Paradise! Wow how beautiful is the coastline leading to Rio Brazil, and then you have Rio! Our first sight of land in 31 days was instant relief.
I woke at 6am hoping that land was in sight but was disappointed. Our wind had dropped to under 5 kts. and then slowly out of the low lying cloud as if a dream, mountainous outlines started to emerge from the ocean in the distance. The shapes slowly got bigger and by 11am the majestic headland of Cabofrio was on our starboard bow. Such excitement and over and above the shear headland the wind had picked up and we were sailing at an unbelievable 8 to 10 kts. If only we could have traveled at this speed for some days on the rest of the crossing. The crew was visibly excited and in the course of 8 hours I took over a thousand pictures. Hot Ice is designed for heavy winds and it was living its dream for a change! The coast line between Cabofrio and Rio is very picturesque, back by mountains and fronted with endless white beaches and scattered islands. We arrived at the entrance to Rio at sunset. After such a long tiring journey it was like entering a wonderland. The orange sky surrounding the mountains and bays that make up Rio de Janeiro. Sugarloaf Mountain standing guard like a towering colossus. It is a peak situated at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rising 396 meters (1,299 Ft.) above the harbor, its name is said to refer to its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar. It’s amazing to see these granites and quartz rocks rising straight out of the sea all-round the bay.
We could see the silhouette of the statue of Christ the Redeemer up on Corcovado, a huge hill looking down on the city and the bay. It is 30 meters tall. As the night came in so did the statue light up in pink and purple before turning white.
On the way in some of the crew started to worry about being met by a boat that would tow us onto the mooring as we did not have an engine and we were not sure whether there was enough wind to take us all the way to the yacht club. Our ladies were put onto the case by email and at the same time we contacted the organizing committee to enquire about the procedure to enter and support we might expect. I suggested that we follow the procedure given to us in Cape Town and call them on the radio at 25nm out. There was an instant response! They would notify the committee and we were to standby. As we got closer, we called again and said we were getting close and was the tow organized. For a minute or 2 it seemed that there was a miss understanding and nothing had been organized but after reiterating the need for a tow, miraculously one was on the way. As we round the island into the bay the wind died. We proceeded to take down the sails and no sooner than this was done we were informed over the radio to look out for a red boat on its way. We saw it in the distance and as it arrived we were greeted by a fabulous surprise as our wives and girlfriends, that had been frustratedly waiting, had managed to get on to the tow boat. Hellos were screamed and the tow lined attached. The champagne was popped and we began to celebrate. The next hour under tow to the mooring pasted in a flash but not before we all stood at the back surrounding the skipper as he steered singing “itsy bits tini weeni yellow polka dot bikini” led by Shaun.
On to the mooring we went and the ladies poured on to Hot Ice bring more champagne. Shouts of celebration and relief, filled the bay. We had made it! A quick tour of Hot Ice for the ladies and straight back onto the ferry with our bags that had been packed since the early morning. We need to feel terra firma under our feet ASAP. As we arrived a long side the jetty, Jean jumped on to land first and was followed by the rest of us. Those first few steps were very wobbly and we staggered like drunks to a table nearby.
Babbling like excited children we began to relate our stories. The beer arrived and we did not move for a while from of those comfortable seats. We had completed our challenge!
Dinner was served and most of us had fish and chips and beer.
From terra firma till tomorrow