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January 30, 2018


Monday afternoon saw us on passage from Sao Vicente to Brava with a NE force 5-6 wind and moderate sea. We anchored just before breakfast in a delightful bay to the southwest of the island. Steep green cliffs which continued deep into the water, which meant putting out both the port and starboard anchors, and 5 shackles of chain.

Two of the local fishermen were quick on the draw pulling alongside with patched oars to sell locally caught fish. They were in luck and as part exchange had coffee and bacon sandwiches!

The adventures of the day were about to begin. The voyage crew went ashore in relays via the Doti boat, the beginning of the transition from legal sailors to possible illegal immigrants. The zigzag climb to the village at the top of the hill was hot and steep and dusty. So the small café at the top selling cold beers and soft drinks was very welcome. One small group returned to the ship whilst the remainder continued to the bus terminal. A few people had already caught a bus, but the next group was detained by the local tourist manager. Contradictory to previous information, each island has its own administration and this had not been made clear. Captain Richard talked to local officials, those waiting for a bus could continue to the Forna on the NE side of the island, stopping for lunch in Villa Nova Sintra and meeting up with other escaped crew members in Forna. Whilst the ship weighed anchor and went round to Forna.

The hinterland was one of steep cliffs, deep dry gorges, dizzying heights and cobbled roads. The old road into Forna had been built by the bus drivers grandfather it seemed fairly ok but the new one was better. In Forna there is little except the ferry, we did find a little bar which kept us warm waiting for Lord Nelson. The toilet was a matter of consternation which will be passed over! Lord Nelson eventually arrived- what a blessed sight. She had had a difficult time the port anchor was weighed ok  but the starboard anchor proved more difficult to weigh in, causing a delay in getting the ship moving.

To those of us ashore we watched her rocking and rolling out at sea while she was prepared to enter the tiny harbour. It seemed a Hobsons choice a tiny harbour with a ferry at the end of the dock and a strong onshore wind, or Doti boat rides to a wave tossed ship at anchor. To our great joy, Captain Richard skilfully brought the ship alongside. Cheers all round!

Aft Port Watch

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