27 December 2013

The Grande Brasile passed us on her way south to Vitoria, Brazil around 0930 this morning. She could have been a container ship but she was too far away to see properly. It’s the first ship I’ve seen in days, we’ve been out here pretty much on our own for a while now.

One of the ingredients I have with nearly every meal is white cabbage. I slice it thinly into a pot with onions and garlic to fry before adding whatever tin comes to hand. It, like the onions and garlic, can keep for months and is one of many things recommended to me over the years by the vastly experienced Dutch sailor Jan wit de Ruiter of “Bastaert van Campden” fame. I’ve known Jan and his wife Paula for 30 years now and anything he recommends is backed up with sound practical experience.
He has done two singlehanded circumnavigations, one non-stop and one with one stop, quite a number of transatlantic crossings and with Paula they have been numerous times from Holland to Spitzbergen in the “Bastaert”. Usually they stop off at Shetland on their way back from Spitzbergen and that is where I met them first back in 1983.

I was planning to build Elsi and was always down at the harbour looking at yachts to glean ideas from. Bastaert van Campden stood out immediately as a proper long distance sailing boat and a number of ideas from her design were eventually copied when I was building Elsi. Both Elsi and myself have benefited greatly from Jan’s advice over the years and we are far better prepared for this trip because of it. Thanks Jan!

Each day is much the same here just now. The Trade wind blows steadily day and night and we get a bit further into the southwest every day. The sun is warm, the wind is warm and the sailing is good.

Last night before sunset we sailed past a Portuguese man o’ war. It was the size of a large transparent dinner plate and its edge was rimmed with a brilliant fluorescent pink. Many marine creatures in the tropics seem to be decked out in the most vivid and eye-catching colours.
I remember from diving on coral in the Pacific and Red Sea the amazing range of tropical fish, which swarmed round the reefs. Every time you went down you saw something different. Even the Dorados, which follow Elsi from time to time, are a striking sky blue edged with gold. Always good to see them.

Curried chicken for dinner tonight. I’m still using up the tatties so it will be them instead of rice. I better get them scrubbed and ready for the pot.

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