1995 – St Helena to Salvador

After 3  days, we were in the trade wind conditions, flat seas and long swells, more comfortable, the winds became light and variable, South-South East – East 5-10knots, then a couple of days of light to zero wind, cool-off in the Atlantic, the sea was so clear and warm.  Trade wind conditions are very frustrating, and the more west we went the hotter it became,   luckily we had canvas over the cockpit area.

 We had a lure in the water for most of the way, but didn’t catch fish,  4 days from Salvador, a school of fish were swimming under our boat, and then 6-8 Dorado fish arrived, but we caught a 10 pound barracuda, which was supper for 2 nights and for Sheena.

It took 21 days to arrive in Salvador, 2,400 miles.  10 miles off Salvador the wind got up to about 20 knots and with full main and Genoa, we sailed  into the bay area doing 8 knots, the best part of the trip.  We motored to the yacht club Bahia and picked up a mooring.  Lovely club, half size Olympic pool, restaurant, showers and 24-hour ferry service.

The mooring was free for 10 days. First impressions of Salvador: hundreds of high rise blocks of flats and hotels, shops underneath, very loud Portuguese music and too many people.

Salvador Bahia


Our friends who left S.A. two weeks before us were over on the Islands waiting for a GPS to be sent over, and also waiting for us to arrive. (our old Satnav was still working).  We stayed a few days in Bahia, after checking in etc. and exploring the city, we went to get fuel and water and motored across the bay to the islands of Itaparica  and spent 2 weeks there with our friends on “Erica Jo”.

Saraiba island - sheena

Saraiba island - sheena

We took Sheena to the beach a few hundred metres away, she was very happy with all the swimming and going to the beach everyday, but it was hard work for Dave to row, as one had to fight the wind and current.  On the 10th we decided to go to Saraiba Island about 2hrs away, a privately owned island.  After a few days there we left for Salvador, back to the Bahia Yacht club and anchored for 2 nights, and then left with “Erica-Jo”,  for Recife.

 We had to beat most of the way with good winds, but also hours with no wind.

We arrived off Recife during the night, dodging fishing boats and tankers and in the morning we continued to the Marina, only to run aground on a sand bank, the second marker was broken off.   We waited for high tide and continued to the so called marina, which was a bit delapidated.  The facilities were excellent, showers, swimming pool and restaurant.

We walked along the beach front, where the carnival was going on, thousands of people, big trucks with a live band on top, inside the truck were about 40 enormous speakers, and moving very slowly down the road, with people dancing in front and behind the truck.  The band music was so loud,  and they sure know how to party.

 The following night we took a bus to another part of Recife with a different carnival atmosphere, called Olinda, also thousands of people. Dave wasn’t feeling well, he had pain in all his joints, so we decided to go back.  Dave had food poisoning, but was fine the next day.  On Wednesday, the last day of the carnival, all businesses  were closed, including the marina club, so Dave & I had the pool to ourselves, where we spent a few hours relaxing.

We decided to leave for Fortaleza, had strong winds and did 6-8 knots.  There is a shelf on this coast which drops from 5,000 metres to 10 meters, so the sea was very uncomfortable. Downwind to Fortaleza, and  Rock and roll again.  We approached Fortaleza and to find the Marina approach was quite difficult, it too was not marked.  There is a wreck in front of the entrance, we were told later, that we should have gone in front of the wreck, but we took a wide berth, and went in behind the wreck and they were surprised that we didn’t run aground on a sand bank.  The Marina has a long row of floating jetties where we tied up,  a massive luxury hotel, which looked like a passenger ship from a distance, also a pool, restaurants and shower facilities, and 24 hour security.  The Marina was a 5 minute walk from the city.  Fortaleza is a shopper’s paradise for lace work, leather, wood carving, and hammocks.

 One evening we took the hotel mini bus to the beach front with a Swedish couple, Johan & Petra.   Fortaleza is a night city; there are hundreds of stalls on the beach front, where one can buy lace work or T-shirts etc.  Also numerous bars, and thatch roof restaurants.  We met Gladstone, a local marine lawyer, who spoke English and he  offered to show us a bit of Fortaleza.  So once again the 4 of us went with Gladstone to Cumbuco, which has high sand dunes, lagoons, Palm groves, one can hire a beach buggy to ride the dunes.  He drove us to Maranguape, which is a mountain just outside Fortaleza, we all decided to climb the mountain, and there is a small lake on top.  It was our first jungle hike, which we had to fight our way through.  We saw a few Tarantulas’, mosquitoes ate us alive, and we climbed for about 2 1/2 hours.  This was a wonderful experience; we cooled off in the lovely mountain water.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, they had a band playing at the poolside.  We were glad that we went to Fortaleza, had a wonderful time there.

Fortaleza Cathedral  –                     Johan & Petra



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