Lots to update you with!

I'm sitting in the Floating bar in Mindelo Marina with Paul, Kyle and Niall (who you will beer to hand and computers consuming most of Cape Verde's internet bandwidth! 

I have to apologise for he lack of posts (and the series of position reports which are probably a little annoying?)I will stop sending them to the blog for the Atlantic crossing. Talking of the Atlantic crossing, there has been a lot of activity over the last two days topping up the stores so we can feed four hungry young men... well two really young men and two slightly older men... Great quantities of oranges, apples, potatoes, beer... Hang on, BEER? I thought this was to be a dry voyage!  Well, there is a lot of tonic aboard, coke (full fat version thank goodness!) and still a good supply of Sainsbury's ginger beer left over from our original stores. 

Of course, I've jumped ahead of myself.. So I ought to take you back to where I left off in my last blog entry which I posted the night of our arrival in the port of Palmiera on the land of Sal.

The morning after arriving we slept a little longer than normal then had our breakfast in the cockpit checking out the scenery which we couldn't make out in the darkness of our arrival. Sal, it turns out is pretty much a desert island. Bare desiccated ground with a strong hot wind sending streams of sandy dust out over the water, and volcanic cones visible in the distance.
 It was rather strange to look at the early morning activity and recognise it as being a familiar African scene, children setting off to school, dogs wandering in search of food after a busy night, and then to glance sideways and see about 40 yachts of all shapes and sizes, lying at anchor. I've never experienced these two scenes juxtaposed is such close company. 

Having surveyed the scene from the comfort and isolation of our floating island, we lowered the tender, attached the outboard and set off to get our arrival properly registered in the town. There is a large commercial port, which is being extended to take cruise liners, and the smaller and, presumably original, quay where all the small fishing vessels were moored and a gaggle of dinghies from the anchored yachts were tied up alongside.
We were greeted by a teenage boy who took our painter and helped us up out of the tender, then proceeded to show us the way to the police station and relieved us of our big bag of rubbish. The streets of Palmiera are paved with square stone setts and the buildings have a familiar African feel, yet it is definitely a very different place, the dogs are SO laid back! No barking at strangers, or snarling at each other, some were very purposely making their way somewhere while others were positioning themselves in shady spots as the sun got higher in the sky. 

 We waited with other yachties for the immigration officer to arrive, and waited quite a bit beyond the advertised hour of opening, and eventually a police double cab pickup arrived with two officers who had come from the airport to get is processed. Capt. Paul completed all formalities and we reined to a bar for a welcome cold tipple of Strella, Cape Verde's beer.
After lunch, Paul went off to greet Anne, Beccy, Kyle, Elwin, Ion and Niall at the airport while Stuart and I headed back to the boat to do a bit of a tidy and clean up. Later The same day Stuart headed off to a hotel at the beginning of a few days exploration of the island. Paul went with the arriving party to their hotel at the most southerly end of the island and spent the night there leaving me in glorious solitude alone on Tin Tin. During the night the wind got up and by morning it was blowing 40 knts, so powerful that the rope snubber line I had attached to the anchor chain had snapped. A snubber is essentially a way of adding a spring to the anchor chain which stretches and reduce the severe jarring you get when the chain snaps taught. The expensive stainless steel clamp that attaches the rope to the chain had disappeared and sunk to the bottom.

Paul and the newly arrived party got a taxi back to Palmiera in time to have a wander around, see some yellowfin tuna landed, gutted and sold.
After a very good lunch all bar Paul and I departed and we returned to Tin Tin to sort out the snubber and prepare for the voyage to the capital Mindelo on the island of Sau Vincente where we would meet up with the crew again.

We decided that we would split the sail into two legs with an overnight stop anchored off the main town of the island of Sau Nicolau, Tarrefal. Having left Palmiera at 1755 we took just over 12 hrs to sail the 89 miles, arriving before dawn and anchoring amount five or six other yachts, before heading to bed. The wind only dropped below 30 knts when we entered the lee of the island, but even then we had occasional gusts well into the high 30s. We enjoyed a lie in and a leisurely breakfast taking in the very different scenery of this island.
 We debated going ashore but decided against it as we would have to repeat the police and immigration procedures and we need to set off soon after midday for Mindelo. This proved to be another very windy passage with swell larger than we have experience before, we estimated up to 8m. We took the windward route past he islands lying between Tarrefal and Mindelo which lent a certain amount of envious tension to the whole day as we passed by jagged island profiles under darkening skies and could see the surf pounding on the inhospitable shorelines.
Once again, we arrived at our destination in the dark which made for interesting navigation into a harbour where the pilot guides warn of many abandoned unlit vessels in states of disrepair. Navigation was made much more difficult by the flashing Christmas decorations wrapped around the trucks of the palm trees lining the shore, but we made it to a good spot an dropped anchor at five to nine. We rewarded our selves with a chicken curry and rice and a dvd before hitting the berths.

Next morning we realised just how many derelicts vessels there are! One lying on its side just a 100m behind us and which we had not seen at all!
We had seen the lights of the Dutch tallship Oosterschelde but definitely not the low lying hulk between them and us!!!


 










Comments

Sindidziwa said…
Nice one Mark. Those hulks were well worth avoiding!

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