Whew, made it into Cape Verde. Apparently I didn’t do much research and I mistakenly thought that Cape Verde would have a cape and uh, be green! Not so. There is a point off of the mainland of Africa called Cape Verde and since these islands were at the same Latitudude they named them after the African Cape of the same name. Instead of the verdant lush peaks I thought I’d see, the islands are barren, volcanic and it appeared we had sailed to Mars on first glance.
Regardless of their appearance, after 7 days at sea, we were ecstatic to see them on the horizon. For the most part we had a good passage. It started really calm with wildlife sightings and calm enough for the kids to play on deck, the wind picked up in the middle and we were happy with our progress and finally the last two days pretty much sucked. The winds and waves had increased and we were making good time, but we were rolling gunwale to gunwale. It was hard to sleep, it was hard to cook, miraculously the kids seemed to do fine, it was just the old feeble adults that were uncomfortable. We arrived in 30 knots of wind in late afternoon, looking forward to anchoring in a calm spot behind the breakwater in Mindelo. Not in the cards. Although we were in the lee of the island, the winds whip down the slopes in williwaw style and the wind strength was actually stronger in the bay! I didn’t sleep well the first night at anchor with winds gusting over 40knots, but our anchor held fine and by the second night I was sleeping like a baby. We have 73 lb Rockna anchor which is the recommended size for a 65 foot boot. It is the best of the best and way oversized for our boat, so we didn’t budge an inch.
I spent the first few hours of our first full day on land researching departure strategies. Do you know there are several direct flights to Boston a day from Cape Verde! I really didn’t plan to get back on the boat. After a day of putting the boat back together, having a cold beer (or a few) and stretching our legs we started readjusting to the fact that we will have to get back out there in a few days. Like childbirth, the bad memories of a passage eventually start to fade and you start remembering only the positives. Anyway, I google searched markets in French Guiana and the abundance and beauty of the fresh produce there will have to be enough to get me back across the pond. Last big one I keep telling myself.
Why am I not more excited to cross the Atlantic? The worry factor has raised exponentially with all three kids on board. What a difference from 15 years ago when Mike and I sailed 14 days straight to Easter Island from the Galapagos and then after a week exploring sailed another 21 days in those huge Southern Ocean swells to Southern Chile, with no hope for help (There are no boats down in that area), no Satellite phone, no spot tracker. I was in my twenties, we were invincible and most importantly we didn’t have precious cargo on board. Now I worry about every stomach ache......is that a swollen appendix? Any signs of cobsitipation and I assume the kids have an obstructed bowel. Back pain and Mike and I are both simultaneously passing kidney stones! Oh, and that is just the start of my worries. What if we hit a whale, what if we hit a container, what if we hit some huge Amazonian sodden log. What if a container ship hits us? Mike reminds that if we hit something, we have a solid boat, we should be able to hit most anything and survive it. It may not be pretty, we may have to pull out the epoxy or the crash mat, but we should stay afloat (remember we aren’t really traveling that fast). We probably won’t get run over by a container ship considering they all have AIS now, which does give me a tremendous amount of peace of mind. I also worry that if Mike and I will be too sleep deprived one day and we will make a mistake. Mike doesn’t worry about anything, so I have to worry enough for the both of us. Surprisingly I don’t worry about the kids falling overboard much. They don’t leave the cockpit when it is remotely rough without being tethered in (even then they rarely leave the cockpit unless it is extremely smooth) and Ana has gotten accustomed to wearing her harness and tether even in the cockpit if it is rough. When it is calm, the boys only go on deck if we are actively watching them. I don't worry about myself falling overboard........I do not leave the cockpit, ever, on my own. The person I worry about most is Mike. I have nightmares about coming up to stand watch to an empty cockpit, and as you can imagine that doesn’t help my already sleep deprived state much (when did he fall over, how long to we backtrack to look for him......how crazy with fear would I be doing any of those things). On our last trip, Mike rarely wore his harness, even when I pleaded with him. At some point I just had to come to the realization that if he wasn’t there one morning, it wasn’t my fault and I couldn’t check on him every 15 minutes while I was off watch. Sounds cruel, but I really had to come to that conclusion. Hey, I was young, I could find another husband easy enough and South America is a pretty big continent I could have found that on my own! Seriously, Mike is definitely more cautious than he was then, that said, there is still the occasion when he rushes up on deck without being tethered in and it freaks me out. All it takes is one misjudged step. For this next crossing I’ve threatened divorce (again) if I catch him without his harness on. If you are reading this you can give him shit on his facebook page about endangering his family. He seems to be missing the guilt gene, so it may not help, but it’s worth being able to give him shit about something.
I’m already getting ahead of myself. We just got to Cape Verde and we have a few days to explore before I really have to get back into secret service duty. Time to find some beauty on this island and have a few more beers.
|When your little sister is acting up|
|passages are awesome when it is calm|
|we ra into a pod of pilot whales traveling with bottle nose dolphins|
|tethered in and safe in the cockpit|
|have legos will travel|
|This little monkey gets the award for the least amount of laundry created; 7 days straight in her knickers|
|Creative schooling, that is my diagram of the heart, lungs and cardiac, pulmonary blood vessels|