Fuertaventura, Canaries, to Santiago, Cabo Verde, Day 11

Saturday, July 13 James’ 1400-1500 watch It’s turning into a real nail-biter. Will we get into the harbor before dark? Well! Maybe! I had us heading a bit off course to keep the yankee full and our speed up, and adjusted up or downwind based on the variable wind strength. We can slip by Ponto do Lobo very near land, which will help.  Maio is an intriguing hazy lump and we’re both hoping there will be a good opportunity to check it out while we wait for James’ passport renewal to come through. There’s a handful of anchorages that seem attractive on the four easy-to-reach islands. In the realm of workable but not optimal, we have digital charts on our phones but not on the chartplotter. It’s even less comfortable here than it was in Nova Scotia, where we dealt with the same thing. Using the chartplotter as a radar screen and the phone to tell us where we are, we discovered that we could go between the land and this bohemoth with an AIS listing as a tug. We maneuvered into the harbor to find a boat right where I’d hoped to anchor. They are on a mooring, though, so we wouldn’t have been able to take that spot regardless. The sun went down as we approached and the light dimmed fast as we made ourselves safe at anchor in the Republic of Cabo Verde, on the island of Santiago, within Praia (the capitol) harbor, between the fishing port (Porto do Pesce) and the cop station (Policia Maritima). The third leg of our passage from the Azores to Cabo Verde was complete. Final position: N 14° 54.831’ W 023° 30.297’Distance noon to 2100: 26.9 NMAverage speed: 3.0 knTrip distance covered: 1010.0 NMDistance to destination: 0 NM

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Fuertaventura, Canaries, to Santiago, Cabo Verde, Day 10

Friday, July 12 James’ 1300-1400 watch It’s hot here! I can’t wait to go swimming. We have a little over 100M left and we’re going about 2.5 knots. That’s 40 hours…not that we can count on keeping up this speed. To come in to Praia in daylight, we’d either need to cut that down to 31 hours for a Sunday evening arrival…seems unlikely…or actually slow down a bit at some point for a dawn arrival on Monday. I imagine that’s what we’ll aim for. James’ 1500-1600 watch  The wind steadied and I shook out the reef. Now we’re doing 4 knots under full main and yankee with the wind just behind the beam.  I got a wisp of internet access and promptly recorded the new 10 day forecast. The news is good! The wind will strengthen tonight, but only to about 12 knots, and even better it’s going to be a northwesterly. That means we made the right decision going west of Boavista. We won’t lose the wind in the shadow of the 390 meter mountains. Saturday, July 13 Dena’s 2400-0300 watch The weather forecast has been quite accurate so far. Enough wind to keep us sailing (average 3 knots) but variable. Now, right when it said it would, we’re getting stronger periods and doing 3.5-4 knots. Next I’m looking for it to stabilize at the higher speed. We might make it to Praia well before dark tomorrow…I mean today. That would give us all day Sunday for checking in with the Policia Maritima, a grocery store trip, getting a SIM card, and having someone cook for us. Sounds nice, eh? Except visiting the cops, of course. Dena’s 0600-0900 watch I just got up and I can’t honestly say I’m actively hungry, but I’m thinking about breakfast. Last night, James[…]

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Fuertaventura, Canaries, to Santiago, Cabo Verde, Day 9

Thursday, July 11 Dena’s 1700-1800 watch The wind varies a little, but we’ve been making 3.5 knots on average since noon. The gentle breeze doesn’t feel like enough for that progress, but we are running with it and this is the standard direction of the current. Some combo of factors is keeping the sail full and helping us keep our mileage high. It’s hard to use a forecast this old with any hope it’ll be correct but they did call it on the wind easing last night. If things go as forecasted, we’ll probably have to motor at least part of tonight. We can cover about 50M very slowly, so we’ll have to bail to an anchorage if we use a bunch of that power and have another gloomy, low-sun day tomorrow. I’ve marked a handful of options for places to stop, but I’d rather sail slowly on through if that’s an option. We’ll see! Dena’s 2100-2400 watch Full main! It’s good to see the whole thing up. If the wind dies much more, I’ll have to reef so it doesn’t flop. We’re close enough that the wind dying out is a bit worrisome. We’ll have to conserve battery power for use when it’s needed, but we could motor to a temporary anchorage from where we are right now, if needs be. It’s all about patience at this point, which is surprisingly accurate to how I thought this trip would go! Friday, July 12 Dena’s 0300-0600 watch  Motoring. Not much to say about that except to be glad, again, that I’m not sitting over continuous explosions. I did have to drop the main altogether right after my watch started. Left it a mess out of an excess of hope but it’s almost the end of my watch and it’s still[…]

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Fuertaventura, Canaries, to Santiago, Cabo Verde, Day 8

Wednesday, July 10 James’ 1200-1230 half watch  Yay! I’m now farther south than I’ve ever sailed! I achieved my previous record when rounding the Big Island of Hawaii from Hilo to Kailua-Kona. A different segment of the World Ocean, and no lava-seeping volcanoes on this trip. The person I was would be thrilled to hear about this, if confused about what took so long. The other little bit of math I did while logging the last (record-fast 117M) 24 hours tells me that we’re 56M from hitting 10,000 nautical miles aboard Cetacea. Sometime overnight, then. I’m hoping for enough calm to make a celebration breakfast. James’ 1500-1600 watch We took water over the starboard side when a cross swell slapped us hard. Since that’s upwind, it got blown even higher and slapped its way into the cockpit. The cushions I was leaning on took the brunt of it and I was pretty smug. Just now, James went to the head in preparation for his watch and found that the wave had also come in through the porthole there. Nothing really damaged, but filling the boat with salt water isn’t optimal. Since we don’t shower in there, we haven’t bothered to fix a clog in the floor drain. It’ll slowly empty into the bilge and seep down to the bilge pump but, again, not optimal. Thursday, July 11 At 1236, we passed 10,000 nautical miles traveled aboard Cetacea since September, 2018. I woke James for kisses and congratulations.  We don’t have strict accounting for the distances we sailed on Sovereign Nation, Sapien, and Nomad, but it’s something around and probably over 20,000M. Even though we did offshore passages on both Sovereign Nation and Sapien, we sailed Nomad a lot more, and over more years. Sapien took us transPacific and Sovereign Nation[…]

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Fuertaventura, Canaries, to Santiago, Cabo Verde, Day 7

Tuesday, July 9 James’ 1400-1500 watch In the first 15 minutes of the new day, our average speed was 5.5 knots. By 1400, it was down to 5.1 but I’m still glad we reefed when we did. I don’t know why I keep checking the forecast that is now 7 days old. If it is right, we’re going to be out of the worst of it tomorrow by sundown. Today is going to be an inconsistent worsening, and tomorrow will be intense. The part I’d like to see turn untrue is the doldrums for the last 100 nautical miles. Where there’s a bit of wind, it’s in the wrong direction. Motoring 100M and arriving with sufficient reserves for the unexpected in Praia would take a long time, even with a ton of very bright sun. We’d go very slow, right when we’d also be coping with increased traffic and islands to not-hit. If it’s bad enough, we can anchor somewhere quiet. Since the whole problem is lack of wind, it opens up usually-untenable spots, places we would want to be away from before the winds came back. We’ll see about that! James’ 1800-1900 watch  The wind has backed down from the late-morning high. I feel relieved that the onslaught is delayed. I was really bracing for impact. Which is weird. I’m going to control outcomes as much as possible whenever I can, but I don’t usually anticipate the future with quite so much investment. I naturally believe that there’s no way to know what’s coming, so prepare for a range of probable events. These moments of having put real energy into a possibility are pretty rare, thankfully. It’s easier to act quickly and decisively when I have an awareness that I might need to but being poised for that action,[…]

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Fuertaventura, Canaries, to Santiago, Cabo Verde, Day 6

Monday, July 8 Dena’s 1200-1230 half watch  Looking at the monotonous pale dome of the sky, I remembered that, last night, it looked like the sky of a big town. Only the brightest stars made it through the curtain of dust hanging over us. Streaming, I’m sure, rather than hanging about in the atmosphere right here, but it’s too fine a dispersal to provide a show of traveling in the fast-moving upper air like clumps of wetter clouds do.  Dena’s 1400-1500 watch I’m kicking myself right now. I rapid-grabbed a bottle of sunscreen at the Continente in Praia da Vitória, and it’s heavily scented. I mean, I may actually prefer sunburn to the way it’s making my throat feel. I’ve become unexpectedly sensitive to scent, simply by eschewing scented products for years. I leaned away from strong chemical smells naturally and friendship with some people with MCS hastened my switch to unscented products. In better news, I’m enjoying my boat improvement planning kick. Today I measured for a prep-and-serving tray. The plan is to slot it into place on the counter next to the fridge tops. Anything we need from the fridge goes in there and then stays put while we make the meal. At this point, we are using the stove one burner at a time so we can put things on the other side where the gimballed action keeps the bottles and cans from leaping to the cabin sole (via unexpected and messy routes more often than not). The -and-serving part is that we can get a second set of receivers for whatever tab-type thing will hold it to the bulkhead. Mounted inside the space behind the folding table, we’ll be able to put all our sauces and condiments and spices in it while it’s attached in the[…]

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Fuertaventura, Canaries, to Santiago, Cabo Verde, Day 5

Sunday, July 7 Dena’s 1200-1230 half watch When I logged day 4, I hit the bottom of the page. That’s when I add those travels to the total distance we’ve traveled aboard Cetacea (since there isn’t an odometer on a boat like on a car). At 9631 nautical miles traveled and at least 566M to Praia on Santiago, Cabo Verde, we will be celebrating 10,000 nautical miles on this passage! I think it might come right as some intense winds die down, which sounds wonderful. It will be nice if we can have a special meal. We have no alcohol aboard, so it won’t be a toasting occasion. Maybe we’ll celebrate again when we get to Praia! Dena’s 1700-1800 watch I spent the two previous watches putting ideas on paper. Actual paper! I sketched out the new instrument panel I want to build and made all my measurements. I now know how big a piece of thin plywood we’ll need. It will only have three things on it… These three instruments are all largish and they’re going to take up most of the aft bulkhead to starboard of the companionway. Only the chartplotter is there now. The other two are in the footwell where they’re well-nigh useless. They are plugging holes, though. The motor display is where the diesel engine’s instrument panel used to be and the compass is where the engine’s stop pull was.  The stop pull space is a recess molded into the fiberglass and I think it’s a good place for a hard point, as we say in the trade when we are in the mood for sexual innuendo and even the word hard will do. With proper backing support, a solid eye bolt will be a good tether attachment while underway. Nomad had two in the[…]

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