Sunday, December 7, 2014


I got a quick email from Martin this morning.  He let me know that he and crew have made it safely to the island of Fernando de Norhna right off the coast of Brazil.

He said the minute that they hit the harbor, dolphins came up close to the boat to welcome them to Brazil. Doing what anyone would do, John and David jumped in for a quick play with these playful little friends.
John swimming with the dolphins.
Once anchoring, they quickly boarded AMARA's tender and headed to land only to find out that their ATM's don't work on the island.  However, they quickly learned from a teenager about the "underground money exchange."  They quickly obliged and soon had money in hand and looked for lunch.  After being at sea for two weeks, the first thing that they wanted was a good salad.
Hydopnic lettuce
As soon as I get more details, I will share them.  For now, I am so glad to know that they have made it to their destination, will get rested after some much needed sleep, have money in hand and are on land eating their greens.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

50 hours, uh... 62 more hours to go!

I got another update from Martin yesterday that I thought I should share.  This email doesn't bring me as much happiness as other ones because he breaks the news to me about my special spinnaker.  Read on...

"After having faithfully pulled AMARA along nonstop for a week, our beloved blue and red spinnaker, that Kym personally designed with big white stars, blew apart last night in heavy winds.  It's not easy pulling a 70,000 pound boat over the swells at 10mph.  She had previously received battle scars during both her Atlantic and Indian ocean crossings, but had carried on.  It is currently unclear whether major surgery can patch her up again, but that will have to wait until she can visit a good surgeon back in the United States.  It kind of reminds me of the horse "Little Blacky" in the movie True Grit who faithfully carried Kim Darby and Rooster Cogburn until she finally was completely done in and collapsed.  I'm grateful I got to spend a few minutes alone with her at the top of the mast the other day.

551 nautical miles (or 664 regular miles) to Brazil


When I spoke to Martin last night the computer read that they were less than 50 hours from Isle de Fernando de Norohna, Brazil.  Although toward the end of our conversation, the computer actually bounced up and it read that they had 62 hours to go.  What?  Actually, that happens a lot.  Winds change, the boat slows down and everything on the monitors read higher, rather than longer.  When you're sailing you start to have a love/hate relationship with it.

I think the crew is a little more anxious to get to land and do some much deserved diving after traveling so long at sea.

Let's just not talk about my spinnaker for awhile...


Monday, December 1, 2014

Letters from the South Atlantic Ocean

Another letter from Martin!  I have to say, I talk to Martin almost every night (thank heaven for technology and satellite phones), however; I always love an email from him giving me an update on their day.  I thought this one was definitely blog worthy.  Enjoy...

"...This morning we noticed that the water temperature has climbed a full degree since yesterday.  As a result, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of flying fish (a million or so) and the fishing today was much better than it has been.  We are now restocking our fridge and freezer with tuna and mahi-mahi.  They will be on the menu for plenty of more dinners on AMARA.  

The air is also warmer, and we are bringing out the sunscreen!  It is hard to believe that we have sailed 2,500 nautical miles since Cape Town and are now only 600 miles south off the equator.  The Trade Winds have have been fairly steady from the south east and are now usually between 15-17 knots.  This makes for beautiful sailing and we are moving along very smoothly as we head straight downwind,  flying our spinnaker around the clock for the last 6 days.   We even have an additional .5 - 1 knot of current helping us right toward our destination of Fernando De Noronha, an archipelago just off the coast of Brazil.  We have 875 nautical miles to go and should arrive in 5 or 6 days on the 7th or the 8th.

Attached is a picture that I took yesterday from the top of the mast with our spinnaker flying.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving on AMARA

I just got this email from Martin this morning wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving!  

"In true AMARA spirit, we are already celebrating Thanksgiving here in the South Atlantic.  We have a turkey roasting in the oven, and David is currently working on the mashed potatoes and gravy as I type.  We are even having roast pumpkin with butter and brown sugar, stuffing, and some cranberry sauce that we made from an old bag of cranberries we had on board.  The smells are wafting through the boat, and probably attracting some birds!  We are just sorry you all aren't here to enjoy it all with us when it comes out of the oven in a few minutes.

I'm sure our Black Friday activities tomorrow will consist of more downwind sailing in fair winds, and basking in the warm sunshine as we continue our way to Brazil.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

—Martin, John and David"

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Island of St. Helena

AMARA leaving the island of St. Helena.  Thank you, Debbie for sending this to us!
AMARA and crew arrived in St. Helena on Monday morning.  I always love hearing from Martin when they reach land after a long passage because I know that putting feet on solid ground is always welcomed but a full nights sleep is first on the list.

I got an email from Martin today that I thought I would just share on this post about their visit to St. Helena.

"We arrived in St. Helena yesterday morning, the 24th, for a brief respite from sailing.  It was interesting to explore the island.  One thing you quickly notice is that no one has a cell phone because there is no cell service.  In fact, they have only had TV service for about 10 years, but there is still no airport— so everything comes and goes by ship.  Napoleon was exiled here and died on the island.  We had to see his "prison" which turned out to be quite an estate.  There are lots of gun emplacements in the cliffs from WWI and WWII, and some old British forts from when they fought the Dutch.

Everyone on the island has been really friendly, and we have enjoyed meeting some of the people that we have encountered during our stay.  This week there is a big legal trial going on here and they have had to bring in lawyers and a judge from the UK since their is only one lawyer on the entire island.  We have also heard some questionable things about the health and medical services here.

Today we took a tour of the island and visited a black sand beach that had lots of Portuguese Man-o-War jellyfish wash up.  We also saw the verdant interior and lots of flax plants which was the big industry here back when using parcel twine was common practice worldwide.   A highlight of the day was ringing Bellrock, which was a large boulder that when struck with another fist-sized rock, rings like a bell.  It was entertaining to hear the different tones that we could get each time we hit it.  I'll make sure to send a video whenever we find decent internet again.

The biggest highlight of the day was climbing up Jacobs Ladder, which is a steep cliff face with a staircase that goes up the cliff 669 steps.  Our non-stop climb took 14 minutes, and today we are all feeling it in our legs.  

The 669 steps up the cliff in St. Helena
This afternoon we also brought some local friends out to visit AMARA, and then went for a quick whale watching tour.  We were also able to get in a snorkel dive over a wreck of an old coal ship which sank in the harbor.  Later today we loaded 400 liters of diesel fuel, and first thing tomorrow we will try to get some vegetables before we leave for Brazil. We weren't able to get any in the supermarket today, but we considered ourselves lucky to find some sliced bread, since the bread shelves were empty yesterday.


I'll continue to keep you updated as I hear news from Martin.  

Exciting news here in Utah is that Lily and I have purchased our tickets and plan on meeting Martin and the crew in Grenada later in December.  We are getting excited to spend the holidays in the Caribbean!

Next stop for AMARA is the Ilha de Fernando de Noronha just offshore from the Brazilian coast some 1700 miles from St. Helena.  

Let's hope that the winds are, as always, in their favor.