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November 2017: Shamal is on the hard in Guatemala.Mum and Dad are home in New Zealand till Jan. 2018. *ATTENTION PLEASE* if you are still interested in receiving the posts, could you please subscribe to the Blog following the two step process in the right hand column, so that new posts are emailed to your inbox. As of next year the reminder emails that are being sent out will cease. Thanks to all of you for following our Adventures.

09 February 2015

Leg Three of the Altantic. Cape Verdes - Barbados.

114 SHAMAL & DEJAVU in Mindelo Once again it’s time for another departure.  Alec has been hoisted to the top of the mast to check the rigging.  We hoisted some buckets of water up to him to wash some of the Sahara dust away. All halyards and sheets have been double checked for chafing.  He has dived underneath and checked rudders, props and the hull in general.  He has even given the hull a clean. Weather has been downloaded and supplies stored. As it is Friday, and we hope to leave at 0800 Monday morning, we have even been able to do our check out formalities.
001 Leaving Mindelo, Cape Verdes

Lloyd on DEJAVU – his Seawind 1000 – is also ready.  Together we spend the last evening ashore enjoying a lovely steak dinner at one of the local restaurants.  Markus, Lloyds young crew member, is off with some friends watching the local bands getting ready for Carnival time in a few weeks.
109 Dinner out in MindeloThe winds are still blowing a good 25kts here in the bay at Mindelo. It has got to the stage if they drop to 10kts we now think it is calm sitting out here. While we have been in the bay there is one small yacht anchored in front of us that lost its mast on the run down from the Canaries, a second yacht arrived with a broken boom, and a third put out a Mayday only 18nm out into the Atlantic with a broken rudder !!!
002 Santo Antao from Canal de Sao Vicente As Monday morning dawns we see the Island of Santo Antao, only eight miles across the channel, for the second time since we have been here.  This morning it is lovely and clear.  DEJAVU has upped her anchor and leaves the bay 30 minutes before us – 0730.  We follow her out into a rather lumpy channel with winds gusting 33kts and a 4mt. sea running.  We have third reef in the main and a reefed jib. As we pass the southern tip of Santo Antao it reminds us so much of Oman – high mountainous, dry and rocky, but quite spectacular.  The visibility really is great. Ahead of us is the BIG blue Atlantic!

013 Our Day,Night Bed What was it like out there?  In fact not as arduous as I had imagined.  The seas were never too big.  We were too far south to experience the big Atlantic rollers I had heard about.  The sea swells ranged between 1/2 – 4mts, mostly following which gave for some surfing at times.  Alec glanced at the S.O.G. at one stage to see we were surfing down one wave at around 16kts.  But that was only once!  SHAMAL handled the sea very well.  The bows never so much as dug in once. She was comfortable. Having the galley down made food preparation easy.  I cooked and baked without any problems. For sleeping we lowered the table in the saloon and turned that into our bed,  That worked really well as we were close on hand when needed, We changed our watches at night from 4 hours on to 3 hours on.  That also worked out to be more comfortable for us.
042 Seas The seas for the most part were a brilliant sapphire blue with crisp white caps as the tops of waves were breaking.  When we had cloud cover during the day the seas turned a brilliant silver.  At dawn and dusk they turned into a liquid gold, and again, at night under the light of the moon, it left a golden path across the ocean.
048 Seas So much for being in the north east trade belt.  The winds we experienced for the majority of the passage were easterly.  For this reason we headed north of our rhumb line to get a better wind angle on our stern.  We used the Satellite Iridium Go to download the Predict Wind Grib Files which proved to be accurate most of the time.
We lost sight of DEJAVU after the first day, but we had set up a radio schedule to keep in contact twice a day to check on each other.  The second evening out we had two boats showing up on the A.I.S. behind us.  One was a Super Yacht and the other a mono-hull.  Of course the Super Yacht passed, but as for the mono, well now Alec wanted to sit in front of him.  For about 36 hours the pressure was on.  Then at night fall we hit our first squall belt which had both yachts dodging them.  In the end he closed to two miles behind us before heading off on a northerly course, not to be seen again.
017 Flying Fish Each morning Alec or I did the “walk around” the decks checking the rigging and lines etc., and each morning we collected up the flying fish.  The most we collected after a night was 34 !!!  Up until that stage we had been throwing them overboard, but Alec decided I should cook one.  It was tasty but too many bones to contend with.  We will try and catch something bigger.
Day 7 sees Alec having a maintenance day, replacing the water pump on the port engine which was leaking.  He noticed it when we were charging the batteries the previous evening.  Also both our port and starboard bilge pumps needed attention.  The starboard was replaced with a new one.  Alec has passed the comment that one good thing about being out here is that we are giving the old Visa Card a rest.
015 The Sail Repairer at work Now we were nursing along a set of sails that do needed to be replaced.  Day 8 sees the winds drop to around 8-9kts.  I really think Alec was a ships sail maker in his previous life.  Any little crack or tear, he cuts strips of adhesive sail cloth and is up there patching.  I wish you could see them – interesting !!!  I think we have reached the stage where there are more patches than the original sail cloth.  Thank goodness for the M.P.S. in these lighter winds.  Yes Barbados will see us purchase at least a new jib. The main will follow shortly after.
054 Sailing through Seaweed056 Golden Carpet of Seaweed About half way across we ran into huge golden carpets of seaweed.  At first we though there must have been a storm somewhere and that it had been torn away from the seabed, but now we think that it actually grows like this – on the surface of the sea. Someone may be able to correct us on this.  It did make towing the fishing lure impossible at times as all we did was to hook up vast mounds of the stuff.
Hardly a day went by when we did not have dolphins playing around the boat.  It really surprised us to see them out there in the middle of the vast nothingness !!  Also the seabirds.  Not too many, but they were out there as well. On the last evening one hitched a ride with us all night sitting on a stainless steel rail beside the helm, and not in the least worried that we were moving about right beside him.
On Day 7 we lost contact with DEJAVU on the HF radio.  We kept calling him at our schedule times giving him our position just in case he was able to receive us.  We don’t believe it was a problem with our radio as we were able to hear other boats out there. It is a bit of a worry, but with his experience we feel all is well.
034 Message in a bottle, Mid Atlantic Day 9 we hit the midway point and I had decided that when we reached this point I would put a message in a bottle and throw it overboard.  Alec says with the way the currents were it could end up in Florida, and if not it could be picked up by the Gulf Stream current and be carried on to the U.K. or north western Europe.  Then again it just may sink to the bottom of the ocean !!!!
038 Mahi mahiA couple of hours later we caught a beautiful mahi mahi.  After that I did not put my rod out until the second to last day when again we got a strike.  Out went the line at a million miles an hour, then snap went the line, breaking strain 400 lbs. Something BIG there, but we did not see it. Sorry Graham that was “the lure” - GONE !!!
012 Squalls showing on Radar022 MPS at Sunset We seemed to be sailing along a squall belt.  They never came to much and had no lightening in them, but it did mean reefing, or bringing down the MPS till it had passed. We had some beautiful runs with the Spinnaker MPS, three of them were night passages.  We became very good and lowering it and putting it up again in the dark.  I know that may be frowned upon by many a sailor, but it is not a difficult sail to handle.  Having the radar on which picks up the squall clouds was an invaluable help and gave us plenty of time to do sail changes.
Our food supplies lasted well.  We found we were eating less as it got warmer.  I did not need to make extra bread.  Tomatoes lasted the whole trip, in fact we still have half a dozen left, stored in those green bags.  Bananas lasted well.  We bought bunches at different stages of ripeness and took them out of the green bags as needed. I used the last of the fresh green vegetables for our last dinner at sea.  We still have plenty of other food left. We did not eat all the prepared meals I had made, so shopping here in Bridgetown will only be for fresh fruit and vegetables.  BUT, on our first trip ashore we did visit a supermarket as Alec wanted ice-cream, and we found New Zealand cheese and butter, so we will be getting some of that.
049 Atlantic Sunset So we sailed around the southern end of Barbados and up to the port of Bridgetown, the capital.  We entered the commercial port in Bridgetown where one must go to complete clear in formalities.  There were three large cruise liners in, so that will give you some idea of the height of the concert quay.  Not really a place for the likes of a small yacht. With all our fenders out we moved into place in front of one of these humongous ships, looking quite silly being in there.  There was surging along the quay, so Alec stayed with SHAMAL with engines running while I went off to clear in.  All Authorities were polite, helpful and extremely friendly.  The lady officer in Customs asked me about my gold bangles I was wearing, and advised me to remove them before going into town. I arrived back at SHAMAL to find an even smaller yacht – a mono about 25 ft long rafted up to us. It was a Swedish guy who had taken 26 days to sail directly from the Canary Islands.  I take my hat off to him with such a small vessel. Once that was all completed we moved to the visitors mooring area in Carlisle Bay where we have dropped the anchor. Here we will await the arrival of DAJAVU.
IMG_0444 We have completed the crossing in 17 days and 3 hours.  Average speed was 5.2kts.  Total miles on the log for this leg is 2,129nm. Not a fast trip by all means, but a comfortable one.  The wind generator was useless downwind, but it is great at anchor in windy weather.  The 2 solar panels were only producing 5 Amps during the day, not enough energy to top up the batteries for the night, so we recharged them using the engines.  We are now looking at installing 2 more solar panels this year.
How do we feel.  Yes we are proud of ourselves like everyone else who has made the crossing.  Thank you to all for your prayers and support.  That meant a lot. There are four people here we need to say a VERY BIG thank you to. Firstly our “ Shore Manager” -  son Murray.  Many of you won’t realise this but Murray is in a wheelchair as he has cerebral palsy.  Associated with this come other problems.  He has been a trooper at keeping the blog going and adding extras like the position map etc.  Without him I could not do this blog. He has worked night and day keeping track of our positions. Murray thank you. Our daughter  Brigitte and her husband Dan, in the States have also keep in constant contact always encouraging us. Dan had been plotting our course and making sure we were on track.  Then there is Alec’s brother Mike.  Again plotting our course each day, but also sending us through weather forecasts.  It was good to compare it to the one we were downloading. Mike many many thanks.
The Admiral and the Commander will now sign out and catch up on sleep, then go off exploring again.
Going on DEJAVU’S progress we are expecting Lloyd in the next couple of days.
I did attempt to write a couple of poems in my spare time.  The following is;
                               The Flying Fish
From those little crests on top of waves a take-off path is formed                                                             
It rises up and spreads its wings while gathering speed of 30ks
It glides manoeuvring along the troughs all sleek and glistening in sunlight beams
It covers the distance between the swells then drops beneath the blue again
Was it chased or was it free to choose to fly on ocean breeze
Sometimes one or sometimes two, ten, twenty thirty and even more
Have risen from the deep to fly and feel the freedom of the sky’s
But all again drop out of sight only to await their next freedom flight
So down beneath the great big blue life of this fish will now resume.

1 comment:

  1. Hola Sailors,
    It is so good to hear from you. I haven't plotted your progress ( as i don't know how ) but you have been in our thoughts from time to time.So it is good to know you made the crossing safely. We are proud of you. Now enjoy the dawdle through the Caribbean but not too much of the white rum. Point of information which I am sure you are dying to know - It has now gone mild here at 3deg.!!! Love Pam and Kerry

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