Passage to Cape Verde
It was up to each individual Skipper to plan the departure from El Hierro. Some left before us and a couple decided to remain in El Hierro to let the Low Front pass through before leaving, and because some of their crew were unwell with the bug that was still doing the rounds.
We departed at 8am in the company of about four other boats. There was no wind and the sea was calm so we motored on a course that would take us south. We soon lost sight of the other boats and were focussing on our fuel consumption. We had reports that some boats heading to Cape Verde ahead of us had no wind and had motored for a few days. With a distance of over 800 miles to cover fuel can be an issue, so we slowed our speed down to conserve our fuel as much as possible. Peter had purchased some extra fuel cans in Tenerife and we were very pleased to have some fuel in hand.
We motored for the first couple of days in perfect calm conditions. Emma and I spotted some whales, quite big ones, but again no photos. We had plenty of Dolphins. One morning we were joined by a huge pod of Atlantic Spotted Doplhins. We were surrounded by them having a wonderful time surfing our bow and leaping showing off their acrobatic skills, just amazing.
One morning we spotted a red bucket floating along with something attatched to it. We decided to take a closer look and discovered there was a turtle who was happily feeding off the growth on the bucket and using it as a sort of plaything. He spent a while watching us as we were watching him.
You can go for days without seeing anything so a visit from a large seabird was a highlight. It circled the boat a few times, just swooping and gliding. We checked in our bird book and confirmed it was an Albatross.
Eventually the wind picked up, a bit changeable at first, but soon we were able to have the downwind sails up and we were moving along well at between 6 to 8 knots. We arrived in Mindelo in the early hours of the morning so dropped our anchor to get a few hours sleep before coming into the marina. The Cape Verde Islands are lovely. Very hot, with more of an African/Caribbean feel and way of life than I anticipated.
On the day of our arrival we had to check in with the authorities. Emma had to be checked in and get a visa to allow her to catch her flight the following day. Without a visa she would not be allowed to leave. I did consider hiding it !!
Once we had finished with the Police and Customs, Emma and I walked around to the beach just around the corner. Wow, what a surprise we had. Beautiful white sand, turquoise sea and a lovely beach bar or two. We spent the afternoon swimming and Emma topped up her tan for the journey home. I am sorry to see her leave, she has been a wonderful member of the crew.