7th February

We eventually all arrived on the ship berthed in the island of Sal, after long flights from Manchester, Gatwick and people changing in Lisbon!

On the 5th after all checks and training in the morning, we finally departed mid- afternoon to head towards Mindelo on St. Vincente. When we left we were straight into a moderate swell, and the octopus disappeared and reappeared from our favourite pseudo- captain Stu.

Dinner appeared and in some cases reappeared, due to the swell and motion of the ship, as we battled with the swell and winds. The fore and afters, topsails and fore course sails were set and the engines turned off.

We had 2 nights ashore in Mindelo, one night we met a Flying Dutchman, named Ivar, oh how the girls swooned and made comments. The kite surfer made an impression on all who met him particularly Laura who giggled in delight.
The majority of voyage crew went on a bus tour of the island where, dogs cats and goats made a very special appearance on “the Grand Tour” hosted by David, C, David P-J and Fran as Jeremy, James May and Richard. A 3- course meal with coffee was had and a low flying aircraft made a show as well as our guest star in a reasonably priced car the Saharan sand.

Some not on the bus tour chose an alternative method of travel. A Swede, a Dane and yet another Irishman decided that quad bikes were for them. They left after happy hour and weren’t seen again ‘til much later.

A birthday was celebrated that day on land after a Stella Cinderella show during breakfast. The birthday girl dried pots, and chipped 3 nails peeling potatoes. Yet songs and serenades followed.

Natasha Smith and David Parry-Jones

8th February 

Wind to Whales AS

Following a fantastic day in Mindalo, we were awaken as the engines were turned on at 6am this morning. Although Vinny’s watch were woken up at 5am to help with unmooring the ship. As we headed off towards St. Nicolau, we had an amazing motor sail experiencing; winds in excess of 40 knots, and the old girl herself even reached the speeds of 8 knots.

As we have to conserve water, it was good that we soaked many of the crew with waves and spray breaking over the foredeck and even catching those not paying attention at smoko corner. Some members of the crew have allegedly been seeing 1) a Kraken; 2) 3 mermaids, and 3) an occasional giant sea serpent. The rest of the crew were happy enough to witness whales, dolphins and being excited to discover the pilot whales at anchorage. One of them broke the surface with a little blowing and showed off their fins and half a black back. As we write this the crew are celebrating at the bar. Because we are at an unknown anchorage with gusting winds, the permanent crew decided to take the anchor watch tonight and let us relax.

We’ve also discovered during our time that Cape Verde is not that Verde. Unless “Verde” means brown, barren and dusty – it has probably had been marketed by the same people who brought us Greenland. We have heard that these islands have not had rain since July, so that might explain some of the discrepancy between the name and reality.

To be fair, the volcanic landscape is majestic as we were taking so many pictures sailing around the Western corner of Sao Vincente to head further East to Sao Nicolau. It was also astonishing to think that the harbour where we spent the night at Mindelo is a caldera of a huge volcano and the island itself is the product of the giant eruption or three.

Aft Starboard Watch

9th February

The ship was at anchor off Tarrafal, San Nicolas with 2 anchors out and the Deck Officers undertaking the anchor watches due to the very gusty and unpredictable winds. The day started in a slightly more exciting manner than planned with a 0340 phone call from Second Mate Rowan, who was on anchor watch, reporting that she had spotted an unlit yacht drifting past the ship.

Captain Darren had been informed and had requested the launch of Thunderbird 1 (The DOTI boat). So ‘International Rescue’ i.e. me, Beth the Bosun, and BM Lindsay, set off in the DOTI boat in search of the vessel, which was drifting out to sea at a speed of 1.5 knots.

We proceeded at full speed, scanning our searchlight over the calm sea, in the process startling some flying fish (who in turn startled us), before we came upon the unoccupied, aluminium-hulled yacht, obviously someone’s pride and joy.

Beth bravely boarded the vessel and finding it locked, proceeded to the bow to attach a tow line. Sorting out the line to ensure it would run safely took a little while and by the time we were ready to commence towing operations, we were more than a mile from Tracey Island (Nellie).

Towing into the gusting winds was a slow and very wet process. Lindsay and Beth (who had sensibly put on an oilskin jacket) could put their backs to the bow of the DOTI boat, whilst as cox’n I had to face the gusting winds and spray, a task my showerproof jacket was, unfortunately, not up to. Thankfully, the sea down here is reasonably warm but by the time we had safely attached the yacht to Nellie, all three of us were rather soggy with me achieving an ‘eleven’ on the sogginess-scale.

After a quick shower I took over the anchor watch from Rowan. Thankfully, the remainder of the watch was uneventful but at 0700 I saw a fishing vessel approaching. It was carrying a very, very grateful owner. The fishing vessel duly towed the errant yacht back to the mooring it had escaped from.

Later that day, after we had run the Voyage Crew ashore to explore the rugged island, the owner came back to the ship bearing gifts; a bottle of his home-made rum and a book about the island, which he had written. Our Portuguese isn’t good enough to read the book but as sailors, we fully understand the international language of rum.

Lesley, The Mate.