This blog was sent through our Satellite phone so was text only. Photos
have been added after and will not format properly, apologies for this.

Cape Verde Islands are 800 miles southwest from the Canary
Islands, and separated from the West African Coast by 325 miles. It is
made up of 14 islands, all mountainous, and of volcanic origin, only one
of which is still active – Ilha do Fogo. The islands have always been
poor, partly due to lack of rainfall, forestation and prolonged
droughts. They are primarily agricultural growing maize, bananas,
oranges, sugar cane, sweet potatoes and on Ilha do Fogo grapes and
coffee. Their largest source of income is foreign aid, mainly with Europe.

January 14th: We arrived at Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente, around
3; 30am, the harbour was very busy with ships anchored. We anchored near
the big ships. We celebrated our arrival with a couple of beers and I
had a baileys. Heidi abstained. We managed to get a few hours’ sleep
before we headed into the marina.The harbour seems to be a bit of a graveyard for ships, there are a number around the harbour.

wow, what a busy place. we were assisted to tie up by 4 very happy marineros.
I gave them a coke each and they posed for
a photo. I told them I would put it on my blog and people all the way
across the world in Australia would see it. They were really pleased.
Then we had to check in at the marina office and Kattiya was so friendly
and helpful. She was grateful to deal with us, she said she normally
only deals with men. We then had to walk about .5 kilometre to check in
with immigration and police. This didn’t take too long and it cost 5 euro’s.
It was really busy with tourists as there were 2 cruise ships in port,
which had arrived just after us. We later found out that the only time
you see beggars here is when the cruise ships are in. We saw a number of
them it’s hard who to choose to give to, but I chose a guy in a
wheelchair and Heidi did too.
Our first impressions of Cape Verde were: Peter “it’s hot”, Heidi” I
didn’t think it would be this busy, Robbie “I think I’ll do an oil
change” and I was “Land woo hoo let’s go out for dinner”. Robbie changed
the engine oil, changed the thermostat in the generator and a few other
maintenance jobs preening the engine ready for her big stint across the
Atlantic. Just quietly, I think He also gives her a cuddle and a kiss!!

We had a short walk in town, the marina is right in the centre of
Mindelo. We found a nice restaurant and we shared calamari and
bruschetta for starters and then Robbie, Mark, Mike and I had steak,
Peter had a Kebab that came out on a Vertical rack and looked
spectacular. Jennifer and Heidi had a shrimp spaghetti. All the meals
were really good.

 Back to Starlet for a night cap.

January 15th: The currency in Cape Verde (or C.V. as the
say) is CV dollars. The exchange rate is 110 to 1 euro so we
got 10,000dollars for 100 euro. We organised a bus tour of
the island,
our bus
driver called Anderson, turned up early and he had a mate 
with himcalled Joe who had no teeth but spoke great English!
English. Joe had 
lived in Boston in the USA with his mother but she died of cancer and he did not have citizenship so he had to return to Cape Verde. He has a 21 year old daughter living in the USA and he hopes that she will be able to get him back there. 
We all piled in the minibus and off we went through the
town of Mindelo, seeing a number of the local women carrying produce in containers on their heads



The first stop was the highest point on Sao Vicente, Monte Verde,
which overlooks all of Mindelo and the harbour. Stunning views. Again,
these islands are all volcanic and mostly very dry and barren. There
were pockets of green, and these small pockets looked almost like an
oasis amongst the dry, dusty terrain. We saw this man and his donkey at
the bottom of the road, and he was a fair way up on our way back. It
would have been a long, hard slog. He had a big smile on his face
though. Don’t think I would if I had to drag a donkey up there every
day. (you know how stubborn Donkeys can be!)

We stopped at number of lookout points along the coast
and then at a really nice sandy beach with rolling waves. There was a number of local kids selling shells. I didn’t want to buy any shells but I shared out all the coins to the kids, that I had with me. In the end I had to put my hands out and shout “stop it”. They just started shouting and pushing and jostling with their hands in my face to get the coins. It wasn’t pleasant.

Next stop was a small fishing village where the locals were
filleting the daily catch, they looked like Coral Trout and Parrot Fish.
We were also supposed to be looking at a turtle which we were horrified
to find they had in a very small container and they were prodding it
with a stick. I didn’t even see it after Jennifer told me what they were
doing to it. Jennifer let Joe know we didn’t think this was right and he
should be let go. He feigned ignorance and said it was the first time he
had seen it.

 The local fishing boats do not have motors, they paddle out
through the breaking waves and then use a very crude mast and sails. I
would not like to be the wife of one of these fishermen – you would
always be wondering if they are going to make it home.

 We stopped at a local restaurant for lunch. They had some
interesting art work on the walls, we wandered how the guy got in the
tree. I ordered “Grouper” but it was just like Coral Trout. Very good.
Robbie and Peter had Octopus which he said was very good. Heidi also had
fish which looked really good. We then had to shake our tail feathers
and get a move on as we had to get back to check out with Immigration
and Police as they are not open on the weekends and we wanted to leave
on Saturday or Sunday.

Mark and I checked both boats out with immigration and customs, which cost 7 euro, not so bad.
We all had a few drinks in the marina bar and I was able to load my
blog, which I had been very frustrated after buying 2gb of internet and
it wouldn’t work on the boat. Both Peter and I had got out of bed very
early in the morning around 4am and it still wouldn’t work. I finally
got it done using the marina bar Wifi. We met a lovely couple Chris and
Sandra from the UK who are on their yacht “Deep Blue” and also crossing
to Barbados tomorrow.

January 16th: After speaking to Stokey our weather router, the decision
was made by Robbie and Mark to leave today, just after 3pm and after we
both fuelled up. All of a sudden it was all on. Heidi and I whipped
through 3 loads of washing and hung it out. Poor Southern Star looks
like a Chinese laundry but I hate using the dryer. We wanted to top up
our fresh food and we needed some other supplies so Heidi, Jennifer and
I set off for the supermarket. It was a very limited supply and we
really wanted more sparkling water as we are drinking about 4 large
bottles a day, but we couldn’t find it anywhere. We took the supermarket
load back to the boat and then hot trotted it off to the local produce
markets. They were OK and we got some fresh fruit and veges. Heidi found
some nice small green capsicums and she’s going to stuff them with
mince. Its so nice to have someone to share the cooking and cleaning
with – and especially someone who is such a good cook like Heidi!

Back to the boat and lunch and then I sat up at the marina office
firstly to be there when they opened at 3pm to check out, and also
trying to send some emails to let everyone know we were departing and of
course check out Facebook. Had some messages back and forth with
Kristie, her and Brad had flown into Doha and were due to fly out to
Africa for the start of their 12 month adventure. How funny would it be
if they flew over us!

At 3pm I was the first one in the office and checked out. By this time
Robbie had left the dock and went over to get onto the fuel wharf. I was
able to walk to the fuel wharf and wait for them. Unfortunately there
was a small French yacht there waiting to take on fuel and water. The
fuel was OK as they don’t hold much but their water took an hour to fill.

Finally we got the diesel going in and it took an hour to take 1650
litres. It was so nice to have Heidi and Peter aboard helping. I decided
to start cooking a casserole for dinner and Heidi cleaned up the mess
from the diesel and scrubbed all the decks with the dirty foot prints.
Peter helped Robbie so it was great. It was blowing over 20 knots so
it’s a little challenging for 2 of us to manage docking the boat in
those conditions.

We finally got off the fuel dock and Starlet got on, we dropped our
anchor while they filled up and then we both headed out. It was just
getting dark by the time we left and we did cop some big swell and wind
between the two islands. Once we got past Santo Antao we could change
course and it was a little better but the swells were big and very close
together. Not very comfortable.

We changed our watches Robbie is now doing 6 to 9 and Heidi 9 to 12. We
are all very mindful “happy skipper – happy life”!! Ha anyone who knows
Robbie knows that he is always happy and full of life! Lynnie my sister
thinks he’s like the battery guy who never runs out of energy, she calls
him “Robogieser” or “EverRobbie”

January 17th: The swell and wind were very constant all night. The swell
was only 6 seconds apart very short and lumpy sea that gives a very
uncomfortable roly night. I didn’t get any sleep. My watch from 3am to
6am was uneventful. Peter had an interesting watch when we got a radio
call from Mark on Starlet asking “where are you going”? The problem was
that we had plotted a direct rhumb line to Barbados, and Mark had
plotted a great circle route to Barbados. The difference between the
two, is that one is a straight line, and one is an arc, and the arc is
the shortest distance between two points, because of the curve of the earth.

Robbie and Peter had decided not to plot the great circle route last
night as the instruments had to be changed and Robbie wanted to do it in
the morning. Which he did.

The funny thing is that, it took Robbie an hour to change the
instruments and set the great circle route. An hour later when we got
the email from Stokey, he advised a change of course which improves the
way the swell affects the boat, and he gave us a waypoint which is only
200 miles away, and 13 miles south of our route, and so you wouldn’t use
the great circle route for that distance. But it was good practice!


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