Brazil to Bonaire                                                                              May to July 2010      
While in Salvador we moved Blue Sky from the main harbor and  anchored off the island of Itaparica, in Bahia de Salvador for a week.  The local sail boats had a race one day and we were anchored in a prime location to see the start.  You can just make out the red helicopter hovering above the water filming the event.  Having explored Salvador we decided to make the 350 mile jaunt up the coast to Cabadelo.   Once in Cabadelo, you can anchor off the city or navigate up the river to Jacare, where the majority of yachts go.  As the light was dimming we anchored just off the car ferry terminal, there were no other yachts around.  Exploring the river in the dinghy we ventured up to Jacare to get coordinates so we could safely take Blue Sky there.  After talking to some of the other yachties, we decided we prefered to stay where we were.  The employees of the car ferry would watch our dinghy during the day while we explored and the local carnicerias were delicious and inexpensive.  Unlike up the river, where you were expected to pay tourists prices. Our next passage was a planned 12 hour day up to Natal.  Phoebe was up all night with a bad stomach, not a good sign. As day light approached, I went under the sink to get the coffee press out, to find that the cupboard was full of water.  "Jim we have a problem!" I shouted.  Looking closer we noticed that the hose clamps on the sink drain had failed and salt water was pouring in.  Immediately closing the through hole, the water stopped. Turning on the bilge pump, Jim asked me to go look and see how much water we needed to pump.  "Uuh, about a ton!" I replied.  Pulling up the floor board, the water was nearly up to the prop-shaft, and only inches below the engine.  If we would not have discovered the leak for another hour, well, let us not even think about that.  Our departure was postponed a day to make the necessary repairs and clean up the mess.
Much to our delight three other yachts with children picked up moorings next to us.  Phoebe and Drake were elated as they have not played with other yacht children since South Africa.  
The cruising guide mentioned that most cruisers skip Natal and go straight to Fortaleza.  They describe the entrance as a narrow river with non-working lights.  Approaching at sunset all we could see on the horizon was a huge supension bridge, must be new (picture below.).  Blue Sky sailed under the bridge and anchored right off the yacht club just before it got dark.  The yacht club had a swimming pool and was very welcoming.  Fortunately we arrived on a Friday evening, when the offices were closed, as they only give cruisers three days gratis.  Checking in with the office on Monday, we were given our three days.  A decision needed to be made and after much consideration, we decided it was time to leave Brazil.  Hurricane Season was two weeks away and we did not want to be crossing the Caribbean in the midst of it. Looking at the charts we realized the passage would be 1700 miles to Trinidad, having just crossed the Atlantic, we were not ready for another long jaunt.  Once we left Natal we decided to let the elements choose our path.  If the weather held and was good, we would push for Trinidad, if not we had plenty of outs.
Blue Sky anchored off the car ferry terminal in Cabadelo, to the right.  Phoebe and Drake waiting for the train to run over the coins we placed on the track.  Even the locals enjoyed seeing the flattened coins.
Zinnia from s/v Pacific Bliss, Phoebe, Sam from s/v Bonaire, Drake, Freddy off s/v Shiver, Cosmo (Zinnia's brother) and Finn (Sam's brother.)  All from England.
Drake, Sam, Finn and Phoebe enjoy playing on the surf board off the back of  Blue Sky. (Peterdog, the boards are finally getting some use.)
There was never a lack of things to do, our days were filled with wake/knee boarding, snorkeling, swimming and exploring.  Drake has a go wake boarding and was very proud of himself after he was able to stand up.
Fran,from NZ and Ross from Oz, off s/v Pacific Quest were our other neighbors. They were kids at heart, so they had no problem hanging out with all the children boats. Klein Bonaire was a small island in the middle of the harbor, with lovely beaches and swimming.  Fin, from s/v Bonaire celebrated his seventh birthday there with a BBQ, cake, tug of war, dinghy sailing and knee boarding. 
Front row seats for the local regata in Itaparica, Salvador.

Willem and Robyn own
"Amigos" a lovely restaurant with a relaxed back yard atomosphere in Itaparica.  They even had a small swimming pool that the children enjoyed. They are from South Africa and knew some of the people we met in Saldanha.
Phoebe enjoying a Mango smoothy at the yacht club in Salvador.  The Brazilian yacht clubs were first class and very friendly.
Approaching Trinidad, the weather was still favorable, so we pushed 350 miles further for the island of Bonaire.  Which is out of the Hurricane belt and the whole island is a national park, which means crystal clear water!    Yachts are not allowed to anchor in Bonaire, and the National Park set mooring balls all along the coast.  After Blue Sky was secure the children immediately jumped into the clear blue waters.  The likes of which we have not seen since Chagos, in the Indian Ocean.
Phoebe celebrated her twelve birthday underway.  Much to her surprise, I was able to bake a cake on my early morning watch (amazed that no one awoke to the delicious smell.)  She was greeted by a pod of pink bellied Amazon dolphins, to wish her well on her special day.  The color of the water turned a murky green due to the affects of the massive Amazon, we were five hundred miles off shore, and it latest a few days. Another milestone, we crossed the equator for the fourth and final time, just at sun set.  The children wrote King Neptune a poem and we tossed him some coins for good luck.
Freddy, Drake and Cosmo enjoying the ride.
Cosmo, Drake and Freddy protect their make shift fort.
Treated to a day sail on board s/v Bonaire, Phoebe reads books to Sam, Cosmo and Zinnia.  It was very relaxing sailing on another yacht.
Taking s/v Bonaire to the Southern end of the island, some of the crew took off to kite board, while the remainder went exploring.  Above we wade across a shallow lagoon in search of flamingos.  Only to view them from a distance. 
Colin and Cosmo from s/v Pacific Bliss, take the helm on s/v Bonaire.
Colin, Stephanie and Tim from s/v Bonaire enjoy sundowners on the back of Blue Sky. Liz from s/v Pacific Bliss, Emma and Liz from s/v Shiver join in the fun.  After a few days together, it felt as if we had known one another a life time.
Phoebe and Zinnia are very creative, building a unique sand castle, with coral steps and sea glass floors.
On a separate occassion we were treated to another day sail aboard s/v Pacific Bliss.  This adventure was to the North end of the island for a dive trip. 
The children, eight in all, enjoy playing on the trampoline on s/v Pacific Bliss.  Below, Zinnia, Emma, Phoebe, Robyn from s/v Scorpido and Fran from s/v Pacific quest.  The underwater photos are taken by Robyn, thanks.
The diving was great in Bonaire, after being certified in Thailand, Phoebe and I had not had the opportunity to go diving since.  Phoebe did two dives and remembered everything, I was fortunate enough to go on three.  Above the divers get ready to descend to the depths of the coral reef.  To the left Tim from s/v Bonaire and Ross from s/v Pacific Quest sport Blue Sky rashies!

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