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Day 4, 5, 6 ‘Huge Storm/Gale” Passage to South Africa

Yesterday evening at the end of my watch I could see on the horizon a large dark blue could that was low to the water. As we approach this large front I noticed a large gray iron ring projecting out from the dense areas of the approaching storm. I decided based on the movement of our past few storms that the front was moving from north to south. We were approaching from the east heading west into this system that was flashing lots of lightening and you could thunder. I decided to drop sail and reef to a triple mainsail, and hoisted our storm staysail. I then had Jade reach almost due north and slow us down to about 2 knots allowing the bulk of storm to move south so I thought. As the lightening and thunder increased and the front approached closer I decided to tack to the north east allowing us to get more north and away from the approaching storm because I thought I could see the back side of the system. Right after we tacked a rush of ice cold air like entering into a department store from out of the summer heat into AC. The wind was ice cold and then it began to blow. It reached up to 40 knots in less then a minute. Dragonsbane had her rail underwater and the waves began crashing over the deck. Then the rain came in buckets and whited out the air with cracks of thunder and bright lightening. I relieved Jade from the Helm and turn up into the wind pinching as hard as I could but still keeping us moving forward at 3 knots. The spray from the waves was blinding our sight and the wind began to spin 90 degrees to port then to Starboard making it very hard to keep Dragonsbane under control. We continued like this for 1 hour and finally the wind began to lesson down to 30 knots. But the rain, thunder and lightening lasted for 4 more hours. Eventually the wind dead off to 5 knots on the nose and we have been motoring sense. Everybody is doing well and sense we have been motoring we caught another Maha Maha weighting in at 22 pounds.

Day 5 & 6 has been a mix of 20 to 30 knots winds. Current we are in a full on southerly Gale sailing hard at 8 knots full reefed.

FYI it has been very difficult to send blog post via SSB radio so I may miss a few days.
Current Position: UTC 19:10,26-10-14, 27deg 34.8min South, 42deg 53.6min East, SOG 8kts, COG 300deg-M, 1022MB, WS 35kts

Thanks,

Jacques

Day 3 Passage to South Africa “Stormy Night”

At about 22:30 at night the barometer was reading 1017MB and slowly began to fall to 1015MB. This of course occurred much slower then the 35 knot winds that blew in and 2 meter seas. The change in wind conditions and sea state only took ten minutes and was slowly reflected in the barometer over the course of 4 hours which been then we were under just a staysail make way at 6 to 8 knots. To added to our fun the current we have been traveling on from east to west changed to north to south and is pushing us down at 3 knots slowing our west progress down to 4 to 5 knots. The swells are also coming out of the north catching us on the beam and soaking the poor person on watch on a regular bases. But that’s not all folks, throughout the night we were surrounded by thunder head squalls that flashed 360 degrees around us and lit up the sky like cannon fire on the horizon incredibly ever few minutes for hours. It has been a amazing show during the night and now the wind has lesson to 18 knots but the current is still causing us to slip more south, hopefully not for to much longer. Boy I tell you, this is great fun for me at least, I think the crew is enjoying it too.

Current Position: UTC 02:56, 25deg 33.8min South, 49deg 17.9min East, SOG 5.4kts, COG 255deg, WS 19kts, CLoudy, ATM 1014mb

Thanks,

Jacques

Day 2 Passage to South Africa “Strong Current”

So far we have had some great weather with only a few squalls with lightening. But the most exciting thing so far is that we are riding in a current that is moving between 1 to 2 knots. The weather outlook is looking good for the next two days but then the wind drops off to 10kts or less. Hopefully the wind will fill back in shortly.

Current Position: 00:26utc, 23deg 59.1min South, 51deg 15.9min East, SOG 8.7kts, COG 248deg-M, Swell<1meter, WS 15kts, Current 2 kts,Partly Cloudy,

Thanks

Jacques

Day 1 Passage to South Africa “The Tough One”

We left Reunion Island yesterday morning at 8:00am for Richards Bay, South Africa East Coast. The passage is roughly 1400 nautical miles long and should take 11 days or less hopefully. Based on historical sailing records the area we are about to enter is the most challenging ocean regions to cross for sailors. The area between Madagascar and the Cape of Good Hope is dominated by Antarctic low pressure systems that move eastward and form large gale winds. From these systems that can cover hundreds of miles they also produce random waves which reach heights of 20 meters with deep long troughs. Once the bulk of our passage is complete we then have to time our passage across the Agulhas current which runs from the north to south along the east African coast. The timing of our crossing must be done during a favorable wind direction of north east and should never be attempted during a south westerly. If caught in a wind change situation during a crossing we will have to turn around head back out to the ocean. It has been record that within one our of a south westerly wind change the 3 to 6 knot Agulhas current will build 65 foot breaking swell and will become very hazardous. We should be able to avoid such a situation by monitoring the barometer. Currently we are looking at a good weather window to cross the above areas and hopefully all will go well. There are 3 other sailboats that left at the same time as us. Looking forward to the challenges ahead of us and it should be a good time.

Current Position: 22deg 14.3min South, 53deg 33.5min East, COG 251deg-M, SOG 5.8kts, BP 1016mb, Sweel<1 meter, WS 12kts NE, Sunny

Thank You,

Jacques

The French Secret, Reunion Island

Arriving into Reunion Island I new from my charts that the mountains rose out of the sea to 10,000 feet at its highest point. I had no idea that the center of this mountain range could be to amazing. The 5 of us hiked for three days through the heart of the Reunion Island volcanic range and I was blown away. The topographical landscape is just breathtaking and I hope you enjoy the photos. If you click on the photos they enlarge.

Tomorrow we sail to South Africa.

After leaving Mauritius Island the sun tried to set the ocean on fire.

After leaving Mauritius Island the sun tried to set the ocean on fire.

The sun rises agian on the morning we could see Reunion Island come into sight.

The sun rises agian on the morning we could see Reunion Island come into sight.

Its great to see the Sunrise in the morning .

Its great to see the Sunrise in the morning .

There sh,e is Reunion Island soaked in rain.

There sh,e is Reunion Island soaked in rain.

Still a bit rolly as we round the bottom of Reunion Island.

Still a bit rolly as we round the bottom of Reunion Island.

So as soon as we arrived started our hike on the GR-R2 hiking trail through the Mountains called the Cirque De Mafate.

So as soon as we arrived started our hike on the GR-R2 hiking trail through the Mountains called the Cirque De Mafate.

For the first time with a Alaska home grown person was amazed by a view of non-Alaska mountains. Just Kidding

For the first time with a Alaska home grown person was amazed by a view of non-Alaska mountains. Just Kidding

The View as we began our hike

The View as we began our hike

10

11

13

Off we go to the trail .

Off we go to the trail .

Down the mountain side trail

Down the mountain side trail

Jade waiting for Ben to catch up

Jade waiting for Ben to catch up

hiking into the many little villages in the mountains .

hiking into the many little villages in the mountains .

The little huts next to the trail were right on the edge of the mountain

The little huts next to the trail were right on the edge of the mountain

Cross the bridge to Aurere Village.

Cross the bridge to Aurere Village.

One of the little fast Lizards that live here.

One of the little fast Lizards that live here.

Heading down another valley

Heading down another valley

Just Amazing

Just Amazing

Another beautiful village on the trail

Another beautiful village on the trail

Local boy trying to get us to stay at the huts but we choose to camp for free and not pay $15 euros

Local boy trying to get us to stay at the huts but we choose to camp for free and not pay $15 euros

Lots of Church s up here.

Lots of Church s up here.

Looking out from the village.

Looking out from the village.

We begin to hike out the river cannon out wash

We begin to hike out the river cannon out wash

Head down the mountain

Head down the mountain

Trails are close to the cliff edge.

Trails are close to the cliff edge.

just a little water from the river yum! don't worry its treated.

just a little water from the river yum! don’t worry its treated.

down in the out wash on our way back to Dragonsbane

down in the out wash on our way back to Dragonsbane

looking to the ocean

looking to the ocean

Madeit back to the Marina. The office is based on the Sydney Opera House lol.

Madeit back to the Marina. The office is based on the Sydney Opera House lol.

Totally worth the tough hiking and elevation.

Totally worth the tough hiking and elevation.

Thanks Jacques

Made it to Reunion Island

Ended up taken a day and half o sail here. We sailed to the south end of the island to enter St. Perrie Marine but they were full. so we had to reach all all the way north in 30 knot head winds for 38 nautical miles which made us do a night landing. It’s been a adventure so far. We are off for a three day hike through the mountains and then back to the boat.

Thanks,

Jacques

Ps took for ever to find WIFI

Exploring Mauritius Island

In the last 6 days we all have been busy exploring the island of Mauritius and once again theirs to much that can be said in one blog. We have been hiking up the local mountains, walking through the city of Port Louis, sailing up the coast to Grand Bay, driving a car around the entire island exploring. Mauritius if full of a India cultural and South African spirit. The national language is English but everybody speaks french and most things are in written in French. As normal we all get by and have a great time doing so.

Sailing past Gunner Island just north of Mauritius. The sun was just coming up as we passed between the Islands and was navigating our way down the coast to Port Luis.

Sailing past Gunner Island just north of Mauritius. The sun was just coming up as we passed between the Islands and was navigating our way down the coast to Port Luis.

To start our explorations of Maurituis we walked to the bus station to go hike up Corp De Garde Mountain. But Cary split his toe on one of the millions of pavers that are sticking up all over Port Louis.

To start our explorations of Maurituis we walked to the bus station to go hike up Corp De Garde Mountain. But Cary split his toe on one of the millions of pavers that are sticking up all over Port Louis.

Jade and Ben watching the world go by in Port Louis as we bus a half hour to the second highest peak in Mauritius.

Jade and Ben watching the world go by in Port Louis as we bus a half hour to the second highest peak in Mauritius.

About a third of the way up I cought a goat hiking up the mountain with her young. She was a bit surprized.

About a third of the way up I cought a goat hiking up the mountain with her young. She was a bit surprized.

Looking back down the trail at Cary, Ben, and Jade looking out over the plateau  toward Port Louis.

Looking back down the trail at Cary, Ben, and Jade looking out over the plateau toward Port Louis.

A little close up of the gang having fun.

A little close up of the gang having fun.

Nice to see solar power generation farms being used.

Nice to see solar power generation farms being used.

Looking out towards Port Louis.

Looking out towards Port Louis.

Back into Port Louis walking the busy streets and seeing all the venders trying to sell anything and everything.

Back into Port Louis walking the busy streets and seeing all the venders trying to sell anything and everything.

Port Louis City Life

Port Louis City Life

Typical sidewalks in Port Louis

Typical sidewalks in Port Louis

City Life

City Life

Found a micro-Brew in Port Louis and had a great glass of Oktoberfest it is  the season friends.

Found a micro-Brew in Port Louis and had a great glass of Oktoberfest it is the season friends.

After a few beers I checked out the freash market and had to leave after being asked million times to buy something by the venders

After a few beers I checked out the freash market and had to leave after being asked million times to buy something by the venders

As the days speed by we stopped by yesterday at the Chateau De Labourdonnais. Its a old Chateau that housed a wealth family during the beginning times of the sugar cane production in the early 1800's.

As the days speed by we stopped by yesterday at the Chateau De Labourdonnais. Its a old Chateau that housed a wealth family during the beginning times of the sugar cane production in the early 1800’s.

I thought it was cool to look into a mirror in this old Cheatue and capture myself in a mirror that captured the pasts of others because it was the original furniture of the building.

I thought it was cool to look into a mirror in this old Cheatue and capture myself in a mirror that captured the pasts of others because it was the original furniture of the building.

Walking through gardens

Walking through gardens

Had to stop at one of the sugar cane rum distilleries.

Had to stop at one of the sugar cane rum distilleries.

As we drove around the whole island it was covered in sugar cane flied being grown and harvested. It is still there number one export product.

As we drove around the whole island it was covered in sugar cane flied being grown and harvested. It is still there number one export product.

The landscape of Mauritius and its suburbs

The landscape of Mauritius and its suburbs

Thanks,

Jacques

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