Said goodbye to Mike and Penny, who came back at 6.30 pm. Luckily the Dutch people on the tour had the same driver that we did and he picked them up at the bottom of the mountain. Daft idea to go to the top of the mountain, even the tours don t do that one. The Dutch people were swimming as I took up my anchor. I did get very close to their boat, but the anchor was behind it and came up with a lot of black sand and mud, so it had stuck in well eventually.
18:45 I set off. Catching the night boat is always a good idea, that way I was guaranteed daylight on arrival, but it is a shame I have to stay up all night.
I motored for 35 minutes and then put the sail up and turned the motor off. The wind dropped to virtually nothing and went round the compass a few times, I just blamed that on the sunset. Under 4 knots of wind I can do nothing, I just use the wheel and basically scull my way across the Altantic. With 4 knots of a reasonably constant wind I can get 1 knot out of the boat. Once the wind gets to 6 knots you can feel the boat put its nose up and sniff the wind and it is ready to toddle off.
The depth gauge was not reporting because I was in over 99 metres. Suddenly the depth registered under 10 metres and dropped to 2.5. This was not the waves because the water was just slopping about. I immediately switched the engine on, ready to make a run for it – away from whatever it was. Emerging island, submarine, huge uncharted wreck – not likely, so it has to be the sea monster then. Presumably a big fish swam by my sounder, but it always spooks me, especially in the dark. I turned the engine off after about 2 minutes.
It is amazing how noisy the water is in the dark, especially under the transom and the seat is now over the transom.
I just waited for the wind to pick up, which it did at 21:20 and I just had the genoa out. I could have put out the main as the AWA was going to be 60 to 120, but I did not. If I had put out the main I would have reefed the genoa, so as the boat was happy then I was happy.
DG when sailing should have his water generator head on, but as it was just between islands I did not bother to change the heads. He was in wind generator mode and Horatio was in full swing. It was very close the way the vane came over to the blades, but they did not catch it, not even the ribbon that flies out behind in light airs.
We made 4 knots most of the time and I reefed the genoa just before 5am as the wind went up to 18 knots. I was not in a hurry because I did not want to arrive before daylight. It would probably make a very good day trip. Leaving one island and having to pass three little ones before arriving at Sao Vincente through the straits with Sao Antao on the other side. I had to say very awake and on course. These waypoints were not to head to, they were to make sure I did not go closer than them. It is not like an exam when if you show your workings and have a good understanding of the problem you get most of the marks. Here you have to miss all the islands, 2 out of 3 won t do.
07:30 daylight arrives to confirm that I am glad I did not have to negotiate this coastline in the dark. The pilot book is correct when it says the tidal currents in the straits can build large seas and the two islands produce a venturi effect; rather gusty. I took a few photos, but was a bit busy with the boat at the time. I took the genoa in and went to engine a few miles before the anchorage. This was no time to be purist.
A huge catamaran overtook me and I followed it in. I anchored at the back of the pack. I will see how much room there is at the front later, maybe I will move up. I put out all my chain as there are still prevailing NE which pick up to gale force, but I am assured there is rarely any swell. This is supposed to be such a busy anchorage, I was surprised that there were not more boats. Probably because more people are now visiting the other islands too and doing it from different directions, make it less crowded.
I was visited by two boys who offered to look after my dinghy, but it was still tied up on the coachroof and I am having a rest first. I will have to visit the various authorities, especially to get an exit stamp from the islands. I am very near the water and diesel at this end, but don t think I will get any more.
Two hours later I found that the big cat had moved and I decided to get a little farther forward, just as the cat came back from the outer harbour. The wind was still dead against me at 20 knots, but I moved anyway. I got further in, but not quite where I wanted. There is lots more room down the front, maybe I will move again when the wind drops. I got the dinghy down and set off into the wind. I found the boys and they told me I was on the wrong part of the beach. I walked round and one of them rowed my dinghy round to the dinghy park area.
I found the Port Capitania, it was closed. I found the Maritime Police, it was open, but only to take documents, not to issue any. I was then taken to the Immigration office, which is through security gates, it was closed until Monday. Just as I was leaving the Immigration man was driving back. The person with the pass let me back in and I went to the office. He wanted my boat papers, but the Marine Police had kept those. I managed to get an exit stamp dated Monday. I went back to have another try at getting my boat paper and departure certificate. Despite being very forceful, I failed. Come back at 6pm, it was now 3pm.
I went round the town, which is quite large. I did not find a supermarket, not that I needed anything, I just wanted to change the 1000 Escudo note for smaller coins. I eventually found an internet café, where I checked my e-mail and failed to get a grib file for the weather to send to myself, although I was presented with an extra bill for the download by the MB. Carl was on MSN, but my computer had problems. There was a message from Rudi, you need to send them to the mailasail address for me to pick up anything after the next day or so.
I went back to the Police, I was a bit early, but there was no way I was going to get anywhere. Tomorrow morning, after 8, we will see. I was getting quite upset because I felt trapped and separated from my boat while trying to get my papers back. When I got back to the dinghy, I explained to the boy that I would have to come in again tomorrow and he said to pay him then. This was good because I was worrying about how much change I would have.
I had just rowed back to the boat, with the wind, and Eric from La Palma was going past with his wife and his youngest daughter. When I moved I had anchored in front of him without realising. His boat looks different off the pontoon and the most recognisable part would have been his anchor, but this was obviously in the water. I went for a cup of Earl Grey and a crepe with chocolate spread and a chat. It was very pleasant and just goes to prove that I was just tired and anything would have upset me.
I had some food and it is now 8.30 and I am going to bed when I have sent this.