03.46 Very good morning to you. Once again we are suffering from a lack of puff and currently motorsailing at 4.5 knots on a course of 215 towards the Cabo Verde Islands. We took the decision after dinner last night at the end of a good 24 hour sailing period which saw us clock up more than 100 miles. We had sailed all day in the centre of a meteorological arena with obvious weather systems creating interesting cloud patterns on the horizon all around us while we sailed under a clear blue sky. Then as the sun started to sink towards the horizon the wind died away to nothing. and the underside of the clouds were set ablaze to create a dramatic sunset that made them look like they had been blasted with a huge flame thrower. We rolled away the foresails leaving main and mizzen up and started the engine. Initially it was intended just to give the batteries a boost charge but after calculating the diesel we have left we started to look at our options. The only deadline we have is that Max's return flight from St Lucia is booked for the 6th Jan. and there is very little chance of us being there for that so we will have to change it. We are having to head South West towards where we hope the Trades will pick us up and, looking on the chart, we are only about 200 miles from the Cape Verde Islands. As we're not pressed for time we decided that it would be a shame to be so close and miss the opportunity to visit them. An unexpected bonus could be that we may arrive on Christmas Day if the wind fills in and gives us a lift. So we may well have Christmas on tierra firma after all, anyone fancy chucking their thong in a bag and coming out to join us? I wonder if they have Brussel sprouts there? Just my luck I bet they eat a special variety of tollo for Christmas, probably made from something, if such a thing could possibly exist, even smellier than the Canarian delicacy. Whilst there we can pick up some fresh food and take on water and fuel whilst waiting for a favorable weather window, have a shower, sink a few beers and enjoy the islands for a few days. They are about 800 miles South of Gran Canaria and were uninhabited before the Portuguese arrived in the 1500's. When they left they destroyed all they couldn't take with them, poisoned the wells and just abandoned them. It is now an independent state and is very poor and grateful for anything they can get. Unofficially, Max was there about 20 years ago so it will be interesting for him to see how they've changed. Today we had a circling shark just off the boat, at first we thought the dolphins were back but it was only one and it's dorsal fin had a totally different demeanor to it, dark, sinister and menacing . It didn't hang around for long, I guess it smelt the tollo, and apart from a couple of stormy petrels we haven't seen any wildlife at all and the last ship I saw was about 4 days ago, which was, in itself a surreal experience as it came up behind us with A Bus, A Red Mercedes Fire Engine and A Truck all in a line as deck cargo. It's not every day at sea you get the feeling that you're on the M25. this place is huge! Regarding my comprehensive mess up with the blogs, I'm told that it appears from the position pins that at some point we were heading back to Mogan. There are a lot of places that I would be reluctant to revisit but Mogan isn't one and it will always have a special place in my thoughts, but no we didn't ever start heading back. I think a couple of blogs got posted in the wrong order as I sent two off together and the later one got posted first. I need better internet access to go online and correct it and hopefully I will get a chance in the Verdes. Oh and by the way any replies to or comments on emails received are addressed at the very end of the blog, this way I can do it all in one go and not have to worry about sending numerous emails to different people.
Lady C and crew with thoughts of Christmas
Bibi - Max was wondering how the walking was going?
Zara - No honestly I don't blame you and Si for it, but you could be right, Hope your collective bonces are recovering. Stand by for ticket changing info - I'll see if I can hook up to wifi in the Verdes n maybe give you all a call on my phone, It is Boxing day you're all partying without us isn't it?