Jon Sanders blog #4 – back from being AWOL

Sorry everybody. This idiot somehow mucked up the Wi-Fi on this yacht. I am now on a restaurant ashore. You get that.

32 days back I departed the British Island of Saint Helena. Clearing port, customs, immigration simple. Easy for an idiot like me.

Lot of yachts check into Saint Helena. Some circumnavigating. Few or fewer yachts going via Suez Canal because of Somali Pirates (ransom) – my Visa Card is a bit useless to them.

Also ships (& yachts) must pass within a few miles, even less, of Yemen Islands and mainland where there is Civil War. More ships now go around the Cape of Good Hope.

But I am at St Helena. British. The perimeter of Saint Helena Island are cliffs. The Town (city so to speak), Jamestown on the lee side of the island is in a narrow street valley leads into the ocean. On each side are cliffs. The edge of the towns side.

The townsfolk houses are on top of the cliffs. Lucky things. Nice views.

The island is volcanic structure. Steep hills and valleys. Absolutely beautiful. The roads, narrow, winding, corners around steep sides, (must be extremely aware of traffic coming other way. – i.e. blind as bats.) Vehicles going downhill give way to those going uphill.

Rhys and Trevor said they were hiring a car. Wanna come. Sure would and did. Strange because Rhys is the tall engaging easy for anyone to talk to. He must be the dominating one. But it was Trever who negotiated the price and the hire of the car, it was Trevor who drove, whichever way he thought. It was Trevor who spotted a grocery store (mini mini supermart) amongst the trees, hills, valleys. It was Trevor who stopped and thought Rhys and I might like to buy something. We did.

On we went, Rhys and I downing ice cold beer. So he and I did anyway. Gosh we wouldn't want to buy a packaged tour of the Island for quids.

Back at sea.

On leaving St Helena it was now the South Atlantic, the Doldrums, North Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea.

I sailed St Helena to British Virgin Islands 4100 nautical miles. I probably logged a few more miles than that, as I would and you would too.
The south east trade winds were mild. Wind behind. Going north west quiet and good. The nearer the equator the wind faded.
Normally the Doldrums are north of the equator. – by several degrees. Things seem different.
6 degrees south: quiet motor sailing.
4 degrees: motor sailing hours on end.
3 degrees: wind came strong and quickly went. Sloppy sea.

The sky in the Atlantic Doldrums are something unique to see. Believe me. Clouds at all levels. Light coloured, black, huge and massive, tops blowing off this way, others so different way. Some flat and skinny, others weirdly shaped.

It rains a bit, it rains a lot and it downpours, clouds thick and heavy, then doesn't rain.

Bit of wind here, bit of wind there. Different direction and no wind at all. Hours and hours, – calm.

Motor sailing Yanmar at low revs 5 to 5 1/2 knots. Steered by Simrad Electric autopilot. Course and adjustments done on the B&G screen on the chart table. Life in the Doldrums.

Crossed the equator and more of the same. This time Doldrums were where they were supposed to be. Just burnt up more fuel south and north of the equator. Perie Banou sailed out of the Doldrums.

Back in the trades.

The trade winds were north east (NE) winds behind and on a broad reach. 18 to 25kts sometimes direction variations NE. ENE. E. Sometimes windy 20/25kts.

I crossed the Atlantic, finally reached the Windward Islands. Passing close to Barbados, 3,600nm from St Helena. Thence between St Lucia, and the French Island of Martinique – lit at night like a major city.

Then passing the islands of Dominique and the French island of Guadeloupe – an active volcano. Onwards to the British Virgin Islands.

I planned on my yacht arrival BVIs. My friend, major boat captain Paul Stratfold, should be there. If he Is, maybe he can sort out why I cannot communicate on yacht Wi-Fi.

Nice here.

Regards to all.

Wish you were all here.



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