Towards a new country – Antigua and Barbuda

After a month in Dominica it was time to sail to the next country, which for us would be Antigua and Barbuda. Before leaving Dominica we took an exit test which was necessary to enter Antigua and Barbuda.

The sail from Dominica to Antigua was very calm, it was not much wind during the sail and behind Guadelope the wind died out completely so we out on the engine for a while.

We arrived to Antigua just before lunch and went to do the check-in procedure. It was no quarantine needed for us and once we had all the paperwork done we took a walk around English harbour. In English harbour Nelsons Dockyard is located, an UNESCO World Heritage site. The area is full of buildings from the colonial era and is very pretty.

English harbour in Antigua.
Very pretty buildings

When we arrived to Antigua there was a curfew in the night and restaurants were only allowed to serve take-away. So we didn’t get to see this area in its full potential I guess, not a massive amount of happy hours as the cruising guides says it usually is.

Not only pretty houses, a lot of fancy boats here. Most in Falmouth harbour but a lot in English ahrbour as well.
And also some boats that have seen better days…
First night in Antigua we had a very spectacular sunset!
One evening we took a walk to the fort by the entrance of English harbour and also continued further up the hill.
Stairs into the water…
Goats jumping on the cliffs up at the hill.

Once we got to Antigua we wanted to sail to Barbuda as fast as possible. As it is quite uncertain time we didn’t want to miss it in case there would be a lockdown or something like that. But the winds were not very favorable so we decided to do a stopover in Deep Bay on the north west coast of Antigua. We have heard and read that there is a cool wreck in the bay that we wanted to snorkel on. But when we arrived to Deep Bay the water was very murky, couldn’t see anything in the water, unfortunately. It was also quite rolly and during the night our hook to the anchor snubber line broke…

Another walk to a fort, this time at Deep Bay.

The fort by Deep Bay.

As Deep Bay wasn’t as nice as we hoped (we were probably there at a bad time, other days it might be better) and winds to sail up to Barbuda were not so favorable as we would like we decided to go into the marina in Jolly Harbor for one night. In the marina we were able to charge up our batteries and we also took our first proper shower since Cape Verde!!

A night in the marina before continuing to Barbuda.

Motor problems and a windy sail from SVG to Dominica

When we had taken our exit test in Bequia we did the last preparations to leave for Dominica. The sail would take more than 24hrs and the forecast promised quite strong winds. We left Bequia quite early in the morning. As it was a lot of wind we had quite little sail up but still manage to sail above 7 knots between the islands (in the lee of the islands we made less speed). We tried to sail as close hauled as was comfortable and thus followed the islands instead of sailing strait north (if you look at a map you can see that Dominica lays almost strait north of St Vincent. The reason for following the islands was that we heard that you can easily get pushed west by currents and by sailing as much east as you can you don’t have to tack, if the winds are coming a bit from the northeast.

Sailing along the coast of Dominica.

All in all, it was a good sail. Even though it was quite strong winds it felt very safe and controlled. It really gave us a good feeling for the Atlantic Crossing back to Europe. We arrived to Portsmouth at the northern tip of Dominica (we were not allowed to enter in Roseau due to Corona) just before lunchtime. When we were just outside Prince Ruperts Bay (were Portsmouths is ) we started the engine and heard some strange sounds and saw that there was white smoke coming out from the exhaust…

We had no idea what the issue was and didn’t dare to push the engine, so we took up the sails again and turned of the engine. We managed to anchor without turning on the engine (first time we ever done that) and prepared for some engine work during our quarantine days. The quarantine would be five days and then we would take another test, and we would be free to go ashore when we had received the result of the last test.

The following day we went ashore to take our first PCR-test and after that we started with the troubleshooting of the engine. We were really, really afraid that there would be something wrong inside the engine, and that we would have to order something to Dominica. The white smoke that came out from the exhaust gave us some clue that it could be water or diesel that hadn’t been burned.

After two days of troubleshooting we realized that the issue was the diesel injection pump. We removed and started taking it apart, and it didn’t take long until we found the issue. A screw to the injection timing advance system had gotten loose at some point and started getting worn down. Amazingly nothing else inside the injection pump had gotten damaged!

Trying to find the issue on the engine.
Taking the injection pump apart in hopes that we will find the issue.
The screw to the injection timing advance system that caused our problem.
Cleaning the injection pump.

Before we left Sweden we found another injection pump in the trash room back home, almost the same model as the one we have. We brought that injection pump with us, and could use the screw from that.

We took apart the pump completely, thoroughly cleaned the injection pump, reassemble it once more and put it back on the engine. And the main issue was solved! 🙂 It was not completely prefect though, we still had some follow-up issues with high rpm when running idle that started after mounting the pump back. After a couple of turns playing and trying different adjustments for the injection pump it finally behaved normal again. By this time we only had one more day in quarantine, so it was pretty good timing.

All in all, it was really good that the engine problem happened when it did. As we could solve it ourselves and didn’t have to order anything it was really good that we could work on this while we were in quarantine.

We took our final PCR test and got the results, which was negative and we were finally allowed to explore Dominica.

Atlantic Crossing – Part 2

This is the second part of our Atlantic crossing, first part can be found HERE.

Day 11 – December 28, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 118 nm
  • Total distance: 1181 nm
  • Breakfast: Freshly baked carrot bread with fried egg
  • Lunch: Curry stew with Mahi-Mahi and rice.
  • Dinner: Pasta with pesto and halloumi
  • Sunrise: 09.19 UTC

During the night we got a bit more wind so we made good speed. Around 2pm UTC we reached halfway which we intended to celebrate with some cheap sparkling wine we bought in Mindelo. The wine was disgusting and we ended up sharing a Coca-Cola instead. During the afternoon we read for a while and ate some chips. Looked a bit a movie during dinner before we started our night shifts.

Cool clouds in the evening.
Day 12 – December 29, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 119 nm
  • Total distance: 1300 nm
  • Breakfast: Freshly baked carrot bread with fried egg with some tea
  • Lunch: Fruity foil-baked Mahi-Mahi with sweet potatoes
  • Dinner: Spagetti Carbonara
  • Sunrise: 09.27 UTC

A big shower showed up during the night and cleaned the boat of from all salt. The previous days we haven’t had so much rain and there has been so much salt all over the boat. The wind also picked up a bit during the night, but it was no worries. During most of the crossing we used our largest staysail instead of the genoa. The genoa we have is very big and a light-wind sail and as it is very rolly on the ocean the genoa slapped a lot, and the staysails did not (or at least not as bad). We actually found that sometimes we had less headsail up in light winds just because of the slapping. We read a lot during the day, made food, did the dishes, read some more. Did some afternoon-fika of the last oranges we had left, oranges with almonds. When we prepared the fika a big wave hit us, leaving chopped oranges and almonds all over the table, fortunately no oranges in the sofa! We had a lot of seaweed floating around us, it got stuck in the lure and the wind-vane. During the afternoon several dolphins showed up to escort us for a while. We watched some movie while eating dinner.

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A lot of sea weed!
Day 13 – December 30, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 106 nm
  • Total distance: 1406 nm
  • Breakfast: Freshly baked buns with marmelade and tea
  • Lunch: Tomato-based fish soap
  • Dinner: Spagetti Carbonara
  • Sunrise: 09.34 UTC

It was very little wind during the night and we ran the engine for a while. In the morning we got hit by a line squall with a lot of rain and some wind so we hoisted the sails again. We watched some movie while eating breakfast until the rain passed. The wind stayed during the day and we sailed almost beam reach with mainsail hoisted as well, the first time we set mainsail during the crossing. It was a very sunny and warm day, but quite windy so not any trouble with the wind. Spend a lot of time in the cockpit, reading as usual. Caught a big mahi-mahi (85 cm), which ended up as several nice filets.

atlantic crossing

Day 14 – December 31, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 89 nm
  • Total distance: 1495 nm
  • Breakfast: Freshly baked buns with marmelade and tea.
  • Lunch: Tomato-based fish soap
  • Dinner: Sweet-and-sour fish stew
  • Sunrise: 09.43 UTC

Barely no wind during the night, and it stayed that way all day. The wind had changed direction and was blowing against us. We hoisted the main in the morning as we had to sail close hauled. We tried to sail for a while, but it was so little wind so we ended up dropping the sails and took a swim in a very calm Atlantic ocean instead. After just drifted for a while we started the engine. Got visited by some dolphins today as well. During the evening the wind picked up and we hoisted the sails again and during the night we took down the main again as the wind turned again so we sailed broad reach/downwind again.

Food in the making.
Day 15 – JAnuary 1, 2021
  • Distance latest 24hr: 137 nm
  • Total distance: 1632 nm
  • Breakfast: Freshly baked buns with marmalade and tea
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Red curry fish stew
  • Sunrise: 09.49 UTC

It was a pretty windy day, and also quite some rain. We sailed with the biggest staysail and made an average 5-6 knots, sometimes up around 7 knots. The waves are also a bit bigger than what they have been the previous days. We tried to watch some movie inside the boat but it was warm, humid and rolly so nice to go out in the cockpit after a while. Saw a container ship which passed quite close to us (less than 2nm). Saw some dolphins again.

Day 16 – JAnuary 2, 2021
  • Distance latest 24hr: 144 nm (record!)
  • Total distance: 1776 nm
  • Breakfast: Freshly baked buns with marmalade and tea
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Red curry fish stew
  • Sunrise: 09.59 UTC

Made really good speed all night and continued like that throughout the day, thus the record. We still only sailed with the largest staysail, but we made good speed anyway and it felt safe. When we ate breakfast a big wave washed up into the cockpit and washed away Thomas last sandwich. We both got quite wet and we had some water inside the boat as well. We got a mail from home that the volcano on St Vincent (where we were heading) might have an eruption and that people living close to the volcano should evacuate. Other than that we spent the day as we usually did, reading and listening to music. It was quite cloudy all day but with a semi-cool sunset. During our entire crossing we never had any really beautiful sunset, quiet disappointing actually.

atlantic crossing
One of the best sunsets we had during the crossing, we were quite disappointed at the sunset we had… No superpretty sunset at all.
Day 17 – JAnuary 3, 2021
  • Distance latest 24hr: 133 nm
  • Total distance: 1909 nm
  • Breakfast: Freshly baked buns with marmalade and tea
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Omelet with corn and bacon
  • Sunrise: 10.08 UTC

The wind was still string during the night and we continued making good speed, and no rain this night which was really nice. In the morning the wind calmed down and we tried the genoa. Compared to the cloudy yesterday, today was very clear skies and sunny. We caught another Mahi-Mahi, which we put in the freezer to eat when we had arrived. As we got closer to land we got more lazy with the food, and made mostly simple meals.

Afternoon-nap.
Day 18 – JAnuary 4, 2021
  • Distance latest 24hr: 125 nm
  • Total distance: 2034 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with cinnamon and sugar topping for Petra and peanutbutter topping for Thomas
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Ramen-noodles
  • Sunrise: 10.18 UTC

Now we had gotten really close to the Caribbean and we spent most day watching the horizon after land, checking on the plotter how far we had left and just waiting instead of doing something with our time, like reading a book like we usually do or prepare a good dinner. Finally when the sun was about to set we spotted Barbados.

Sunset when we spotted Barbados.
Day 19 – JAnuary 5, 2021
  • Distance latest 24hr: 140 nm
  • Total distance: 2174 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with cinnamon and sugar topping for Petra and peanutbutter topping for Thomas
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: —–
  • Sunrise: 10.28 UTC

We sailed pass Barbados during the night, and it was quite unusual to see so many lights in the sky again. One fly-fish got into the cockpit this night. We have had a lot of fly-fish on deck during the crossing but this was the first that flew into the cockpit. It was a sunny day and we were really happy when we spotted the very lush island St Vincent. We arrived around 13.30-14.00, after 18 days at sea, to Young Island Cut where we took a mooring in the quarantine area. We were scheduled to take our tests the day after. We sat down in the cockpit and opened our bottle of champagne we had gotten as a gift from our friends on the crossing.

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Land ohoy! (Or second land, we had spotted Barbados the day before but now we spotted St Vincent)
Approaching the very green and lush island St Vincent.

More about the test procedure and quarantine days in next post.

Atlantic Crossing – Part 1

The time had come for us to start our Atlantic crossing and prior to departure we had to sort our some paperwork. As it is a pretty unusual year with the virus we had to contact authorities in the Caribbean before we left Cape Verde to make sure we were allowed to enter. We had decided to sail to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The reason was because there is a lot of islands there to explore and a place we can stay in for a while and hope that movements between the islands becomes easier.

We checked latest information on noonsite.com and got okay that we were allowed to enter Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Our time at sea would count as part of quarantine and when we arrived we would need to take a test (60 USD/person) and when we got the test result we would be checked in and allowed to enter the country. We didn’t only prepare the paperwork, we also prepared some food for the first days, bought vegetables and fruit and cleared out of the country (first a visit at Customs office and then Immigration office).

We had decided to depart together with Svala and they had a broken hatch which they waited to have repaired. So we waited on anchor until they got their new hatch. Never been more ready for a crossing than this.

Day 1 – December 18, 2020
  • Distance: 0 nm
  • Breakfast: –
  • Lunch: –
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: –

When Svala finally got their deck hatch we pulled up our anchor and started our sail to the Caribbean. It was pretty late in the day, about 4-5pm and when we left Mindelo there was a lot of dolphins jumping around the boat. There was some acceleration between Sao Vicente and Santo Antao and for the first part we made really good speed. But when we came behind Santo Antao the wind died out and it was very rolly. As we both started to feel a bit seasick we wanted to get out of this place as fast as possible and find the wind again, so we started the engine and ran it until we got far away from Santo Antao and we got some wind again.

Waiting for Svala.
Svala got their hatch and we were ready to start or Atlantic crossing.
Day 2 – December 19, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 108 nm
  • Total distance: 108 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Dryfood (but Petra couldn’t keep hers)
  • Dinner: A Mars-bar and chips for Thomas, nothing for Petra
  • Sunrise: 08.07 UTC

Both of us had started to feel the seasickness and Petra threw up a couple of times. Thomas managed without throwing up, but was still not feeling very good. It was a slow day and we were really glad that our windvane worked so well so we didn’t have to worry about the steering. It was a tough night, mostly due to the seasickness, but we managed to get through it.

(From the first days we don’t have so much pictures taken, due to the seasickness. You just have to imagine two tired humans staring at the ocean waiting for it to pass)

Day 3 – December 20, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 127 nm
  • Total distance: 235 nm
  • Breakfast: Müsli with milk
  • Lunch: Dryfood
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: 08.16 UTC

Our seasickness was much better this day, still we both felt it but way better than before. Petra rested a lot during the day, a bit tired after not being able to eat or drink properly the first days. This day was also a very calm one and we didn’t do much. Svala caught up with us again after we lost each other the first day when we started the engine.

Day 4 – December 21, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 120 nm
  • Total distance: 355 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: 08.25 UTC

This day the seasickness had improved even more. We had sun for the most part of the day which was really nice. The winds were stable and we made really good speed. We saw Svala all day. We tried to fish for a while, but with no luck.

Day 5 – December 22, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 139 nm
  • Total distance: 494 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Freshly caught Mahi-mahi with Canary potatoes and Mojo Verde
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: 08.34 UTC

The night was pretty calm, but we started going on a more northely route to stay together with Svala. We ran the engine for a while during the night when it was at its calmest to charge the batteries. When morning came we set the genoa (we sailed with one of the smaller staysails during the night). We tried fishing again and almost immediately caught a small mahi-mahi. But it was so small so we decided to through it back in again. We tried again and caught another mahi-mahi, a bit bigger than the first one so we kept it and made a nice lunch out of it. From the moment we caught we had it on the plate ready to be eaten in less than one hour. Now that is fresh! In the afternoon we sat in the sun for a while and took a well needed shower. We drove close next to Svala and took some pictures.

FIrst fish-dish of the atlantic crossing, served less than an hour after we caught the fish!
Happy that seasickness is over.
Day 6 – December 23, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 125 nm
  • Total distance: 619 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Fruity baked mahi-mahi
  • Dinner: Fish tacos with papaya-salsa.
  • Sunrise: 08.43 UTC

The night went on without any bigger happenings. As the night before we ran the engine for a while when it was calm to charge the batteries. Svala had come a bit behind us but as we had a pretty small headsail up already we didn’t want to reduce our speed more. After the nightshift had ended (during the crossing our night shifts looked the following: Thomas started shortly after sunset with a 4 hour shift, followed by 2 hours for Petra, Thomas again 2 hour shift and then Petra took the morning shift; 4 hours. We think this worked pretty well and it was nice to not have so long shifts in the middle of the night) Petra took a nap and almost immediately we caught another mahi-mahi, we brought it up and cleaned it and so on. Petra continued napping and Thomas sat with the shortwave radio for a while and made contact with a guy in Sweden. It was a sunny day and we spent the afternoon chilling and reading.

atlantic crossing
Our fruit-net. The fruit lasted quite long and we tried to eat from the things that would go bad first and check the fruits and vegetables regularly.

atlantic crossing

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Fish cleaning!
Fish tacos!

Fruity-baked Mahi-Mahi.
Day 7 – December 24, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 109 nm
  • Total distance: 728 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Christmas rice porridge
  • Dinner: Swedish Christmas dinner: Pickled herring, potatoes, egg, salmon, hovmästarsås
  • Sunrise: 08.50 UTC

Christmas Eve! During the night one seam of our biggest staysail broke and we had to take the sail down. We hoisted our middle staysail instead, so we didn’t make very good speed that night. We ate breakfast and listened to Christmas music. After we had a nice Christmas porridge lunch we sailed close to Svala (but not to close, still had to talk via the VHF) and had a Christmas swim at 5000 meter deep water (but still 25 celsius). After the swim we hoisted the sails again (genoa+whisker pole) but it was to little wind and too much waves so the genoa was just flapping. We changed to the middle staysail and started repairing the biggest staysail so we could use that again. After we were finished we had a nice Christmas dinner.

atlantic crossing
Christmas swim!
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Christmas sail repair.
As good as new!
Christmas dinner.

Day 8 – December 25, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 101 nm
  • Total distance: 829 nm
  • Breakfast: Oatmeal with bananas
  • Lunch: Foil-baked mahi-mahi with spices and fruit served with sweet potatoes
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: 08.56 UTC

During the night it was not so much wind, but when morning came it picked up and we could make better speed again. We sailed with the staysail we repaired the day before and so far  it has worked really good. We caught another mahi-mahi, a big one so now we had fish for a couple of days. During the day it rained quite a lot, which made it very humid and warm inside the boat. We started to watch a movie but paused when the sun came out again. As our VHF-antenna has pretty bad reach, Thomas tried building a new one and with the homemade one we got better reach so when we arrive to the Caribbean we will probably buy a new one. The afternoon and evening was very rolly and it was a challenge to prepare food. We watched some movie before we started the night shifts.

“Chocolate balls”-fika in the making.
Day 9 – December 26, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 129 nm
  • Total distance: 958 nm
  • Breakfast: Freshly baked carrot bread with fried egg
  • Lunch: Pasta with pesto
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: 09.04 UTC

The night was cloudy (which means pretty dark as the moon couldn’t light up the sky) but we made good speed with our biggest staysail on the whisker pole. As we had run out of bananas we baked bread for the first time this passage. We spent a lot of the day in the cockpit, reading cruising guides, listened to reggae and dreamed about when we would arrive. The salinator on our watermaker had some problems, it rejected all water, so that is something we will have to look at when we arrive. We still have a lot of water left so no nothing that we have to fix immediately. We had now lost Svala completely, they were a bit slower than us, but this day we saw another boat on the AIS, a Spanish boat that also had sailed from Cape Verde. We had some “fika” in the afternoon, oranges with almonds.

Day 10 – December 27, 2020
  • Distance latest 24hr: 105 nm
  • Total distance: 1063 nm
  • Breakfast: Freshly baked carrot bread with fried egg
  • Lunch: Fried fish with Canary Island potatoes and Mojo Verde
  • Dinner: Pasta with pre-prepared lentil bolognese
  • Sunrise: 09.11 UTC

Another calm night, except a big shower that cleaned the boat of all salt. As we’ve done before we ran the engine for a while during the night when it was calm to charge the batteries a bit. During the day it wasn’t very much wind either, but very sunny. We didn’t do so much during the day, read and cooked. We had some issues getting reception for the shortwave radio so we couldn’t send or receive e-mails. Before dinner we took a shower.

To be continued…

Part two of our Atlantic Crossing can be found by following the link HERE.

Canary islands to Cape Verde crossing

Day 1 – December 4, 2020

We left our anchorage outside Puerto de Mogan after we’ve eaten breakfast to start our Canary islands to Cape Verde crossing. It was sunny and calm so the first day we went by engine most of the way.

After we had lunch, a pasta dish we had prepared before our departure, we took a swim from the boat. Pretty nervous to take a swim when the depth is more than 3000 metres, never know what creatures that lure beneath you…

canary island cape verde crossing
Taking a swim at 3000 meter deep water

After the swim we heard our fishing reel spin; we had caught a fish! We hauled it in and saw that it was a skipjack tuna, same as we caught on the way to the Canary Islands, but a bit smaller. We made fillets out of it and put it into the fridge for later use.

A skipjack tuna we caught!

During the day it was a lot of talk on the radio about immigrant boats and we actually saw one boat drifting around (not any people in it) and we called on VHF to inform Canary Islands authorities about it. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the cockpit, chilling in the sun and reading a book. We had pre-prepared risotto for dinner and a pretty sunset before we started our night shifts, Thomas started on watch and Petra started with sleeping.

Day 2- December 5, 2020

When morning came we were both pretty tired after the first night. It is hard to get good sleep the first night before you learn the drill. This night we tried with 6 hour shifts instead of 3 hours as we’ve done before. During the morning before the sun came up we saw a pretty big tanker “close” to us (2 nm away).

The wind had picked up and we could start sailing, but it was still not so much and the sails were “flapping” a bit in the bigger waves. It was rolly waves and we both avoided being inside the boat for too long (due to seasickness), but it was worst for Petra. It was also a bit cloudy and not very warm actually. We managed to keep a speed of over 4 knots anyway, so we made some progress anyway. For lunch we made sushi out of the tuna we caught on Day 1. It was really good, but not the prettiest sushi (which is no surprise when you have to do it in all those rolly waves). For dinner we ate more of the pasta sauce we had prepared.

Preparing sushi out of the tuna we caught. The end result was not the prettiest, try make sushi for the first time and on a rolly boat. Not so easy! But was delicious and that’s whats matter.
canary island cape verde crossing
A rainbow.
Day 3 – December 6, 2020

We still hadn’t gotten used to the night shifts so we were still a bit tired, plus Petra had gotten seasick (and threw up) during her night watch. The wind had really started to pick up and we were making very good speed. It was 2nd Advent this day and we opened a 2nd Advent gift we got from our friends, listened to Christmas music and had some gingerbread cookies as afternoon fika.

canary island cape verde crossing
Tired after a night of seasickness.

We made a poke bowl out of the rest of the tuna we caught, which was very delicious! We spent most of the day in the cockpit, talking or just looking at the ocean. It was a bit too rolly for reading and we were a bit low on energy. For dinner we had noodles.

Poke bowl.
Day 4 – December 7, 2020

This night was a throw-up-seasickness night for Petra again, unfortunately. We tried putting one of our matrasses on the floor of the boat to get more comfortable sleep, and that helped a lot.

Started sleeping on the floor instead of the sofa, which was way more comfortable.

As it was a bit windy we switched from the genoa to our second largest staysail instead. It was enough wind to make good speed with this setup, and we didn’t have to worry about having too much sail up should the wind pick up even more. For lunch we had pasta with pesto. The day went on pretty much the same as before, except we listened to one podcast during the afternoon.

Later in the afternoon we started making tacos (takes a while when everything is constantly moving) to celebrate that we sailed half way! The tacos were delicious and we also saw another boat on the AIS in the evening (a catamaran that sailed past us). We never saw it in real life.

Halfway tacos!
Day 5 – December 8, 2020

No seasickness this night! As it was pretty strong winds we sailed with our middle staysail during the night and made an average of around 4,5-5 knots. We kept the staysail during the day, as it was still a lot of wind. Before this day we had mostly sailed on our autopilot, but today we decided we should try our windvane instead. We had to work a bit to get it properly setup, but after that it worked well. Except some small adjustments we had to do every once in a while. We had pasta with pesto for lunch today as well and listened to one more podcast in the afternoon. Most of the afternoon was sunny, which was really nice. Ate risotto for dinner and saw a passenger ferry, heading for Mindelo, during the evening. This night we went back to 4 x 3 hour night shifts again after trying with 2 x 6 hours.

Sunny most of the day, but with the occasional rainstorm showing up.
Trying to get a good picture of the big waves, but they just look so small on picture. Promise they were bigger irl.
Day 6 – December 9, 2020

During the night the wind picked up even more and the waves got pretty big. Some of the waves splashed into the cockpit. It was a cloudy day, but we made really good speed even if we still only sailed on a smaller staysail. We ate noodles for lunch, and listened to a podcast in the afternoon and ate some potato chips and drank a Coca-Cola. After the first day we hadn’t tried fishing (we didn’t have energy to take care of the fish), but today we tried again. We caught a very small skipjack tuna, so small that we let it go. For dinner we had what was left of the tacos we made a couple of days ago.

canary island cape verde crossing
A pretty sunrise!
Day 7 – December 10, 2020

We made very good speed during the night, which was not what we wanted. We wanted to approach Mindelo in daytime and after this night it looked like we would arrive in Mindelo in the middle of the night. But we kept our staysail up, in hopes that the wind would decrease so that we would go a bit slower.

We tried fishing today as well and first caught a small Dorado (Mahi-Mahi) that we let go. Not long after we caught another Dorado (80cm long). We filleted it and saved for when we arrived to Mindelo. We ate pasta with pesto for lunch today as well. So good and simple thing to eat!

canary island cape verde crossing
First Dorado/Mahi-mahi we caught.

And after lunch we had the most amazing visit! A Blue Marlin (or maybe another of the marlin group)! Thomas first noticed a fin in the surface, and thought it was some kind of shark. Realized very quickly that this was not a dolphin. And then it swam close to the boat, next to the boat and under the boat, and we saw the “spear” on the nose. So we thought it could be some kind of swordfish. We grabbed our fish book and realized it probably wasn’t a swordfish but instead a marlin. As it swam very close to the boat we got a good feeling of its size, and we have estimated that it was around 2,5-3 meters long.

We dropped our gopro into the water to get some videos/pictures of it. Unfortunately a lot of bubbles around the pictures, but we are glad we managed to get some kind of pictures of it.

blue marlin canary island cape verde crossing
The blue marlin that swam around our boat for 3-4 hours! Amazing encounter!

The Blue Marlin stayed with us for about 3-4 hours, and only left when we decided to start drifting for a while. We still sailed very fast and our arrival in Mindelo was hours away from sunrise. So we took down the sail, but still sailed around 3-3,5 knots on just the rig. We guess the Blue Marlin swam with us for the same reason as dolphins do, and when we didn’t sail as fast anymore it was no use for it to follow us anymore.

As we were getting close to Cape Verde it was time to hoist the yellow Q flag together with the courtesy flag of Cape Verde (the courtesy flag should always be hoisted above any other flag) on the flag line under the spreader on starboard side. The Q flag is flown when you enter a countries territorial waters (usually 12nm from shore) and says that you haven’t checked in the boat and its crew yet. As we’ve understood it is not always law to hoist this flag, but if you do you can never be accused of trying to enter a country illegally. And in some countries the use of this flag is more serious than others. And this year the use of this flag is more serious because of Covid-19 (and it should be hoisted to show that the boat is in quarantine and the crew not allowed on land yet).

canary island cape verde crossing

It was not very comfortable drifting so we set up the sail again, with hopes that the wind would decrease during the night.

Day 8 – December 11, 2020

The wind did increase during the night and we went a lot slower the last miles. We timed the entrance to Mindelo quite perfectly. When we entered the channel between Sao Vicente and Santo Antao the sun was just about to rise. And when we entered Mindelo Bay the sun was up and we had no problem navigating ourselves into the marina. Before our departure to Cape Verde we had contacted Marina Mindelo and booked a place in the marina and also sent our Covid-19 test results to them.

Sun is rising just as we approached Mindelo.
Sunrise over the neighbouring island Santo Antao.
Big cargo ship entered the bay together with us.

When we approached the dock two personnel from the marina met us and showed which spot that was ours and told us to stay in the boat until the marina office opened. We had contacted the marina before we started our Canary islands to Cape Verde crossing so we knew we had a spot. You could also anchor in the bay but we didn’t were a bit lazy and didn’t want to unpack our dingy as we should only be there a couple of days anyway.

We reorganized the lines (the marina in Mindelo is very rolly and having some kind of snubber on the lines is necessary) and ate breakfast.

When the office opened we went there, checked in to the marina. After the marina it was time to visit Immigration and Customs. Both located next to each other a 5-10 minute walk from the marina. We visited Immigration first and got our passports stamped, and then Policia Maritima afterwards that looked at our boatpapers. They also kept our boatpapers until departure. The whole process went very smooth and the officials were really friendly. We paid 5€ at the Immigration office and think it took us one-hour maximum to get everything done. We went back to the boat, took down the yellow Q flag and now we were officially in Cape Verde.