green Bay to Muskegon

Leaving Green Bay was uneventful. We sailed up Green Bay and through the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal to Lake Michigan. We anchored in early evening about two miles out in the lake in position to start the last leg of the sailing race. We learned that evening that one of the  other ships had grounded it’s self trying to anchor closer to shore. They had to have a tug come out and tow them off. The race started at 10 am and was 118 miles, with the finish line in the lake off of Racine, Wisconsin. I took quite a few pictures of ships starting the tall ship race. We did not do as well as we did in the Duluth to Whitefish Bay race on Lake Superior, where we came in first. Wind changes late in the race caused us to miss the 2 mile wide starting line. We had to tack several times to get into position. We won’t know who won though until we get to Chicago. After crossing the finish line the next day at 8pm or so we headed for Muskegon.

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Sault Ste Marie to Green Bay

We are once again on a non-racing schedule for this portion of the trip so our first stop was Mackinac Island. We pulled up to the dock and after tying up, we all jumped ship and visited the island. . It has changed since the last time I was there, which was around 1975. It is much cleaner and spruced up than I remember. It almost has a Disney look to it, except for the fine taverns and Irish bars on the main drag. A good night out on the town was had by all, and in the morning we had a ship open house for all the tourists who wished to come aboard and have a look.  Headed out for the Mackinac bridge and beyond at 12:00 noon sharp. We sailed under the Mackinac Bridge our into Lake Michigan, sailing most of the night stopping the next afternoon at Leland, Mi. We anchored out and took the dory into town. The main attraction is Fishtown, which is the old fishing village from the 1920’s restored. Several of us purchased smoked white fish to include in dinner that evening. The following morning we sailed off anchor and headed for Green Bay. We arrived at the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal at 8am and after lining up with the other tall ships, we motor sailed thru the canal and then sailed out of Sturgeon Bay into Green Bay. Due to heavy rains, much of Green Bay was actually brown as is the Fox river we are tied up along in the city of Green Bay.

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Racing from Duluth to Sault Ste Marie

On Tuesday morning we paraded out of Duluth harbor, and jockeyed for position to start the race to Whitefish Bay. We had favorable westerly and north westerly winds for the entire race. On the last day of the race, the waves were 6 to 7 feet, and the winds were gusting to 30 mph.

The ship was traveling at a speed of 10 knots. It was rock and roll time!! This was the best sailing I have experienced so far. The original estimate for how long the race would take was 3 and a half days. We actually finished in 2 days and 4 hours. After spending a day cruising bays north of Whitefish Bay, we traveled up the St. Mary’s river once again to Sault Ste Marie to drop off most of the trainees and pick up a new crew.  Now on to Green Bay and another Tall Ship Festival

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Duluth Tall Ship Festival

There was a very large crowd on hand to watch the tall ship parade Thursday afternoon (July 29, 2010). We tied up, and then had to untie and move the ship 50 yards further up the sea wall. The crowds are now visiting the ship and asking the standard questions such as “How many yards of rope are on the ship?” and “Where did this ship come from?”. Visited one of Duluth’s finer brew pubs (Fitger’s) and had a fine meal along with tasting several items on their beverage list.

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