Our stay in Mindelo, and departure

S/Y Pelerin
Colin Speedie & Louise Johnson
Tue 18 Dec 2012 18:51
We’re probably heading off and leaving Mindelo tomorrow (Weds 19th Dec) to cross the Atlantic to Brazil – the winds are good, the swell is favourable, and with the great weather-advice of Steve & Tracey Wrye we’ve found our potential slot to cross the dreaded ITCZ (i.e. the doldrums) to avoid the worst of any squalls and lightening. The engineering work has solved our little air leak into fuel problem, so well done Colin for persevering with that (with the help of the very useful technician, Gilson, here at Mindello Marina). I’ve been packing away the last of the shopping and tying up admin/banking/satellite-phone loose ends etc, and Ronnie has washed his smalls…! OK, and helped with all the shopping. So we’re ready for the off.

What of Mindelo? We love the place. We would recommend any boat come visit if in this part of the Atlantic. The swell can be interesting, and the wind certainly gusts through, but better to be in here than out in the anchorage where both would be felt with much greater extremes. The people are really friendly, very welcoming. The Cape Verdeans are a very beautiful people: tall and elegant, with great bone structure. The scenery is stunning. Mountain tops with the most jagged peaks.

The Cape Verdean music has been infectious… Eating out at a simple local restaurant a couple of nights ago, they advertised live music. The place was completely empty. We hoped for the best but secretly feared the worst… The arrival of an elderly flat-capped guitarist with crinkly eyes bode well. As he lifted his battered old guitar case and lowered himself onto one of the rickety chairs on the raised platform, we saw him take hold of his 12-string guitar. He started to play, and we were completely bowled over. The traditional music style in this part of the Cape Verdes is Morna, derived from slave music, a melancholic expression of suffering and endurance, and a reminiscing of easier times past. The guitarist was obviously a seasoned old hand, and at one with his instrument. The gentle rhythm was hypnotic. After a few songs a second guitarist arrived and joined the first, then accompanied by a man singing in the local ‘Kriolu’ language; the mix was really enchanting. These were WOMAD-quality musicians, playing beautiful music, just a few metres away from us. The restaurant soon started to fill, and we stayed for as long as the guys played... Then slowly drifted back to the boat, still in a dream.

But rudely back to the present. All the food cupboards are stocked to brimming. The water tanks are full. We’ll fill up with diesel at the fuel berth before we head off. Just the immigration police to see to retrieve our boat papers and get our exit stamps in passports… then we’re off!
The rest of the big blue Atlantic beckons.
A passage of nearly 2000 nautical miles to Brazil.
Depending on weather, maybe 3 weeks sailing.
We’re ready, a little anxious, but very, very excited… Let’s go sailing!

Lou, Colin & Ronnie