s/y Nine of Cups
South Atlantic Crossing - Tristan da Cunha
14 Nov - 21 Dec 2006
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We had "met" Andy Repetto, the island's
resident HAM, via email from Uruguay and
then chatted with him daily en route to
Tristan. At right, Andy and his wife, Lorraine,
offered us hospitality beyond our wildest
dreams. An island tour, lunch at their home,
Tristan lobsters, taters, mutton, beef and
cider...and most of all, their friendship.
The lobster boat comes in to the little harbor.
This boat collects lobsters from all the other
boats out and returns with the current day's
catch for processing at the factory.
Land ho! Tristan da Cunha in sight!
The anchorage was deep (75') and open to the
wind and swells. For two days we managed
nicely, but the wind and weather changed on
day 3 and we made a hurried departure.
A view from the deck of Nine of Cups of "the
Settlement" as Edinburgh of the Seven Seas is
called. The town is tiny with one main paved
road and a surprisingly large number of vehicles.
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Above, the "patches" are the vegetable
growing areas which the islanders maintain.
They are neatly sectioned off by walls of
volcanic rock. Tristan "taters" are a staple
crop and we enjoyed them all the way to
Cape Town.
The setting is pastoral and tranquil. Sheep
graze and people walk along well worn
paths to their homes and little businesses
in town. Everyone says hello. The main
grazing and garden areas are located a
few kilometers out of town. Flowers were
in bloom and the islanders were all
rejoicing over a good year of lobstering
which was coming to a close.
The decision to cross the Atlantic was made when we
were in Ushuaia and feeling tired of being so cold.
Once we headed north up the Argentine coast, it
seemed foolish to slog back down and then go west so
we changed our minds as cruisers often do and after a
relaxing five months touring Argentina, Paraguay and
Uruguay and working on Nine of Cups, we headed out
on 14 November for Cape Town, South Africa.  This
would be our longest passage to date, nearly 4,000
nautical miles. Our goal was to arrive in Cape Town
for Christmas.

All in all, it was a pleasant passage. After our usual
initial bout of seasickness, we were up and about and
enjoying our life at sea. There was always something to
do or to fix, we read, talked and planned. It's easy to
lose track of day and date so we concocted lots of
celebrations to differentiate the days. Some were
easy...Marcie's birthday and Thanksgiving. Others
took some pondering...GMT Day (the day we set our
clocks to GMT time), Prime Meridian Day, 1,000
Miles Under the Keel, 2,000 Miles Under the Keel,  
1,000 Miles Left to Cape Town, Tristan da Cunha
Day. There was no dearth of celebrations aboard. The
biggest thrill of the passage, however, was arriving at
Tristan da Cunha and having the opportunity to go
ashore.
David splices a jib furling line which
chafed through during the trip.
We witnessed many outstanding South
Atlantic sunsets like the one above.
Those are wandering albatross soaring
by, looking for dinner.
The most comfortable bunk in the boat
during a passage is one of the saloon
settees. We take turns, 3 hours on/off.
Jelly slept with whomever was off.
Tristan da Cunha, discovered by Portugese explorer, Tristan da Cunhao in
1506.  The anchorage at Edinburgh on the north coast is an open roadstead
and weather-dependent. After 2500 miles of sailing, we were fortunate
enough to have light southerly breezes when we arrived and had the chance
to go ashore for two consecutive days.

The island's population is about 300 people...all hardy and independent souls.
The islanders primary source of income is the harvest of Tristan lobsters and
fish for export. They grow most of their own produce in an area on the east
coast called "the patches". They raise their own livestock, mostly sheep and
cattle and chickens. They seem keenly aware of nature's fine balance and limit
the number of livestock to amount of grazing areas available. They fish, but
make sure the lobsters are replenishing.

Our stay there was no less than magical.
Tristan lobsters!!! Man, were they ever
good. Andy & Lorraine gave us a freezer
full and we enjoyed them even after we
arrived in South Africa!
A view of Inaccessible Island in the distance.
The two rocks sticking up are called "the
Hardies".
The island has a small supermarket
which is fairly well-stocked on dry and
canned goods and predictably low on
fresh produce. The islanders rely on
infrequent  boats from South Africa for
items not produced on the island.
The Residency of the British Administrator
above had an outstanding view of the
Atlantic. We took tea with Administrator
Michael Hentley and his wife, Janice and
enjoyed a great chat about their life in the
Foreign Service.
The island is noted for its birdlife, but we
didn't get the chance to spend much time
birdwatching unfortuately. Rockhopper
penguins are resident here and the other
Tristan islands, but we "borrowed" this photo
from the Tristan website because we saw
nary a one.
Only two nights were spent at Tristan
and the weather changed and we
reluctantly needed to move on. We still
had 1,500 miles to Cape Town and the
days were ticking quickly on towards
Christmas.

We arrived in Cape Town on 21
December after a rough last day of 35
knot winds on the nose, nasty waves
and a  north setting current. The wind
subsided and the sun appeared as we
sailed into Table Bay.
Crossing the Prime Meridian
(0 longitude).
Magnificent Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
Check out Tristan's official website and the
shipping news at Tristan da Cunha to see
mention of Cups' visit.
According to the Guinness Book of World
Records
, Tristan is  THE REMOTEST
inhabited island in the world.
Next, visit South Africa with us.
Wow...this is really exciting!
St. Helena Island
Ascension Island