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Date: 27 Mar 2015 20:11:18
Title: Day 20


11:30.6S 36:04.4W
(you may have to zoom in on the map to see that we are actually moving forward!)

Day 20 since we left the anchorage at Brava and only 185 nautical miles to go. 22 days since we last set foot on dry land in Mindelo (and dry, Cape Verde certainly was!)

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Sunset over Brazil

We are down to our last can of Fanta (which we will drink today), our last tin of fruit, our last 5 cartons of milk and juice, our last kilo of pistachio nuts, our last 6kg of muesli (now that is serious!). Only 15 litres of nice tasting drinking water left, though gallons of foul tasting water still in the tank (it tasted like that when we bought it). Both the Canaries and Cape Verde suffer from water shortages so much of the public water is desalinated sea water. It tastes salty with a hint of stagnation - delicious! Beans and pulses to see us to Australia, enough flour to bake two loaves a week for another month and the chocolate and biscuit stash is still healthy ... no emergency yet!

The staple desert has been 'lime mousse'. It is many months since we last saw fresh cream but UHT whipping cream was available in Spain. We whipped it for hours and nothing happened, however it does thicken when mixed with lime or lemon juice. In Mindelo we were able to buy a bag of limes (no scurvy on this boat) at the market and these have kept well in the fridge.

Lime mousse recipe
Ingredients:
1 lime
200ml carton of UHT cream (fresh would be even better)
sugar to taste
2 egg whites (use the yolks to make proper custard tomorrow)

Method:
squeeze lime
add lime juice and flesh to the cream
whisk the egg whites
fold the whisked egg whites into the cream
refrigerate in 4 small containers.

Unfortunately I had to throw the last nine eggs overboard, I was storing them in the cupboard above the fridge because it was cooler, water condensed at the bottom of each egg cup and each egg was sat in a small puddle, when I opened the box there was a strong smell of mould and the shells had discoloured. I used two which were fine, then the third one tasted mouldy. Time to cut our losses. I have used a gelatine leaf instead of the egg white and although not the same it still makes for a refreshing desert.

I find it hard watching my stores disappear. "I didn't accumulate all this food for us to squander it on eating! I'll have you know." (OK, so I suffer from a mild form of 'hoarder's syndrome' which runs in my family.) Franco tells a lovely story from his army days: A soldier went to 'Stores' to ask for one of the better backpacks that were on the top shelf. The store-man said to him "see that sign over there? it reads STORES, if I was meant to give you a rucksack, it would read ISSUES."

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This metre long fish kept us company for a whole day

Yesterday we took turns hand-steering all day, the wind was so light Aries, our trusty windvane couldn't manage. We sailed at 2 knots - walking speed.

At nightfall we were still on the tiller, I took the first watch, at some point the best course I could steer was north-east(!) at 1 knot. After that the wind died completely for an hour. Gilbert & Sullivan got me through, particularly 'The Ruler of the Queen's Navy' which I dedicate to several civil servants in Cardiff, and 'The Pirate King'. Eventually the wind picked up around midnight but the direction is changeable, keeping us on our toes.

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MSC Antares overtaking Caramor at dawn

There hasn't been time to be bored during our ocean crossing: hand-steering (not the most popular activity), sail trimming, reading and learning about Brazil, writing the diary, even working (hard to believe), planning our journey through Brazil and learning Brazilian Portuguese. We now know all eight classes of Power Portuguese by heart and have a number of useful expressions to use on any would-be muggers (not infrequent in a country where 20% of the population survives below the poverty line and 4% in extreme poverty while the rich fly around in private helicopters): "Please repeat everything slowly" or "I'm sorry I don't understand" or "is that a knife? please bring me a fork and a serviette".

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Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish, beautiful and dangerous

As we hide away under tarpaulins, avoiding the sun's furnace (Franco turning chocolate coloured and melting and I slow-roasting), we have received news from Tim that it has snowed in the Welsh borders - hard to imagine! Snow has featured in our conversations, in 35 degrees Celsius we have been plotting our next ski-touring holiday!

Brazil is now visible on the AIS. My plan, on arrival in Salvador, (once we have visited Immigration, Customs, the Health Department and the Port Captain) is to find a large tree and sit under it sipping caipirinha (Brazilian drink made with rum, lime juice, sugar and crushed ice) while watching street Capoeira (martial art developed by slaves and practised under the guise of a dance).

Kath

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