Saint Peter and Saint Paul's Rocks and on to Fernando de Noronha

Easy to find with a GPS! Coutinho and Cabral HAD to find them using sextant, clock and dead reckoning over 918 NM of water! Bravo!

As Coutinho and Cabral's Fairey IIID did not have sufficient range to reach Fernando de Noronha, they had arranged for a refuelling rendezvous with a ship at these rocks. They reached the rocks after almost 12 hours of flying the 18th of April 1922 with only a few minutes of fuel left. Unfortunately one of the floats was damaged during the landing on the rough sea and the first Fairey IIID 'Lusitânia' sank. The two navigators had to wait almost a month in Fernando de Noronha for the second Fairey 'Portugal' to arrive (by boat).

St. Paul rocks What a runway! About 2/3 of the way from Cape Verde Islands to Brazil we flew over the tiny St. Peter and St. Pauls rocks (position 00°58N 029°11W). Seen here from 10'000 ft through a 300 mm telephoto lens. 

Approach to land in Fernando de Noronha Finally land in sight again! And it looks like paradise! 

We left Sal, Cape Verde Islands at 2 am to reach the much-feared ITCZ front (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) by sunrise. It is an almost permanent front near the equator where the trade winds from northern and southern hemisphere meet. We had to deviate about 50 NM to the east to avoid a severe tropical thunderstorm right on our route. We were in IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions) for about 20 minutes and flew for 5 minutes in heavy rain and 'moderate' turbulence.

Here we are on a left base for runway 12 in Fernando de Noronha after 9 hours and 20 minutes over the sea. In spite of an increasing influx of tourists the island is still very unspoilt.

With modern navigation and communication equipment and the Mooney's relatively high speed, efficiency and range, our ocean crossing was much less heroic than that of Coutinho and Cabral; it was our Christmas holidays!

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© Flemming PEDERSEN, Armand F. PEREIRA and John F. MILES 1997