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We spent 22 days in the Ocean between Seychelles and Tanzania. We were anchoring at the Seychelles remote islands, up to 200 miles south of Victoria Island. Then it was 800 miles of pure water. During those three weeks I felt outside of the world, and I have to admit that I like it. Outside of the human made world, absurd societies that create their own wants and the others necessities too, so much vain noise and illusory needs. And deep inside a world made of waters and winds, with its impartial laws that bring balance to the so much life that arises from it. It was good, yes. It was good in that world that is not a world made for us. It was very tasty to have all the time in the world, to choose to stop in the islands that emerged like a mirage, to discover them, without haste, without time, lands where there were no humans or visas to process. That is what the trip also gives us, that freedom, because we have known for a long time that it is not the destination that matters, but the journey.

It was clear leaving Mahe that we would sail in a sky full of showers. And we also knew that we were leaving at the time when the South was beginning to settle, without being established yet. We do not have internet on board, leaving the port was leaving all communication and hence the weather forecasts. But that randomness is part of the attraction that the sea exerts on us. And the randomness of life is, in general, one of its greatest charms.

So, after a few weeks sailing between uninhabited islands, we fully surrendered to the sea, majestic, new to me, as every time, with its showers and unpredictable winds, its currents, its storms and its headwinds so full of joy. I have never had so little desire to reach an inhabited land.


Nature presents a truth, integrity, harmony, which are sublime in themselves, which can be deeply admired and respected because there is no room for corruption in it. In it, depending on it, humble in front of it, we recover our dimension of live element among the elements, and we can only be grateful for being in that space to be able to contemplate it, without intervening, because the nature doesn't need anything from us but respect.


We stopped at several islands, all virgin, without humans or infrastructures. We did not have an inflated dinghy so we had decided to drop the anchor outside the coral barrier and swimming across to then continue walking, in the shallow waters, until we touched ground. Each island where we stopped was a world in itself. An isolated and unique world surrounded by the Ocean. A wild world within another wild world. The world under water, with its starfish, its fish and sharks, giant or small mantas rays, and the world outside, with its birds, its rocks, its insects and its trees-


                                                                                            St Joseph


St Joseph surrounded by shallow waters, in which the trees seem to float. We swam to the reef. It takes 10 minutes, flying over corals, fish, sharks and turtles. It is an adventure in itself, of course, because it is always surprising to cross a large shark with a black tip, sees the waters turn cloudy or feel a rising current. The first day, as I headed towards the reef, a large violet manta ray with several darts in its tail passes a few meters below me. It seems to fly, slow and majestic, and it is so much bigger than me, the sea belong to her, she only tolerates my presence. I want to follow her, but she won't let me. Close to the rocks you have to manage to "land", place your feet on the ground not too abruptly.


And then the world of rocks give way to the world of sand, and there are 20 minutes of walking with the water up to the ankles, watching the small mantas ray flee in our path, the birds fishing, the starfish crawling on the sands. And there, with your feet in the water, the world is a gradient of blues and greens, a mirage in which trees float and if I look towards Tortuga it seems to be resting on the rocks of the reefs.


On land, Mae first takes care of cutting many coconuts, so we can drink a little before going for a walk. When we return, climbing to the tallest palm trees, he fills our shady corner with dozens of heavy coconuts. He works enthusiastically, while Oiuna dedicates herself to teaching Spanish or French to the hermit crabs that fall into her hands. Then we walk in that space that seems holy, we step on it cautiously so as not to ruin it, observing the birds and the turtles and the fish in those water floors.

Back on the boat, we take the brushes, and each one paints what we saw, mantas rays and turtles, fish and coral, with watercolors, and the water mixes over the color on our papers. “It was not like this mom”, say Mae leaning over my giant manta ray drawing. "Of course it was!" "No, it was round, and it had two darts, not one", "I saw it like this"… and there, with the paint still wet, we took out fish guide books and encyclopedias, to see if we could agree on that manta ray.

Each excursion we make to this island renews my fascination. I cannot stop marveling at me in front of this water world and stillness that begins at the very visible border of rocks. On one side the Ocean, with its depth turquoise and turbid, a world of changes and movements. On the other, the atoll with its own rhythm, its own laws and its own time. The sensation that St Joseph Island gives me is about immensity, despite being a tiny point on the map. Yes, that land of shallow and transparent waters, of islets emerging from those pools. That land is immense, and has reached eternity since forever. It seems absolutely imperturbable, and the Ocean so close was only a distant rumor.


Oiuna dreamed about an island of those seen in cartoons: tiny, made of sand, to bring the cat and be able to set it free without losing sight of him. We decided to stop at an island that disappeared at high tide, and it was just a point of sand when the tide went out.

There, the cat got down on a life jacket because we still did not inflate the dinghy. Was the cat happy? I don't think so. I think he sensed that this land was not a real land, that there was no shelter and that the waters could swallow him. He meowed towards Tortuga, something that he does not normally do on land, and several times he walk to the sea, turning back after. We did not leave him for long. Some showers were surrounding us. That land was too fragile and we all agreed that if we were ever to shipwreck, we would like to be in St Joseph Island and not in Sandy Bay. Although playing around that tiny island was fun. If in this world where there are no clocks one can't stop to play, then why be there? Playing is something very important, and it's good to do it every day, it makes life happier.


                Isla Desroches

Even before we catch a glimpse of the island, the birds surround us and we hear the deaf noise that only hundreds of birds can make together. It's dusk when we can glimpse the land: above the island a dark cloud in permanent movement. Those are the birds. It's hard for us and to see the depth to make sure that we anchor in sand. The night falls and with it the silence.

Oiuna and I are going to go around the island in the morning. We barely had breakfast, eager to go exploring, we put some objects in our waterproof bags and we jumped into the water. We reached the island swimming, since contrary to St. Joseph Island the waters are a few meters deep close to the coast.

We arrive at a beach full of birds that observe us without deciding whether to take flight or not. The island is green, we find eggs, birds and chicks, all on the ground, “Bernard l´Ermite” and different crabs, and saltwater pilot fishes. We walk observing that noisy fauna, that society of birds, the island belongs to them.


Here we do feel that the earth is at the mercy of the winds and showers, despite the reef barrier that something must protect it from the Ocean. The few trees that exist are leaning, and an abandoned construction, which probably served as a refuge for some scientists. Those stayed without the zinc roof sheets maybe torn off by some strong wind. Several times during our walk a shower falls on us, it rains intensely for a few minutes and then an even hotter sun comes out and dries us in seconds.

Once again, we walk with a sensation of stepping on a holy, wild place that only belongs to itself and its inhabitants, a world in itself where time and all other space are dissolved and annulled. Oiuna is determined to find eggs and chicks, and observes this world of birds with great concentration, treading cautiously. Finally she finds them, the eggs, and the chicks too. We remain watching how a bird feeds its little one, how another defends its egg from our presence, and another one, which lands with twigs in its mouth to build its nest on the ground. We turn around, step by step, bathing in natural pools made by the rocks and the sea. The hours softly pass.


Upon returning, swimming, Diego jumps into the water and catches up us. He tells us that he and Mae caught a ten-kilo fish, that the cockpit is a mess and that we'd better take a walk before.


We snorkel for an hour, following turtles and multicolored fish. Swimming in these depths is magical, it's like a meditation. The sounds of the animals bathing in the water, the lightness of the water, one forgets oneself, one is only a contemplator, an observer, and suddenly it's a long time since, without realizing it, that one follows a shoal of multicolored fish or a turtle.

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But anyway, the body ends up marking the need for rest and food, and we swim towards the boat, tired and hungry. From the cockpit Diego tells me that they need more time. I give Oiuna the option to go to the boat anyway, but she does not want to witness the well-known spectacle of the two sailors of the house cutting and cleaning a fish, with blood and scales on the floor. We returned to the beach, in the shade of a palm tree. Oiuna protest against the fishermen, but then she forgets, and builds an amusement park for hermit crabs, who have no choice but to participate-

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We let a long, melting time pass by, and then we jump into the water again, determined to return home. However, halfway between the shore and the ship, we can't make any progress. It takes me a while to realize that it's the current, I think first that it is fatigue. But despite the effort, we make little progress and nothing. Oiuna clings to me, tells me that she is tired, I try to carry her, but with the two bags tied to my back, I run out. I call Diego, who comes and takes her away. I see them move away with great difficulty, I try to follow them, but I am without strength and the bags pull me back. I concentrate to progress few meters, and as soon as I stop, I drift. The water is cloudy, and suddenly a large mouth appears in front of me. The animal faces me. Due to the lack of clarity, I cannot immediately identify what it is. I hurt myself on the walk and I have a bleeding leg. Some afraid I think of a shark. I finally manage to identify that it is a huge manta ray. Much longer and wider than me.

I let her pass, she disappears behind me, I realize that during that short moment I was further away from the boat. I try to resume my fight, and there I feel something in my legs. The manta passes under me, very close. I'm scared, I try to reason, I think they are harmless. However, I am afraid of making a gesture that the animal will misinterpret, and the waters are turbulent and turbid. Again it disappears. I try to keep myself cool, I decide that it does not give me the strength to go to the sailboat, and that I will return to the beach until the current passes. But then I realize with terror that I cannot go to land either. The current takes me out to open sea. The ray appears in front again and adds more fear to my state. Run and letting it pass is losing the few meters that I managed to gain. Again I run and again it disappears to reappear swimming sideways this time, next to me. I call, ask for help, in the distance I see the crew on the sailboat. I can't realize what they do. But no one answers me, and it doesn't seem like Diego comes to me. I struggle with the sea, despite the sensation of being in forces that surpass me, and with that animal that I don't know and that revolves around me, and perhaps I misinterpreted a gesture of mine. But I can't take care of the manta anymore. I focus on Tortuga, I swim with all the strength I have. The Tortuga seems to be getting closer, I almost panic, the Tortuga gets closer and I finally understand that they raised the anchor. It comes a little closer and Diego throws me a rescue line. Sitting in the cockpit I remain resting for a while, still drenched in fear. Obviously I make the children laugh when I confess that I was scared with the presence of the manta. They also saw it, the waters are transparent, and they are sure that the manta wanted to help me.

 St François Iland

 We approached this set of three atolls after calm sailing, with a good wind that took us south without a problem. In all those 50 miles that separated Desnoeufs Island from Alphonse, and Bijoutier Island from St Francois Island, it was impressive to observe the currents that stirred the surface of the sea and that gave it an aspect between smiling and chaotic. They were undoubtedly going towards the West and we almost had the pretense of thinking that when we will set course towards Tanzania they would take us, they would carry us as the currents carry when we have them in our favor. We avoided the first island, which could be seen clearly with an airport, buildings, and even wire fences- And we went directly to Bijoutier, which had a large part of the island bathed in water, and a part outside, with vegetation and shade. We dropped anchor, and we remain watching.

We were not sheltered from the waves, and the currents were too strong to reach the breaker by swimming, calmly or safely. A heavy cloud was advancing towards us, and we felt that it was not a good place. We continued, heading for the last island, St Francois. There we found a good place to anchor, a wide sandy place, where dozens of manta rays rested-


We tried to reach the reefs with the children, but the sea was very rough, the currents strong, and when I got close to the rocks I realized that the land was very rough. I fear that we will return very tired and that we will again have difficulties getting the boat. Diego, who watches us from the boat, yells at us to go back. He will inflate the dinghy. And with the dinghy we boarded this last land. We found a way between the breakers, and in very shallow water we rowed or walked and pulling the small boat. Dozens of turtles stuck their heads out as we passed, small sharks swam after shoals of fish, and slow moray eels crossed our path. And the birds dived head first to come out seconds later with prey in their beaks. Those waters with a depth of one meter at the most, they were teeming with life. There seemed to be no space without living being. The tide continued to flow, and we reached land lifting the dinghy that could no longer be thrown.

St Francois was not as it seemed to be from distance. We went deeper into his world of low tide, discovering spaces that were occupied by the sea, empty and humid, immense, great flocks of birds, dense forests. The tide was so low that it seemed to us, on one side of the island, glimpse land out of sight and there a remains of a shipwreck, made the landscape even more unreal.

We walked to a place on the island that could only be reached at that time of the tide, and that had many coconut trees, the boys were thirsty. While we drank the fresh and perfumed coconut water, we saw several showers pass over our little sailboat. One from the south also approached us, and completely covered us for several minutes. The landscape was different, with the sand raised by the wind, the trees leaning, the thick rain that suddenly cooled the entire landscape and darkened it too. We realized that the tide was rising and we hurried to cross, feeling the force of the incoming tide. Once we reached the boat, I looked at that island again. What I saw of it was now so different but I knew that on each excursion that we do towards her something new would discover.


The crossing-

Finally we decided to leave the last island, and start crossing to Tanzania. What does it drives our decision? The more and more frequent showers perhaps, the wind that was getting stronger and stronger, the sea, which was getting bigger. Also the food that was decreasing, even if there was plenty, was beginning to be a bit repetitive. Having spent those days anchoring in the middle of the ocean, taking all the time we wanted, it had something very exciting, and there was obviously a bit taste of risk. That afternoon, looking at the sky that once again darkened over St. Francois Island, we thought it was time to set course for the West.


the birds stopped a lot over the boat, they were big wich was good sonce the cat couldn t eat them, but was bad also since they  caused several problems, they broke our weather vane, and they dirty the solar panels.


After the showers passed we generally found ourselves completely calm. Moments to enjoy the hammock or go "into the Garden" to play and cool off. Without ever letting go of the rope, of course-

It was a journey between showers, in which we suddenly did not understand the wind. It changed direction gaining in violence. It disappeared without having waned and returned without warning. The waves like layers fell on the boat or so close that at night I shuddered and closed my eyes. The boat was listing and the water invaded the starboard side while I shouted "I don't want that!" to that wind without ears. The lightning sometimes fell with the thunder and let us glimpse the sea, immense, sublime, so majestically indifferent. The nights were long, wet, cold, and hot, they threatened to never end and they extended over the morning that seems never start. Yes, it is true. It is also true that we tried not to go further north in that dance of witches, excuse me, I meant clouds, and the currents creaked in the Ocean. Do you know the murmur of rushing waters? And those currents pushed the ship despite its derisory bow that did not lose its way over our compass. After days of rain, storms and endless nights, the sun suddenly came out, the regular wind carried us, and everything was simple again.


We gained enough south to pass through the south of Pemba Island. We planned to pass between Pemba and Zanzibar, and reach Tanga, a town on the Tanzanian coast where we had seen that there is a club, probably with sailors, a place to learn, fix and rest. As we approached south of Pemba the wind was blowing almost bearably across. The sea was rough and misty. Four miles from land nothing can be seen but white foam on gray waters. Do you know the music of the wave when those die on the hull?

It has already dawned. Despite the state of the sea, we think we could make it and pass through the south of the island. But then, suddenly, the wind changed. I can't even say that it has changed. Because a change it's a process, right? There is a moment of metamorphosis, of doubts, of evolutions and regressions but not that morning. The wind that was South East was West. No doubt. And a South current of 4 knots pushes the world. The waves join the dance and the mist is silent next to the rain, installed in its eternity. It was impossible. And that is extraordinary. It was impossible to pass. We tried everything, with sails, without mainsail, with a staysail, with dry mast and with a motor, more motor, a lot of motor, all the engine, and the ship keeps coming back, turning away. Despite the illusory bow, Tortuga continues with its nose heading West but its course was other one. It takes us a while to understand that we will not pass: 15, 20 minutes maybe, maybe an hour, or two, who knows? The rhythm of the clocks does not arrive in those spaces where the eternal rules. And then we understand, stunned, admired, delighted, exhausted, we understand that there is no other choice but to surrender to the sea and change the course.


We decide to go to the north of Pemba, in short, to say that we decided it is an hyperbole. The sea decided it. And there, after that state of struggle, the wonder of surrender, the downstream current and the waves, only with small staysail Tortuga is developing ten knots. It's raining, madly, and behind the stern we see the four-meter wave rising and sinking. How to explain the happiness of that change of course, feeling the ocean so strong and evident, going with it because we've lost in that absurd struggle, to depend on something as absolutely true as the sea. And the sensual sensation of the ship carried by the sea, carried likes the waters that fly over the sea. Because of the mist, the first contact with that African land was the smell- An aroma of firewood, a campfire, heat and shelter

Something special happened on that voyage. We had been in the Ocean for twenty two days, but at that moment I did not want to land. Rather, I would have continued rising and falling with the waves, I felt an immense desire to continue sailing, flying over the currents. And I also felt a no less intense laziness of dropping the anchor. The earth, the humans, the clocks and calendars, the paperwork, the unnecessary noise, so much vanity, everything that takes us away from what is essential. I wanted to continue dancing and not stop the music. And I feel something new towards my boat too. Every day it exists more, it vibrates more, I love more our Tortuga. When I get to land I spend hours on the boat, fixing it, painting and repairing it, preparing it to continue sailing and discovering the sea. Yes, I want to go back there, to that space where the elements dance free and wild.

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