At the end of October we finally went back to “Maya” via Tenerife and the ferry to El Hierro.
After the volcano Cumbre Vieja on la Palma erupted in September John sailed Maya to El Hierro. On El Hierro there was a big reunion with our Dutch friends with whom we spent there two splendid days before we sailed to Tenerife. This turned out to be a really exhausting and annoying 9 hour motor almost directly against the wind and high waves.
So after the eternally long motoring to the shipyard, Varaderos Anaga, where “Maya” came the next day out of the water. It’s always exciting when she hangs in the crane!
Originally the work was planned for one week in the shipyard, but it turned into two weeks because the work was delayed and more things needed doing.
After staying a week in a hotel and cycling every day to the shipyard we decided to live in the shipyard on “Maya”. A bit inconvenient because there is no water on board and you have to go down the ladder at night to get to the toilet facilities.
On 9th November our friend Marlu arrived and stayed at a hotel in Santa Cruz before she could move to “Maya”.
The propeller was cleaned, the “CopperCoat” refreshed and the hull was polished so that “Maya” appeared in top condition. A new water driven generator was installed (to generate electricity) with a lot of sweat and cursing. The thing wouldn’t fit where planned and three additional holes were drilled in the boat which we didn’t need and had to be filled. Then finally the moment came and “Maya” was put back into the water.
In the two weeks I shopped like a world champion to refresh our supplies for the Atlantic cruise. Because it was said by our Italian friends that there would be only limited opportunity to shop in Cape Verde. I discovered more and more space in the hull of “Maya” and also found space in the bilge for beer, tonic water and eggs.
Of course, I also found room for the wine bottles under our bed. I hadn’t realized how much work it took to prepare for this trip. The best part was that the supermarket “Hyperdino” would deliver the groceries to the shipyard and John wondered what I was buying. After all, I am passionate about cooking and no one needs to starve on the trip.
Finally, the shipyard “Varaderos Anaga” can only be recommended even if it took a little longer this time but all the workers were incredibly nice and conscientious.
After the boat was launched the engineers came and replaced a part on the genoa furling system. This meant that the genoa, furling system and forestay had to come off the boat. Another anxious day, but it was completed professionally and in time.
We then went for a night in marina Radazul where we once again filled up with diesel and water. It was not a comfortable night as we were at the very entrance to the marina with quite a large “surge”. Plus only the front half of the boat was actually tied to anything as a huge French catamaran was taking up all the space in front of us.
There are so many catamarans at the moment, most of them seem to be French!!
Finally, in the morning with BF 4/5, we left Tenerife in the direction of Cape Verde.
However already on the 2nd day the wind dropped and we had to motor for many hours. In the end we needed a total of 7 days of which we motored almost 72 hours. At least we had no high waves and were accompanied on the 5th day by a school of dolphins and I caught my biggest Dorado (about 3kg) so far.
Unfortunately I lost our big fishing net when not paying attention.
Dinner was secured and tasted great. We were all so busy that we did not even notice that the autopilot had turned itself off and “Maya” had gone 5 times round in a circle. How embarrassing….
A morning ritual was to walk around the boat looking for flying fish that had flown onto the deck during the night. Sometimes you could hear them, but more often you just find a dead fish surrounded by dried scales.
As always, there are things that break. The fan that ventilates the engine bay stopped working and so had to be removed for repair. In this case the carbon “brushes” that make the fan work had worn out. John had some “spare” brushes that had been given to him 30 (!!) years previously to repair a vacuum cleaner. After some minutes sanding and shaping the vacuum cleaner brushes would fit in the fan motor. It was re-assembled and worked fine (of course).
John also made bread every couple of days – not an easy job when the boat is rolling around. He found the best place for it to rise was in the engine room! It was always welcome and by the end of the trip he had perfected the process.
Because the scale of the chart we used was so small it made no sense to plot our position every few hours. We opted to plot the position at noon everyday which gave a more realistic view of our progress.
Finally we saw the islands of Sao Vincente and Santo Antao rising up quite out of the sea and haze. The water was azure and there was a light breeze so we unfurled the genoa once again and slowly glided along.
We arrived in Mindelo anchorage in the morning and immediately had radio contact with our Italian friends who had been anchored in the bay off Mindelo for weeks. Freddy came with the dinghy and showed us a good place to anchor. What a welcome and immediately a invitation to dinner with them on their boat “Ciganka”.
Everything important we needed to know we learned from the crew of “Ciganka” – where to withdraw money, where there is a good shop for SIM cards, and the best shopping. If you know Freddy then you will know he is an absolute gourmet cook. His homemade pasta is simply unbeatable.
This has led to the fact that I now also want to buy a pasta machine much to the delight of John.
The Cape Verde Islands include 15 islands of which only 9 are inhabited. The islands only gained independence from Portugal in 1975. They are also like the Canary Islands of volcanic origin. The last eruption was on the island of Fogo in 2014. The eastern islands like Sal, Boa Vista and Maio are partly flat sandy desert islands because the wind brings the sand of the Sahara.
We had in the three weeks in the bay of Mindelo we here before anchor and z. T. In the Marina lay well 2 weeks Kalima plyus strong winds and the boat was covered with a fine reddish layer of sand again and again.
During a round trip with a local bus to the place Calhau it quickly becomes clear how poor the country is. As you travel along you see many huts and poorly built houses. Many of the people seem to live on the streets and have only rags to wear. We were often approached by beggars and similar people who just want something to eat or a little money to buy something.
Despite the sparse vegetation, the island has its own charm. The people are very friendly and helpful. Everywhere you can hear loud music from the houses and the small bars and restaurants.
The most famous singer of Cape Verde is Evoria Cesaria. In the city at the entrance to the port there is a beautiful portrait of the singer carved into the wall.
Here in Mindelo an African flair mixes with that of the Caribbean.
Unfortunately, we could not sail as planned to the neighboring islands of San Nicolas and Sal because the wind with BF 7/8 and meter-high waves it simply did not allow.
Because the Cape Verde Islands are already in the catchment area of the trade winds, which mostly come from the northeast . The other islands have no really safe anchorages. But even here we could explore the city and the many markets, especially the fish market where you can buy a kilo of fresh tuna for 5€.
At the local market with its colorful fabrics my friend Marlu and I had a dress hand tailored.
Again and again sailors leave the bay in the direction of the Caribbean. Here you can find the most different boats and partly also only homemade rafts, which make you rather worry in view of the weather in the middle of the Atlantic.
Since it is now apparent that we will have to stay here in Mindelo, John’s sons who want to come with us on the Atlantic crossing on 12 and 13.12 come to Sal and take a domestic flight to Mindelo to fly.
My friend Marlu has also left for cold Germany in the meantime. The Corona restrictions are due to the new mutant “Omicron” again stronger . Many have already received a booster vaccination. Unfortunately we cannot get a 3rd vaccination here. Tomorrow we will first do a PCR test so that we at least have a proof on the Visa declaration sheet for Saint Lucia.
Tomorrow I will also buy fresh vegetables and fruits on the market.
Because on Wednesday there is a good weather window and we will then sail towards Saint Lucia and hopefully still arrive there before New Year so that we can celebrate the turn of the year there.