Our time in Cape Verde has come to an end. We cleared out with immigration, left Mindelo, and sailed to Brava for a short visit before the Brazil passage. Brava is hard to bypass. It is a quiet Island with friendly residents. Farms dot the mountainsides on steep terraces.
The Harmattan is dust laden air blown from the Sahara to Cape Verde by the strong winter Northeast Trade Winds. Sailing in the Harmattan feels otherworldly. Like fog the visibility is greatly reduced, at times less than half a mile. But the air is dry, a muted blue can still be detected in the sky overhead, and a horizon line can oddly still be perceived. The sun filtering through the reddish brown haze turns the sky sepia like in an old-timey photograph. Continue reading The Harmattan
Over the past few months we have been sailing Islands in the Azores, Madeira, Canaries, and Cape Verde. In the Azores we experienced variable summer winds, and from Madeira southward were the Northeast Tradewinds. All in all, the sailing was quite lovely. Next, we’ll be crossing the Atlantic to South America.
Approaching 4 weeks in Mindelo and fully recovered from a stomach bug, we decided it was a good time to move. After scrubbing below the waterline and filling the water tanks, we checked out of Mindelo to sail 130 miles to Tarrafal on Santiago. The passage was short, under 30 hours, but proved to be exciting. Continue reading Fishing in Cape Verde
Monday-November 28, 2016-Sao Vicente, Cape Verde
Before expiring visas forced us to leave the Canaries, we crammed in as much hiking, swimming, and birthday party-ing as possible. Much of it was nostalgic as we remembered the same anchorages and walks from 2 years prior. It was then that Deb flew to meet me aboard Dawn Treader and assess what exactly she might be getting herself into. It was fun retracing our steps and we felt we were leaving a bit too soon, but there is no negotiating with immigration officials.
The Sail to Sao Vicente from La Gomera was fast by Dawn Treader’s standards. The wind started out light but filled in during the night and pushed us 113 miles the first day. The Northeasterly wind steadied at 20 knots the rest of the way and we saw daily runs of 141, 131, 128, 134, and 126 nautical miles.
The seas continuously grew and a handful of 15 footers rolled under our keel toward the end of the passage. We measure seas by standing in the cockpit and while in the trough we stare out to where the horizon should be. If the horizon barely disappears below the wave crest, we figure that’s about a 7 footer (I am 6 foot and standing 1 foot above sea level). If we stare out and only see halfway up the wave, then that’s about a 13 footer. We had a couple waves splash into the cockpit and fill the footwell with seawater. One wave even found its way into the cabin through the small hatch under the dinghy. That night I made a note to find a way to better shield the hatch from waves in Mindelo, as if I was going to forget the waterfall cascading onto my bunk.
The sailing was fantastically easy. Two weeks ago we arrived in Cape Verde and I can still clearly recall each time we made a sail or course adjustment on the entire passage. We set the Jib deeply furled on a pole to starboard and did not touch it until arrival. We jibed the triple reefed main only twice which is super easy with our dual boom vangs to port and starboard. As far a course changes go, there weren’t any. The windvane auto pilot course control gearing broke early in the voyage making it somewhat inconvenient to adjust course. So we left it as it was, and it steered us straight to Mindelo.
Once in Cape Verde, we were immediately taken by the vibrant people and their unique and beautiful music. Then I became ill with a stomach virus and Debbie cared for me aboard the Dawn Treader for 4 days. Slowly we are venturing out again and also squeezing in some chores and projects. Debbie cooked a wonderful and bountiful Thanksgiving dinner which we shared with friends Matt and Amy from SY Florence. Next we have our sights on Santiago to obtain our Brazilian visas.
Tuesday-November 22, 2016-Sao Vicente, Cape Verde
We arrived in Cape Verde a week ago after a fast sail from La Gomera. Cliff shadows in La Gomera, sail shadows en route to Cape Verde, and overcast skies here in Mindelo have us watching our solar meter. We have ideas for blog posts (and internet!) but are hesitant to charge the computer. For now, in brief, we are enjoying our time in Cape Verde, and slowly getting into work mode to prepare Dawn Treader for her anticipated 2017 Atlantic crossing. This week, we may be the only ones in the anchorage celebrating Thanksgiving, but we think it will be a good one nevertheless. Happy Thanksgiving to all our family and friends back in the USA!
Sunday-October 23, 2016-Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands
We went camping for 3 enjoyable days in Caldera de Taburiente National Park. The campground was a 12 km hike from the town of Los Llanos. The trail cut through rugged canyons ascending a total of 1000 m. Continue reading in La Palma, Canary Islands