The showstopper – crazy charismatic positivity. Mindelo, you really have been something.
Friday 11th November 2016
We had arrived in Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde 11am! Real time placement: 5th… but then again, we had used our engine more than the average sailor.
Michel, Jean, Rachael, Jess and I, the crew, headed to dry land for bread and water… Well lunch and a cold lager – to celebrate! First steps on dry land were odd. Jean said that sailors back in the day had a rather bad reputation… Just before arrival to the port they celebrated by shotting an alcoholic beverage, Genevar in Belgium. Then once they stepped off the boat they swayed for a few hours, sea legs dispersing. So from the uninitiated onlooker, a drunk sailor with alcohol breath, I know the feeling well…But we are innocent!
Bianca and Zoe did not particularly enjoy Leg 1, plagued with sea sickness and boredom. Max had also shown signs, questioning “How can you enjoy this!?” A love of sailing and being at one with nature was not an adequate answer.
Throughout the trip, Bianca hinted she would not do Leg 2 and by the last day at sea stated that they would be flying to Saint Lucia, Caribbean, and that Max would be joining them.
This evening I ate my first Lobster… and Rachael’s too! After closer inspection, it was found to be a Langostine, typical. Perhaps the Caribbean will come up trumps.
Lady Biz crew then graced The Floating Bar with our presence. The Floating Bar located at the end of the pontoon, tempting you in with colourful flags splattering the sides. We only went for one… What happened can only be described as Jean’s big night out. Returned to the boat at 0300.
I met some absolute cracker’s that night – such enthusiasm, flair and passion. Hilarity overflowing. It was unstoppable. A quick round of names:
- Pinky and the Brain… And Dave.
Vessel: Baby Blue
Pinky: A mad brilliance. Named Pinky for his head to toe colour scheme and crazy charisma. Who knows where he’s from… there was talk of Welsh, Dutch, French, Italian… After much interrogation I think we settled on Monaco with English schooling. A positive flair with a fabulous sense of humour.
The Brain: Older and wiser, emanating intelligence. Brimming with passion and again, a brilliant sense of humour. Egyptian heritage but lives in Cheshire of all places! The ‘owner’ and an Engineer, respect.
Dave: British through and through. Dry humour. A man of few words. Pinky and Dave balance beautifully.
- The Germans. GnT Riel and his brothers. Plus Vincent.
GnT Riel: Mentioned previously. Hard to describe. An intelligent, kind soul with a quirky sense of humour. Often chuckling to himself. Mysterious. Wholesome. Content. His brothers are cheeky chaps. All easily over 65.
Vincent: Cute, geeky, puppy like, switched on, 22. Bounds around. Pinky calls the Helmet Head.
We stood by the ‘bar’ chatting to the wonderful Baby Blue brigade for hours, laughter filled the air. Mariella turn up, Riel invites me over to their table, I pull up a chair. The beer was flowing at The Floating Bar that night.
Everyone was on top form. I’m sure I can say for all, that we had an absolute ball!
Saturday 12th November
News of the day: A new skipper will be flying out to join us for Leg 2. Plus a chef, Jim, from another boat.
Jim: American. A true Yankee. We met him at the Halloween party on the first night. He said we had good energy, Yoda style. He can talk the hind leg off a donkey but I have no doubt that he has a good heart.
That evening there was an Arc party with African drummers and shaking feather girls. Here we met Fruit Salid… Two crazy Australian’s. Mark and his side kick … Enthusiast, bubbling positivity and outrageous. A lovable pair. Unfortunately their autopilot broke on day 2 so they had to steer manually for the rest of the trip. 2 hours on, 2 hours off, 24, 7. Hard core. … Feet had swelled up so it was painful to stand… Yet they arrived and partied till the early hours. Crazy.
Dinner: Fish stew and the best octopus.
Stumbled across a street party on route home. Hundreds came to the street to listen, dance, nod and appreciate the Soul Regie extravaganza. It was marvellous. Spinning, shaking, holding – not a care in the world. Bumped into Fruit Salid and Somnium. Ended up going to a discotech…in our Lady Biz matching top and skirt combos. It was a strange scene.
Somnium: A rare young boat. Irish Paul, gluten free, and ze Germanz.
Sunday 13th November
Update: Over pancakes, Max revealed that they will now be staying and completing Leg 2. It’s up and down like a yo-yo. Will they stay or will they go nowwww? The Kinks
Run. Tarmac. Colourful houses line the street. People pottering. Dogs. Jog gradient. Children playing. Rubble underfoot. Homes grey concrete, part painted. Rebar extending. Dogs barking. Pig on roof. Hill climb. Girl waving. View. And what a view!
Another Arc party, at a fish market. Rather odd as the place itself was shabby chic but it had been kitted out with big round tables with pristine white table clothes. At our table we had our boat and some guests… Jim and the Ran Sailing youtube couple. I popped over to catch up with Filip – French, 20+, a grinner. I met him at a previous dinner in Las Palmas, he works for Arc and had to socialise with the guests. Tonight he was sat with MacPat. I met Michael – French Canadian. A cool dude. A music producer for the underground scene… Not sure what the underground scene is but it sounds impressive!
Ran Sailing: A famous youtube channel. No surprise that I hadn’t heard of it.
Again we visited The Floating Bar. Of course Pinky and Dave were there propping it up.
Pinky fact: Where did the f*ck off finger swear come from? When the French and English were at war, the French said they would chop off our two fingers so we couldn’t shoot our bow and arrow. When we won, we showed them the two finger salute … We still had our fingers!
Monday 14th November
A free bus tour of the island, São Vicente, this morning. In total there are 10 islands in Cape Verde, 9 inhabited. Some facts:
- 44% population under the age of 15
- 4-5 kids per household
- €70-80 per month trying to raise to €150.
- €500-600 for Electrician
- Rainy season = July- October. Not much rain.
We spent quite a while climbing the Green Mountain, 774m, the bus chugging away. Can’t say it sounded very healthy, at one point I thought it might start rolling back down the hill.
In Yorkshire you may have to slow down for sheep or cows crossing the road, here it was goats.
As we continued we drove what seemed like miles along the Agriculture Valley. It had a strange feeling to me. Miles of little characterful shack like homes with random bits and bobs here and there… wind turbines, that looked rather dishevelled, some chickens, a huge satellite dish, bright colours – A mixture of The Flintstones and The Land Before Time…. but also The Mask of Zorro, it was difficult. It felt wrong somehow sat in a bus overlooking the valley. The Agriculture Valley that looked dry and barren, if it didn’t receive rain within a week the crops would die. Is it any different than the red bus tour in London or the honey pot villages in the Dales where the tourists swarm. We were helping the tourism trade, the economy, their main source of income.
The guide explained that the houses were all constantly changing. Here, you could not easily get a bank loan. The reason the houses never look finished is because the owner only builds what they can afford at the time. Then when they have saved up enough money will add another level on top and so on. Not a bad plan really.
It really did have character though, a ‘different world’ to the hustle and bustle of London. Here, people are close to nature, living with the seasons, a simple existence.
The Arc prize giving. It worked out that many boat friends seemed to win something! I whooped like a crazy woman.
- 3rd in Cruising A : Fruit Salid, Beneteau First 40
- 1st in Cruising A : MacPat, Pogo 12.5
- 1st in Multihulls A : Intrepid Bear, Catana Bali 4.3
- 1st in Cruising B : Somnium – Irish boy boat
We came 8th in Cruising A, think the engine hours may have been something to do with it…
Intrepid Bear: How to put into words. Legends. We met them on our first night in Las Palmas at the Halloween party. Alex, 20, beautiful, a winning smile, heart of gold, German. He can pull shapes. His father, funktastic, hearty, the same cheesy grin as Alex. Oozing goodness.
Unfortunately Lady Biz left the party. A shame really.
Jess and I sat and reflected. Jess shed one.
Tuesday 15th November 2016
Run 0645. Stretch our wings before the big day tomorrow.
0930 Visited the SOS. An orphanage / skill learning zone. They scour the streets collecting up the homeless boys… Like the Child Catcher, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Although with good intentions! The centre would then search for their mothers. The centre was well kitted out – a sewing room, hair dressing salon, a classroom come library, a kitchen, a dentist surgery and dormitories. 12 boys and a selection of women at one time would learn life skills until they felt confident to return to reality. Top work SOS.
Made bread dough… There was a kerfuffle… Bread was unable to be cooked aboard Lady Biz. An idea sprung to mind – Jess and I headed straight to Baby Blue with Yorkshire Tea and dough in hand. We were welcomed with open arms and the oven was on in a jiffy, thanks to Dreadlock Spaniard (the newest member of the crew). What a smile. The next day they would devour the freshly baked bread. Apparently it was a real hit!
Stockhausen Design – to research.
Last bits and bobs before departure, we headed to the pharmacy. Sea sickness for Rachael, check. Jess’s magic medicine, AKA Poo Tea, check.
The last evening – the crew stayed on board. Ran Sailing and Jim popped over. GnT was overflowing and conversation was rife. We had a smashing evening… Until Ran Sailing’s dinghy disappeared! Had it been stolen? Washed out to sea? They hunted high and low. It was not to be found. It later came to light that it had not been tied on correctly and an onlooker had seen it float by the anchor chain… But didn’t think to let us know. I like to think it was a sign – perhaps the sea took it and delivered it as a present. I’m sure it made someone’s day!
Match Stick Theorem
When you snap a match stick, it gets harder to snap the smaller it becomes. “A smaller lever arm” says the Engineer. Now use this theory for a boat in the ocean. Unfortunately Lady Biz is classed as a rather large sailing boat… hopefully time will not tell.
What a memorable time in Mindelo, it will not be forgotten in a hurry. Some characters in life stay with you.
Must dash, big day tomorrow.