Cape Town to Cape Verde Islands - March-April 2008
Lost in translation. A South American missing in Africa. Trying to write in English (Oh my god!)
We just crossed the border and changed the flag. Nevertheless, there are no Customs around here. We are no longer in South African waters and have begun to sail the Namibian waters. I particularly think that the sun in the flag is a little bit naïve, just to give my first impression of the country. As far as I see, the sea here in Namibia looks like the South African sea, impressive; the see breathes. It breathes like a strange large animal. Many things are a first to me : first navigation without any coast, first navigation this long, first time in this part of Africa, first navigation in such a nice boat as Boo Too. This morning I woke up very early and through the glass (my apologies, I hope to learn the vocabulary during the trip!!) I peeped an incredible red sky. Even if I was half asleep I decided to go up on deck and enjoy it. I mentioned it later to Oliver who mentioned an English saying about the red sky in the morning bringing bad weather. It worked. It´s raining now, but I must say that these sunrises are worth the value in rain. It´s not raining much either, just some drops. Yesterday we also had a red sky at sunset, but not that red. Yesterday was different because among others things it was day two.
Perfect day, perfect weather. Not cold, not hot, but sunny and blue. Billy, our engineer said that it would be better with a little bit more wind. But, Billy, beginners like it this way!! Little by little. No seasickness on board and we want to keep it so. This morning we had company: from early in the morning a couple of albatrosses and several Petrels flew around us, they were there the whole day. They flew over the waves and almost touched them ~ I have the impression that sometimes they do with the very end of their wing tip which they seem to enjoy. It looks like a strange and solitary sport ~ flying and flying over and over the waves. I bet they were Albatrosses and not sea-chicken as someone said. I had the strong support of Jack (and later Oliver) and at least during this voyage they will be Albatrosses. We saw other birds too, several gannets, perhaps some shearwaters and then some floating kelp that I took for a seal. That made my reputation drop abruptly but we agreed that neither the kelp nor the seals are birds. And this mistake was on day 2, so still I have the air of a connoisseur (since my background is that of a naturalist).
We also caught a fish (I mean, the spirit of the boat did it). There was a discussion about whether it was a Yellow fin Tuna or a Bonito. Scott settled the question ~ it was a Yellow Tale. We were all convinced since the fish had, of course, a big yellow tale!!
Scott is a very quiet and patient person who always has time to explain things, even to me, who is really hopeless about knots (my apologies, I hope to improve my sailing skills!). But that will happen on day 3. No knots today, at least for me.
Jenny will sleep in the sun and will suddenly disappear till the moment she announces “Lunch is ready”. She must be a kind of magician because she entered the kitchen with the famous Yellow Tale and came out with an exquisite dish. Rebecca the following day showed us some nice photos of the catching including a close~up of the weapon which killed the beast; a big knife painted red. I must confess that it was delicious. But let´s say something about day1.
D day. We leave Cape Town around two in the afternoon with perfect weather and perfect mood. What else could it be? Yesterday I met Jan and David for the first time and Oliver for the first time in 18 months! Like in the movies, Appointment in Cape Town (there is an old thriller I saw recently, Appointment In Honduras) . We were deep in the Argentinian pantanal in the autumn of 2006 and after a crazy ride with a bunch of gauchos we settled this meeting; March 2008 Cape Town; to sail all the way up to Mallorca, Le voyage des explorateurs. And here we are ~ life is wonderful. Yesterday David invited us to an amazing lunch in the Constancia Vineyards. It was the day of good company and excellent wines; the whole day, if you understand. We haven´t left yet and I´m already dizzy!! David practiced a strange sport in the mountains that I will leave himself to describe. This strange language called English plays many tricks on me (my apologies, I hope to improve it during the trip!) but I understood that David rides a kind of rocket all the way down in the snow at St Moritz, it is called the Cresta Run I think. I may be wrong.
During the day David read classics peacefully; good combination. During lunch we discovered that Jan has a personality both sparkling and bucolic. Another very good combination indeed! I agreed with her from the very start that the music of Chemical Brothers is fantastic. That is a good beginning I think.
Jack read a lot too and writes in his diary every day. Rebecca is my watch partner and not only has one diary but two. That is really mysterious! Jack asked if it is a kind of back up. No. I bet it is something related to the right and left brain thing. Or perhaps she has two boyfriends. Who knows. With luck we are going to find out later. But let´s go back (or go ahead) to day 3.
Day 3 (again)
The rain passed by and we ended the day with a magnificent red sunset. Oliver mentioned something about the shepherds delight. We will see tomorrow. The wind began to blow also and with it, the real thing. We were sailing!! Boo Too was feeling happy, I could tell. The movement is different, the sound is different. It is dark now and it is possible to see in the very distance a storm, even if we sail under the stars. Like in dreams. I go to bed.
The hair of Jack early in the morning looks like the crazy woodpecker (pájaro loco in Spanish), in the very old Disney cartoons. But he can´t compete with me, I have definitely the worst hair cut. Well, I have no hair cut at all. I´m also the only one on board with a beard of ten days. I thought that that was the way the old man of the sea would look like. Wrong. Every man here, beginning with Oliver, has a perfect shave every morning. I should change my advisers. Or shave myself!!
A strange thing happened during the night. Oliver and Jan heard what sounded like a sea-sheep. Perhaps we will find out later what this was. We caught three new Yellow Tale fish (I think the sixth or seventh so far). Everyone is happy except Billy who would prefer to catch a cow and eat beef. Perhaps we can catch the strange sea-sheep later. Everything is possible.
Today we had the company of seals all the way. We discovered later that they came from the small island of Hollandsbird which was ahead of us. The island looks from the distance black. The colour was so because it was covered with seals and cormorants. We saw besides these friends that there were petrels, skuas, shearwaters and brown boobies among others as well as sea chicken (aka: Albatross). The seals were playing and having fun all the time. Leaving the island, with some impressive waves around it, a couple of dolphin joined the party. The sunset was wonderful with the seals still around us and in the distance a group of dolphin fishing. Perfect photo. Perfect day.
I shaved this morning. Everything looks neat, sharp and clean. Unbelievable!! There is a saying in Spanish Al que madruga, dios lo ayuda; who gets up early has the help of god. In English sounds a little bit serious, in Spanish it is a kind of joke, anyway, this morning a lot of seals around us fishing, jumping and sunbathing, also tern fishing not far away: Beautiful! We are approaching Walvis Bay, a proper port, a proper industrial fishing port. We become quickly a local attraction. A couple of boats arrive nearby and always someone who says “nice boat”. One, two, three times. A tourist catamaran approached also and we were photographed along with the seals and the huge dinosaur-like pelicans. Cool! David went to collect Sophie just arrived from London, a new, and knowledgeable, member of the amateur crew. We went ashore and enjoyed a lovely meal at the yacht club. We made the order and half an hour later the waitress come to say that they didn´t have the king pin fish that most of us had asked for. We didn´t mean for them to go out and catch the fish!!!! Anyway, it wasn´t a problem to wait till they caught another fish! We had an enjoyable funny time hearing and telling stories about burials at sea and people dying in airplanes. Walvis Bay is a kind of no man´s land. A clean European but non European city surrounded by sand. We visited the authorities and took some photos. We ended the day with a wonderful barbecue in the yacht club under the stars. When we got back to the boat, we enjoyed some more good South African wines. David gave us advice on how not to have a headache. Go on drinking: And we did that with enthusiasm!
After Oliver settled his matters with the Port Authorities (a slight contratemps over movement of Boo Too in the port – forwhich he had to eat a lot of humble pie!) we leave for our trip in the desert. Jack was our guide. Jack, a little advice, before saying you don´t have a clue about a question, give at least, a little, very little piece of information!!! Or pretend to be thinking for a while! We headed towards dune number 7. Strange name. A nice name for me, It made me remember a Beatle´s song: revolution number 9. But most of us thought it was a kind of burocratic name, at least, a lazy one. Before we arrived at Dune 7 and take hundreds of photos like a group of Japanese tourists we stop in Swapomund to visit the town: Strange place. We had a hard time finding the old colonial town because it all looks pretty new, even the old part!! German influence, of course. But, it looks more like a German town from Disney World. After another delicious meal we headed to Dune 7 via the desert. I thought that some parts of Patagonia are arid – wrong! It’s green in relation to this piece of the Namibian desert. We drive with dunes on one side and a piece of nothing on the other, just some hills far away – all sand: Very beautiful. I like very much the desert. The Dune 7 was impressive. We are still discussing what that seven means and why Dune 45 is so called since it is apparently the biggest in Namibia. We leave Walvis Bay as planned and a night of movement was ahead us.
Siete, ocho y....nueve
We leave behind Namibia and the skeleton coast (nice name) and now sail some 80 miles off the cost of Angola. I liked also names along the Angolan cost; cape frío and bay dos tigres for example. Nice mixture of languages.
It´s quiet now. Today was a day of visits. A huge blue marlin (a kind of sword fish) that Billy almost caught but which escaped (lucky him). But what an amazing sight of the big fish jumping and fighting. He won and deserved to. And, later a Whale. Yes, a whale. Sophie saw the whale very near the boat while the rest of us from a distance. It was really there!! Nice. Not the biggest one, but big enough. We saw her as she surfed the waves going her own way. I always think that the appearance of that king of big solitary mammals is a gift. Thanks! And a tortoise kept us company for a little while afterwards as a sort of sop. Since yesterday we have had the company of flying fish. Sometimes lonely ones, sometimes in a gang. Sometimes one jumps on board and we have it for breakfast. The morning had begun with a dorado on both of our lines. One for Billy and one for Jack, caught, cooked and eaten for lunch. Huge golden fish. We have photos from every angle and a drawing that Jack did in the fishing log.
We are now all used to the movement. The two previous days were, to put it in the words of an unknown watcher in the log book: rolling, rolling, rolling. Once you pass the first bad night you get used to it and you like it. I mean it. We wait for more visitors tomorrow. It´s getting warmer.
Quiet and warm. After almost three days sailing now we are again with the engine on. Peacefully, the days go fast, very fast. We have a professional crew and an amateur crew all very fond of reading, joking and watching movies. You should see the report of books and movies in our cultural and entertainment log! The amateur crew are also fond of playing backgammon. Mainly David and Jan, I must say, a battle of epic proportions that begins in the morning and ends when it is dark. It seems that now Jan is winning. She must have changed her tactics again since at the beginning David convinced her to play in a more professional way and to begin with David was winning. Good strategy, David, while it lasted!
We all enjoy the watch hours and now more so as the nights get warmer, the sky is full of stars and the moon is beginning to grow. I realize now that the previous nights were really cold.
Two more big dorado early in the morning which we let go. They could be named now instead of dorado; lucky fish. The colour of the dorado in the water of yellow, grey, blue looks really good. Today is even warmer. No cool breeze anymore so we are motoring
We sail now up the coast of the Congo. The Equator is getting close and it is possible to feel it in the air. For days we have sailed under a blue and clear sky. Now there are clouds everywhere, rain in the distance. There is lighting here and there and beautiful orange skies appear and disappear. We could call it the storm tour. Only in such open spaces is it possible to see rain, like a curtain, the big clouds approaching. Fantastic.
We had a lovely visit today. Scott shouted whales and everyone came up on deck. A perfect pair swimming together. They look either like big dolphins or small whales. In any case with a strange nose. Indifferent to us they went on their way. The moon goes on growing and we wait for a beautiful full moon next week.
We left behind the mouth of the Congo River and we continue to sail up the west coast of Gabon. Jack caught a nice fat blue tuna and Sophie at last caught a fish too. But after a lot of effort her fish escaped as it was being landed. No sun during the morning and rain in the distance. The girls are sad because they still don´t have that colour but their prayers were heard and the afternoon was lovely; sunny and fresh. Oliver told us some scary stories about pirates. Jenny surprised us with a lovely soup and a delicious tuna sashimi. I forgot to mention that each day Jack sets a new record of eating whatever is on offer and amazes us all with his trencherman skills. Later, I did my watch under a clear sky and went to bed.
I woke up under a tornado. For a few hours we had gale force winds, rain and waves coming from all directions. All of us enjoyed the adventure. In between the fog Sao Tome appeared. A mountainous land covered with clouds. It looked like we had arrived at King Kong island. When the visibility was a little clearer we discovered the astonishing vegetation and saw the strange shapes of its many mountains. One looked like a rocket ready to leave for the moon. Green everywhere. We sailed for a good couple of hours until we reached the port of Sao Tome. A colonial style church, a fortification that looks like a prison (it is the national museum now) houses that look not that old, nor as poor as we expected. The view, illuminated by the shy sun in between the clouds and over the hills. Not a yacht in sight, a number of wrecks, their hulls poking up through the smooth surface of the water litter the bay, no answer on VHF from Port Control. After a while, personnel from the port appeared waving, to draw our attention. We anchored and after comings and goings six people representing all the different authorities came on board. Strange and funny. They were all friendly with the exception of one of them.
Unfortunately, when he jumped in the zodiac he got his shoes wet. On board because of that comic situation we didn´t dare ask them to take off their shoes, but Oliver knowing his precious teak deck would not benefit by their dirty shoes asked them to take them off! The person with the wet feet was now really angry and wouldn´t do so. The others laughed, happy to learn strange new manners.
South of the main island there is another tiny island through which the equator runs. We had already crossed the equator and Scott (King Neptune) Jan (Queen Neptune) and captain Oliver in their costumes thanked Neptune for letting us arrive safely and in the same ceremony initiated the novices who had not crossed before: Jack, Billy, Sophie, David and me. We all had anchors and mermaids tattooed on our arms. The girls were pirates and the boys had to wear bikini tops (Jan´s idea). We had to throw something into the sea that was valuable to us. Jack and Billy chucked their cigarettes into the water!!! Oliver read a poem and we drank a shot of something horrible before jumping into the water. We say goodbye to the day with a lovely meal on deck ready to discover the island the following day. .
Day 14 (the day before)
David made all the arrangements to hire a car and took us to explore the city and the island. We were impressed from the first moment. The city has its own character; all Portuguese colonial buildings, most in ruins, but nevertheless picturesque. As we leave the Capital on this sunny Sunday we discover the typical architecture of the habitants here. Simple wood houses built always over a platform a couple of meters above the ground, typical of islands or places near the sea. All painted in beautiful colours (lots of pink, light blue and yellow) and in the middle of the jungle. Simple but with its own charm. Something new for almost all of us. It was also laundry day so we saw amazing scenes by the small rivers of the women washing their clothes, putting them on the rocks in the sun to dry. Kids everywhere and almost every other women pregnant. The road is by the sea but the vegetation is so thick that we barely saw the ocean. Here and there lovely views and beaches appeared. We arrive in Sao Joao dos Angulares and there we found the restaurant recommended by Bibi, our agent in the island. The place is lovely, an old colonial building, surrounded by a carefully tended garden. An impressive view of the bay, the jungle and the hills. The owner is a celebrity chef in the Portuguese world, the service incredibly friendly. We had lunch on a wooden terrace with a cooling breeze. The chef came with a number of new dishes for us to taste, all with new flavours; of course mainly fish with herbs and ingredients all found in this tropical place. As David said, everything but the rice (prepared in the Portuguese way) was new. We went back in the direction of the town searching for the boat now anchored on the west side of Sao Tome. The chosen place was in front of the small villageof Neves which was OK but Scott suggested a lovely and quiet bay further down the coast. Perfect scenery to finish a perfect day. We left the car on the beach hidden from the road joking about if it would be there the next morning.!!!!
Day 15. D day, the invasion.
As we were enjoying the last meal of the day the high command of the Sao Tome Navy was working hard. They were planning an assault on a very suspicious ship that had been in contact by radio with a very mysterious car: us!! They waited until the right time for such a risky operation like this and at 4 o’clock in the morning, six marines clambered on board, to achieve we don´t know what. I was sleeping in the cockpit when in dreams heard voices, in dreams remembered the pirates stories Oliver had told us (all with very bad endings) the night before and called Scott who came up on deck while I went down below. Scott was joined by Billy and Oliver and then I heard shouting: no, no, no followed by shooting. Very bad. Very, very bad! After a while Scott called me saying everything was OK and could I go with him to translate. The face of Billy said that nothing was OK but nevertheless I went up; Scott had blood on his back but seemed to be o.k. so I thought, at least they were not pirates. They were the marines in a military operation. Alice in Wonderland. I was nervous to say the least. I could have believed it was some kind of a crazy comedy. It could have so easily ended in tragedy. Scott wasn´t shot but managed to hurt himself, not badly, hitting himself with the table top!!!. All the marines were more or less the same age as Jack and didn´t have a clue what to do. They didn´t search the boat, they asked for paper they didn´t check and finally Scott and I to go ashore to face the high command while four of them remained on board. The police, the civil guard and some military authority were there. All arguing between them what to do next. My Latin American experience made me think about a fake operation to blackmail us by planting drugs or something similar on board. But no, it was more naive and senseless. They were simplyconvinced we were drugs dealers or some such thing. Jack said it was my fault. My long hair, my orange swim pants and my not so good shaved face made me look like a Colombian drug dealer. Thank you Jack, I take it as a compliment, they are very important people back there! After the shock had passed, Oliver was furious, “they have shot holes in my f..... boat” Jan said that in all the years that she has known Oliver, she had never heard him swear!! The bullets went through and destroyed the shower door of the master bathroom. It could have been David´s legs or Jack´s head. Or a little higher and either Oliver, Scott or Billy would have been hit. Una desgracia con suerte we said in Spanish, a lucky disgrace. The police saw that all our papers were in order and realized a serious error had been made, we said that we would make a formal complaint and this seemed to touch their honour so they threatened to confiscate the boat. In short, the marines remained on board and when it was daylight we decided to have tea and a swim to the astonished looks of the marines. Finally, we started on our journey back to the main port of Sao Tome. After a little while the “elite” troops were sleeping so we took photos and had breakfast. On arrival, the marines left quickly and completed their embarrassing show of incompetence by failing to start their outboard motor since the fuel lead was disconnected!! The dingy was also leaking badly. They had to paddle their zodiac and bail out water to stop it from sinking! It was a day of comings and goings, more characters appeared on the scene along with the British consul (with worse English than mine). All ended with an apology from the Commander of the marines to Oliver. There are a lot of funny details that I have not got space to go into here. During the day, before the episode, news was given out on the national radio about our mysterious activities. The repair of the damage will not be cheap and we wonder if the insurance covers damages due to stupid military actions. We ended the day with the highlight of Jenny´s cooking, South African springbok, very good wine and the company of Bibi and her husband Louis who had been most helpful.
Day 16. The day after
Oliver, Scott, Billy and Jack decided to go with Boo Too to the bay near the lovely restaurant we visited on the first day. David, Jenny, Jan and I went in the car and drove on a further 20 more miles beyond the village following the road and trying to discover more of the island. It was fascinating. We crossed two tranquil rivers flowing down tree covered valleys. Fantastic views of the sea and the rocket shaped peak. A couple of monkeys with long tales crossed the road and disappeared into the forest. A little bit further on we came to another village called Monte Mario. A very poor fishing village with a broken bridge with masses of children, pigs and chickens. They were clothed in rags and all they wanted was money. The natives are not friendly. We turn back to go and meet the others. We arrived with the last light. In between the waves and in the dark, surrounded by a lot of young kids. On the trip to the boat we nearly turn over when an unexpected wave hits the zodiac. Rather wet we finally get back to Boo Too. Our return journey was less eventful and drier!! We landed on the beach which was covered with scurrying hermit crabs, to eat again at the restaurant. Lovely food and atmosphere. The owner arranged for a local group to perform for us dressed in traditional clothing. Scott was a bit sharp and asked what all these people were doing in pyjamas. They were not particularly good but after a couple of glasses of wine all but David and Sophie were dancing; included sharp Scott.
Rain, snorkelling and card games in the lovely bay, a truly tropical landscape with the humidity raising and forming clouds in between the forest. The local kids approached the boat in their canoes to sell fish and fruit. After lunch we headed back to Sao Tome. Lovely scenery again with palms trees to the edge of the water; here and there small waterfalls falling into the sea. We arrived almost at sunset. We had an enjoyable and just a little bit sad last meal saying goodbye to David and Sophie who would sleep in a hotel near the airport that night to go back to England very early in the morning. By the way, the same plane would bring Blanche to join us. The show must go on!
Blanche arrived on board on the hottest day of a hot week. Day of arranging and preparing things to go on. Jan and I went into town to the local art gallery where Jan picked up a lovely doll she had seen before. Yesterday she bought also a sculpture, made of scrap metal. Very good eye indeed. We discovered a nice bar where the local artists and the Europeans living here meet. We spent a good couple of hours making assumptions about the lives and stories of the regulars. Around four o clock we headed to Principe, the other island that makes up this country. A stunning sunset with the main island in the foreground.
We woke up at the island of Principe, on a rainy day. Dramatic landscape and at the end of a deep bay the small town of San Antonio. After breakfast Scott and I went ashore to do the paper job. A friendly welcome but everyone who appeared, Custom, police custom, Port, Capitania, Health, had to be paid. One and the same paper for each of them. Boring. In the meantime, the girls made a trip into town. After the boys. A delightfully well kept small town with much more character than Sao Tome. Two traditional, white churches, a market, fish market, old buildings. At first sight the people look more friendly and open. Vibrant music comes from the small shops. After lunch on board, we head to an amazing beach before arriving at Bom Bom island. It is not raining anymore so we all jumped into the water. Swimming, snorkelling, water boarding. The beach is lovely and we saw many colourful fishes, the most impressive was a strange creature half squid half fish at moving quietly at the bottom changing the colour with the colour of the rocks. The only problem, the stinging phantoms that lurk beneath the surface, stinging us as we glide through the water. We had a wonderful dinner, early in the morning, as we were approaching Principe Scott caught two Spanish Mackerel which Jenny prepared with her magical touch. Blanche began a new habitude, the five o clock green tea. We met during the day two people from Bom Bom island. Oliver arrange a barbecue with them for tomorrow. We went to bed with a perfect weather and temperature.
Sunny day without a cloud. A beautiful morning in our private beach. Early in the morning we were surrounded by several canoes, with young kids offering their catch of the day. After hard negotiation Scott and Jenny bought two big succulent looking Red Snappers. Jenny prepared them with another culinary hit, the creole sauce. In the afternoon before the barbecue we had also a wonderful sashimi. After lunch we moved to the other bay in front of the lodge. The fun and the good weather go on till sunset. A delicious barbecue in a romantic place. A table outside under the moonlight listening to the sound of sea was awaiting for us. The arrival was a little bit wet when we landed on the beach in between the waves.!! The barbecue was perfect, the cook was from India, very strange indeed, like an Argentinean preparing a vegetarian menu, all is possible.
Following the rule, one day sunny, one day wet, it is raining again. All but Oliver and Blanche took a little safari to discover the island in a truck with Mark from the resort, a nice South African who know extensively Africa. A dramatic rain forest landscape under nonstop rain. Giant trees, an empty airport, old houses in ruins, the wooden house, some on stilts have small gardens surrounded by hedges, growing maize, papaya and vegetables. They are very friendly people, children run behind the truck, it is a humble island. We stop at a old slave plantation. There is a kind of village there, the faces of the people display the genetic influences of former inhabitants. All vestiges from an industrial era gone with the Portuguese. Pigs and chickens now live where engines throbbed. Stables adorned with windows shape like horse shoes, turrets. Mark finds the key holder to the Plantation House and we go inside. Time has stood still. Furniture, art deco in style, ornate leather dining chairs, a moth eaten snooker table. Tiles from another culture, another time. We climb slowly in the track, arriving at another group of houses and yet more ruins, from there we have an amazing view of the peaks covered with trees. In one house the floor is covered with pepper corns, these grow on bushes with the mangos etc. Mark met one doctor of the island who take us to a very wild farm where he gave us some big pineapples direct from the tree and as a gift. Slowly and hungry we return to boo too. We say goodbye to Principe going by another couple of impressive bays. We head now west straight into the sun.
Calma chicha. The sea is like a lake of oil, not a single breeze. We are the centre of a perfect circle. An amazing 360 degrees horizon. The temperature is agreeable. Around midday a big fish is catch in the rail. It is a huge marlin. Scott and the beautiful creature fight for half an hour giving us impressive jumps over the water. Another two more marlin are all around as giving support to the one which finally escaped. Big fish in the middle of the ocean. The day ends with a beautiful and peaceful sunset to welcome a beautiful full moon.
Six o clock in the morning and everyone on deck. Scott fought with a huge marlin. All marlin are huge but this is enormous! Eventually the fish is gone and all to bed again. It is a very calm day. We go on sailing in the Guinea Gulf, far east already from Equatorial Guinea and South of Benin and Togo. Soon we will be south of Ghana. The day go on quietly. A strange bird appear on our watch with Billy. Right by our side for more than half an hour, it is a strange shadow under the moonlight. Brown, long bill, webbed feet. The book said could be a Brown doddy (family of the terns)
After two days of very calm seas the wind begins to blow and Boo Too begins to sail happily. Another day in paradise. Everyday life; reading, sunbathing, dreaming, sleeping, a little bite of exercises, good meals. During the night we leave behind a ghost boat. A big boat standing in the middle of the ocean for hours. We pass by 2 miles away. We are not superstitious but just in case we go by.
South of Cost the ivory. We have been sailing since yesterday. No news till the green tea time. A big marlin (there is not such a thing like small marlin, Scott guess that this it must be around hundred kilos) is caught. Jack is in charge. After an hour he is still on there. Rebecca and Oliver take hundred of photos of both the fighters. The fish jumps like crazy several times and afterwards disappears into the deep water. Now it is dark. The cameras flash now as if Jack were a rock star. Jack goes on till his muscles say enough. Scott and Billy give assistance for a while. In a moment, after more than half an hour we see it very close. Then disappear again. Some squids follow the light of the boat. It is two hours now. Jack is in charge again. At the end, it was a group job. Scott managed to bring the fish next to the boat. It is the first time that such a big marlin has been caught on Boo Too. The fish is as exhausted as us. We let it go. The fish moves very slowly and disappears.
Slowly we began to turn north. We leave the belly of Africa. We are south west of Liberia now, a country founded by slaves liberated in the USA, one of the first independent African countries. More or less in war since then. For now on we try not to catch more marlins, sword fish and the like. Our request is heard and Jan caught a nice Wahoo which Jen transform into another tasty dish.
Another peaceful day in the centre of the universe and out of time (baby baby you are out time). Here and there, there are impressive clouds big as mountains. The sea today gives us many kinds of blue and grey. The sunset is superb and a little bit later we sail under a heavy rain that will last for hours. The spectacle worth the value. The lighting showed us an impressive panorama that will disappear into the night.
The rain stopped during the night (Well, the rain went on somewhere, we just went out of it). We could have made some money with all the marlin we have caught!!. Today it´s Billy´s turn in the morning with a black one. After 45 minutes Billy brought it to the boat after some spectacular jumps. In the last minute it liberated itself as Scott was about to remove the hook.
Soon we will be leaving Liberia and we will be sailing by Sierra Leona (but not till the end of the day). Today is the day of my first fish. I catch a nice Dorado that gives us some jumps. Humble one but jumps nevertheless. I catch it and do the fillet job also. Jenny prepared a lovely sashimi and a lovely Dorado with risotto funghi. Everybody is happy. It is my turn to wash up but Blanche remembered a film by Wong Kar Wai and have a sudden feeling: In the mood for dishes. And did the dishes singing. Thanks.
Sushi day. The day began with the catch of a big Wahoo by Billy. Today we celebrate half way in the crossing from Saint Thomas to Verde island. It is a celebration day indeed. Jenny (with the support of Blanche) prepared an incredible table of sushi and sashimi. Making an exception to the strong regulation of no alcohol while sailing, we a had a couple of delicious bottles of white wine Billy, who caught the fish and did the fillet job does not like raw fish. Neither does Rebbeca who is a vegetarian so she ate a sandwich. In the afternoon we played a kind of quiz game. On one side, Jenny, Billy, Scott and Jan, on the other Jack, Oliver, Rebecca and me. To be honest we didn´t had a chance.
We sail now south west of Guinea. Peaceful day under a milky sky. Scott had the idea of betting about the exact time of arriving in The Verdes. Some of us thought that he could arrange things in his benefit!! Anyway, we all wrote our guesses.
No major incidents today.
Near lunch time Oliver caught his first marlin. As Blanche said it, it was a ten out of ten marlin performance. A lot of jumping, it took no time at all. It did not make the public impatient and it was reeled into the boat in a perfect way so as to appreciate the impressive figure of the fish.
The wind is blowing now north to south and the movement is noticeable.
A record in two days. we passed by four countries: Guinea, Guinea Bissau (with a port with a lot of movement) Senegal and The Gambia. The Gambia is a strange tiny country, a piece of jam in a sandwich surrounded at the top and the bottom for Senegal. From the early afternoon sailing conditions were good and just before sunset a swallow began to fly with us, even landed a couple of times. At the same time Rebecca shouted fish. Scott brought on board the bigger eating fish so far a wahoo of almost 20 kilos, a meter and a half long. A lot of sashimi for the following days. We are approaching the Verdes and I asked Oliver what was the plan. Answer: Enjoy ourselves!!! I like being here!!!
We had a very good sail throughout the night. Around seven o clock in the morning Billy and I, on watch, saw the first of the Verdes Island: May Island. You have to know this: The Verdes (green) islands are yellow. A bunch of dolphins gave us the welcome. We leave the island behind and headed to our final destination.
We woke up anchored in the port of Mendelo in the island of Saint Vincent; the log book said it was at 4 o clock in the morning. A deep bay surrounded by arid hills. The houses in the city are colourful. It is a sunny and very windy day. We just arrived.