Recent Articles in Cruising Notes

Given in good faith, but not to be taken as gospel

Chatwin’s Brontosaurus (Puerto Consuelo – Part II)

For a visiting yachtsman, the biggest attraction of Puerto Consuelo is that it is a relatively safe anchorage; and it is only when the boat is safely moored that we can disembark and take a look at the place we’ve sailed so far to see. The holding at Consuelo is almost as bad as it is off Puerto Natales or at Laforest, but at least here, if you drag, you just end up on the shoal, astern. However hard it…

Puerto Natales

Christmas town – that’s Puerto Natales; or rather, to be more exact, this place is called Birth Port, and the birth referred to is apparently that of Jesus Christ. As the story goes, the man who named the place happened to be camped here on Christmas day – so it’s easy to see how that bit came about – but as for the designation as port…  this is just wishful thinking. In reality Natales is not so much a port…

The Yacht Club at the End of the World

Several times over the course of the past year I’ve made reference to the Micalvi, and if you’ve been paying attention, O’ Best Beloved, you will have gathered that it’s the name of the place where we moor in Puerto Williams. You could be forgiven for thinking that Micalvi is just another of the irrelevant appellations which have been attached to this region. The Straits of Magellan, Monte Sarmiento, Adventure Bay, the Beagle Channel… these places were named for the…

Anchorages in the Rio de la Plata

It’s the middle of winter. The days are short and the nights are long; sometimes it seems as if the sun has scarcely risen before he is sliding back down and is once more entangled amongst the cold, naked trees. At daybreak the river is shrouded by a skein of fog, like wet wool, and heavy droplets of water rain from the rigging, hitting the deck above my head with the sharp tap of falling nails. But there’s seldom a…

Itaparica, Part II

Amigos, Gringos, e Muito Mais! Besides providing a snug, safe anchorage and access to a great sailing playground, Itaparica also boasts various other facilities of relevance to the visiting yachtsmen, and not the least of these is the bar which, effectively, functions as an international yacht club. Amigos BBQ was founded some three or four years ago by Willem and Robyn der Merwe, a South African couple who arrived here in their yacht and liked the place too much to want…

Itaparica, Part I

With a coastline 5,000 miles long reaching from the equator right down to the Tropic of Capricorn and beyond, Brazil ought to offer almost unrivalled opportunities for yotties – and so it does. Here, in this one country, we can sail past palm fringed beaches one month and pine covered mountains the next. We can swelter in temperatures of over 100°F (38°C) while friends, cruising further to the south, shiver on a frosty morning and wish they had fitted the…

Cape Verde – Boa Vista

Roughly circular in shape, the island of Boa Vista lies about 20 miles south of Sal. On a clear day one can look across from Santa Maria and see the barren hills of Boa Vista’s north coast; but clear days are few and far between in the Cape Verdes. Paradise Island The first time we visited Boa Vista we fell in love with the place. We spent a month anchored in the big bay which eats into the island’s west…

The Brazilian Ribeira

The Rio Paraíba, already a popular point of entry for visitors to Brazil, now boasts a new mooring facility intended expressly for low-budget yotties. Situated five miles from the river’s entrance and the port of Cabedelo, the Ribeira Adventure Club lies opposite the well-known cruising venue of Jacaré. Although the channel leading up to this mini-marina is not sufficiently deep to admit the average deep draught cruising yacht, centreboarders, catamarans, and smaller yachts can get through. Once a quiet fishing…

Cape Verde – São Vicente – Mindelo, Part II

Anchorage v Marina So far as visiting yachtsmen are concerned the biggest change to Mindelo, in the past few years, is the construction of a marina. This affair completely dominates the waterfront. Once there was a quay here, and the packet boats used to berth on the far end and disgorge their passengers. More recently the quay had fallen into disrepair and the area was used by the fishermen, passing to and from the beach. The area immediately to west…

Cape Verde – São Vicente – Mindelo, Part I

Mindelo, capital of São Vicente, is the second largest town in the Cape Verdes and the busiest port. Nestled in the north-eastern corner of a huge enclosed bay known as Porto Grande, it offers better shelter than any other harbour in the entire archipelago – but if you arrive here in the winter months then you may not appreciate this fact. Throughout January, February, and March the Porto Grande is blasted by a wind which hurtles down off the mountains…