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Solwezi
Zambia

a photo record of our sailing and travel missions around the world - currently in africa.

blog

best birthday

kate brand

Rufus made it back from the UK just in time for my birthday. we took the day off boat work, he spoiled me rotten, we ate good food (chocolates count as food as far as we are concerned) and we didn't talk boat for the entire day!

we ended off the celebrations with a braai - lots of red meat, beer and most importantly good friends. you can take us out of South Africa but you can never take our will to braai. 

just when I thought the festivities were winding down our boatyard family suprised me with the BEST chocolate cake I have ever tasted. if I am honest I will admit that I'm more of a choc brownie kinda girl but this cake... No words!

its made by the owner of an excellent Italian restaurant in Port of Spain and just one slice of this heavenly creation is close to R100/$10. I think it's called "death by chocolate", layers of moist cake, mousse and ganache, topped with dark chocolate flakes and drizzled with rich chocolate sauce. I am officially converted from brownies.

Paola, Natali, Joao and Luigi thank you for my special cake! Celine, Tony, Marco and Jacomo, thank you for the food. Graeme, Suzie, Sacha and Julia, we missed you. And thank you to everyone for a great celebration, especially my main man Rufus x

Natali bringing the cake out

Natali bringing the cake out

me in shock

me in shock

joy

joy

Paola, Luigi, Celine, Tony, Marco and Joao laughing at me 

Paola, Luigi, Celine, Tony, Marco and Joao laughing at me 

time to blow out the candles and make a wish that had already come true :)

time to blow out the candles and make a wish that had already come true :)

Joao helping with the candles (he is also a choc-o-holic). the faster they go out the faster we can feast!

Joao helping with the candles (he is also a choc-o-holic). the faster they go out the faster we can feast!

birthday girl had to dish up for everyone

birthday girl had to dish up for everyone

 

 

left overs for breakfast

left overs for breakfast

Natali made a mini Melody - the perfect personal touch :)

Natali made a mini Melody - the perfect personal touch :)


yachtmaster

kate brand

it's been a week since Rufus returned from his 3 week RYA Yachtmaster training in the UK. we've been making up for lost time with birthday celebrations and a LOT of good food with our friends, hence the social network silence - I even received a message from my Dad asking if we are still alive so I knew it was time to get posting again.

Rufus made the trek up north to do his Yachtmaster Offshore and Ocean exams - neither of which are a walk in the park and he passed both with flying colours (he.is.awesome.)!

why all the way to the UK and not closer to home like Grenada or the US you ask? well it's simple - the RYA schools closer to us don't offer these exams till earliest September and we need to get working in the charter industry ASAP to fund our circumnavigation (we aren't trust fund babies and our savings can only last so long). plus, Rufus did all his other RYA training and tickets in Falmouth at the same school, Cornish Cruising, so we knew it was a good place to go.

almost all the charter companies worldwide require a minimum qualification of Yachtmaster Offshore, even deckhands now often have to have a skippers ticket to be employed on the larger boats. since we already have a truckload of sea miles to our names, the only thing stopping us from securing good jobs is the RYA ticket.  

we also decided, since we were paying bucketloads of cash for him to do his Offshore, he might as well do his Ocean too, for international deliveries.

during his stay he visited a couple of old friends and we both would like to say a very BIG thank you to Esther and her wonderful family for hosting him in Falmouth, as well as Richard and his wife for hosting Rufus in London. you all spoiled him rotten and fed him well - we are grateful to have friends like you and you are always welcome on Melody! 

here are a few photos Rufus took with his GoPro Hero 3 while in Falmouth. 

boarding his flight from Trinidad to Tobago where he caught his flight to London Gatwick

boarding his flight from Trinidad to Tobago where he caught his flight to London Gatwick

Sunday roast at Falmouth Marina

Sunday roast at Falmouth Marina

one of the school' straining boats, a Bavaria 38 

one of the school' straining boats, a Bavaria 38 

view of the estuary 

view of the estuary 

a classic British phone booth

a classic British phone booth

view from the National Express bus, passing through Cornwall

view from the National Express bus, passing through Cornwall

Falmouth town centre

Falmouth town centre

thousands of miles away from the Caribbean...

thousands of miles away from the Caribbean...

The Wig & Pen

The Wig & Pen

 

 

Esther and her awesome family 

Esther and her awesome family 

 

 

trinidad

kate brand

I've been getting a lot of "where are you now" questions and this is the answer: Chaguaramas, Trinidad!

Trinidad is the southern most island in the the Caribbean string, very close to the Venezuelan coast of South America. We've been here for almost 2 months now and 99% of that time has been on the hard in Power Boats. For those of you that don't speak 'boat', the 'hard' is means 'land'. The boat gets lifted out of the water with a travel lift and plonked on the ground in, in a boat yard, with supports to keep it upright. 

The reason we're on the hard is to work on Melody - upgrades, repairs and add-ons (can you say "water maker"!!). We have worked almost every single day (with the occasional half day rest if we are too stiff to move/lift things) from 8am till after dark sometimes. We don't want to do this again till we reach New Zealand, hopefully in a year or two, so we are making sure to do as much as we can now.

Unfortunately my camera battery got fried a day after we arrived here so I only have the photos from my iPhone. A new battery is on it's way from the UK, where Rufus has been for the past 2.5 weeks - more on that trip a little later. These are a few shots from my Instagram account, of what's it's like here.

the travel lift that transports the boats out of and back into the water.

the travel lift that transports the boats out of and back into the water.

view of the yard, looking at the slip where the boats get lifted in and out of the water.

view of the yard, looking at the slip where the boats get lifted in and out of the water.

our first project, the day we arrived, open up the two back cabins to make one huge master!

our first project, the day we arrived, open up the two back cabins to make one huge master!

Rufus designed and built a new frame for the solar panels - not an easy job...

Rufus designed and built a new frame for the solar panels - not an easy job...

dry fitting the new toe rail

dry fitting the new toe rail

new friends: Luuck (met him and his wife in Grenada) and Andy from Brazil

new friends: Luuck (met him and his wife in Grenada) and Andy from Brazil

Melody on the move: after Rufus left to the UK Melody moved from te back corner of the yard to a prime spot at the front water's edge.

Melody on the move: after Rufus left to the UK Melody moved from te back corner of the yard to a prime spot at the front water's edge.

but I had to wait an extra wee because we were 'parked in' by this old fishing boat. the owner kept giving me mangos and fish - sweet deal!

but I had to wait an extra wee because we were 'parked in' by this old fishing boat. the owner kept giving me mangos and fish - sweet deal!

the view from our new spot, right on the water's edge.

the view from our new spot, right on the water's edge.

just because we live in a boat yard doesn't mean we have to suffer - we have made friends from all over the world, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Switzerland, Canada etc and they have spoilt us with the most delicious food and treats.

just because we live in a boat yard doesn't mean we have to suffer - we have made friends from all over the world, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Switzerland, Canada etc and they have spoilt us with the most delicious food and treats.

every morning we are up at 6am and we make our fresh espresso to start the day. Brought espresso maker from SA to Zambia to NYC and now to Melody. 

every morning we are up at 6am and we make our fresh espresso to start the day. Brought espresso maker from SA to Zambia to NYC and now to Melody. 

late nights on top of te doghouse roof trying to catch a wifi signal.

late nights on top of te doghouse roof trying to catch a wifi signal.

 

welcome party

kate brand

the last time we were in Trinidad we had an exceptionally bad experience. I won't go into details but when we finally were able to leave we swore we would never NEVER go back. 

never say never... because here we are again, 17 months later. thankfully this visit has been much better and it is mostly because of the friendly Power Boats team (the yard we are currently working in, on Melody) and most especially the great friends we have made with our fellow yachties.

we did a 16hr overnight passage from Grenada to Trinidad and as the sun rose we got our first glimpse of the island. to start the day off on the best note possible we also had a welcoming party, a large pod of dolphins, that escorted us into Scotland Bay, just before our final destination of Chaguaramas.

these guys were huge, some of the biggest and oldest I've seen, and very playful. they stayed with us for almost an hour and when I eventually dared to leave the bow seat and get my camera, that's when they really started having fun - spraying me almost every time I tried to take a picture. they jumped up to touch my outstretched feet and a few acrobatic performances for us off the starboard beam. it was a good start.

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off the line

kate brand

As many of you know, we started the 'Melody' chapter of our life 4 years ago and we did it with another two awesome humans. Vivian and Daniel took on this dream with us, rather spontaneously, and without them we wouldn't be where we are today. 

We bought Melody together, we worked extremely hard to refit her and we all sacrificed a lot. We eventually left South Africa in September of 2012 and the four of us sailed across the Atlantic Ocean (without and autopilot!!??) to Brazil and then on to Tobago where, in December of that same year, Rufus and I left to work in Zambia.

We desperately needed to replenish our personal cash reserves and so Viv & Dan continued to sail the Caribbean for the duration of 2013. At the end of 2013 we bought out their 50% shares and became the proud full owners of S/V Melody!

Viv and Dan returned to SA to pursue their land based dreams of studies, for Viv, and a job in his field study and interest, for Daniel. They also made their love and their commitment official with a beautiful, intimate wedding earlier this year (take a look at some of the beautiful photos in their blog post). Happy day!

Our time together as a team was an epic adventure filled with serious highs and of course serious lows but, in the end, we wouldn't change it for anything. We learnt too much to tell in one sitting, and we are all better people for it.

They have done their farewell post on our team blog, www.offtheline.co.za, but they're continuing the updates on the twitter account so you can see what they are up to now - Viv is posting some beautiful shots of their SA explorations: @off_the_line

We wish them all the best for their new chapter and we're forever grateful for their part in our journey together. Big love to you both x

Fernando De Noronha - our first stop after the Atlantic crossing, off the coats of Brazil

Fernando De Noronha - our first stop after the Atlantic crossing, off the coats of Brazil

Fernando

Fernando

our very first coconuts! Fernando De Noronha

our very first coconuts! Fernando De Noronha

 

 

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celebrating crossing the equator!

celebrating crossing the equator!

Daniel

Daniel

Vivian

Vivian

Rufus

Rufus

Kate

Kate

our last beer together in Tobago, before Rufus and I left for Zambia

our last beer together in Tobago, before Rufus and I left for Zambia