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ADDITIONS TO THE BLOG as of April 2017: Shamal and her Crew being Mum and Dad are in the Cayman Islands * Should you want to contact us, you can do so by clicking on the Contact Us tab below. * PLEASE subscribe to the Blog, so that new posts are emailed to your inbox.



18 January 2015

Leg Two Of The Atlantic. Canaries – Cape Verdes

061 Las PalmasTuesday 30th December. Early Evening SHAMAL and DEJAVU are both sitting at anchor outside the marina in Las Palmas harbour.  Again the weather has been downloaded and charts all checked and studied.  It looks like we will have more winds for this leg making it possible to sail nearly all the way. We have another run of just over 850nm on this leg.
002 SHAMAL at Fuel Dock Las Palmas So an early night is decided upon to be bright eyed for the morning. Alec and I are up and almost ready to depart by 7.30am on Wednesday 31st December.  There is no life on DEJAVU initially.  Then we see them stowing things away.  By 1045 Alec and I are becoming a little impatience so up anchor and motor on over to find the boys enjoying a leisurely breakfast.  Then Lloyd tells us he just needs to stow his tender, but, also will wait another hour for the winds to come around more to the east, as they were around to the south-east.  We told him we would motor on out of the harbour and see what it was like out there. We did so very slowly expecting him to join us a little later.  Once we were clear of the headland we raised the sails, reef in main and jib, and had to tack along the coast to clear the Island.  Still no DEJAVU.  Then he radioed to tell us his crew member was felling seasick – oh help they are still at anchor!!  Then he told us he would not be leaving that day and we could call in at the Navel Bay further down the coast.  We did not like that idea as we had a couple of fish farms to contend with and no charts showing rocks or depths.  Also the seas were pounding in on that side of the Island, so we told him we would push on, and now that the wind had come around to be more of an easterly at 18kts we were being carried along nicely.  As per usual the winds did swing around from time to time and we found ourselves off on a tack.  It was not a nice feeling carrying on and leaving Lloyd back in port, but we did not want to turn into the winds and slog back.

009 2-3mt Seas005 2-3mt Seas Days 2,3,and 4 the winds pick up between 20 – 25kts, gusting to 30kts at times, and seas max at 4mts, but for most of this time we are sailing reefed down averaging around 6.5kts.The odd top of a wave would occasionally break over the port side which helped wash some of the Sahara sands away.  For only one day on this leg did we have the sun with us all day.  The rest of the time it was hazy, and the last two days visibility got down to less than a kilometre. It was strange as you would think there would be less wind with all that haze about, but it kept on blowing. During our two and a half months transiting the Red Sea we did not have one sand storm, now here we are 300nm out in the Atlantic off the West Coast of Africa with the boat coated in red dust. This dust at times can travel as far as the Caribbean.
012 The Sahara Dust Later en-route we received an email from Lloyd saying he was departing on Monday 5th January at 0800. It was good to hear from him, but we were glad we had made the decision to carry on.
You may well ask what one does with their time on passages like this.  It is amazing how quickly the days go.  The first two are a bit crappy to say the least.  You are settling into the rhythm of the boat and seas.  I have pre cooked meals which I can pull from the freezer so I don’t have to worry about too much cooking. But after that I can do the usual cooking and baking.  We do not go hungry.  Alec always makes the breakfast, and due to our watch system we have that at around 0900.  We have just changed from 4 hour watches to 3 hour ones.  The nights are the important ones.  Alec does from 2100 to 2400, I do from 2400 to 0300, Alec from 0300 to 0600, and I again from 0600 to 0900.  During the day we are very flexible. It seems to be working. So what do we do? Watch, eat, read, listen to music and sleep. Eat, read, sleep, watch and chat,etc etc.  The last two legs I have only had the fishing rod out once as the sea conditions were not too favourable. We have also had dolphins with us on both the last two legs.  Sometime they stay with us for up to an hour.  It is lovely watching them play in the bow waves.
The morning of day six we were both tired.  It had been a night of wind shifts and SHAMAL needed to be put back on course a few times. By mid day we should have been able to see the Cape Verdes, but visibility was so bad it was not until we had a break in the haze that we actually saw them from two miles out.  
040 Mindelo023 Mindelo in the haze By 1600 we had dropped the anchor on the south side of the marina in Porto Grande, Mindelo, on the Island of Sao Vicente, Cape Verdes.  We had just completed 906nm in 6 days 5 hours and 15 mins.  Average speed 6kts. As Alec now says we have completed the first third of our Atlantic Crossing. Most yachts leave the Canary Islands and sail directly to the Caribbean, a distance of approximately 2,700nm. From the Cape Verdes it is a approximately 2,000nm and gives one a break en-route.
Now we will have a break for a few days as we wait on the arrival of DEJAVU.
Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cape Verdes.
054 Mindelo Floating BarWell if you have not looked at the Atlas yet, or gone to Google, it is time to do so and find these tiny dots of Islands about 325nm off the West Coast of Africa out in the Atlantic.  There are 10 large and 4 smaller Islands in a rough horseshoe shape. They are all of volcanic origin. No one is sure when they were first discovered, but it is thought the Arab seafarers may have been here as early as the 12th century.  They are poor due to the lack of rainfall and deforestation.  As usual with may Islands in remote locations, the early sailors who passed through or sought shelter there, left goats and other animals behind as a food source for subsequent mariners. The goats in particular seem to cause havoc. The last two centuries have seen terrible droughts, but there is still a small amount of agriculture, including the growing of maize, some vegetables, coffee, bananas, oranges, grapes – from which a local wine is produced, and yes we have a bottle on board !!.
093 Mindelo Marina Floating Bar Again like many Islands this place has had its visitors who have tried to settle only to be attacked by the next invading force who want to claim them. The Portuguese won out in the end and for several centuries Portugal and Portuguese Guinea administered the colony – until 1878. Despite giving all residents full Portuguese citizenship, the Islands wanted independence from Portugal and achieved this in 1975.  The majority of the population is of African decent, but also a mixture of Portuguese African.
Sao Vicente has dry rocky volcanic hills on the northeast side, and sand dunes on the south side.  Mindelo is the Cape Verdes second largest town with a population of around 76,000.  It was first established as a coal bunkering station for the early Atlantic steamers around 1838, then later as an important point for transatlantic cables.
076 Mindelo027 Mindelo We have found Mindelo to be a little part of a clean, colourful, happy Africa with a better standard of living than the mainland. The cobbled streets and brightly painted buildings, some with a Portuguese influence make this a fascinating place to visit. Foodstuffs in the supermarkets are more limited than back in Las Palmas, but there is enough.  We will only need some fresh fruit and vegetables before leaving.
Since we arrived we have only met a couple of other yachts which have been English.  The majority are European, being mainly French, German, Dutch and Italian. It really has surprised us the number of yachts that are still arriving.  There would have been 50 in the marina when we arrived, and on an average 4-5 arrive each day, and about the same number leave.  The other thing we have noticed is the size of the yachts.  We have seen a number of yachts in the 26-30ft range !!
085 DEJAVU & SHAMAL in Mindelo Tuesday 13th January.  We have now been here a week.  At 0845 Lloyds voice comes over the VHF radio calling SHAMAL.  Oh Lloyd are we SO pleased to hear from you.  Due to strong winds he had taken shelter in a bay on the opposite Island in the early hours of this morning, about eight miles away.  He ends up spending another day there till the winds drop enough for him to cross the channel and join us in Mindelo.
Friday 15th January.  Yesterday both yachts moved into the marina.  We need a good clean up.  There was no need for us to plug into the power supply as the trades here are blowing at a constant 20kts, occasionally dropping to 10kts for a very, very brief period, but more often gusting to 30kts or more, so the wind generator has been working well here. Alec did a big wash down yesterday to remove some of the Sahara dust, then this morning he went up the mast and hauled up buckets of water to wash the sail track on the mast.   Then you should have seen the decks again – they needed another wash.  This Marina  is very uncomfortable with surging all the time. It is nothing to see broken mooring lines.  We decided one night was enough for us and came back out to anchor in the bay beside the other 18 yachts that are out here.
025 Local Police Transport Both yachts cleared out with the maritime police today, even though we do not intend to leave until Monday morning.  We don’t want to wait till the office opens Monday morning and then stand in the queue waiting.  We hope to leave at first light.  As the offices are closed over the weekend they don’t mind you doing this. 
065 Fruit & Vege Market, Mindelo Tomorrow will be our last shop at the markets for fruit and vegetables.  Then we are all ready.  It is not as daunting as I first thought it may be, and I am sure the first two legs have helped greatly with this.  At this stage the winds look favourable with the north east trades blowing between 20-30kts for the first half of the crossing, then dropping off to between 10-15kts for the second half.  But, as we all know forecasting weather is really not that accurate after about 5 days. Alec estimates we should arrive in Barbados within about 14 days.  We cannot push the boat too hard as our sails are in need of replacement once we reach the other side.  They have some fancy patch work now.  Also I want a comfortable trip, as we are not racing!!
The Shore Manager – our son Murray, has put a map at the top of the Blog, and we will be sending him through position reports which he will post every 24 hours.  It is under the heading ‘SHAMALS Location’.
So this is The Admiral and The Commander
signing out from a VERY windy Mindelo in the Cape Verdes.

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