Dear all,

60 to 70 mile days along the coast are easy sailing in Dulcinea when there is fair wind, and for two days I was anchored by early afterrnoon. On Saturday I anchored off the Yacht Club in Ilheus, wandered into town (most Brazilians don't walk after dark), then bought supper on the Club's terrace. Not wanting to bother with the outboard and dinghy, I had gone ashore by kayak, but after a nice supper I opted for a dry ride back to the mooring in the club launch.

A good night's sleep then motored out of the harbour putting up he mainsail as the sun rose. The next safe anchorage was 90 miles south and the forecast was for winds turning south. They did so, and by mid afternoon Dulcinea was motor-sailing into fresh southerlys. We past an offshore platform and after dark, a large commercial vessel came up on the AIS leaving an unmarked harbour on a collision course - presumably a new harbour for oil production. A call on the VHF radio produced a response from a courteous lady who told me in English to hold my course while she went behind me (which she did).

By 10.00pm I arrived at Santa Cruz, and rather than entering the narrow river at night, I dropped anchor behind the Coroa Vermelha (?Vermillion Reef), ate a simple supper and slept well. The forecast remains bad for 4 days and Monday was spent slowly doing odd jobs at anchor and cooking a propper meal for the first time in the 2 weeks since I left Canada.

I pass some time at sea by listening to podcasts on the iPhone, and one BBC programme was about the possible errors using GPS and it's vulnerability to signal jamming (most often by delivery drivers who don't want the boss to know when they spend 2 hours in the pub, or with the girl friend).

Hence my mind started buzzing on Tuesday morning, when I was woken at 6.30 am by the anchor-drag alarm. I was indeed moving backwards at about 1 knot. My 55kg expensive patent Rocna anchor had been dropped 6 metres of water on 30 metres of 12mm chain - I have heard stories of people stealing anchors and substituting junk during the night - could this have happened? No: as I sleepily pulled in the chain the load on the windlass became so much that I had to motor forwards. The anchor came up intact, with good heavy mud on it. I shall never know why it released after 36 hours holding steady in constant blustery winds.

Through the northern summer, Dulcinea had sat for 4 months in PierSalvador Marina. It is operated by Sr Sandoval, who is a special person. The dock is far from smart, but the atmosphere and the people are very relaxing. She looked cleaner than I expected, except for an inch of growth under the waterline. (Note Janet's frig magnet showing the drunken woman in evening dress saying "Never drink water. I have seen what it does to the bottoms of boats".

Speeking to Sandoval is extremely good for me. His second language is French, and so is mine although my French is nothing like as good as his. In June, he introduced us to various of his friends, and it was good to reacquaint myself with Fernando last week. Sandoval had made two lovely stainless steel spools for the 200 metre lines that I have bought for tying to shore in Patagonia. He arranged for a diver to clean the bottom, and he provided some wood for mounting my new water maker. Ask for hardwood in Brazil and you get it! I requested a 2 metre long 4" by 4", but he could only get wood 2 1/2" deep. I stood in the middle of the thin direction of this 2 metre long beam and the deflection was just over 1/8".

I just managed to lift the sails out on my own, and all was ready, and time to leave in order to reach Joinville and have heaters installed. I anchored at Itaparica, Camamu, and then Ilheus, and I could immagine spending a month or two exploring what I just covered in 3 days. I hoped to go a little offshore from here to the Marine Park at the Abroglhos Reefs, but I shall have to see what the weather does. That is not looking good, and the breeding whales have normally set off for Antartica by this time of year.

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Best wishes from Dave on catamaran Dulcinea

PS to my emai: Today, I should go up the mast to check the wind instruments, and repair the main halyard as the rope sheath chafed through on one of my clutches. Now there is a gap between rain showers and I have run out of excuses.