Cape Verde Islands S/V PEACE AND ALOHA Update December 23, 2005
Ola, (Hello in Portuguese) Family and Friends
On December 7, 2005 at 1500 hours we arrived safely in Mindelo Harbor (16 53.1N 24 59.6W), Sao Vicente in the Cape Verde Islands about 100 miles off the western coast of Africa after a 6 day 5 hour passage of 870 miles. We left Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands on December 1 at 0930 after saying aloha to our friends on Rikili (Blake, Keri, Jade, Elsa, Bianca and Blake's brother, Aaron, who was helping them across). We had winds up and down, mostly down which is difficult for S/V PEACE AND ALOHA who needs more wind than other boats, especially sailing down wind to fill the sails preventing them from banging and ripping. We did have to repair a few rips in Mindelo because of the low winds caused by "Epsilon" - another cyclone/hurricane!
On December 8 after putting the boat into anchor-mode, taking the dinghy out and visiting with many other boats now in the anchorage (Exit Only - Donna, Dave, David, and Morgan, Rikili, Magnum, Interlude, Iceni - Iain, Susan, Hannah and Fraser), we dinghied ashore to check in to experience our first encounter with the "boat boys." Orlando took us to the to check in at the police station where they kept our original boat papers. Orlando showed us around the town which was quite clean with friendly, but very poor, people. We found all the supermarkets, internet cafes, bread bakery, market, bank, PO to mail postcards for Iceni, but had no luck finding 40 liter containers to carry additional diesel aboard. After lunch Eric and David went ashore to Immigration where they stamped our passports in and out, so a return visit was not necessary. They exchanged US$ for escudos: $0.90US = 1 escudo at the bank. We did a load of wash after dinner while running the generator. We hang the clean clothes inside and they are usually dry by morning.
On December 9 the guys were busy working on boat projects. David went to town to have a part welded at less than $15US including the taxi and it only took a few minutes! Thankfully, we were in a country that fixes problems, while in developed countries the part would be thrown away and replaced with a new one. We visited with many cruisers in between fixing the boomvang and washing another load. We were enjoying a Walt Disney movie: The Road to Eldorado, when David's heart went into atrial fibrillation at about 2015. He immediately took another flecainide and coughed but it did not go back into normal rhythm immediately. It was not safe to go ashore at night and the medical facilities are very poor. We contacted a cardiologist at Portland Maine Medical Center on our SAT phone who gave instruction for the next few days IF he continued in AF. Luckily he cardio-verted with the medications about midnight. The next day we looked into flights to leave trying to investigate all options but fortunately everything settled down and returned to near normal.
We spent the next few days doing boat work: sail repairs, changing oil in generator and engine, metal polishing, washing, administration and filing, baking bread, cooking chicken to use in passage meals and visiting with other cruisers, many of whom we were meeting for the first time after talking with them on our Atlantic Ocean Crossing Net at 0800 local time on 8173. There were other boats who did not stop in the Cape Verdes but continued on to the Caribbean. Unfortunately, the boat was ready to leave but David had a fever in the evening of December 12.
On December 13, the boys and I went ashore to check out the gift shop and the internet (which was crowded and not working). We purchased four loaves of whole wheat bread at the bakery and fruits and vegs from Natur, a fruit stand, which were quite expensive since most produce is imported. Eric and Jason purchased diesel in jerry cans. NOTE: BEWARE of the fuel purchased in the Cape Verde Islands! After we returned from visiting other boats who were leaving in the morning, David's temperature was up to 104.
The following morning we went ashore to purchase some chicken soup for David and to check out the weather on the internet at a new cafe which had better computers, was less expensive, and spoke English! Many decided not to leave since no wind was reported on the net by boats that set out a few days previously. We decided to purchase a 55 gallon drum to fill with diesel (diesel was about $0.60US/gal). Eric found a drum with Orlando's help. Then Jason and Eric made five water runs to refill our tanks since we could not make water in the harbor. Water cost 2 escudos/liter.
On Friday (December 16) morning David felt well enough to go ashore to check out of the country (500 escudos or 5Euros). We looked at carvings at the gift shop, but they were of very poor quality at very high prices! We went to the internet for weather again, exchanged money at the bank waiting in line for 30 minutes, and purchased more bread, fruits and vegs. We stowed all and watched the finish of the movie: The Road to El Dorado. Really fun movie and we can't wait to watch them again with our grandson, Paul!
We went ashore on Saturday morning to look at more carvings in their market (very poor), purchased 2 loaves of white bread since no whole wheat was available, and looked at guitars/ukes on display and put one on reserve for Monday. On Sunday morning David was treated to a special magic show by Paul on Quarterdeck. He is amazing! We were all spell bound, and couldn't figure out HOW he did it!:) We visited with other cruisers and shared recipes, which made us very homesick for Christmas cooking! We watched "Tidal Streams of the Blue Planet." Very interesting, since it answered a question that we had from walking Australian beaches, seeing crab holes with hundreds of little balls of sand surrounding each hole! These little balls are made by little crabs which process the damp soil through and out again for nourishment at a very rapid rate to avoid the returning tide.
On Monday, we awoke to 32 knots of wind in the anchorage but thankfully no one dragged. We went ashore and there was an argument about who was watching our dinghy and about a jerry can which we had brought for Orlando. We checked out the guitar/uke and decided that we really wanted it, so spent 45 minutes waiting in line to change our money at the bank. We purchased whole wheat bread, which we finally found in the back of the small supermarket where we purchased Turkish figs, and returned back to the boat after purchasing the uke and meeting its maker: Aniceto Gomes of Sao Vicente, Cape Verdes. A beautiful work of art! We were resting, watching "War of the Worlds" when Orlando came out to our boat. He was drunk and threatened harm to our dinghy or boat if we did not pay him what he thought was due him and give him a gift. Eric and I did not want to bother the Captain since he was resting, so we paid him off and he left. It is so sad that the boat boys are ruining Mindelo for everyone. We put the dinghy away so that it would not be damaged or stolen. We did not finish "War of the Worlds," but watched "Austin Powers I" after dinner for a good, much needed, but very stupid, laugh!
Tuesday morning we prepared the boat to leave, but then Eric had a temperature of 100 Deg after lunch, which increased to 102 later that evening. Eric had David's flu with fever, diarrhaea and nausea. No boats left on December 21 because Herb Hilgenberg (Southbound II on 12359 at 1930UTC) said to wait. We all rested and talked with other cruisers. On December 22, Zephyrus (Harold and Diana), Quarterdeck (Sandra and Paul), Magnum (Danny and Lesley), Interlude (Brett and Deb) and Garabes (Araksi and Rudolf) all left Mindelo. With Eric's temperature down, we prepared the boat once again for departure the following day, praying that Jason and I would not become sick.
We FINALLY departed Mindelo at 0745 December 23, 2005, in spite of it being a Friday, heading across the Atlantic Ocean to Martinique a distance of 2100 miles. We spent both Christmas and New Year's on passage.
We were disappointed not to visit other islands in the Cape Verdes having heard from other cruisers about the islands of Fogo, Brava, Sol and Santiago with their beautiful volcanic scenery and beaches. In the Mindelo anchorage we were surrounded by rugged, stark, gray/brownish peaks and mountain ridges of exposed ash/lava with little greenery or vegetation, reminiscent of the Marquesas. We were not able to take a "truck tour" around the island with other cruisers because of David's heart problem.
We are working on sending out past updates! Please keep in touch and send us your news and plans. Take care. God Bless. Fair winds and calm seas to our cruising friends.
With Love, Peace and Aloha,
Ellen, David, Jason and Eric
S/V PEACE AND ALOHA
January 21, 2006
St. Anne, Martinique