Day 6: 17 October 2016
After sailing much of last night in slowly diminishing winds, we reluctantly turned the motor on at 0230 and started the final leg of the passage to the town of Mindelo, on the island of Sao Vicente, in the Cape Verde Island group. At dawn, we were again surrounded with glassy calm conditions.
Shortly after breakfast, we started seeing more flying fish. We have reported about seeing “loads” of flying fish on previous days, but now we really mean “LOADS” of flying fish. We would frequently see ten or more fish shoot out of the water ahead of the boat and fly in all directions trying to escape prey (or being run over!). The fish would be so close to the boat that we could make out the various colours in their shimmery skin. We would see big flying fish (maybe 25 cm long) and very small (baby?) flying fish (about 10 cm long). And then the dolphins came! They played in our bow wake for about ten minutes before journeying off to give another boat a post-breakfast show.
This was the first truly hot day of the passage. The sun was out in full force. The winds were about 5 knots from behind and we were motoring at about 5 knots, so there was no breeze over the deck or down below. The engine was like a hot furnace in the centre of the boat. It was about 30 deg C below with about 75% humidity – sticky and hot.
To beat the heat, we enjoyed cold foods; cereal with cold milk for breakfast and triple-decker club sandwiches (sliced chicken and cheese on the bottom layer, ripe avocado and crispy-fried chorizo on the top layer). We also served cold gazpacho soup – very refreshing! The cold, fruity cocktails were double-tall this afternoon!
The kids focused on a lot of school work so that they could spend more time exploring ashore upon arrival. Angela, creative as always with incredible teaching methods, designed a way to teach Dorian and Anneka’s math lessons with colourful artwork projects. They called the project “Art Math.” Angela was heard to exclaim “this is my kind of art”, and Anneka replied “this is my kind of math!”
At 1430 this afternoon, after 12 hours of motoring, we calculated that we could reach the shores of Mindelo at sunrise (17 hours later) if we were able to keep up an average speed of about 4 knots. Since we have been enjoying a 0.5 to 0.75 knot current in our favour, we only needed to keep a boat speed of about 3.5 knots. We knew that this was possible despite the light winds, so we very happily turned off the motor and begun our final (slow) sail to Mindelo. With the motor off and the winds crossing the deck and filtering below, we were relieved of some of the heat and excited with the prospect of making landfall the next morning.
At the time of writing, we are 23 miles from land and look forward to arriving shortly after breakfast tomorrow, making this 800 mile passage in about 6.5 days. The daily run for Day 3 was 117 miles (again).