With a swell growing from the south east, we were glad to have full sails on again. The last days had been a combination of motor sailing and sails up and down. But there she was, constant, back in a sailing rhythm for the delight of her crew and her self steering system which we affectionally call Yves. Very close now to our first intended stop. Birds and more birds around. Some land ones. Atol das Rocas and Fernando de Noronha, the two brazilian arquipelagos, were not so far from us.
The boat starts to wake up for an arrival feeling. The crew more tuned to the sails and celebrating milestones. Without the proper charts, a morning arrival was a blessing to my eyes. The contours from the islands of Fernando de Noronha slowly appeared here and there amidst the dark clouds. Another squall to pass and then take more canvas out so we can arrive in the anchorage before the next one hits. On the lee side of the island the wind continued but the swell gave away to a flat smooth sail into harbor. In 12 meters of water we laid 60 meters of chain in brazilian territory.
Quick showers, gather essentials and the dinghy was in the water earlier than we wished to. Unlike other places Netzah had been anchored before, here the onshore swell was particularly fucking big that day. With all the visits from the proper authorities and all the ultra necessary paperwork taken care of, we were of on a bus to town and our thanking prayer for a successful passage was done in the bar. After a few nights shortly slept and a faster living than we were used to, we came came back to Netzah and rolled in bed for a day and a half to recharge our batteries.
Daylight came with the full main sail already up, the sound of the anchor chain was accompanied by the ones of the dolphins circling the boat. Netzah was escorted from the anchorage until outside of the 50m depth contour that establishes the marine park of Fernando de Noronha by dolphins all around. When enough wind came to us, the head sail was unfurled and we were two again onboard our ship.
With the bow pointed at the brazilian continent, our course was right on the wind. We estimated 2 days to get to our destination but the sea wanted to show us that it is not over until its over. Wind and current on our nose pushed us violently 80 miles north of our objective and not making any way towards it. After a night on second reef and a lot of beating up and down the waves, Claudia and I discussed our options at the cockpit. We read and heard before that close to the coast this current was weaker and we decided to give it a go. A full day and full night went by with our ship tacking close to shore. We could hear and see the coast so clearly. Vigilant on our course, sails, each other and speed, we changed our tacks in between 10 and 30 meters of water. Yves the self steering got promoted from crew member to hero. Netzah behaved beautifully pointing high into the wind with her sails and Yves holding her on rails.
At 1210, with the rising tide we passed the sand bar on the mouth of the Rio Paraiba. Sweet water on our hull! Mangroves, coconuts and small forests around us. No more waves only wakes of a passing boat. The fisherman village of Jacare was seen behind a bend in the river. I approached the small pier in a very clumsy maneuver and we tied at last. A kiss and hug to my eskimo and we were in main land Brazil.