Reading: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Jules Verne)
Weather: NW 2-5 – variable. Became fairly sunny over the sea, but cloudy over the land
Thought for the day: What have we done to piss off Poseidon?
Evening meal: Risotto with chicken and vegetables
Distance covered: Once we arrived at Ilha Grande we had done 4,490 miles
Wildlife headcount: An albatross (black-browed albatross), Trudeau Terns, frigate birds and various others less exciting than an albatross!
Land gone again …. We woke for the morning watch expecting to see the lights and mountains of Rio, but nothing …. During the night watch Poseidon had one more trick to play on us. All the talk of time to arrival and getting internet reception had clearly got to him and he decided to take us down a peg. So, even though it wasn’t forecast at all, the wind strengthened significantly and went round to the north west – exactly where we wanted to go. The night watch had reefed down the main, but ended up aiming right back out to sea again with a course south of west. So, land had vanished again and we found ourselves 30 miles offshore. At the start of the watch we tacked to get back inshore again struggling into a short, choppy sea and NW4-5.
Slowly we inched back inshore and around 8.30 – land ho (again). This time we started to see the outline of the mountains outlining Rio. Initially they were almost blurred into the clouds hanging over the land, but slowly they took form and vague outlines became clear, rugged outlines of a mountainous landscape. By 11am we were seeing buildings in the bay at Rio de Janeiro. As we approached the islands off Rio we tacked and with Poseidon slowly relenting marginally and reducing the wind (but not changing the direction), the engine went on to help us head more directly to Ilha Grande.
Still a compensating factor for all this was an interesting day of wildlife spotting. The day’s top trump was an albatross, so I can now at last start my A-Z of wildlife spotting. This is about as far north as they wander, but this one was a black-browed albatross – a more northerly variety. They are distinctive mainly through their flight and wings. The wings look almost out of proportion to the body and are straight with a dip at the end – almost glider-like in proportions. This enables them to glide effortlessly over the water, dipping and turning with the smallest of movements to follow the waves. An evolutionary lesson in flight ….. The other particularly interesting bird was a pair of Trudeau’s Terns flying directly past the boat. They pottered slowly past the port beam, as if posing, allowing us time for a close look and comparison with the bird book – hence the fairly definite identification.
The engine was run for the rest of the day and gradually we closed on Ilha Grande. We inched our way into one of the bays on the north eastern side of the island, anchoring just before 10.30pm. The engine went on and we had a beer surrounded by the earthy smell of the hills around us …. After very nearly a month at sea we had finally stopped. Over 4,000 miles non-stop. It seems remarkable to think that we had achieved that, somehow it seems a lot less, but finally we could take in what we had done. The sounds and smells of Brazil (well at least the wealthy part of it) surrounded us.