Mountains and beaches

img_5297As said already, Cape Verde so far has not been a real favourite. Because of that I am really glad I joined a free tour arranged around the island by the ARC+. I got to see beautiful scenery and a dramatic landscape of mountains, valleys and beaches. Feels I now can leave with a more positive picture.

We visit the mountains in the north, the white sandy dunes in the northwest and the Praia Grande in the west. I let the pictures speak for themselves this time.

 

 

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Walking the streets of Mindelo

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Mindelo, on the island of Sao Vicente, is the city where the marina is and it is also the biggest city in Cape Verde with about 70 000 inhabitants. When being on a yacht it is very easy to get stuck around the marina and not visit other places than the most close ones and hang around the marina bar. In this marina it is called ”The floating bar”, I guess because it is floating on pontoons. I must admit I did spend a little more time there than desired. Especially considering there are no locals, it is quite expensive and internet is crap. The only thing it has is the convenience of closeness.

img_5182Mindelo is, as rest of the country quite poor. It is in my eyes not a beautiful city, despite some colourful pretty buildings, the closeness to the sea and the back drop of high mountains. Lots of buildings are unfinished (I still don´t know why) and there are begging kids and grown-ups on the streets. It feels to me more like Africa than Europe despite the strong bands it has had to Portugal.

The language spoken is Portuguese and there is not a wide spread knowledge of English here. The locals I could talk to were very friendly though. And there are lots of small bars with live music and people enjoying themselves. However, I do not get the nice vibes that I got from for instance the Caribbean or Mozambique.

img_5178The food I have eaten has been ok but nothing spectacular and the service is usually friendly but very slow. That bother me less, but the elderly male part of the Boisterous crew seems very annoyed about this fact. I guess it is far from the Swiss efficiency they are used to. But that they better get used to if they are going to sail around the world. 🙂

There are lots of interesting small shops and an African market. If I liked to shop I could probably find a few good things here that I would be much better off buying here than in the Caribbean, where things are both expensive and of poor quality. Unfortunately, I am not a very enthusiastic shopper…

img_5222I also went to the beach here in Mindelo, just 10-15 minutes’ walk from the marina. I guess I am spoilt when it comes to beautiful beaches. This one does not count as one of them. Yes, there is a pretty decent stretch of white sand by the sea, but the setting around it is awful. Looking out at tankers and the commercial harbour and in an area with ugly houses and the big main road. I will not go there again and I am happy I got to vist some other beaches. Although none where I had the chance to take a swim.

Sao Pedro – a big beautiful beach in the south

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Just to get away from the marina and Mindelo I decide to take a bus somewhere. I wanted to take a local bus but since it is Sunday they are not so reliable. But I find out that there is a free bus shuttle to a nice 4-star hotel by a beach in the south close to the airport. It I supposed to be very nice with three pools, nice food and free internet right on a wide beach with a wind surfing and scuba center. A few hours here will do me good.

img_5151Before I leave I tell the owners about my plan, and guess who shows up at the bus too?! Yep. Joe and Vickey. J It is of course ok, even thigh I actually wanted some time on my own. Even if I know they would be ok with me not being with them it feels odd to say no when they ask, and I know they probably think it feels odd not to ask. So I end up spending the afternoon with them. And it was a nice one.

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Hotel Foya Branca is nice, but again the standards are not the same as we are used to, so I would more rate it as a 3-star. The beach is huge surrounded by the steep mountains and the never ending sea. Very beautiful.

I would have expected a lot of activity here since it is a surf and scuba center but that proves to be wrong. It is almost empty. In one corner of the beach there is a small tent camp, which I guess are passionate surfers. In the distance I can see some activity with surfing, football, swimming and playing.

img_5142Apart from that there are a few people by the wind surfing club and 3-4 people in the water wind surfing. Later I learn those are also participants in the SAR+. We spen a few hours having lunch and doing internet and aslo walking along the beach.

The most eventful thing that happens is Joes hat blowing out in the water and him trying to save it. Which of course ends with him getting soaked and the hat will probably never look the same again. Pity, on such a nice panama hat.

A dramatic finish – pitch dark, windy and confused

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Saturday at 00:05 (disappointed we didn’t make it on the Friday) we arrive Mindelo after a mostly undramatic passage. The most dramatic was the last hour. After days of sailing downwind on a good heading along the rhum line the wind change direction a bit and we cannot finish on one tack as intended, but we have to gybe a few times. When we are on the starboard tack our sail plan is no good, because we sail with half our sail area, just overlaying one sail over the other instead of more advanced options. We are slightly lazy and also more concerned about safety than speed. We only sail 4-5 knots on that tack compared to 7-8 on the port tack. Boats that has been around us for days suddenly pass and cross the finishing line before us.

img_5244So we lose to several boats due to these last hours and our listing in our group becomes no 14 (of 20). This is also due to the fact that we are a quiet big boat and to the fact we motored 21 hours at the start. It is slightly annoying to see your ETA change from early Friday evening to early Saturday morning. The most interesting thing with this is Vicky’s reaction. She has not been talking racing at all before, but it is highly evident that she is so disappointed and annoyed that we lost so much these last hours.

When crossing the finishing line, it is pitch dark and we start furling in the sails. The winds are 25 knots, gusting 30, the swells are big. Our portside sail decides to go in front of the forestay (which is no good) and for a short period of time it is a bit chaotic on deck. But we work it all out with no big problems. Then we need to bring in the whisker-pole which takes quite some time in the dark.

While doing this the skipper and crew becomes a bit disoriented, we cannot understand where the marina is!! We spend at least 15 minutes motoring around back and forth trying to avoid boats at anchor, tug boats and wrecks before we find our way. We are in contact with rally control who tries to guide us, but we still enter from the wrong direction, crossing in-between yachts on anchor. In the morning it very easy to figure out where we should have entered, but at the time it seems highly confusing. It is a miracle we did not hit anyone.

We will be docked at a floating pontoon and when we arrive there are lots of people there. We are three boats that come in more or less at the same time. The wind makes the floating dock move a lot – never saw boats at a dock move this much in-between themselves and the dock. After a pretty long docking procedure (about two hours before all is settled) we finally get to sit in the cockpit and relax and enjoy some champagne and whiskey until 4 in the morning. First leg accomplished! Now awaits a few days ashore before next leg.

 

The forming of a crew

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The crew, Jess, Joe, Vickey, Lucy, Stefan, Cooper

The first days on a new boat with a new crew is always a bit strange before everybody finds their place and their way around the boat. It can be frustrating both for owners and crew when everybody has to ask about everyting all the time. Where do I find pots, where are the tea towels, is it ok if I go to foredeck under way, can I set up a fishing rod, where do we play music, where can I charge my computer, etc. etc. Joe and Vickey do a great job in guiding us to everything and I am sure that in a few days Boysterous will feel like home to all of us.

I find it very interesting to see how crews develop and take form from not knowing each other until being a well functioning team. From my previous experience I would say it takes about 1-2 weeks before this happens. The basic team, of course longer to become a top performing team. I heard many theories about forming teams, but Lucy just told me one her mum uses; Forming – Norming – Storming – Performing. This corresponds very well to what I have seen before. We are very much still in the forming phase, finding our places and our inbound relations. All are still very nice and easy going and it feels ok so far.

img_5074We are an interesting crew in many ways, very different not only in nationalities but also in gender, age and professions. We range from 27 to 68 years old, more or less one person born per decade from 1940-1990. Three men and three women working within the fields of finance, medicin, teaching, marketing, science and yachting. Joe, Vickey and Coop retired from working, while the rest of us are working just none of us right now.

img_5060Our sailing experience differes a lot too. I am the only one who crossed an ocean before but Lucy, Coop, Vickey and Joe has done more sailing over a long period of time. Lucy has all the qualifications up to yachtmaster offshore. She has been working within the superyacht industry as a deck hand and knows amazingly much about many apects of yachting, both theoretically and practically. It is fun to learn from her and to see someone like her, with the future ahead, full of confidence, percieving herself as invincieble and despite her youth not afraid to speak her opinion or teach us show to do things. And she does it very well. I must admit I suddenly do feel slightly old…

When it comes to forming the team I am probably the one being the outsider. A situation uncommon for me. Joe and Vickey of course forms a natural unit owning the boat and being married for 30 years. Coop is their friend since many many years and they have many family holidays of sailing together.

Stefan and Lucy found each other very fast and quickly formed a strong two-some. Similar interests, close in age and life experience made it easy I guess. Plus I believe they genuinly came to like each other from the start. Of course they take part in all tasks and activities on the boat as part of the whole crew, but as soon as there is some slack time the two of them can be found chatting on the bow, smoking in the aft, listening to music in the cockpit or watching a movie in the saloon. If you find one you can be sure to find the other not far away. I think they might even fall in love!! Haha! Sweet!

On my last yacht, although widly separated in age, we shared a lot of life experiences. We had many really interesting talks about life in the bigger picture, sharing lots of personal stories, challanges and fears as well as wishes and beliefs on a deeper level. Everybody very open and interested in the art of discussions with mutual curiousity, respect and understanding. So far on Boysterous this has not been the case so much. We are on a much more shallow level. Perhaps that will change with time and growing relations. But I don´t really believe so. I don´t believe Joe and Coop are prepared to share their personal thoughts and feelings. Perhaps because they belong to a male more conservative generation. I may be wrong.

fullsizerender-14The ”youngsters” on the other hand, well they are not that young, 27 and 34, but from my perspective they behave rather immature some times. For instance when it comes to chatting. More interested in talking about themselves than asking questions about others. It truly fascinates me that I can ask 10 questions, and not once (ok maybe once in 10, should not be unfair) they ask about my experiences or thoughts about the different subjects. To me that just doesn´t make up to an interesting discussion in the long run. And looking back on the things I have done, the adventures I had, the places I have seen I only feel extremely lucky and am so glad I have a bigger interest in listening and discussing with others than talking one-sidedly about myself and my experiences.

We will see. Maybe it will change along the way. Again, I feel old, but this time in a very good way. 🙂

 

 

Days passing

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Routines are now starting to settle among the crew. We have a set night watch scheme with watches starting at 19, in 4 hours shift, with two crew on watch at a time. The three crew members that know Boysterous well since before (Joe, Vickey & Coop) take on one of us who never sailed her before. We rotate both times and teams which I find very good, since having the shift 23-3 every night would not be very nice (So dark! And no 8 hours sleep) and if having watch 6 hours every night with the same person, talking subject may ran out after a few days. 🙂

The best shift is 19-23, where you then get a full night sleep until 7 when its time again to do 2 hour shifts. The time between 13-19 we do not have a set schedule since there is always someone awake and in the cockpit and there is thus flexibility to do different things.

fullsizerender-2We also have a cooking schedule. The women and Stefan has one day each where we are responsible for lunch and dinner, including washing up that day. So far it worked perfect and we are eating very well reflecting our different cultures. Turkish kofta with tabouli, moroccan chicken, lebanese meatballs and chili con carne has been on the dinner menu so far. We even had pastry and brownies! We have plenty of fruits and chocolates and the kettle is frequently on to provide coffee or tea whenever anyone wish.

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Speaking of food we also have high hopes for a fish dinner soon. We already have a small mahi-mahi in the freezer, but this is not enough for a full dinner. We are patiently awaiting the next catch from our expert fishers Stefan and Joe. So far they only produced two tiny tunas which we let go again, and a number of false alarms / lost fishes. I believe they are both a bit surprised that it is not that easy. Comments I heard beforehand were ”…it (catching a fish) will be SO easy…” and ”…I bet with my daughter that I will catch one fish a day…” But before we reach St Lucia we are all convinced we will have had fresh sushi and cevice, as well as cooked fish in several ways.

We have a very well equipped boat and we make water everyday as well as run the generator for power. We are all allowed for one shower every other day which is all good. Apart from the above time is passed by chatting, reading, listening to pod casts, playing games on the iPad, talking about sail plans and boat issues, listening to music, writing blog posts, taking and editing photos and videos, napping and so on. Stefan managed to inflated his life jacket which made us all laugh!

Can´t believe it!

The BAD news reach us. Via Coops daughter on text message on his sat phone. Trump won the election for the President of the United States of America. I cannot believe it!!!  Where is this world going?

Everything Trump stands for are values damaging the world… intolerans, nationalism, protectionism, surpression of minorities whether its gender, sexual preference, race or religion. A conservative machomän who communicate values better suited in the 50-ties than today.

I pity America. I pity the world.  TPerhaps this is what is needed, it must get lots worse before it gets any better. Or perhaps has people in all times felt this way at some point, when change is about to take place.

The feelings on thiimg_5168s boat, despite three Americans in the crew, is calm and not too upset. Again I realise there are so many perspectives to take, and none of them are democrats. But still Trump is not what they wanted. Only one of them voted, which also seems to be in line with the low rate of votes.

But if you are going around the world the next three years perhaps you don´t need to bother too much. It feels like it is definetly time to plan a more permanent sail around the world, away from all stupidity, evil and surpression.

I start by reading up on how to choose and equip a boat suitable for offshore sailing. 🙂