We had a great Christmas here in Gran Tarajal. I think the picture below sums up the atmosphere!
It’s taken a while to decide on our next step. The bad weather we experienced on the way to
Madeira had caused some trepidation about undertaking still
longer passages, so we were seriously considering cruising the Canaries until
spring before heading to the Azores and homewards. But I can all too easily imagine looking back
and regretting not going further. In
terms of conditions, we should have done the hardest part now. If we continue along the established Atlantic
route, now we’re so far south, there’s every chance that we’ll have downwind
passages with much steadier winds and seas. That’s the theory, anyway!
The Canaries - interesting as they are - don’t really provide great
cruising. There aren’t many good
anchorages, meaning lots of time in marinas.
It’s warm, but not properly hot - the temperature is pleasant but it
still gets quite chilly in the evenings (a state of affairs which is clearly
unacceptable). Even more critically, the
Canaries just don’t feel exotic. Limbo, I think, yearns for flying fish, white-sand
beaches, tropical rain (in moderation), reggae and coconut trees. Perhaps even
So, we’ve decided to continue to the Cape Verdes and – all being
well – on across the Atlantic. This has
meant several days of relatively hectic preparation to get the boat ready. My main job was installing a new water tank to
give us enough capacity for the transatlantic.
Natalie’s been making a companionway flap to keep heavy rain out without
needing the washboards and sewing a Cape Verdes courtesy flag! We’ve
also got some new blocks and sheets to set up a proper downwind rig. And we've done huge amounts of grocery shopping, not counting on being able to get much except fruit and vegetables in Mindelo.
Sewing a rain flap for the companionway
Chaos below as we stock up..stowage for long passages is not easy on a 26 footer!
The passage to the Cape Verdes is around 900 miles, which we’d
hope to do in 8 or 9 days. As time is
getting on we’re only planning to spend a few days in Mindelo (depending, as
always, on how we feel. After all, we thought we were going to stay in Gran
Tarajal for about 4 days and we’ve been here 3 weeks!). Hopefully we’ll be off in a couple of days - watch this space!