4 August 2015

Milly is Beached

The sand bar was at Itaparica
Very quiet colonial section of Itaparica
Before heading out on our longer passages, we needed to do some work on Milly’s bottom.  Unbelievably, her hull was covered with barnacles, those tenacious sea creatures that grow on anything solid, from whales to docks to Milly.  Peter’s need for speed was burdened by his knowledge of the barnacles causing deleterious friction.  They needed to be removed.  They were also growing inside Milly’s through hulls, the openings that allow water in for the generator, engines, and watermaker and grey water out from the sinks etc.  I had visions of through hulls being plugged by pesky barnacles and causing engines to fry or toilets to overflow. The barnacles had to be removed.

Even more important was replacement of the sacrificial zinc anodes.  These are balls of zinc that are attached to our propeller shaft.  The zinc kindly corrodes before our stainless steel shaft and brass propeller and, hence, is sacrificed.  We had noted in Guarapari, that the zinc anode on one shaft was gone completely and the other shaft’s zincs were pockmarked and eaten.
Zinc anode on the left has sacrificed a great deal compared to new zinc on right.  Amazing, I think.

Although this hull work could be completed by diving, it is much simpler and more efficient to do it when Milly is high and dry.  Our destination from Galeao was Itarparica in the Baie de Todos  os Santos, just across from the city of Salvador.  Our cruising guide described a sand bar exposed at low tide as the perfect place to beach a boat.
The sand bar was the site of much activity.  Women scraped the surface of the sand for small snails

This woman proudly displayed her snails and a real find, a ray, for us.

The men dug deep with a special shovel to harvest disgusting-looking, wriggly marine grubs by the bucket full.  Not sure if they were food for fish or for family.

Women rushing to catch the boat home as the tide came in.  The sand bar was an island for about three hours at a time.

At low tide, there was a soccer pitch complete with goal posts.  Completely submerged at high tide. 

This was a traditional fishing town.  One group of three in a long canoe similar to this had one guy at the bow slapping the water with a very long paddle to scare the fish toward the net.

A family boating to the sand bar to work and play.

After yet another upwind sail in huge waves, we arrived in the Baie, dropped anchor outside a small yacht club and reconnoitered the town and the sand bar.  On TomTom with a GPS, we picked a spot on the bar which would be more than the draft of Milly at high tide and exposed for at least an hour or two at low tide.  With some mathematics and the rule of twelfths (a method of measuring depth within a tidal range), we figured out the timing to arrive at our spot.  An early morning start saw Milly hovering in place and after several minutes she was aground.  We waited for the tide to go out enough to venture into the knee depth water, careful of a multitude of spiny urchins and a few starfish who were also enjoying the sandy bottom.  As the water went down, Peter and I got to work.  By the end of the two hours when Milly was high and dry, we had removed the barnacles from bottom and holes, replaced two anodes, attempted to fix our leaking emergency hatch (still leaks) and inspected the bridle attachments.  Mission accomplished.  Milly was good to go. 
Milly high and dry.

On a flood tide.  All work complete.  Peter had to wade back to the boat.

Next stop was a marina in Salvador - strange to be docked after months of our prefered anchoring. 
Milly at dock in this multi-purpose harbour complete with fort.
Accurately described as a gritty city, Salvador has a lovely rejuvenated but tiny old city on a cliff top overlooking the bay.  The area below and around the harbour was full of beautiful old decaying buildings many of which were little more than facades or shells, reminding us of Havana.  Tourist areas were full of people attempting the hard sell of odds and ends.  Compared to the wealthier cities in the south, Salvador seemed to be struggling and on a slow decline even though the guide books say that it has been more successful with infrastructure in recent years.  Ethnicity was also strikingly different than the south.  Historically, Salvador was a centre in the slave trade and the Salvadoran art, religion and ethnicity is proudly African.
Art deco Elevador Lacerda used to get between the Cidade Alta or old city and the Didade Baixa or commercial city below.  

The old city has been rejuvenated.  Many women dress in traditional garb to pose with tourists.  Hard sell but the dress was interesting.

From the elevator.  Lovely green growth but lower city in sad decay.

Largo do Pelourinho, one of several squares in the old city

Lovely building where only trees and vines live now

A gritty city, indeed.

Time here was spent sightseeing, of course, and completing a major restock of our cupboards.  For the next two months or so we will be on three major voyages with one stop in Fernando de Noronha, where provisioning pickings are reportedly slim and expensive.  Three expeditions via taxi later our cupboards were full and we were ready.
After first foray to the supemercado, cross-checking lists with inventory in Milly's saloon.
Igreja do Bonfim, a church used by Catholics and African Candomblistans where those praying for cures bring photos,  pleas and thanks.  Plastic body part offerings from the hopeful hang from the ceiling.

The fence outside the church is covered with ribbons.  People knot the ribbon onto the fence three times for three wishes.  

A great marine museum was housed in this fort that guarded the mouth of the bay.
Good-bye Salvador.  We are on our way.

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