Farewells and flying objects, words and photos by Ian Munro.
SV Vixen departed Cape Town on 14 May and now, some 47-odd days later, Ian Munro and his crew are resting in Fernando De Noronha after a 2-week crossing from St Helena.
His passage to St Helena, subsequent island stay and adventures are eloquently captured in his blog: “We went from dodging ships for the first few days of leaving Cape Town to seeing no ships for weeks. I don’t know which is more disconcerting. Spotting a ship now and then provides reassurance that the world continues, that other human life still exists and can provide emergency assistance if required.”
We share an edited version of his experience from his diary entries:
Farewell Saint Helena
Fri Jun 10, 2022
“I left Saint Helena with mixed feelings. The wi-fi issues required tissues at times but the place did start to rub off on me. But mostly it was the people one got to know and experiences that made it difficult to leave – the unique yacht club where sofa chairs, umbrellas and big speakers are put out on the street that trapped you into a drink or 10 when you were on your way back to your dingy.
Erina from yacht Moyo, is the friendliest and most generous person one could hope to meet. Sipping White Russians made by a Ukranian, on those street sofas, on a small island in the mid-Atlantic, is a rather different experience. And her impromptu plates of food in a place where supplies are scarce and expensive was unexpected and gratefully accepted.
Other issues that nudged one to leave were the supplies shortages. Imagine the hardship of enduring a hangover recovery without eggs for a greasy fry-up breakfast. Or attempting to cook a meal without onions. However, it must be said that the supply ship docked, and these golden supplies were gratefully scooped up before our departure.
Also, the cost of living is pretty taxing. Buying South African products at 3 times the price is hard to swallow. Local produce is hard to come by but also requires repeating the question “How much?”. Surely, she didn’t say the pumpkin costs 6 pounds? Imagine paying upwards of R120 for a pumpkin??”
On Monday 20 June a worried Ian reports that they have been under siege in an Alfred Hitchcock-type situation sailing between St Helena and Fernando De Noronha:
“At first, we thought – how cute. But then there were more and more of them (cue ominous-sounding music). The situation escalated to war with obscenities and objects being hurled for us to try and rid ourselves of the flying nesting vermin whilst they steadfastly clinged to “their” territory.
For the previous two nights we had been beset with birds. They were eye-gouging long-beaked creatures who scoffed at you as you tried to usher them away, and only reluctantly taking to flight when more persuasive methods were employed. They did not take kindly to this. It’s as if they were indignant, even offended, that their excretion decoration gifts were being unappreciatively rejected.
One could get the mean-eyed monsters to take flight only by hurling rope (whilst retaining hold of the one end naturally) or water at them but them but in retaliation they swooped down menacingly and ghost-like at one in the darkness. So intimidating were they that one was unable to leave the sanctuary of the cockpit.
Ian’s stopover in Fernando de Noronha, a Brazilian island on their path and one he visited a few too-many-to-mention decades ago renowned for its spinning dolphins and natural beauty, resulted in breath-taking photos and a hilarious blog entry about a so- called “Massacre in Paradise”.
Tuesday, Jun 28 2022
“So, while sailing it’s a dry boat meaning no alcohol. The problem is that upon landfall there is a sort of balancing of the scales, a natural equilibrium happens where there seems to be an inevitable over-compensation. It seems to be a universal law that creates drinking friendly situations. Suffice to say that, although saddened by their departure, I was a little relieved to our French friends had indeed sailed off and could distinctly hear my liver breathe a small sigh of relief.
On Sunday we had a friendly local guy, named Cosme, give us a tour of the island which included Chris surfing a gnarly shore-break at Two Brothers. And we end up on this beautiful beach, as they all are, witnessing the sunset with volleyball and soccer playing locals whilst body surfing some waves. Paradise right?
Chris, still being on a dopamine high from his surf, bravely buys a round of drinks without first checking the drinks prices from this establishment nestled on the edge of the beach. That was the first mistake.
The second was that, due to its location bridging the lush tropical vegetation, it became evident upon starting to sip our cocktails that it was happy hour for little blood thirsty vampires. This slight irritation quickly escalated to proper panic. The cocktail sipping frequency increased. Austin, a man with dreadlocks and a Daniel Day Lewis physique had opted for a beer which he finished rapidly and fled the scene of the massacre.”
While sipping exotic cocktails and exploring beautiful destinations, Ian ponders where the trip will take him. At this stage he is not set on a final destination yet and comments on his social media that it could be Panama and then the Pacific. Wherever he ends up, we wish him less vampires and more full moons.