06 April 2017 | St Lucie Inlet, Florida
02 April 2017 | Stocking Island, Exuma
01 April 2017 | George Town, Exumas
30 March 2017 | George Town, Bahamas
22 March 2017 | Elizabeth Island, Exumas
09 March 2017 | George Town, Exumas
04 March 2017 | Thompson's Bay, Long Island
03 March 2017 | Stella Maris, Long Island
02 March 2017 | Long Island
26 February 2017 | Crossing from Water Cay to Comer Channel, Jumentos
25 February 2017 | Double-Breasted Cay to Thompson's Bay, Long Island
23 February 2017 | Double-Breasted Cay, Jumentos
19 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Jumentos
16 February 2017 | Duncan Town, Ragged Island
14 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Jumentos
10 February 2017 | Hog Cay, the Jumentos
06 February 2017 | Duncan Town, Ragged Island
05 February 2017 | Hog Cay, Ragged Islands
05 February 2017 | Duncan Town, Ragged Island
Setting Out Across the Alantic
06 January 2014 | Mindelo
Wind, wind, wind the whole time we were here. Now we're ready to leave and it has all but left! The big storm systm way to the north has effectively stopped the tradewinds. We may have to motorsail until we catch up with the wind further west. A couple of other boats are leaving with us and we'll be in touch on the SSB DragNet. About 2100 nm to go!
Photo: Halekai at anchor, dangerous wreck in foreground.
Happy New Year!
04 January 2014 | Mindelo, Sao Vincente, Cape Verde
A vaguely familiar woman approached us in the marina and said she remembered us from Marmaris, Turkey two years ago. Did we want to join them and some other cruisers for dinner in a restaurant on New Year's Eve? Na klar! (But of course!)
The group grew and grew and by the time we hopped onto the Aluguers (pick-up truck taxis) we were a merry dozen from Germany, Switzerland, Turkey and the US. In the Cape Verdes, we learned, they don't have private parties that see the New Year in. Instead, restaurants close around 10 pm and then everyone makes for downtown where the action is. So after dinner we all walked back to town and joined the crowd milling about and waiting for the midnight fireworks on the waterfront.
Marineros were stationed at the marina with buckets of water a-ready in case the the wind, strong as usual, blew pyrotechnic embers onto the boats in the marina and the anchorage beyond. Being forewarned, and not being used to late night hours, we decided to dinghy back to the boat and watch the fireworks from the cockpit. At midnight the crowd cheered and horns blew from boats and ships, and the sky lit up.
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Loud music then started in earnest and was still going when we woke up this morning. What stamina these people have! Thank goodness it was cool enough to close the ports and hatches which shut out much of the noise. While the town slept we started the New Year with pancakes for breakfast.
We learned that three from our New Year's party had been accosted during their night on the town: one had his wallet ripped from his hands while making change, another thwarted a thief unzipping his pocket, while a third had his cell phone swiped while he tried to place a call. So glad we returned to Halekai!
A Bump in the Night
30 December 2013 | Mindelo, Sao Vincente, Cape Verde
It's always windy here.
We were having dinner below when, uh oh!, we heard an ominously loud pop. We bolted out the companionway just as the stern-mounted windvane began to bang against the floating pontoon. The bowline had parted from the buoy and Halekai was being pushed against the dock.
We started the engine and Burger untied the aft lines while I took the helm and held us off. Then we motored out of the marina and once again found ourselves anchoring in the dark.
Oh dear, we had just completed the to-do list and now there's a new item on it: fix the bent windvane. Without it working properly we don't want to cross the ocean. We wouldn't want to depend solely on the electric autopilot, since if it malfunctioned we'd have to hand steer--a very unpleasant prospect at best!
Music is Everywhere in Mindelo!
29 December 2013 | Mindelo, Sao Vincente, Cape Verde
What a pleasant surprise the town of Mindelo is! Attractive buildings painted in an array of cheerful colors, friendly people, exotic African art shops. Live music everywhere. A sound stage was being set up for a concert on the main street as we approached, and several restaurants and bars advertised "life music."
We spent the morning doing errands--cleared in with Customs & Immigration, dropped off laundry at a laundromat, bought a SIM card for internet, and got a prescription filled for motion sickness pills at the pharmacy. Had to first go to the medical clinic to get a prescription and found it well-run, clean and first-world.
Then we had wonderful grilled octopus at the Gaudi restaurant in the center of town.
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Cape Verde is a tiny island nation off the coast of Senegal. Discovered by the Portuguese in the 15th century, it remained under their control till 1975. That's probably why we chose not to visit back in 1975, when we crossed the Atlantic the first time! The people speak Portuguese and a smattering of tourist English and French. We get by quite well with our smattering of Spanish.
A Windy Welcome
28 December 2013 | Mindelo, Sao Vincente, Cape Verde
As we approached the channel between the islands of Sao Vincente and Santa Antao, the wind suddenly picked up and gusted to over 40 knots. What fun to navigate into a new harbor not only after dark, but in high wind! But all went well with the help of the Navionics app on the Ipad and the MaxSea chart on our board computer, and we found room to anchor among the two dozen or so other moored boats.
A couple of the boats we had just heard on the evening SSB radio DragNet welcomed us on the VHF radio as we entered the anchorage. How nice! The anchor dug in immediately and we had a good night's sleep!
It was still gusty this morning while we maneuvered Halekai into a berth in the marina, but with the help of four competent young marineros, two of them in a dinghy, it was no problem securing the bow line to the buoy and the aft lines to the dock. The swell made it impossible to use the passerelle (gangplank) so it's an adventure clambering on and off the bouncing boat from the steel frame of the windvane.
Land Ho! Mindelo!
27 December 2013 | 30 nm to go to the island of Sao Vincente, Cape Verde
Wind 10-15 NE, partly cloudy
In a few hours we'll reach our destination, unfortunately just after dark but it's a well lit commercial harbor, and our electronic navigation will steer us to the anchorage. Can't wait to put down the anchor and stopping the constant rock and rolling!
After five days at sea there are five new items on the to-do list: troubleshoot the tow generator connection; fix the generator alternator; replace one of the self-steering windvane cables; repair an electric outlet that shorted from the freak wave, and adjusting the internet setting so we can receive our email at sea. None of these problems are major and some could be fixed underway, but of course it's much easier done in port.
Four of the five are what I consider blue jobs and the last one is pink--although I assist with the blue jobs as needed. Burger reminded me of one such occasion, when he had to replace a windvane cable at sea during our first Atlantic crossing in 1975. I held his feet while he was hanging upside down on the aft deck!
Every evening we check into the SSB radio "DragNet" of boats crossing the Atlantic, several of whom we know. Some are headed for or are already in Mindelo, others are on their way across to the Caribbean. We look forward to seeing in the New Year with cruising friends new and old.
Who Would Sail Without AIS?
26 December 2013 | 150 miles NE of Cape Verde
Wind NE 20-25 knots, seas are calming
Last night we tracked a huge Asian "fish factory," 300+ ft long, that was 25 miles ahead of us when we spotted it on our AIS screen (Automatic Identification System). It wasn't moving much and at 6.5-7 knots it took us a few hours to catch up with it. But by the time we did, it was a couple of miles to our east so posed no problem.
Sure glad we have an AIS transponder so we can be seen easily by other ships. An alarm will wake a sleepy crew if they come too close. AIS is now mandatory for all larger ships, but sadly, not yet for pleasure boats. Surprisingly, we keep meeting sailboats without it.
All's well aboard Halekai. Our ETA in Mindelo is tomorrow evening. Check out our AIS position on the www.marinetraffic.com link to the right on this page. It should show us approaching Mindelo tomorrow afternoon. (Since AIS is VHF radio dependent, offshore vessels won't show on the map.)
Freak Wave for Dessert
25 December 2013 | 277 nm NE of Mindelo, Cape Verde
sunny, breezy, 6.5 knot speed
Burger outdid himself with Christmas dinner, despite the constant rock and roll that makes cooking underway a challenge. Seared duck breast a l'orange with balsamic green peppercorn glaze, gnoccis and a medley of sauteed veggies. Delicieux!
We were feeling all cozy and content when, whoosh! a freak wave washed over the boat, entering through two small open ports and the companionway. Pillows, sheets, and towels got soaked. I had just cleaned and polished before we left and now much is covered with damp, sticky salt residue. After doing as much clean-up as we could, we treated ourselves to Niederegger tiramisu marzipan. Mmmmm ... Thanks Ingrid and Peter!
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Christmas Sleigh Ride at Sea
24 December 2013 | On Passage Between Gran Canaria and Cape Verde
Sunny, NE 15-20 knots, 72F/22C
Sliding down the back of waves in downwind conditions is called sleigh-riding, not a bad way to spend Christmas Eve on passage. (Actually we're on a slight broad reach, but nearly downwind.) The main salon is adorned with mini faux Christmas trees and festive Swedish yuletide runners.
Burger is napping while I keep watch, his belly full from his "Bunte Teller," a German tradition: a plateful of Lebkuchen, Spekulatius, Niederegger Marzipan, and a chocolate St. Nick. All's well aboard. We wish our "readership" around the world a very Merry Christmas!