Sailing to Mindelo, Swarms, Seabirds, Sexy
Barnacles and Success.
We took the decision to by-pass Tenerife and Gomera, we had had enough of
volcanoes, landscape and felt an overnight stay could not do justice, so off we
head for Mindelo Marina, Sao Vicente, Cape Verde and hopefully the sun,
Christmas and New Year. Just before we left we managed to get hold of Sue (Marks
Mum) Jack is now a whopping two pound fifteen ounces.
DAY ONE. We set off at 13:00 on Monday 1st
December. Swung compass for half an hour and off. Only a sandwich for lunch,
neither felt very hungry as we need to settle into rhythm and routine, which
takes a couple of days. Wind steady around 20 knots. Goose-wing sails - that is
- front sail out one side, main sail out the other. Not much to see, getting
colder. 18:00 opened our Advent Calendars. Outdoor heavies put on. This is just not right, this is not sailing in England, I‘m
cold. “Put your Dubarry’s on (serious boots) and you’ll be fine”
Trotting along at great speed. First sunset
over Fuerteventura. Our new red light Bear fitted above the sink (also
one in sea toilet) so we don't lose our night vision pottering down below. Great
DAY TWO. HAPPY BIRTHDAY
JOE. Goose-wing down, just a little Genoa (front sail) out, wind
getting bigger. Continued parallel with African coast, finally pulling away west
at Oasis de Lemsid. Winds up to 33 knots, sea with trenches twelve feet deep and
huge following seas, with white horses breaking, because the waves were behind
us only three made it into the cockpit. 13:00 first 24 hours = 141 miles
covered. 17:50 Skipper called ‘Sichem Pandora’ have you
seen me sir?? “Yes, just turning to port” when he had passed in front
of us skipper radioed his thanks and best wishes. AIS did its thing yet again.
Three crew on deck waved heartily. I took a video to show how a huge vessel can
disappear in big seas.
DAY THREE. 10:00 Skipper was called up by a captain of a
coastal freighter called ‘Captain Stavros‘ heading for Angola, Bear danced a
woolly hat under the pram hood, we have a full crew
aboard, heading for Cape Verde, both
wished each other a safe onward passage. 13:00 mileage 131 miles in the
last twenty four hours.
Skipper caught a couple of times catching
zeds, off watch of course. The container ship we watched ploughing against the waves. Me
playing at night impressing myself and Beez with
Seabirds We can go days without seeing a single bird why?
It is surprising to see a bird mid ocean, some birds get carried off course
by storm winds and may not survive the ordeal, small birds cannot rest on the
water, they have the wrong shaped feet and would not be able to take off if they
landed by accident. Only true sea birds can survive the harsh environment.
Albatrosses are what the sailor pictures, they spend most of their lives at sea
or the migrators just flying past at speed en route to the sun.The bar tailed
Godwit can remain in flight for up to six days without a rest, covering 5,000
miles in a single leg of their journey. Seabirds have to drink salt water.
To do so, they have evolved special lachrymal glands that help them avoid
dehydration. Excess salt is excreted through a tube that opens at their
nostrils. From there a channel runs down to the tip of their beak (sea turtles
have much the same system, which makes them look as if they are shedding tears
when they are out of the water). Especially at egg
The Albatross, with a wing span of over ten feet, can glide for hours in a
strong wind without ever having to flap its wings. On the other hand, it has a
hard time staying aloft in calm weather and prefers to rest on the water when
the winds die down. This ability to fly for a long time without stopping to
rest in heavy winds, is this because of the old sea story, they cannot rest as
each of them carry the spirit of dead seaman, do me a favour, next time you eat
soft boiled eggs, when you finish, turn the shells upside-down and
smack with your spoon to make a good sized hole. This is said to release a
spirit each time.
DAY FOUR. Tiny bit of sail out, ditto huge
seas following, only a couple crashing into the cockpit, bath size amounts.
First bit of sun. 13:00 mileage 138.
18:30 Bear rang Kate for a Jack update, he is a massive three
pound three ounces AND “he‘s moved next door“ that means he has moved from
Intensive to High Dependency Care. Yipee. Next
Skipper sacked as second in command on the fishing front. I went to bed, he
carried on reading, I got up, checked my lines only to find the jaw bone of a
mackerel, the rest had been dinner for further up the food
Have you ever seen a skipper look humble.
Can you make someone look like an Egyptian Mummy with a roll
of duct tape, Pepe can.
Hop away Bear. Hop Bear Hop.
The remains, humble Bear, Bras
Chicken, quite funny as the packet held two chicken breasts.
DAY FIVE. Another milestone to be in the tropics.
Marvellous. Spaghetti Bolognese was a challenge to cook in such rough water,
everything takes twice as long and chopping an onion can be a life threatening
activity. 13:00 mileage 127. Skipper had the temerity to mention
soft-furnishings for ‘Pepes’ Perch’ (a seat that will fit where the door is so I
can sit facing forward on watch).
“Soft furnishings are a pink job” I said harshly.
Can you make your eyes roll. Pepe can. See warning
Have you ever watched someone adjust a face before. Bear
Watch Bear run around the deck. See Pepe chase.
Sprint Bear Sprint.
DAY SIX. Saturday 6th December. Six months away.
12:33 managed a really unique photo latitude and longitude
identical (below centre). 13:00 mileage 115. Tagine of Bras chicken
breast, carrot, courgette, roast potatoes and a nice glass of wine for lunch.
Managed a game of backgammon as sea not as rough, had to hold the men steady a
few times. Today we feel much in the pattern of things. Good books, chatter,
showers and thoroughly enjoying our day and our sailing. Parallel to Nouadhibou
on the African coast.
Barnacles, humble they are not.
Sailors hate barnacles with a passion. They are there soon
after your boat is in the water, glued to the propeller, hull or anywhere the
anti-fouling has worn. A barnacle covered hull will reduce boat speed by 30%.
They are hard to get rid of, tough to scrape off and easily cause nasty cuts
with their razor sharp shells. It was once thought that a barnacle was a mollusc
because it has a shell, but it is really a crustacean, like its cousin the
shrimp. From the time a barnacle hatches it can swim freely, for years. As soon
as it undergoes the final metamorphosis of several, it must find somewhere to
attach or die. They are not fussed what that might be, whale, mussel, pier,
hull, rock or crab shell - the barnacle glues itself onto its new home
head-first. And there it remains for the rest of its life, which may be up to
thirty years. The glue it uses to attach to its host has long been studied by
scientists, investigating its use in dentistry and bone repair. Barnacles feed
on plankton that they collect by fanning the water with their legs. The Swiss
naturalist Louis Agassiz once described them as “an animal that stands on its head and eats with
its feet”. Its reproductive habits
are just as unique. Every barnacle is hermaphroditic, having both male and
female reproductive organs. But barnacles can neither fertilise themselves or
move around to find a partner, so they waggle their snake-like penises around
and grope around until they find a like-minded barnacle who is willing and then
dump their sperm. The barnacle has the distinction of being the animal with the
longest penis relative to its size in the world. Keeping
absolutely and completely silent here.
Flag hoisting, time for a
doidy full of rose wine and skipper chuffed.
DAY SEVEN. Sun out. Wind not much. 144
hour mileage 652, 113 this twenty four hours. Republic of Cabo Verde flag
hoisted at 13:30. Saw our first ever flying fish. They really look as if they
are flapping wings.
If you look below the horizon you can just make out the white
dots of a swarm of flying fish. Hoisted gennaker with Beez
emblem. Awesome Orca.
DAY EIGHT. Really sunny and getting warmer. 13:00 mileage
for 168 hours is 866, 101 this twenty four hours. AMAZING ORCA came
to say “Hello” circled a couple of times, looked at the troll lines
“NO” I shouted. 13:35 Caught a tuna, a beautiful golden colour. 14:10 Skipper
served squid and mushroom paella in American sauce with fresh tuna steak
garnish. Just as Skipper had washed up and slid away quietly for a poo, I yelled
for help, he appeared short-less as I was pulling in the troll line. First he
saw one appear, then two, three, four. He laughed so hard he got wet eyed.
My poo is now well and truly ‘on the back burner’ so to
speak. Twenty minutes later the cockpit looked like Billingsgate fish
market at filletting time. Lets just say I’m glad we have an outside shower !!!!
Just as pandermoneum settled, it was decided to stop fishing for the day,
however Bear said we must have gone through a swarm of
tuna, as yet another. All between one and two pounds.
Chuffed with my pretty golden Tuna,
not so chuffed with four at once, writhing and wiggling until the gin that
is, (Jump Jet). Bear letting the last lucky
little chap back (now choosy as to size kept).
DAY NINE. 10:00 ships clock reduced to UTC -1. Brilliant
sunshine and real heat. Skipper showered so he missed a flock of over 100 flying
fish looking like a low flying cloud. As we were so near our destination to
celebrate Skipper hoisted the Gennaker for the first time, SOOOOO EXCITING.
14:30 Engine off, Mediterranean Moor (tied up - front rope, back tied to sunken
buoyed line), just means getting on and off a bit more interesting. Mileage 988
in 193.5 hours therefore average is an admirable 5.1 knots - well done Beez
Neez, you have been a complete STAR.
Bear with land in sight. Entrance to Mindelo. Mindelo
town, quaint and colonial. Total sea miles 2867.1 since 6th June
ALL IN ALL A MEMORABLE FIRST ‘BIG’ VOYAGE.
Surprisingly comfortable and feeling safe in
quite differing sea