L O G B O O K - by John Philp


MON 31st JAN - We are in the southern Atlantic ocean, the south east trades pushing us the remaining 600 miles to Brazil. A marlin followed our fishing line for a couple of hours today. We wound in the line and changed the lure. Within a couple of seconds the marlin made a pass at it then struck! Ahh, but there was no hookup and it resumed it’s vigil a couple of meters behind the lure. We put out another line and changed the lures but nothing would induce it to strike.

Later at sunset as we are winding the line in it makes a couple of strikes at the lure with it’s bill. It hits the lure so hard that it sends it hurtling through the air all the way past Tony on the aft deck - a distance of about seventy feet! But still no hookup...

TUE 1st FEB - It’s another nice day, though the wind is light and shifty once again.

WED 2nd - Another windless day. We are still motoring. Two hundred miles remain to the Brazilian coast.

A school of dolphins pay a visit today rolling around and speeding across our bow. A tiny baby dolphin is amongst them having no problems keeping up with the others.

THUR 3rd - Early this morning, while it is still dark some dolphins came by again. It is too dark to make them out, the only hint being when they break the surface and exhale, as well as the faint trail of phosphorescence they leave in the dark water as they swerve under the bow.

At daybreak the wind picks up to eighteen knots, this time from the north-east for a change and we sail happily on a square reach. As we near the coast the water colour changes to a pleasant green. We change course a number of times to pick our way around small fishing craft and their nets. At around 2pm we arrive at the Recife harbour entrance. The city sprawls across the horizon - skyscrapers dominating long beaches on either side of the main port. Recife is named for the reefs which protect it’s beaches and harbour - this being the Portuguese word for reef. We sail around a breakwater and down a canal leaving an island on our starboard side. The island contains the main commercial shipping dock and is connected to the rest of the city via bridges. There are other islands and over two dozen interconnecting bridges in Recife. The result is a Venice like canal city. We anchor off the Pernambuco Yacht Club, a short dinghy ride across the canal to the city.

Thursday night is street party time each week in Recife. They close the roads in the old part of the city, set stages up, and put down dance floors, tables and chairs on the cobblestone streets. Food and alcohol are sold from vendors everywhere. The Brazilians dance latin ballroom style. We watch a nimble young street urchin showing everyone the moves. A crowd gathers as he twirls a radiant young girl around. She is almost a foot taller than him!

FRI 4th - We explore the city today on foot. There are many old churches here in beautifully ornate old world workmanship, one of them 485 years old.

Tonight there is another street party - this time for the 500th anniversary of the city. We spend the evening on Rua do Bom Jesus where bars and restaurants sprawl out onto the ancient cobblestone street. On either side are restored colonial buildings that date back to the 1600’s. There is a steady stream of pedestrians, and the waiters run about with drinks, shouting across the street at each other in jest. It’s enough just to sit there with a cool drink and watch the action. The men seem to dress as men do in most part of the world. The women don’t! This is how you dress if you’re a Brazilian woman : a) have a very dark tan, b) wear very little, and c) wear it as tight as possible and leave nothing to the imagination!

SAT 5th - This morning is chore time on board. After lunch we head ashore to go to town but don’t get very far. The commodore of the yacht club Manolo is sitting with the part owner of the restaurant - Amando, and the manager/owner Christine. They insist that we sit with them and try a selection of local alcoholic beverages. Oh well, town can wait... two hours later we’re still sitting there, and the worlds become a hazy, happy place...

SUN 6th - Christine and Manolo take some of the crew to the historic town of Olinda for lunch. Christine left her husband, Jaime (who happened to be on vacation) in charge of the restaurant. Later the restaurant got very busy and he kept ringing Christine on her mobile phone asking her to come back!

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