off to Cabo Verde
Thursday 8 December
0800h 24:30.3N 16:18.2W
We’re off to Cabo Verde. But before that and to recap: we returned to San Sebastian (San Seb) marina for four days on Dec 2nd. We had spent the previous night and early morning at anchor in a sheltered bay which was very peaceful especially after the shaking up we got in Vueltas the previous night. The water in the anchorage was warm and crystal clear and the rocks by the shore teemed with small, colourful fish. With snorkelling masks we could see the anchor lying in 10m of water.
In the morning, at anchor, my co-pilots surprised with birthday presents: a knife for the boat and a book which I have yet to start, and a birthday cake which is now finished. I also had a number of Whats App birthday wishes, thank you to all the senders. Later on Friday afternoon, in the marina by that time, we ordered some stainless steel threaded rod from the boatyard in San Seb marina to replace the sheared bolts on the cleat and tried to arrange a lift out and power wash for Monday. The lift/wash never happened but i got the steel and repaired the cleat.
We had a restaurant meal out in the evening after watching a bit of world cup footy in a bar which was supposed to be my treat but the co-pilots wouldn’t let me pay. We were in the marina because the weather was due to be ‘fresh’ on Sunday and Monday, so Annie, who I used to work with at PML, and Gavin graciously offered to pick us up for a tour of the island on Saturday and we were to bring our toothbrushes and sleeping bags. The island is only 10 miles north to south but very mountainous and riven by unbelievably steep valleys which meant lots of low gear climbs and descents and a huge number of hairpin bends. The ten miles from San Sebastian to Valle Hermosa takes the best part of an hour assuming the roads have not been blocked by falling stones.
We were taken for walks in the World Heritage status cloud forest in misty, atmospheric conditions and it was spectacular: giant heather and ancient trees draped with moss and a number of plants unique to the islands. Annie provided a picnic lunch and after more forest walking, with the paths almost to ourselves, we got driven to view points below cloud level over stupendously steep valleys.
We spent a lovely evening with Annie and Gavin in their traditional house set on a steep slope with terraced gardens adjoining. The building was formerly a school, but they had tastefully modernised and weatherproofed it. On Sunday we were given a tour of the terrace gardens growing exotic fruit trees and a walk around the village and a local arboretum followed by lunch in a local bar/restaurant before catching the bus back to San Seb – another spectacular drive around giant valleys and hairpin bends.
On Monday morning we were prepped for our lift out to pressure wash the bottom of the boat but we got rescheduled to the afternoon and then eventually ignored. The boat yard was craning in rowing boats for the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Rowing Challenge which was due to set off for Antigua on Dec 12th,and we got left out. We did some final shopping for fresh food instead and I bought some baking trays for making bread.
We left San Seb on Tuesday 6th after filling the diesel and with a far from ideal weather forecast -nothing unpleasant or stormy but just too much south in the wind direction. We should be sitting in north easterly trade winds but a series of deep depressions much further north have ripped up the script. At the moment we are close hauled making 5-6 knots in a south westerly wind of 12-15 knots and living at a bit of an angle as we head for the most westerly part of the Sahara where we hope to pick up a fair wind for Cabo Verde in a few days.
All best, Tony, Brian and Morag.