VOYAGE of 2014
Route stop overs: SIMON’S TOWN (South Africa) – WALVIS BAY (Namibia) – SAINT HELENA (UK) – FERNANDO DE NORONHO (Brazil) – FORTALEZA (Brazil)
A portfolio, with a part of the art for the exhibition, is here: www.behance.net/robert_schilder
photograph from the exhibition.
Tu. Jan. 28th -The Hague – Frankfurt – Cape Town
Promised to keep you informed while travelling:
First with the Hi-Speed train to Frankfurt, that’s fun too. There is this proud meter which shows you 300 km/hr. Too much kilos with me of course, I am carrying a sun panel for the boat and a lot of other stuff not so easy to get in SA.
Well, so far so good. Next is a flight to Cape Town with German Condor Airways.
Click image to see full readable size, zoom in and rightclick to download.
We. jan. 29th Simon’s Town
All went quite well today apart from a cramped flight and what you see directly out of the airport is a highway lined with eight kilometres of squatters dwellings.
Here you see me with my ridiculous suitcase, containing all the things which were installed that very afternoon. So, yes, I am getting my suntan, but while doing a little work as well.
Th. Jan. 30th -FBYC
There is a relaxed atmosphere at the False Bay Yacht Club with excellent coffee and clean showers. But there are repairs to be done on the boat and loads of shopping for the coming weeks.
One mayor repair is the engine battery charging system (diode block), that is for Frans, Troy (Gemini’s crew member, will accompany us to Walvis bay in Namibia) and a mechanic from Electronic Galley: Robert email@example.com, another important problem to be solved is the broken down autopilot.
Shopping (I will make a start with that) is in nearby Fish Hoek, a 10 minutes ride with the metro.
Food and groceries should be sustainable, varied, easy to store and when possible fresh?!? Furthermore, you can’t cook a proper dinner on a sailingboat fighting against the wind and changing course, that will be clear .. Wind speed is 40 knots now.
Fr. Jan. 31th -Flying Dutchman
Troy, crew member, had to take the train to Cape Town today and had a wave of seawater through the open window of the metrorail. Wind was up to 45 knots (Force 6-7, I believe). So Cape of Storms (that is how it was called before Cape of Good Hope) is doing justice to its name.
Did you realise that this area was home to the Flying Dutchman?
Here are some really nice pics and the story.
"I had often heard of the superstition of sailors respecting apparitions, but had never given much credit to the report; it seems that some years since a Dutch man-of-war was lost off the Cape of Good Hope and every soul on board perished; her consort weathered the gale and arrived soon after at the Cape … "
Sa. Feb. 1st -Arnold
This morning we met Arnold. Arnold has been sailing around Cape of Good Hope hundreds of times. He has made it his business to drop film crews on impossible islands in the South Atlantic like Tristan da Cunha, Inaccessible and Gough Islands. His yacht “Supreme Lady” is a large 20-year old comfortable sailing ship equipped with all modern navigation and safety equipment, 8 berths in 4 cabins.
Arnold was happy to provide Frans with all the ins- and outs of rounding the Cape, for our upcoming trip next week!
Cape of Good Hope, courtesy Arnold Halberstadt
Su. Feb. 2nd -Waves & currents
Here is a little bit more about what we are going to do: Cape of Good Hope is where the Benguela current meets the Agulhas current. So as soon as we have cornered the cape the current is with us. (Can you imagine what the sailors from long ago had to fight!)
Even later, when we are sailing for the north of Brazil, the South Equatorial current is with us.
When you click the map, you see the full version of it.
Mo. Feb. 3th -Simon´s Town, Naval base and Assegaai submarine
Simon´s Town (Afrikaans: Simonstad), sometimes spelled Simonstown, is a town near Cape Town, South Africa, which is home to the South African Navy. It is located on the shores of False Bay, on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula. For more than two centuries it has been an important naval base and harbour (first for the Royal Navy and now the South African Navy). The town is named after Simon van der Stel, an early governor of the Cape Colony.
There is an old submarine in the harbour and this afternoon Frans and I went to visit her. It is very interesting to see how much technical equipment and (65?) men are supposed to work in such a cramped space. Imagine you are firing a torpedo at a ship you can only hardly see by sonar and are supposed to hit it as well?interior of the Assegaai submarine, Simon’s Town, South Africa
Still, at the Navy Museum there is a display of the all the sinking and mishaps that took place at the Cape during wartime.
Tu. Feb. 4th -Boulder´s Bay, Simon´s Town, South Africa
Boulders Beach, Penguin Colony
We. Feb. 5th Capetown
We went to Capetown today for customs and emigration, because we will be leaving South Africa tomorrow morning at 5.00 AM.
stickers in the metro and government poster
It is about a seventy minutes ride in the metro. In the morning we travelled second class with all the different ethnic (sometimes really beautiful) faces and on the way back first class was filled with teenagers in highschool clothing.
Th. Feb. 6th -Cape of Good Hope
Today is our first day at sea and we saw Cape of Good Hope, Capetown with Tafelberg en Robbeneiland all from a safe distance. Of course I wanted to take some pictures but getting my camera from my hut in the front cost me my breakfast ..
This afternoon we saw a school of dolphins with some of them right next to our boat.
Not bad for a first day, I would say!
The weather is quiet now and we are heading for Walvisbay in Namibia, which will probably take a good week sailing.
Fr. Feb. 7th -Nightwatch
It was not the same for the old seafarers: they didn’t see so many lights at night of lighthouses or beacons. No skies which light up because of power consuming cities, brighter than any stellar system.
And when you did see a ship, at night, the big question would be is it friend or is it enemy; or was it shoot first and ask questions later?
Or were you on a slave trader, with so many half-dying people just below the deck, jammering for their Gods? It would interfere with your own superstition or dogmas imposed by your church. Was there never any feeling of guild?
There are sounds at night from everything around you and not only from the wind. Your boat is alive: it creeks and there are sighs and you are much more aware of it because you are on watch.
Try at night to find your way by the stars, it is not as easy as it sounds. And how many of us do still know the names of signs of the Zodiac and the story or meaning that lies behind them? For most of us it is something from our youth when we still had fantasies and read books about lost kingdoms or great explorers.
photograph from exhibition
It is not certain who exactly the first people were to round Cape of Storms. Was it the Phoenicians in their galleys 1000 BC, the Arabs in 1200 AD, chinese admiral Chengho in 1420 with his large fleet or was it Bartolomue Diaz 1487-1488 in his caravel?
I find it hard to believe the indigenous people in that part of Africa didn’t use any boats at all? They never got famous by doing so, that is for sure.
the Phoenician Adventurers 1000 BC
the Phoenicians were the greatest sailors of the Mediterranean. Their ships made of cedar wood from Lebanon, were powered by oars and a single helmsman. They may have sailed around Africa in 600BC.
Arabs and the Islamic empire
In AD 622 Arabia gave birth to a new religion and soon the Islamic Empire stretched across North Africa and the Middle East. Arabs were great travellers. In 1200s Arabs exploited the seasonal easterly and westerly monsoon winds to sail between Africa and India. They also explored the coast of East Africa and produced maps and navigational aids.
Chinese admiral Cheng-Ho from the east
1405-1433 The Chinese admiral Cheng-ho led seven expeditions to south-east Asia and the Indian Ocean. He may even have sailed around the southern tip of Africa as early as 1420. There is a 15th century Chinese map showing the southern tip of Africa. Cheng-ho had 62 ships manned by 28,000 man.
The caravel was a sturdy ship that enabled the Portuguese to manoeuvre along the West coast of Africa or sail out in the rough Atlantic.
1483 Diego Cao crossed the Equator
1487-1488 Bartolomeu Diaz rounded Cape of Good Hope
The Route to India Vasco da Gama
1497 – 1498 Vasco da Gama sailed around Africa to India.
Carracks were merchant and war ships used by the Portuguese and Spanish with enough capacity for long trips.
First around the world: Magellan and Del Cano
In 1519 Ferdinand Magellan led a Spanish expedition of 5 ships and 260 men in search of a westerly route to Asia. They experienced ice, storms, desertion, ship wreck, starvation and scurvy. Magellan was killed in a battle. In 1522 the leaking Victoria commanded by Del Cano creaked painfully back to Spain with 18 half-dead survivors
Second around the world: Drake 1577-1580
60 years later a British explorer Frances Drake led the second expedition to sail around the world. They had a good experience around the Cape and named it the ‘Fairest Cape in all the globe’. The Golden Hind was the largest of 5 ships in his fleet.
text courtesy Coastcare South Africa "Our coast for our live", and the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
Su. Feb. 9th -Multi-Culti kitchen
Over the last ten years, Frans and his boat have seen quite a few countries, so the supply of food on board is quite international and multi cultural.
You know that for this stretch of his tour (he has nearly been around the world!) it is my job to prepare the meals. For tonight I made a vegetable curry with an old can with guave from Guatemala, basmati rice from Singapore, pumpkin from Simonstown, spices from Thailand and red beans from, well I don´t know really.
Standing at the sink, I find it a little difficult to pump water with my right foot while I would rather have two feet firmly on the ground to keep my balance…
We are passing the border of South Africa and Namibia in the morning and there is more wind to come at night.
photograph from exhibition
Mo. Feb. 10th -passing Lüderitz
We are passing the town of Lüderitz in Namibia.
Just about every view in Lüderitz reveals its German Imperial and Art Nouveau architectural heritage. But the German history of the area goes a lot further …
The Herero and Namaqua Genocide is considered to have been the first genocide of the 20th century. It took place between 1904 and 1907 in German South-West Africa (modern day Namibia), during the Herero Wars.
On 12 January 1904, the Herero people, led by Samuel Maharero, rebelled against German colonial rule. In August, German general Lothar von Trotha defeated the Herero in the Battle of Waterberg and drove them into the desert of Omaheke, where most of them died of thirst. In October, the Nama people also rebelled against the Germans only to suffer a similar fate.
In total, from 24,000 up to 100,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama died. The genocide was characterised by widespread death from starvation and thirst because the Herero who fled the violence were prevented from leaving the Namib Desert.
In 1985, the United Nations´ Whitaker Report classified the aftermath as an attempt to exterminate the Herero and Nama peoples of South-West Africa and therefore one of the earliest attempts at genocide in the 20th century. The German government recognised and apologised for the events in 2004, but has ruled out financial compensation for the victims´ descendants. (Wikipedia).
From the Oranjemund river up to Lüderitz the coast is called "Sperrgebiet" -Forbidden Coast, because this is where the diamond mines are. The Sperrgebiet boundary is patrolled by some fairly ruthless characters and trespassers will be prosecuted (Lonely Planet publications)
Some people never learn, do they?
No, thank you, I don´t mind we stay out at sea, we are on our way to Walvis Bay.
The German missionary Hermann Heinrich Kreft found diamonds near Lüderitz in 1855. He threw them away. When asked why, he answered, "What should I do with diamonds? They only bring tragedy to a country".
wikipedia (engels): Herero and Namaqua Genocide
wikipedia (german): Aufstand der Herero und Nama namibia-1on1.com
Tu. Feb. 11th -Cool Stuff
In the cockpit, under the dodger -that canopylike hood to keep you out of spraywater and sun- are some really cool digital meters.
From left to right you see first of all the latest contribution, which is a Ipad with a detailed map (Navionics), showing our position, course and destination. Second is, very important, a sort of radar system (AIS) which shows the boats around us and at what distance. Sometimes with name, type and destination. Than a meter for wind direction and speed. In the middle is a really advanced Raymarine HybridTouch (E7) with a detailed map, course, speed over ground, range and bearing, GPS position, date and time, total of miles traveled since Frans bought the instrument (7305 NM), compass, and probably more. Than a depthmeter, works fine except when it is deeper than 200 meters like now, it looks dazed and confused. And finally a meter with the speed through the water, so you can see the strenght of the current (difference with groundspeed).
In the boat are several meters showing the same information. Remember on a boat and on a voyage like this, you will need back-ups of most instruments.
Having double instruments doesn´t mean that it all works. Nothing more devastating than seawater and the cupboards are full with cables and stuff which ´might´ be needed in the future, for the skipper himself or for one of the other ´yotties´ he might meet on route.
We. Feb. 12th -Yellow-tail for dinner
Today we caught our first fish, a beautiful yellowtail. We thanked the fish and found it hard to kill it, but Troy had little problems filling it and making sushi from it …
The rest is in the refrigerator, till further notice.
It is not that difficult to catch fish once you know how: We drag a long strong line with a dummy fish, a brightly coloured "lecker-bischen" by the looks of it. The line comes from the back of the boat but is diverted via the left side with a clothespin, which snaps when dinner has arrived.
Th. Feb. 13th Walvis Bay – Flamingoes
We arrived at Walvis Bay like a breeze. The weather had been fine all day, but hardly any wind.
The harbour is a transit and fishing industry port really, with ugly old trawlers from all over the world and a diesel train going back and forth all day for no apparent reason.
But the yacht club is surrounded by many little restaurants and souvenir shops. We had a seal next to our little dinghy when going ashore and there are flamingos and pelicans right on the pier.
Immigration and Customs is a long way and it takes a friendly passing car to get there and hassling with a taxi on our return.
The bar of the Walvis Bay Yacht Club is surprisingly german with beer in half litres and Jägermeister to go with it.
Walvis Bay is a name for a bay and a city, given by the Dutch in the time of van Riebeeck. Although whales are seen in the seas of western South Africa and the Cape, there is no reference, as I thought, to whale fishing http://www.pinterest.com/WATERartproject/walvisbay/
Fr. Feb. 14th Bartolomeu Dias
Sailing around Africa to India, Bartolomeu Dias arrived at the 8th of December 1487 in the natural bay of what is now called Walvis Bay.
He named it ´O Golfo de Santa Maria da Conceicão´, but that name didn´t last and the Portuguese didn´t take any effort to keep it. During this voyage, strong winds forced him to sail over a 1000 kilometres off course and thus he sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa. He named the Cape ´the Cape of Storms´ (Cabo das Tormentas), but King John II of Portugal later renamed it ´Cabo de Boa Esperanca´ (Cape of Good Hope).www.sahistory.org.za/people/bartholomeu-dias
Painting by Carlos Alberto Santos, title: ´Bartolomeu Dias no Cabo´ 1997 (from the exhibition: ´Vasco da Gama and the Discovery of the Oceans´)
Sa. Feb. 15th -White Lady of the Brandberg
The White Lady is a rock painting, located on a panel, also depicting other art work, on a rock overhang, deep within Brandberg Mountain. The giant granite monolith located in Damaraland and called ´The Brandberg´ is Namibia´s highest mountain.
The painting has long been an archaeological dilemma and several different hypotheses have been put forth on its origins, authorship and dating. It is now usually accepted to be a bushmen painting, dating back at least 2000 years ago.
click for larger view, pictures from Wikicommons
Su. Feb. 16th -Swakopmund
Today we went to Swakopmund in a shared taxi, which is fun.
You share the costs between four passengers and the distance of 50 miles is driven fast and with loud music.
We did a bit of sightseeing, had lunch in a seaside restaurant bought a present for the birthday of Jay, my grandson.
This picture below is from the Swakopmund Museum, a museum with a very interesting and large collection.
We were very surprised to see a woman dressed exactly like this in the supermarket … .. .
Mo. Feb. 17th -shopping
Tu. Feb. 18th -Bird shit
Every morning cruisers and catamarans leave Walvis Bay harbour, packed with tourists. They go seal-watching near the lighthouse across the bay. On the boats are also seals and pelicans, because they know they get fed as the seagulls and other birds who fly behind the boats as in a trail.
There is a special place for the pelicans on the poles of the pier and of course when we arrive with our dinghy, we have to pass them … .. .
He looks innocent, but he knows he is guilty!
We. Feb. 19th -Dinghy repair
Our dinghy needed repair: the o-ring of the propeller was worn out so we needed a new one. Who to call?? Charles and Tuly of course, we never had a quicker and better service: same day and with a smile. What more can we want?
SKELETON COAST MARINE SERVICES
www.skeletoncoastyamaha.com.na Charles´s phone number: 081 8528260
Th. Feb. 20th -mounting the windpilot
Frans has ordered a new rudder blade for the windpilot in Germany. This was send quickly by Namibian Airways to Windhoek and from there in a connecting flight to the airport of Walvis Bay. But to get it through customs is quite a different piece of cake. Officials are mumbling incomprehensible terms in the telephone and Frans is shouting back to make himself understood. And then it has to be mounted from the dinghy to the boat. But this really was a perfect day for doing the job. There was almost no wind and the water was calm. It is a job for two you know and you don’t want to see the thing vanishing in the deep! We were quite pleased with ourselves and had dinner in the yachtclub afterwards.
Fr. Feb. 21th -last day shopping Walvis Bay
We went to Customs and Emigration first to clear out (which is only possible on the same day that you leave, but we want to go very early Saturday) and went for final shopping after that.
I think we have food and booze for a family of six for the next month, but you know, you better be prepared and the next two destinations will be more expensive than Namibia.
We filled the watertanks with 700 litres, apart from bottled water which we use for drinking. Topped up the diesel to 700 litres enough for a distance of 1400 – 1500 nm and bought gasoline for the generator.
Most of the groceries are stored in airtight barrels and we have fresh vegetables and meat for the coming week.
Hope to catch some fish though.
We take our time leaving, almost reluctant to go. We had a very relaxed time, there was a lot see and we felt safe. We met quite a few people: Colin the diamond diver, Astrid the waitress, Peter the taxidriver or the beautie at the post office, all were very friendly.
Sa. Feb. 22th -enroute to Saint Helena
This morning we left Walvis Bay heading for Saint Helena, some 1250 nm away, 11 days sailing.
Seals were fighting for the best place on the little cruiser next to us and on our way out we passed some pretty worn out trawlers, makes you think what story lies behind them.
The first hours at sea were with a lot of swell, ´deining´ we call it in Dutch which is the same word for social unrest.
Again there are dolphins and seals. One of them was swimming behind the boat for a minute or so, I was afraid it would get interested in the fishing line there, but luckily it swam away.
Su. Feb. 23th -swell
Towards the end of Saturday the wind had build up to 20 knots. What is that? Force 6? Nice weather to clear your head with a walk on the beach. I managed to make a decent meal for us, but my stomach feels iffy.
I am not exactly a dancer in my movements, I try to relax but feel heavy on my feet. I have to get used to the merry-go-round once again after the quiet days at Walvis Bay.
photograph from exhibition
We take turns now, 4 hours up, 4 off. But I have to call Frans when there are any changes at all. No moon, no stars, nothing. Inside I heard my laptop fall because of the fierce swell and Frans saying: “Don’t say I didn’t warn you!”.
Sunday´s catch included a tuna (well, 2-2,5 kg) and Frans caught a flying fish on deck, which was quickly photographed for the artjournal and sent back were it came from.
Mo. Feb. 24th -breakfast
This morning we had breakfast with eggs, tomatoes, tuna, an octopus and flying fish (tastes like sardines) The last fly on deck in the night, also because of the strong wind 25-30 knots. Beautiful animals! Their wings look so fragile but are really quite hard and sturdy.
Wind and swell are a little uncomfortable for me. I have to wear a ´don´ when outside, which is a safety-rig with rope and carabiner.
How to find St. Helena?
Here is a picture of a big tanker that I saw in the morning, the ALAN VELIKI (we can see the name and info of that ship on our AIS equipment). It also gives you an idea of the scale of the waves.
But it is the only ship we saw ALL DAY. So you could play loud music, run around naked or poke your nose, no one would be bothered. But you better stay safe out here, because you are not easy to be found either!
So how did they do that, find a island like St. Helena? The legendary needle-in-the-haystack island in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. It is not difficult now, we counted six GPS devices on this sailing vessel alone.
A GPS receiver must be locked on to the signal of at least three satellites to calculate a 2D position (latitude and longitude) and track movement. With four or more satellites in view, the receiver can determine the user’s 3D position (latitude, longitude and altitude). Once the user’s position has been determined, the GPS unit can calculate other information, such as speed, bearing, track, trip distance, distance to destination, sunrise and sunset time and more. www.garmin.com/
We also have VHF Marifoon, Ais (Automatic Identification System -you get a beep when near other vessels which have the same system) and radar. Then, when emergency rises, there is EPIRB, which sends a signal about our position. Clever, hè?!
But how was it when there were no electronic devices?
Henri the Navigator 1394-1469 was the first to start a school to train navigators and collected all knowledge from sailors around the world in his time.
Alistair Buchan wrote an interesting book on how to make your own compass, or how to tell time from the sun or the stars.
Os Lusíadas, usually translated as The Lusiads, is a Portuguese epic poem by Luís Vaz de Camões.
Written in Homeric fashion, the poem focuses mainly on a fantastical interpretation of the Portuguese voyages of discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries. Os Lusíadas is often regarded as Portugal’s national epic, much in the way as Virgil’s Aeneid was for the Ancient Romans, as well as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey for the Ancient Greeks. It was first printed in 1572, three years after the author returned from the Indies.
The Adamastor is a vigorous theophany, which describes the following verses: "Chill the flesh and the hairs/ to me and all [the others] only by listening and seeing him”.
This is intended to convey pure fear, the imminent threat of annihilation. The evil demigod is preceded by a black cloud, which appears above the heads of the sailors.
all from WIKIPEDIACyril Coetzee, T´kama-Adamastor [detail].
Oil on canvas, 1999, 8,64 x 3,26 m. William Cullen Library, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
appeared in an extensive article on Camões: Hedley Twidle (2012): First lives, first words: Camões, magical realism and the limits of invention, Scrutiny2: Issues in English Studies in Southern Africa, 17:1, 28-48 dx.doi.org/10.1080/18125441.2012.706030
We. Feb. 26th -sailmail
I confess I am lost without internet. Not only for my project, but e-mail is for me like picking up a pen or telephone, normal.
Now for ships there is sailmail: you can send (short) messages to an e-mail address via radio. You know, the same radio we use to talk to another ship or to port control.
Except on the GEMINI, it didn’t work properly at all and really was a pain in the behind to be honest. Trying to get online for hours and than being shutdown at the last moment, I think you get the picture.
So what to do? I contacted the maker, inventor as you like of sailmail Jim Coreman. Now he can see from the transmission -don´t ask me how- what we were doing wrong. And he quickly send us a list full with different settings and suggestions. How is that for a helpdesk?
Tu. Feb. 27th -Gennaker
He had it for some time already and now the wind and weather were perfect for Frans to try it out: an enormous 2XL sail for sailing down the wind (wind in your back) with a huge condom to pull over it.
Fr. Feb. 28th -´She´
"Why is a ship called she?
A ship is called she because there is always a great deal of bustle around her. There is usually a gang of men about. She has a waist and stays. It takes a lot of paint to keep her good looking. It is not the initial expense that breaks you, it is the upkeep. She can be all decked out. It takes an experienced man to handle her correctly and without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable. She shows her topsides, hides her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys."
Sa. March 1st -fishing
We caught another tuna! And it is all with the same gear, isn’t that amazing? I will make a little list, adding more while we are on our way. And a big thank you to the fishes!
– yellow tail 2,5 kg.
– mahi-mahi 2 kg.
– yellow tuna 3 kg.
– white tuna 4 kg.
Armed with just this, we caught some beautiful fish and secured our dinners.
Su. March 2nd -the Union Jack
You can’t arrive in St. Helena without the appropiate flag of the United Kingdom. Ships show courtesy flags of the country they are visiting. We couldn’t, the rope had slid and got stuck way up. Frans in the mast, problem solved. Just hope we don’t have to sing.
Mo. March 3rd -Stargazer
Our mast is circling Orion and next to it is Jupiter. On the horizon is Crux or the Southern Cross. I think the early travellers would have valued an Apple App.
On Frans his Iphone I can follow the stars directly, just by pointing at them.
Tomorrow we will arrive at Saint Helena, 60 more nm to go.
In addition to the exceptional quality of the night sky St. Helena has several historical links with eminent astronomers and a long connection to the Royal Astronomical Society.The astronomer Neville Maskelyne (who was Astronomer Royal from 1765 until his death in 1811) came to observe the Transit of Venus in 1761.The site of Edmund Halley´s observatory is regularly on the itinerary of island tour operators (Halley was also an Astronomer Royal). More here ..
Tu. March 04 -arrival at Saint Helena
When we arrived at St. Helena, the weather was so dramatic and bad that we were wondering what Napoleon would have thought at the arrival at his final destination of excile. We almost felt pity for the man. But a little later in the morning it cleared up quickly and became quite warm again.
He was very aware, but not intimidated by the situation: "Ce n´est pas un jolie sèjour! J´aurais mieux fait de rester en Egypte; je serais aujourd´hui empereur de tout l´Orient" (I would have rather stayed in Egypt, I would have been emperor of the whole Orient by now!)
We. March 05 -a tour with a guide
The last few days we have been researching the historical highlights of this remarkabel island. We had a very good guide who gave us a wonderful tour, we found many doors open and people were pleased with our interest.
The museum, the archives en the places where Napoleon stayed, disclosed a lot of funny details. look here for pictures and text in Dutch
statue of Napoleon in Briar’s House, Saint Helena www.napoleon.org
Th. March 06 -market in St. Helena
Jamestown, the capital, is quite a different city: the strange mix of cultures, the expectations for the future (the airport) and then the silly run for fresh vegetables.
Fr. March 07 -Museum & Archives of Saint Helena
Saint Helena has got a wonderful and interesting museum. One of the photographs shows the children from Jamestown in about 1890, photograph taken by Tom Jackson.
Sa. March 08 -enroute to Fernando de Noronha
Hardly any wind all day so we had to use the motor which gave us a steady pace of 5 nm an hour. The deck was so hot that it was difficult to walk on it with bare feet.
We made an extra fishing line to double our chances, but I haven’t seen any fish or bird all day.
photograph from exhibition
The sound of the motor -a 80hp PERKINS- is a constant hummmm. Perkins makes good motors, so not to worry, we ‘ll get there eventually.
-Jan Huygen van Linschoten
Saint Helena, painting by van Linschoten
photographed with permission in The Museum of Saint Helena, picture donated by Dr. John Harley-Mason
click the image for a larger view
Jan Huygen van Linschoten was a Dutch sailor or spy, who sailed with the Portuguese to St. Helena in 1589. He described the island like this: "It is a verie high and hillie countrie, so that it commonly reacheth unto the cloudes"
The following extracted from “The Saint Helena Almanack” 1913, is a descriptive account of the island by the Dutch officer Admiral Wittert.
"April 5th, 1608 – The fleet being 26 40S, had orders to bear for the island of St. Helena and, as we might encounter Portuguese carracks, it was divided into three divisions: The first composed of the ships “Les Provincies”. “Unies”, “Zealande”, “Hollande” and two yachts, “Griffen” and Äigle”. under the command of Admiral Willemsz; the second composed of the “Middelbourg”, “L´Amsterdam”, “Delft”, and the yacht “Paon”, under Vice-Admiral François Wittert; the third composed of the ships “Rotterdam”. “Lion-Rouge”, “Horrn”, and the yacht “Faucon”, under Cloasy van Driel.
"One finds there good oranges, pomegranates and lemons, enough to serve for the refreshment of the crew of five or six vessels. We saw also a quantity of parsley, purslain, senery, sorrel, camomile herbs, which eaten in soups or in salads, are very good against the scurvy."
map by van Linschoten, photographed at Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam
"The use of these herbs contributed so much to the cure of those who were sick of scurvy, that in eight days more than half of them were in a state to go and dress them and even to go to hunt the goats and wild board with Admiral Wittert! They had not seen any land since Île de Mayo (Clare Island?) 13 weeks before"
“Descriptions of Journeys to West and East Indis” 1602-1797. Vol. II Verken’s Moluccas Journeys I. 1607/1612
Author: Percy Teale Head of Public Works Department in Saint Helena from 1957 to 1960
*Note S.R. Welch gives the name Admiral Verhoeff
Mo. March 10th -Dutch Territorial stone
We found this territorial stone in the office of the archives of Saint Helena .
It looks as if the text was never properly finished. Did they run out of time? Disturbed by the Portuguese?
Or argueing about whose name should come first?
And first of all, where is the date? If you know more about this, please share
This is the text as it appears on the stone:
PER ORDER VAN DE WELEDELE HOOGMOOGENDE HEEREN
DE HEEREN S.G. NEEDERBURG EN S.H. FRYKENIUS COMMISSARISEN GENERAL VAN NEEDERLANDS INDIEN EN CABO DE GOEDE HOOP POSSESIE
GENOEMEN VAN DIT LAND EN
EYLANDEN UYT NAAMEN
Lion clutching 7 arrows = seven counties (Zeven Provinciën)
Marks on top of stone indicate PB and IACN
This stone was bought of a Private owner residing Nr. Knollcombes by SHG
St. Helena Archives (Miss Karen Henry)
The Castle, Jamestown, St. Helena Island, South Atlantic Ocean, STHL IZZ
tags: Neederburg, Frykenius, St. Helena, OIC, territorial stone
Tu. March 11 -FISH
From St. Helena to Fernando de Noronha is the longest stretch of our voyage. It will take us 17-18 days.
We have a refrigerator in a ´box´-form 50x50x70 cm. and in it a freezer the size of a h6 shoebox
So you can´t really take as much ´fresh´ as you would like. Well, in St. Helena it wasn´t easy to get what you would like anyway.
So, once on our way, we fish. Sometimes we are lucky and sometimes there is no fish at all. But now we caught enough mahi-mahi for a whole week!
I like to go to the market in The Hague, the place where I live. People are nice and prices are reasonable. I am brave enough to point the fish out that I want and they clean it for me.
So I should be brave enough now, to kill the fish I catch or I would be a hypocrite.
But what about the meat we eat: the beef, the lamb and the burgers?
"I couldn´t kill a cow", I said to Frans.
Frans: "I could and you are still a hypocrite"
So be it,
end of story.
link: theblackfish.org Amsterdam based conservation organisation on a mission to change attitudestowards our precious oceans and work to protect the unique life within them.
We. March 12 -Henri the Navigator
This man became famous for his School for Navigators: Henrique, Duke of Viseu, third son of the king of Portugal, Jo&acedil;o en de English Philippa of Lancaster.
Famous for his knowlegde of geography, his bountless energy and his initiatives to instigate expeditions into the unknown world
Less wellknown is that he got one fifth of the first sale of slaves in 1444 (!) in Lisbon.
There seems to be an eyewitness account of that he was present on his horse and watched families been torn apart.
It is not that they didn´t knew what they were doing.
alleged portrait of Henri the Navigator. Detail of a painting by Nuno Gonçalves, 1470-1780. National Museum for Old Art, Lisbon
source: Roelof van Gelder, NRC Handelsblad, 10/11/2000
Th. March 13 -Safety
What was it? A near-escape or an accident in a little corner?
There was a loud BANG, outside on deck. I looked at Frans: “What was THAT?”
“This could be serious”, he said.
It proved that a h6 locking-pin, which should secure a blind bolt, connecting the geek to the mast, was broken.
this 25 cents piece, ok -stainless steel- 50 cents, put the whole ship in danger.
We managed to get the geek back in to place, but only because there was so little wind and we were with two.
Otherwise what can you do? Scream: "HEEELP"?
-Music about the Sea
There is lots of music about the sea, and probably more sensible than these:
– Benjamin Britten, “Sea Interludes”
– John Cage, “Water Walk” (1960)
– George Crumb, “Voice of the Whale” is quite interesting
– Morcheeba, “the Sea”
– Corinne Bailey Rea. “the Sea”
– Nina Simone, “Pirate Jenny”
– Sting, “the Wild, wild Sea”
– Richard Wagner, “Der fliegende Holländer” of course
– de Havenzangers ? 😉
Sa. March 15 -NASA
There are photographs made by NASA, which you can see and download for free.
Here is a picture from the sky from the island Saint Helena.
Su. March 16 -Slave Trade
This blog: random notes: geographer-at-large has an excellent page about websites dealing with slavery as it still exists today, like Anti Slavery International (ASI),
Products of Slavery.org and endslaverynow.com and many others.
Indian South Africans are people of Indian descent living in South Africa and mostly in and around the city of Durban, making it ‘the largest ‘Indian’ city outside India’. Most Indians in South Africa are descendents of migrants from colonial India during late 19th-century through early 20th-century.
Dutch slavery in the Cape
A significant proportion of slaves imported into the Cape were from India, however these slaves quickly integrated with the rest of the Cape population. White Afrikaners also may have some Indian slave ancestry, an example of this being former President Klerk, who revealed in his autobiography that one of his ancestors was a female Indian slave.
Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam, more pictures on PINTEREST
An early Indian to settle in South Africa was Kalaga Prabhu, a Brahmin merchant from Cochin. He was the foremost merchants in Cochin. As punishment for conspiring with the Mysore king Hyder Ali to overthrow the king of Cochin, Kalaga Prabhu and his son Chorda Prabhu were arrested by the Dutch and exiled with their families for life to the Cape of Good Hope in 1771
(text and picture: Rainbow Stamp Club, India)
Article in the Guardian about modern slavery.
Mo. March 17 -Gods of Brasil
-Maps and Mapmakers
You can make a map to explain which way to go. Or you can draw a map when you know dimensions, like from a cathedral o a citymap.
But how to draw a map about a world you don’t really know? Then you draw what you think it looks like, or how you would like it to be.
Africa Novae, map by Willem Blaeu, 1630
-James Harisson and his universal timekeeper
When you want to know where you are at sea and where you are going, exactly, you need to navigate. And for that you first need to know your coordinates. These coordinates consist of two numbers: latitude and longitude.
Take a ball in your hand and think of the position under your indexfinger as the Northpole and under your thumb as the Southpole. Now the latitudes are horizontal lines with the Equator right in the middle: sun, moon and stars run directly overhead there, leaving no shadow. Any sailor can calculate his latitude by the length of the day, by the height of the sun or known guide stars above the horizon. Other imaginary parallels are The Ecliptic, The Tropic of Cancer, The Tropic of Capricorn or the Arcric Circle.
The meridians of longitude go the vertical way: they loop from the Northpole to the Southpole in great circles of always the same size, so they all converge at the poles of the earth. The longitude lines are divided by time only.
You need to know a starting point in time ‘Greenwich Universal Time’ and compare that with the exact time of where you are, measured with an universal watch. This watch, the ‘chronometer’ was the exclusive invention of James Harrison around 1740.
photograph from: Royal Museums Greenwich
One book explains this fascinating story in detail: ‘Longitude, the true story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time’ by Dava Sobel. It is easy and fun to read, full with political intrigue, international warfare, personal feuds and deceit and it quickly became a bestseller.
ISBN 1-85702-571-7 Fourth Estate Publishers
Th. March 20 -Sea Monsters
So long, long before seafarers found a solution for the longitude problem, pinpointing the coordinates for a place via the time meridians, they knew how to travel via the parallel meridians, like the Equator or the Tropic of Cancer, imagining lines running as parallels across the earth as Columbus did when he went westwards in 1492.
But they still didn’t know where they were going, did they?
They got scared of what dangers and monsters would lie ahead. And from stories and superstition they knew what the monsters looked like
Fr. March 21 -Aircraft carrier
In the middle of the night, birds are trying to use our sun-panels as their landing platform, which is quite funny to see. They are probably exhausted or migrating? No idea what kind of bird this is, have to look it up.
In the morning they clean themselves, thoroughly, and leave, EAST!
Waves are high for some reason and it is very warm.
Sa. March 22 -Venus
Now, let´s see whether I can explain this:
This picture has been taken by an Apple-app., a computer-program which allows you to do funny things with your smartphone.
One of those things is holding it against the sky at night and it will tell you exactly which stars and Zodiac-signs you are looking at.
On this picture you see a red line, imagine this to be the horizon. Above it you see Venus and under this line you see a black circle with a little glowing edge representing the moon. Every night, when you look at the stars, time is progressing and Venus and the moon are rising: it is as if Venus is dragging the moon up into the sky. whether it is a full moon or just a little rim, Venus is dragging light into the whole atmosphere, and for how many millions of light years?? Isn´t that wonderful?
Su. March 23 -Prison Islands
An island has always been a perfect place to put people away that you don’t want around, whether they are criminals, politicians or victims from a disease you can’t handle.
We passed a few already on our voyage: Robben Island (near Capetown: this prison island housed former South African president Nelson Mandela for 18 of the 27 years he was jailed. It also served as a leper colony and an animal quarantine – See more at: http://www.rdasia.com/8-prision-islands#sthash.H1jLy53i.dpuf), St. Helena (Napoleon after his defeat at Waterloo) and Fernando de Noronha (political prisoner Barbosa Lima).
Other ill-famous places are of course Île de Salut (Frans will be passing that island after Fortaleza, the most famous political prisoner on Devil’s Island was Captain Alfred Dreyfus), but also Alcatraz, Elba and the Gulag Archipel (Solzhenitsyn)
Prisoners at Fernando de Noronha, 1939 – photograph taken from murderiseverywhere.blogspot.nl
Sampling the ocean’s DNA
Genomics pioneer Craig Venter takes a break from his epic round-the-world expedition to talk about the millions of genes his team has discovered so far in its quest to map the ocean´s biodiversity.
In 2001, Craig Venter made headlines for sequencing the human genome. In 2003, he started mapping the ocean’s biodiversity. And now he’s created the first synthetic lifeforms – micro-organisms that can produce alternative fuels.
There is also a water ‘portal’ on Wikipedia
Tu. March 25 -Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha was discovered on August 10, 1503 by the Portuguese and the name stems from Fernâo de Noronha a merchant, the group of islands was given to him by the crown for his services. It consists of an archipelo of 21 islands approx. 354 km from the Brazilian coast. and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Plankton is the foundation of the ocean food web. The word plankton comes from the Greek word “planktos” which means drifting.
One of the most important plants in the sunlit zone is also the est. Phytoplankton are organisms that float on or near the surface of the water. Most are rounded and single-celled. All phytoplankton use photosynthesis for their energy, but some get additional energy by consuming other organisms. The most common phytoplankton are diatoms and dinoflagellates. Diatoms are single-celled algae. They often join together in long chains.
Plankton (singular plankter) are a diverse group of organisms that live in the water column and cannot swim against a current. They provide a crucial source of food to many large aquatic organisms, such as fish and whales.
These organisms include drifting animals, protists, archaea, algae, or bacteria that inhabit the pelagic zone of oceans, seas, or bodies of fresh water; that is, plankton are defined by their ecological niche rather than phylogenetic or taxonomic classification.
Though many planktic (or planktonic) species are microscopic in size, plankton includes organisms covering a wide range of sizes, including large organisms such as jellyfish.
-Art & Water
Shinichi Maruyama, a Japanese photographer now living in New York, uses simply his hands, glasses of water and a Phase One P45 camera to create elegant water sculptures. “No matter how many times I repeat the same process of throwing [water] in the air, I never achieve the same result. And I am so fascinated by this unexpected interaction of liquids colliding … that I am overwhelmed by its beauty.” Find an interview with Maruyama here and more images of his work here. On a rather related note, don’t miss our previous post, Water Drop Filmed in 10,000 Frames Per Second. Another thing of beauty.
Discovery: Invisible Worlds, … and explore the mysterious forces of water that you will have to see to believe.
There is no computer generated imagery and no blue screens – everything you see in this series is real …
-Oceans & Plastic Waste
photo: Ocean Soup Foundation
the Ocean Cleanup
The Ocean Cleanup develops world’s first feasible concept to clean the oceans of plastic.
Sa. March 29th -Fortaleza (Brazil)
We arrived quite early, so we had to slow down to make the right and difficult approach to the yacht harbour of the Marina Park Hotel. There are some wrecks right in front of the harbour without proper signage (!). Then we had a tremendous trouble to park her majesty (the GEMINI is a longkeeler) backwards in proper position. Later we learned that the yacht harbour had a wrong start right from the drawingtable and isn’t maintained in any way due to money problems. Pity, but there isn’t any solution in the foreseeable future for that.
Renée and Daphne (my wife and daughter) had planned to meet us there half April, so that gave Frans and myself a few weeks to do a lot of sightseeing and get a good impression of Fortaleza, Jericoacoara en Cumbuco.
After that, Frans went solo on his way to Îles de Salut (French Guyana) and Suriname (with Harry) and Trinidad and I returned to Holland with so many good memories and a lot of material for my art project!