A happy 5 day voyage from La Gomera
28 November 2012 | Isla du Sal, Cabo Verde
Nadire under a perfect sky, sun, and wind
We were very happy as we drove to the airport to meet our friends Atila Caglar and Mehmet Turel who, after purchasing some, manufacturing others and salvaging the rest from Turkish customs, were bringing us all the equipment and goodies we needed from Istanbul! They had a huge load, and as they themselves are also larger than most, it was a small problem to fit inside our rental car, but we managed gracefully. It was great to be together again and comforting to sail this leg with these knowledgeable and physically strong duo as crew. After visiting Las Palmas and also eating for one last time at Canaries Wok, we set sail from our lovely marina Pasito Blanco on November 21. Mehmet Turel is an extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic fisherman, dedicated diver, and an allround seaman. He is also a great cook and funny person who never gets seasick and never lets morale on board go down. These qualities, which we did not know before, were invaluable for us on this crossing. Atila Caglar is like our older brother who always watches out for us, a book lover, a man of many diverse interests, a giant with a child’s pure and loving heart inside. This was promising to be a great trip. Our first stop was La Gomera island in the southwest, we tied to the modest but very efficient marina around noon the next day. It was full of boats like us, getting ready for the crossing. We learned in the marina office that our VDO package had finally arrived in Tenerife after having been detained for nearly a month in Spanish customs. As the crew discoeverd La Gomera island and the captain worked on last minute details, Nadire jumped on the first ferry to Tenerife and saved our VDO, as well as stocking up in El Cortes Ingles on Nesresso capsules and millefeulles once again. Thanking Lorena in Marina Santa Cruz, she came back to Marina La Gomera to check us out of the Canary Islands, Spain and therefore, Europe. On November 22nd at 8 pm, we left La Gomera, just like Christopher Columbus did 640 years ago on his way west, to sail towards Sal Island, 750 miles southwest, near the African coast. Atila Çağlar and Mehmet Türel had a flight back home from Sal on the 30th so we would have time to enjoy that island too if we were fast enough. We sailed with the main and genoa the first day, but hoisted the Parasailor once the wind went down, and our confidence in the crew increased. For two days, in settled weather, we did not even glance up at the Parasailor, let alone touch the sheet, it sailed us so smoothly and well. We had omlettes, Turkish style pastries, cakes, eggs in the mornings, and feasted on the fish that Mehmet Turel caught and cooked in the most excellent way in the evenings. Each evening as the moon rose over the horizon, Caglar-Turel team gave a concert of songs, beginning with ‘Aydede’ the moonsong and we sang along, every day and night we laughed so hard over Mehmet agabey’s jokes and stories that tears came from our eyes. Nadire-Mehmet team on their watch from 9 pm to 3 am every night had long conversations over life and everything else, that nobody heard but the ocean, much to the envy of the Atila-Selim team. We gossiped about everyone and everything under the sun! On Atila agabey’s birthday we remembered how Turkish we were, Nadire brought out her bellydance costume, and we had dancing in the cockpit! 760 miles went by like the wind in five and a half days, much as we wanted to, we could not catch a swordfish, but had great sailing, no problems with crew or boat, no gear breakdown, even forgot to watch the sails due to much enjoyable conversations and jokes, and finally anchored in Sal island on the morning of November 28. We spent our time in Sal watching the fisherman, admiring the African art, swimming in the bays on the southern side, and mainly finishing small chores on the boat. We loved Sal for the beauty of the people, for the way people lived together happily with the street dogs who looked so much like their Turkish brothers, and the wonderful children. We were ashamed of everything we had in the face of the poverty in Sal, remembering Klaus Kinsky in the movie Cobra Verde, we were even more ashamed for the evil the whites carried within, wherever they went.
At the end of our two days in Sal, we could not convince Caglar-Turel team to continue the voyage west, no matter how much we tried, so waved goodbye to them as we dinghied them ashore on November 30 to go to the airport. The memory of their hearty laughter lingered on in Keyif as we prepared for the long crossing ahead...