26 November 2006
I had gone to bed about 7.30 and got up 12 hours later, not totally without getting up, but it was rather wonderful. I was not happy with where I was anchored, but the anchorage has a reputation for bad holding throughout and it was well set. The tankers came really close to me and one of the other boats further in. I had let out nearly 50 metres of chain and I was going to move forward in the morning, but in the night another boat came in and got in the space. A boat left and I was going to move up, but it was only about 7 or 8 in the morning. I thought some boats mights go today and perhaps I would have more choice; of course, boats may come and take up the spaces. I would have had to move as the port captain told everyone to move up because the tankers had to get in and out. I did move at noon, I was going in the space next to Rajac, but he said it was more protected to the west and there was a space. I eventually anchored, not where I wanted to be, but it dragged and an hour later I was off again. I can t charge up to a line of boats and hope it slows down by the time I get up the front, but the wind was still strong 20-23 knots and I kept ending up further back from where I wanted and the anchor still dragged. I thought Rajac might get the hint that I needed help and eventually his compatriot came out in his dinghy. It is so much easier with someone on the wheel and someone at the anchor. They are leaving for Sao Nicolau tonight, but just to call them if I need help when it doesn t hold – such optimism. The waves are crashing on the shore and it is not exactly static, but hopefully I am set.
I have the inverter going because the wind generator is pumping in so much electricity it would be a pity to see it all go to the dump resistors. I have plugged the extension lead in and so far it has not beeped at the computer and the speakers.
Today was check up day.
WATER – topped up the tank with 17L from containers + I had used 25L from containers = 42 L. Usage say 5 L per day.
Tank 180 + containers 20 = 200 litres
Bottled, sealed, water about 70 litres in the bilges.
DIESEL – topped up the tank with 11.5 L , used less than I had thought.
Tanks 90 + 85 + containers 80 +35 = 290 litres
GAS 2 full + 1 in use, to exchange before I leave CV
Engine bilge empty.
Stern bilge from the transom had about ½ litre in it. I will have another go at sealing the ouside before I leave. I did it in Las Palmas, but the plinth the bracket is on comes right down to the waterline and the slightest ripple comes over the edge, thus making it really difficult to seal..
Keel bilges, these had about 1 litre in and if this is not from the transom then where is it coming from. It does seem to be salty. This will be kept under review.
Water leak. When in the cockpit locker I found that there was a steady leak from the water maker. This would be plain water coming back from filling the tank. I have clamped the pipe and closed the sea cock and we will have to see whether this has any effect on the water in the keel bilges.
CV is UT-1, but I have not changed the clocks yet.
There is nothing like a relaxing day at anchor and this was nothing like a relaxing day at anchor. Continual checking whether I had moved, lots of yachts moving about trying to find a better space. I had wanted to be where the little red boat was or Rajac, after I had settled just next to Rajac they moved behind me, even though they were leaving tonight. The other boat leaving was going to give its space to the little red boat, but they managed to get in near the beach where it is protected. There is no protection here and the waves are crashing against the beach even though there are 20 knot headwinds against the waves. The boats are moving around so much, those who came downwind to CV have probably not heeled this much all the way. I tried to take photos as the yachts disappear as the waves go towards them and then re-appear when it reaches them, but I don t think I could get the effect. The same with the tankers behind me, these disappear as the waves head towards me.
I have been sitting outside a lot as it is less noisy, you cannot hear the chain crunching against the anchor roller. My jaws are aching from it all. I cannot even do the washing as the water is so stirred up it is not going to get anything clean.
I have batteries and the radio charging as well as the computer, the power is still pumping into the batteries. It is amazing how some boats, especially the big modern ones, one had 4 sets of spreaders, have to keep their engines or generators running because they have no solar or wind power means. That is ok if you have lots of capacity for diesel, but it seems a bit sad. There is not likely to be anywhere to plug into power in CV.
There has been a catamarran circling for about an hour, maybe more, and the two Dutch yachts have left and the third one has moved and they have finally anchored. OK it is out of a lot of the swell, but if there is a spot that could be described as right in the middle of the tanker lane I think they have taken it. I wouldn t risk it, but if they are lucky maybe this time of night on a Sunday there will be no ships in until Monday morning, we shall see.
Sal is in the Windward Chain of the CV islands, I am not likely to go down to the leeward chain. I shall plot my escape, sorry, route out of here.
It continued unabated all night and was really horrible. Things were made worse by the interference of the Real world. My phone came into network for the first time in 10 days and my mother was able to give me the news that I have won the Inland Revenue lottery and have been selected at random for a tax investigation. This is 2004/05 which was agreed and so has 2005/06. My mother had tried to tell the inspector what the situation was and there was not a lot of understanding there. I spent the evening trying to see what I had on the computer that I might be able to e-mail them, but there was no way I could deal with it properly. I had until the 15 December to reply to all their questions. If anything was going to tip me over the edge and make me cry then this was it.
I put all the chain out. The chain was being pulled through the windlass and so I had tied the chain to the cleats, but the rope had snapped. I put a shackle on the chain and put a bigger rope through it and that seemed to hold it. The inevitable yanking and jerking is doing no good to the boat as we surge forward on the wave and then get blown back.
27 November 2006
I was up early and got the dinghy out, inflated and in the water. I managed to get the outboard on; all this was a bit of an effort, but had to be done. I could not get the motor to start; I think the injector will need adjusting. Could I row against this swell, or would I end up out to sea? The man on the boat next to me rowed in, so off I went. There were two boats between me and the open sea if things went horribly wrong, maybe they would save me. One of those boats was the catamarran parked in the middle and he had got away with it, although he left soon after. I rowed away, valiantly, I thought. I had admired the way a big boat was sitting presumably anchored fore and aft and not moving, although it was a bit in the way. I managed to get to it and it gave me shelter and I went along it and was trying to go round its stern rope, which seemed to go a long way back. Suddenly it jumped up and went taught, it had broken loose from its mooring and was being held by a big tug type boat. I had the option of going under the rope when it went up, if I could judge it, or pull myself along it and round the big boat. I would then be quite a way in the harbour and should be able to row. A tender to one of the tripper boats came and towed me ashore.
There was a man on the jetty and he spoke English. I said I had to report to the police and the port capitania. He said that I should have reported to the police on arrival and would be in more trouble if I owned up than if I just left. I had a quick once round town and went back to the dinghy. I was given a tow back to the boat. One of the boys offered to fix the motor after he brought the tripper boat back in the afternoon, but I had no intention of being here that long if I could help it. So how much of a waste of effort was all that.
The boat further along to me had got back and rowed over to see if I had a problem. His name is Dale and he is taking the boat home to New Zealand. He had rowed his crew into the village. I explained about not registering and not knowing what was best, he offered to row me in. I thought he was going to pick up his crew, but they had gone to the next town which had more in the way of shops. His crew would not be back until about 3, he had rowed in specially for me and would wait. Second trip and still I had forgotten about shoes, a poor African village and I was the only one without flip flops. I went to the police, the man appeared, I filled in the form, paid the money and got my passport stamped. I then had to find the port capitania which is well disguised as nothing. Strange that the man who knew the place well and told me to do a runner had told me the wrong building. I went in and the man appeared, I filled in the form, paid the money and got my exit document. He wanted to keep the boat papers, but I said I was leaving now. Perhaps they would have preferred it if I had just not bothered.
There really does not seem to be the theft problem here that it is accused of. I did not think when I left the dinghy with the motor, just tied up to the jetty. There was a shop, I didn t go in; they use Euros; the children were in school; it looked clean and tidy considering their poverty. It is the most developed island, with big tourist development trying to start in the south. Otherwise here it is just barren, volcanic with small villages and towns. There was a place to collect water in town and I saw a kitten feeding from a dog, which is unusual and was quite sweet. So now I had owned up and was legal I went back to the jetty, where they were cleaning the fish that had just come in, the steps were slippery enough anyway. Dale rowed me back and we had a cup of tea before he left to do jobs on his boat. I got the outboard back on the boat and then tried to pull the dinghy up. This was not going to be possible on the windy side so I took it round the other side and just managed it. I left it inflated and put it over the solar panel for the island hopping. I took my Q flag down and was ready to leave.
Getting the anchor up was a very difficult job. I am going to have to check the stem fitting because it was wobbling; lets hope for an easy anchorage next time.
13:00 I left. I put the genoa out and the wind was about 15 knots and the waves were enormous, but it was wonderful to be going somewhere, anywhere away from that swell. The furling on the genoa had been getting badly wound with all the reef, reef, unreefing that had been going on. I was supposed to have taken it out at anchor and put it away nicely, but that didn t happen.
I decided that as the boat was sailing happily on its own I could deal with the furling gear. Trying to rewind from the centre a fully wound drum is not actually possible, but you have to give me credit for trying. I undid the knot at the other end and pulled the rope through, eventually I undid the knot at the drum end and took the whole thing out. Now, or anytime soon, would not be a good time to need to reef. Whilst I was at it I turned the rope end to end, it didn t look worn.
I managed to get the rope back on the reel, I hope it is ok, I haven t had to reef in the first 7 hours and it is dark now.
About 3 hours out I checked my passport, I have an entrance stamp, but no exit stamp, despite putting today as leaving date on the form. Just when I thought I was all legal. Nothing to do now but hope the next island is understanding, I am not going back.
It is going to be a tough night, but I could not stand it there any longer. I am tired and feel a bit sick. I hope to arrive at Sao Nicolau in the morning.