Goodbye Cape Verde...

After reaching Mindelo and finding our way into and anchorage on the evening of the 16th Dec, Paul and I awoke on the 17th to find a wreck lying about 100m behind us only marked with 3 black balls and completely unlit at night. Although this was a surprise it is actually marked on the charts so we should have known it was there!

After a relaxed breakfast we got the tender off its dayIt's and motored around the marina looking for a berth that would be relatively easy to get into and out of in the prevailing 30knt winds. Having found one we headed for the marina office to register and arrange for assistance in mooring stern on. As we were in the office, Anne and Niall arrived hot foot from the airport after flying in from Sal. With four aboard we got lines out and attached, then made our way to our berth and moored up with no problems, two line from the bow to mooring bouys, and then slipping back to the pontoon so the stern lines could be attached. This was a much more successful manoeuvre than last time we tried it in Groix last year!

We then had 2 days of cleaning, checking and restocking mixed with some exploring of the town and visits to the beach with the rest of the visiting family.

We said goodbye to Anne, Beccy, Elwin and Ion on the evening of the 19th. An early breakfast on the 20th followed by last minute supply purchases, including getting the gas bottles refilled, mast and rigging checks, final stowage, last lunch ashore and last use of wifi to update programmes and blogs meant we actually departed at 1700.

After leaving our berth we loaded the tender, and headed for the fuel berth to top up in case of windless days or other eventualities requiring us to motor long distances. There was another yacht ahead of us so we circled around till they left. We only needed 140 litres, and considering we last filled up at Cascais, Portugal, that seemed reasonable. Then with Kyle at the helm we set course out of Mindelo harbour and taking the southerly route round the bottom of Sau Antau Island, set a reefed main and partially reefed genoa. We were soon overhauling the French yacht ahead and they called us on the VHF radio to see where we were headed. We swapped email addresses and will send each other pictures of our boats tackling the large swell. They are headed for Martinique and at present we are unsure where or first port of call will be. That will be decided when we get within two or so days, but our destination for the next crew change is Antigua. If we make a fast crossing that will
give us the opportunity to do a bit of island hopping up to Nelson's Harbour.

We split into two watches, each taking 4 hours on and 4 off for the first two nights but will now take solo watches of 3 hrs on and 9 off from now on.

Yesterday (21st) Kyle deployed his new toy (carbon fibre fishing rod and magnificent reel) and was rewarded soon after with a small dorado which was dispatched after having had rum squirted into its gills, then filleted and will be tonight's (22nd) supper. Today we have enjoyed good winds and sunny sky dotted with the beginnings of the 'streets' of clouds which are typical of trade wind sailing.

The leak in the starboard deck locker has been traced to a tiny hole in a weld which has now been sealed. A most peculiar cause which has taken many days to track down.

I'll leave it here and wish you all happy last minute Christmas shopping!

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