The “European” space capital

We have never been closed to a rocket launch before we arrived in Kourou, and we did of course want to go and the visit the space centre. Unfortunately, it turned out that kids younger than 8 years were not allowed on the tour of the compounds. So we decided that Esben would take Runa โ€“ he was the one who was the most exited to go ๐Ÿ˜‰ Continue reading

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In solitary confinement on St Joseph

After many visits to รŽle Royale, we figured it was time to visit รŽle St. Joseph; the island where inmates would be kept in solitary confinement and total silence for years. We took the dinghy across the small strait where the dead convicts used to be fed to the sharks, and soon realized that the island had no pontoon to land the dinghy, and that we would have to crawl up on the cement dock used by the foreign legion. Everybody got off without getting too wet, and we had a look around.ย The french foreign legion have a base on the island, and a couple of legioners waved as we passed by their living quarters. Continue reading

The Devil’s Island penal colony

The Salvation Islands were once home to one of the world’s scariest prisons. French convicts were sent to St. Laurent on the French Guiana mainland for a life of hard labor. And the most dangerous of them eventually ended up at the Salvation Islands. The main prison was on the รŽle de Royale, where we were anchored, so after seeing all the animalsย on our initial tours of the island, we made our way to the top along the prisoner-build road, where most of the ruins are located.

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In the land of the Amazon forest

The color of the water slowly changed from bright blue to murky brown/green and somehow the smell had changed. We were getting closer to land, and the smell was the smell of the Amazon rainforest. We knew the coast wasn’t far away, but we couldn’t see it. The first sign of land was a dark spot ahead of us; the Salvation Islands, or, as they are better known, at least in Scandinavia, the Devil’s Islands. After 1400 NM of sailing, we had reached French Guiana.

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Status after one year of cruising

We have now been living on Chip-Chip for a year (well, actually more than a year, as the blog is a bit behind). So maybe it’s time to stop a little bit and think about how different our lives have been for this past year, compared to what we had before.

We have sailed almost 10.000 nautical miles in this past year. We have visited countries in Europe, Africa and South America and have sailed in the North Sea, the inner waterways of Europe, the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. We have been to so many different places, with different nature, culture, religion, climate etc. Sometimes (actually most of the time) we find it hard to believe that it’s possible to take a little boat, such as ours, and make it ready to sail to all these places in such a relatively short time.

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One year on Chip-Chip in pictures

On the 1stof July, it was one year since we left Bremerhaven early in the morning, and set course for the Netherlands, the Mediterranean, West Africa, Brazil and finally, French Guiana. A whole year of living four people in a 28-foot boat. We have sailed 9220 nautical miles in that year and visited places, which we never dreamt it was possible to reach with our little boat. Below is a short summary of the year in pictures. Continue reading

From Brazil to French Guiana; our longest passage yet

After leaving the Cabanga Yacht Club in Recife, Brazil, we had some of the fastest days of sailing we have ever had. We were pushed along the north coast of Brazil by a combination of winds and currents going in the same direction as us, and after 5 days of sailing we were celebrating being halfway to French Guiana. We, of course, were already looking forward to arriving five days later. By then, we were passing the delta of the Amazon River, and soon the winds became weaker, current seemed to be confused, and our speed dropped considerably. Bye, bye early arrival.

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Esben takes out a reef in the main to speed up a bit

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Preparing for seasickness and passage

When meeting other sailors, we’re often asked if we never get seasick. We have done quite a few longer passages since we left the Canaries, and people assume that we must be hardcore sailors. But in reality, Runa and Esben suffer horribly from seasickness during the first couple of days of sailing. When it’s really bad, Esben throws up every 15 minutes. Mattis and I don’t get it as badly as the others, but we also do get seasick sometimes. So seasickness is something we have to take into consideration when preparing for a passage.

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A rough sail from Salvador to Recife

We arrived back in the anchorage by Itaparica just before sunset, but as we went to turn off the engine, the handle came off. So quickly, before the light completely disappeared, Esben had to open the hatch to the motor, stick his head down in the darkness, and figure out where the line that cut off the diesel supply was located on the engine. After a quick look around, he found the right one, and silence fell over the anchorage. Continue reading