Mindelo and Onward
23 November 2012 | North Atlantic
I promised a bit more information on Mindelo "in a few days". Well, a few more days have come and gone but, as the saying goes, "better late than never". So here we go!
The Cape Verde Islands was a Portuguese colony which, a number of years back, gained its independence and is now a republic. However, the main language spoken is Portuguese with a bit of an African twist thrown in for luck. Very little English is spoken by the local folk. Like so many ex Portuguese colonies, the main infrastructure in Mindelo was allowed to run down but there has been a revival over the past few years with a lot of general maintenance and quite a few new buildings going up. Mindelo is just a small town but is still handicapped by poverty.
The town has a marina next to the small commercial port, which is very expensive during the yacht transit season - this time of the year when there are great numbers of small to large yachts moving between Europe and the Caribbean. It is also on the transit route as sailing yachts tend to follow the winds and the normal trade winds blow right past the islands. For the yachtie, there are a few small supermarkets to top-up with provisions, together with a fruit and vegetable market in the older part of the town. Water is all desalinated and costs 2 Euro cents a litre whist diesel fuel is a heck of a lot cheaper than Europe and slightly cheaper than South Africa, at 95 Euro cents a litre - equal to about R10.00 per litre.
Internet is also expensive but we found a way around it by docking next to a 150 foot super-yacht with a 24 hour unprotected satellite feed - name of vessel withheld for obvious reasons!
Since departing Mindelo last week, the ship routine has settled in and consists of food, sleep and watches with a little fishing thrown in for luck. We have done a bit of motor-sailing due to very light winds for a few days but mostly we have had the spinnaker up and have been doing some good mileage for this rather heavy and slow boat. At first we kept the spinnaker up only during daylight hours and motor-sailed at night. This because Mark and Jason needed to learn to sail with a spinnaker and there was no moon at night. Now, the trades are settled a bit and we are sailing day and night with the spinnaker and using the generator to charge our battery bank to keep all the systems running. We do have a problem in that the house batteries have not been maintained all that well and take a long time to recharge.
We have managed to catch a number of Dorado and now have quite a bit in stock in the freezer. Yesterday we also managed to hook two good sized Wahoo. However, one managed to bite through the one line and got away. The other has given us four large meals, the first which was dinner last night.
We are heading for Rodney Bay in St Lucia, where we hope to make landfall on either December 1 or 2. We are well past the halfway mark between the Cape Verde Islands and the Caribbean and, at the moment it looks like we may make landfall on December 1 if we can keep up our speed for a few more days.
We have not had any dolphin visiting the boat since Mindelo, but did have the Egrit, pictured above, visit us on Wednesday. Where this poor fellow came from is a mystery as Egrits are land birds and the closest land to the boat at the time was the Cape Verde Islands, 1450 kilometres away! I am not sure if they are migratory birds but they are certainly not adapted for catching food from the sea. Let's hope that the poor fellow manages to get a perch on a passing ship and ends up back on land.
So, as we sail along under spinnaker, greeting from Mark, Jason, Dylan and myself, John.