Thursday to Sunday
17 November 2013 | Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cape Verde
Good morning everyone!
The sharper-eyed among you will have noticed that this entry is sent from Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente, one of the islands in the north west of the Cape Verde archipelago. We arrived here in quite blustery conditions and hot sunshine at about 0930 local (1030 GMT) this morning and have anchored outside the marina in the Porto Grande. Arrival here means we have sailed about 850 miles in 2 hours less than 6 days, at an average speed of about 6 knots. Given light and somewhat variable winds in the first couple of days, we think that is quite reasonable progress.
But what of life aboard Wishing for the Moon since our last journal entry? We should have sent an entry yesterday or even the day before, so our apologies to all our loyal and regular readers for the interruption! The big excitement on Friday morning was to have a pod of dolphins swimming alongside the boat. Some were just breaking the surface while others were leaping clean out of the water and one or two leapt at right angles across the bow, apparently trying to get as close to the boat as they could. It felt a real privilege to be able to watch them. Then, as if that wasn't enough, we had a shoal of flying fish whizzing past the boat, but none came aboard. We hope that may happen in due course.
Talking of fish, on Thursday evening Richard was fishing without, he says, much expectation when he hooked what turned out to be a very pretty fish of about 5 pounds - Lenny thinks it was probably a dolphin fish. After some discussion as to whether it should be kept, the matter was resolved because of the difficulty in getting the lure out. Jonathan gutted and filleted it, but in doing so managed to lose his balance, fly across the cabin and land on his back. No damage apart from bruising. We ate the fish for supper with boiled potatoes and fresh green beans and absolutely delicious it was.
We have been very spoiled with the meals we have had. We bought good supplies in Gran Canaria and Len has produced splendid and varied meals using the fresh ingredients we bought. One of the guides to the Cape Verde islands we have on board shows a marvellous looking indoor or covered market in Mindelo, so I'm sure we will explore that. I hope it's as good as the photograph of it suggests.
There are quite a number of other boats from various European countries - France, Germany, Sweden, England - which are presumably stopping here while doing the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers). We wouldn't want you to think we have come here just for a rest cure or to sit in the sunshine doing nothing, although that would be very pleasant; the shade temperature is now about 82 degrees F and a strong breeze makes it feel fresher than that. The swimming in the sea is lovely, too. (Do we hear that snow is forecast for the south of England later this week? Poor you.) No, we are here for two main reasons: to re-stock with fresh supplies and to enable some repairs to be carried out to the boat - nothing serious, a small tear in the mainsail, a couple of tears to a sail cover and the spray dodger, and a bit of carpentry. You may be interested to know that Len had put about a ton of stores aboard before we arrived in Gran Canaria and that while we were there we added just over 1,000 Euros worth of fresh food - meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, eggs, milk, cereals and other stuff. Then we had the problem of stowing it, but all was duly resolved.
We have been short of the company of other boats on the passage down here. We made VHF radio contact with another yacht, East Wind, also bound for Cape Verde but apart from her we have seen only a couple of yachts and a ship - all on the horizon. Also, almost no birds at all until the very early dawn today as we sighted the CV islands, and then only 3 or 4.
As we lie here at anchor, we are, of course, flying the yellow 'Q' flag to indicate to the port authorities that we are waiting for them to give us clearance to go ashore, but apparently they don't work on a Sunday!
You can imagine that as we got close to the island our mobile phones came back to life and we were all pleased to be able to talk to family and friends at home. We plan to stay here until Tuesday or Wednesday morning - but nothing is yet fixed in stone. We will add another entry in the next day or so. Until then, love to you all from all of us.