Sal, Cape Verde to Recife, Brazil. Olinda. 6 - 7 Nov 2005

Challenging crossing of the Intertropical Convergence Zone

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It was a tough crossing due to all the CBs (cumulus nimbus - dangerous clouds) in the intertropical convergence zone which meant that we had to make a detour to get around them safely. This delayed us by more than an hour. So what was supposed to be an 11 and a half hour flight took 13 hours. Flemming reduced the throttle to save on fuel and we landed in Recife with 3 hours reserve.
The plan had been to take off at 2 a.m. so as to meet the intertropical convergence zone early in the morning, when the storms tend to be less active. But we almost didn't leave Sal that night because the satellite images of the storms did not look good when we checked them again at the airport at half past midnight. There was a solid line of storms developing at 8 degrees north with no breaks in between. We decided to wait another couple of hours and check the images again. This time it looked a bit better, so not wishing to remain another day on Sal Island, we decided to go.
Flemming has now crossed the Atlantic at this latitude 4 times and he says this was by far the worst crossing of them all. It was my 2nd crossing only. The first one, 3 years ago on our return from the round-the-world trip had been a piece of cake. We were extremely lucky with the weather that time and had no storms at all to cross.
This time it was a nail-biting experience for at least 2 hours. When we arrived at the first band of clouds it looked good and we were rejoicing... only too soon as the next band was much more active and compact. The main worry was that we would have to keep deviating so much that we would eventually run out of fuel. To make matters worse it looked as though our faithful old stormscope WX-8 had packed up as it didn't indicate any activity while we were surrounded by very active looking CBs.
Thank goodness Flemming thought of buying a Satellite phone in time for this trip. Thus, our good friend and fellow earthrounder Gerard Moss (living in Rio de Janeiro) was able to download an updated Satellite infrared image and keep us informed by e-mail SMS to our sat phone. It was a great comfort to be able to communicate with him.
By the time we landed in Recife we (and Flemming in particular) were pretty exhausted. Our good friend Lena was there to meet us and drove us to the wonderful haven of the charming Pousada do Amparo in the old town of Olinda. We skipped dinner and slept for about 10 hours.

Expensive (~3 US$/liter) refuelling in Sal by hand pump

Approaching the ITCZ, Intertropical Convergence Zone just after sunrise

More big nasty CB's ahead...

After the stressfull crossing and a good nights sleep, a superb Brazilian tropical breakfast in the garden of Pousada do Amparo

Shopping for artistic place mats in Olinda

The church in Olinda

Street in Olinda

Kids in kindergarten in Olinda protected from kidnapping by iron bars

JAlbum 6.0 Copyright: Angela & Flemming PEDERSEN

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