Alan and Jean sharing our cruising news with friends, family.

20 July 2015 | Rabi Island Fiji
29 June 2015 | Suva Fiji
18 December 2013 | Auckland
05 December 2013 | Auckland
27 October 2013 | Vavau Tonga
12 September 2013 | Samoa
24 July 2013 | Moorea, Tahiti
19 July 2013 | Papeete
19 June 2013 | Nuka Hiva
02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
29 May 2013 | Pacific Ocean
24 May 2013 | Eastern Pacific Ocean
19 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
16 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
13 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
06 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
08 April 2013 | Shelter Bay marina, Colon.
28 March 2013 | Belize
27 March 2013 | Belize
03 March 2013 | Panamarina, Panama

Las Palmas to Cape Verde Part 2

06 December 2011 | Cape Verde
Las Palmas to Cape Verde part 2 La Gomera to Carbo Verde.

Sao Vicente is a small island in the Cape Verde group, its main town and port is Mindelo, where we are presently anchored. There are many yachts here, sightseeing, doing repairs, having a last rest and provision before the hop to "the other side". Sounds like we are off on a Star Trek adventure. At times when the sea is rough or there is no wind I am sure there will be many a sailor who wishes Scotty was aboard to beam them across.

We took just under 6 days for the 800 mile passage, La Gomera to Mindelo. We didn't put the mainsail up for the whole trip and the motor was not switched on for 5 days( much to the skippers delight). We left La Gomera at 3 in the afternoon and motored until 7 the next morning, a horrible uncomfortable night , big swell and no wind. Then at 7am we unfurled the genoa and for the next 3 days we sailed with varying amounts of headsail out, the wind slightly aft of the beam. Eventually the wind moved right behind and we sailed wing on wing, two head sails poled out. With that combination Tuatara became a more stable platform and life became more comfortable. The wind eased a little in the last 24 hours and by breakfast on the last day the motor was switched on to charge the batteries and give us a boost into Mindelo. A pod of dolphins welcomed us to the Cape Verdes, and as we got into the acceleration zone between Sao Vincete and Santo Antao the wind zipped up again. Mindful that KP on Chalofa reported the day before they had been pushed right over in a mountain induced gust, we took down the sails and continued motoring the last mile or two.

Safely anchored between Tsolo and Cormorant we enjoyed a cold beer to celebrate our arrival. Mindelo anchorage was full of yachts of many nationalities, green hull growth an indication some had arrived and forgotten to leave. However most are ready to leave and everyday one or two sail out towards their Caribbean destination, to be replaced by one or two arriving from the north for their stopover. Mindelo is a smallish very pleasant clean, port town, no cruise ships here, just a large ferry that does two daily trips across to Porto Novo, Santo Antao. Just 10 miles away the mountains of Santo Antao are hidden in the ever present Saharan dust. A few large rusty redundant fishing boats anchored in the harbour spoil the backdrop of a Tahitian look alike mountain. Ashore, Mindelo has a definite African appearance, women carry basins of produce on bright scarved heads and there is little sign of past Portuguese ancestry in these dark skinned people. The groups of men, young and old, playing cards and chatting in the shade indicate an underemployed population. I am not sure what employment is available apart from that generated from the small port, tourism and fishing for local consumption. When waiting on the beach with our dinghy, while Alan took the washing to the laundry, a man approached me, a bit scruffy, two missing front teeth, but not threatening, probably mid thirties.

"Parlez vous Francais?"

"Non Inglais"

" Ah hello my name is Joseph, I do work on the boats, cleaning, anything you want"

We proceeded to have a nice conversation in perfect English, he told me he spoke French too and did most of his work on French boats but he spoke enough English to work on English boats. Reluctantly I had to say we didn't need anything done. In the short time we have been here we have encountered many English and French speakers. How frustrating it must be for these obviously intelligent people to be so underemployed and worse for many not employed at all.

I had read that the island of Santo Antao was the greenest and most picturesque island in Cape Verde. We asked Harry and Jane to go over with us for a day.

"Well Tsolo may want come too if they don't leave," Said Jane.

"Well Kahia may want to come too," said Phil from Tsolo

"We had better ask Blue Moon too", this from Alan.

7.30 am Thursday morning, at the ferry terminal, 13 yachties turned up for our land cruise of Santo Antao. At Porto Novo we were met with a scrum of mini bus drivers and Aluguer drivers( small trucks with open air seats on the back) all wanting to take us on a tour of the island. Eventually we got a minivan that fitted us all, a driver that spoke English and a price that suited 13 people. Phew!!

Hoy, our driver was a little confused we all spoke English but we came from about 6 different countries, plus one of the English woman could speak Portuguese and Juan was our Spanish speaker. Fortunately he understood the word stop in all our accents as we had many stops to look out over the amazing mountains formed over hundreds of years of rain, wind, volcanic and agriculture. The quote below from Lonely Planet describes it very well.

"Santo Antao encompasses a dizzying array of landscapes, from barren volcanic flats to cedar- and pine covered peaks to lush, tropical canyons. Many hills have been turned into gravity defying farms that, thanks to varying altitudes and moisture levels yield everything from apples to sugar cane." Lonely Planet, Western Africa, Cape Verde.

Lunch was a bit of a mission, not many restaurants and a bit of a challenge 13 people at once even though Hoy had phoned on in advance of our arrival. We eventually all ate and left the restaurant with 90 minutes before the last ferry. Hoy proudly showed us his home village during quick trip up Vale' Do Paul. This is a river canyon full of a wide variety of produce growing in the rich volcanic soil. Back to the main road which took us along the rocky north coast and on to Porto Novo where we caught the ferry back to Mindelo. The roads on Santo Antao are made of about 10 cm square stones, all cut uniformly to size and laid in neat rows, winding up the steep hills along cliff faces and through passages cut in the rocky hills. There were no weeds, the stone curbs and water channels perfectly tidy. Every few miles a man or two in orange vests were keeping the road well maintained. Hoy told us the road was built in 1970. The only bit of sealed conventional road we encountered was about the last 10ks as we drove back to the ferry. An excellent day out.

Well I am all caught up now, this afternoon I am off ashore to find a hair cut, tomorrow last shopping at the market. We will consult the lists . have we done /bought everything? Alan visited the officials this morning for the paperwork and passport stamps so we can leave over the weekend or maybe Monday when at last we turn west towards Barbados.

I hope to post a few blogs while underway to let you know how we are going, we should take about 16 days which means we will have Christmas at sea. Yesterday someone suggested a rendezvous and raft up at sea for a Christmas pot luck, that would be fun but as most are going to different ports it could be as challenging as organizing a minivan for 13 people! ,
Vessel Name: Tuatara
Vessel Make/Model: Alan Wright 51
Hailing Port: Opua NZ
Crew: Alan and Jean Ward

Sailing in the Pacific

Who: Alan and Jean Ward
Port: Opua NZ