Past the Sahara

31 May, 2015 - Day 0 - Sunday

We actually left on the 30th, but after getting an hour out, we realized that the butane tank had not gotten replaced, so we had to head back in. It was a National Holiday, so we had to wait until Sunday morning to get the new tank. 

We slipped lines, and pulled out of the marina just before 11am. Jon was going to take the 12 - 6 shifts, and I would take the 6 - 12 shifts. 

It was almost a full moon tonight. That gives us an extra bonus of light during the night. We also get to watch the moon rise and set as well as the sun. 

Jon made a beef stir fry with rice tonight.

And yes, I am throwing up.

Heading out of the Harbour at Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
A very small looking tug boat towing an oil platform - Las Palmas Harbour
Big "oil rig?" ships in Las Palmas Harbour
01 June - Day 1 - Monday

Today was animal day. We had a cute little grey and white pigeon land on our boat. He stayed with us for about an hour. We are off the coast of the Western Sahara, but it is a long way to land. I’m not sure pigeons can fly so far. I tried to give him some bread and water, but he was to shy to eat it. He had a little orange band on his ankle, but I couldn't get close enough to see numbers. He flew away, but I couldn’t see where he went.

Later we saw a pod of dolphins - about a dozen of them, who jumped and raced at the bow. We were busy making a sail change, so, I didn't really have time to watch them, and then they were gone.

In the late afternoon, a little black bird tried to take refuge in our cabin twice. He fluttered around, inside and I didn't have the heart to shoo him out the second time. He couldn't find a comfortable place and kept trying to perch on the windowsill, but it is flush with the wall. Then he tried to find a comfortable place outside. After about half an hour he gave up, I guess we just don’t offer the same nesting nooks as a freighter. 

I think if I was long term cruising, I would consider putting bird boxes somewhere.

Still throwing up of course. Jon tried to make a nice pasta dinner with meatballs. I think I was able to keep some of the pasta down, but I couldn't even think about a meatball.

Water, Water everywhere...
I will feel better soon

02 June - Day 2 - Tuesday

The morning shift came early. Jon had to turn on the engine suddenly at 4am, so he could head up into the wind, when the reef let loose on the main. That woke me up, and I could not get back to sleep. Doing a six hour watch on four hours of sleep is never great, and still having that seasickness - not good. I struggled through and at 12:00 pm crawled into my sleep sack, hoping that the gravel I took at 11:30 would kick in soon. It did. I woke at 3pm and was able to go to sleep again almost immediately until 5:30 when it was time to get up for my 6pm shift. I am definitely feeling better now. I ate a pack of noodles and I am not feeling at all nauseous. 

Another Sunset
03 June - Day 3 - Wednesday

We are motoring this morning because Jon got tired of bobbing around, listening to the sails flap back and forth. Looks like we are stopping at the Cape Verde Islands after all. We have been motoring all morning since six am. Not sure how long we will motor. Everything is grey today. The motor is rumbling and grumbling. I never like motors. They give me a headache.

I made butter chicken. It turned out pretty good. 

Are we almost there yet? Huh, are we. I’m bored. I finished my book and did puzzles and started a new book and layer down and got up and layer down again and did more puzzles and looked out the window. Oh look, water, how surprising. Waves and clouds and clouds and waves. I wish I could change the damn channel. Look out another window, oh same view, different direction. OMG, there is a boat on the AIS - closest point of approach, 13 nautical miles. Not much chance of even seeing a dot on the horizon.

Three hours of inappropriate radio chatter at 7pm until 9pm. “Ok mudurfukr” “Cum suk ma dik mudrfukr” “Likmyass muthufakr” “I gonnafuku up coksukrr” “I can't see you, but I can smell you” “Ma dik is big like a big banana muthrfakr”. Not to mention the racial slurs in between. And of course, all of this on channel 16. Did these boys not grow out of their toilet talk, or is this just how bored you get out here? In a few more days or weeks, will I be singing similar obscenities into the radio just to break the boredom? 

I’m not sure whether it was having to listen to the vile language for such an extended period, but I found myself growing afraid this evening. As the sun went down, I started to feel alone in this great ocean. There wasn't even any sunset because it was so cloudy. It just got darker and darker, and the full moon is trapped behind cloud banks most of the time. I started to realize just how small our little boat is, and how easy it would be to take one slippery step into never never land. I wanted to close the glass doors to outside, but knew it was foolish. Each time I went out to check the instruments, I held on very tightly and stayed crouched just a little. I wished more than anything not to feel so alone in this great world. I want to shut the doors so that I don't run outside by accident and fall in the water. I know rationally that I won’t, that I can’t, but it scares me. Maybe it is a bit like having a deep hole near your house, or a cliff or a 17th floor balcony. Just an irrational fear that one day you will fall off of it. But then again, I did fall off the cliff near my house when I was a child. I’m going to feel a lot better in an hour when my shift is done and I can go down to my cabin and shut the door and the curtains and tightly wrap my blankets around myself and hold my pillow against my beating heart.

Sailing at night with a full moon

04 June - Day 4 - Thursday

I am sad today, because I cannot be there for Aodhan’s birthday. I know that everyone went out with him for dinner last night. but still, I was not there. Happy 16th birthday Aodhan.

“Gray day. Everything is gray. I watch. But nothing moves today.”

We motored all night, but now we are back to sailing. It is much nicer sailing of course. We are just a little off course because, you can never go exactly where you want to go, the wind just isn't that benevolent. But that is why we are going to visit the Cape Verde Islands in the first place. The wind just wouldn't let us go on a nice angle out away from Africa. it took us right down the coast, past the Western Sahara and Mauritania. The Canaries are off the coast of Sengal and The Gambia. They were Portuguese, but are now independent. I am not sure what the currency situation is there. Jon says they use the old Portuguese currency, but Portugal uses the Euro now, so I’m not sure how that works politically and economically…

post note: It turns out Cape Verde has its own currency… The “Escudo”

Laundry Sailing Tip: Undo the gate on the lifelines and feed it through the sleeves of your wet t-shirt or through the belt loops or leg of your shorts and clip it back up. Your clothing will be dry in a jif, no clothespins required.

Laundry Sailing Tip: If you splash wine on your white t-shirt while you are cooking in the waves, simply add more wine with a flick of your fingers and voila! A lovely new patterned shirt!

My Home, My life.
Some days are blue, some days are grey
05 June - Day 5 - Friday

You know that thing about a watched pot never boils, well, when you watch a horizon, a coast never appears either… I am running out of books to read. 

Some days are yellow.
Some are blue.
On different days I'm different too.

You'd be surprised how many ways
I change on Different Colored Days.

On Bright Red Days how good it feels
to be a horse and kick my heels!

On other days I'm other things.
On Bright Blue Days I flap my wings.

Some days, of course, feel sort of Brown.
Then I feel slow and low, low down.

Then comes a Yellow Day and Wheeee
I am a busy, buzzy bee.

Gray Day....Everything is gray. I watch.
But nothing moves today.

Then all of a sudden I'm a circus seal!
On my Orange Days that's how I feel.

Green Days. Deep deep in the sea.
Cool and quiet fish. That's me.

On Purple Days I'm sad. I groan.
I drag my tail. I walk alone.

But when my days are Happy Pink
it's great to jump and just not think.

Then come my Black Days. MAD. And loud.
I howl. I growl at every cloud.

Then comes a Mixed-Up Day. And WHAM!
I don't know who or what I am!

But it all turns out all right, you see.

And I go back to being ... me.

― Dr. Seuss

Coming in to Sao Vincente Cabo Verde

There is this big rock

The Island of Santa Antao