12/06/2009, Just off Santo Antão
The outskirts of Mindelo remind me of southern Italian villages in Salento where once I lived (Hans)
our troubles at sea at Mindelo (Cape Verde Islands) Kai Brossman, a
German making a living of renting boats, maintenance of boats, etc.
and being the official Raymarine (manufacturer of marine electronics)
representative at the Cape Verde islands, helped us out of a lot of
problems. "If it is manmade ... we can fix it ..."
Yesterday afternoon his people managed to repair the leak caused by the windrudder system. Also a good explanation how this damaged was caused helped us to understand how to use this system in a more gentle way. The generator which we use to charge our batteries for our navigation equipment and the fridge to keep the fridge (predominantly filled with juice, cheese, yogurt and, of course, beer) running, had broken. The backup charging device is our inboard engine for propulsion of our craft in ports, emergency situations and other cases where it is either not recommended or not so handy to use sails for manoeuvring.
However, this engine is less efficient for charging our batteries and we must keep it operational (save fuel) for emergency situations. Also the generator was properly fixed.
The bad news came when testing our autopilot system: it wasn't working anymore, the hydraulics to move the boat's rudder didn't listen well to the signals coming from our coarse board computer. To start the crossing with only our backup windrudder was not an option. The deception of this message made us eat our bellies round in Mindelo town's best restaurant: Sodade. Which was actually not much more than good cafetaria. But the food was good. Peter took some fish with rice, Ulric, some meat dish with peppersauce, and I bravely put my jaws in two small grilled octopussies, with fried potatoes. The beer, Strela, which I believe is Portuguese for "Star", was good also. Strela is a local Cape Verdian lager.
This morning I woke up at 8 for my appointment with Felipe at 8 this morning. Local time here is GMT-1 but our boat's clockstill runs at GMT, therefore, I was still in time at the meeting point. Our local guide, Felipe G. Da Cruz, we met yesterday at the entrance of the marina with some people who were looking for shorttime jobs, e.g., guiding tourists.
Our local guide Felipe G. Da Cruz helped us to arrange fuses for our electronics
on a Sunday morning in the outskirts of Mindelo, São Vicente, 16.9° N  25.0° W (Hans and Wikipedia)
All the shops I found were closed when around 9h suddenly a taxi, carrying Felipe, stopped. Felipe knows people in town and knows where to get spare fuses even on a Sunday morning. He had me taxied to some outskirt of Mindelo, apparently his neighbourhood because he seem to know all the people there, and all the people seem to know him. The shop (bicycle parts and a lot more) was closed. No problem, we went to the owners house, rang the bell and after a short discussion the owner's wife opened the shop for us and I had my spare 40 amps and 5 amps fuses.
The town of Mindelo shows strong evidence of European colonialization. Although I was never in Portugal, the occupier until 1975, the architecture shows similarity to that found in southern Italian villages in Salento, where once I worked and lived.
The old town of Mindelo, close to the fishermen port and marina (Hans)
Felipe is gratefully acknowledged for his help with our speed Sunday morning shopping.
When I arrived back at the QRIII Kai still had to arrive. Peter hadn't found the fuses at his alternative address, but luckily I had them! In the next hours the problem with the autopilot was solved by Kai. One of the fuses was placed accidentally at the 24 V position where it should have been placed at the 12 V position, for the type of solenoids we have in our boat to activate the hydraulic system. This problem could already be existing since the installation of the coarse computer, or introduced with a later maintenance by replacing this fuse at the wrong voltage socket.
Anyway, the skillful assistance of Kai Brossmann (+238-9-915-878 / info@boatCV.com ) is highly appreciated and recommended to other cruisers by Queen's Ransom's crew!
Around 14.30 we arrived on engine at the fuel berth for refuelling 88 litres of diesel for our board engine and our generator. That was about what we have used up since our leave from Tenerife. this is the price for motoring on engine (1.15 liter per mile) and running our generator 4 - 5 hours per day to charge our batteries.
After a lunch of Galia melon with Serrano ham and Strela beer I asked a kind Dutch lady (boatname Valentijn from Amsterdam, but she was actually from Lelystad) who planned to leave Cape Verde Wednesday, to take a picture of the three of us. She sails on a boat aiming for Surinam. There are at least 6 Dutch boats in the port that we leave behind.
The crew - Peter - Ulric - Hans - about to leave Mindelo! (kind Dutch lady of the"Valentijn" of Amsterdam)
Currently we are in the windshadow of Ilha de Santo Antão. From the sea it looks a beautiful island, with a desert/moon-landscape. Highest peak over 1900 meters. The night has fallen in, and now the difference between the Canary Islans and the Cape Verde Islands becomes clear: where Tenerife was covered with lights, as Christmas tree is Santo Antão dark. On the coast there are some villages, with some lights. Perhaps there live a few hundred people in such a village. Imagine what it is to live there with primitive facilities, and supermarkets that have not more variety of fresh food to offer than we have available on our boat. Except maybe from fresh fish.
While drinking a cold beer while the pots and pans were cooking on the stove we saw two small dolphins: Peter took his videocam, I took my still camera. We were both too late for images of these animals. After a deep breath they went below surface. We didn't see them surface anymore.
As a dinner I cooked a nasi goreng of rice, beef, carrots, leek, onions, garlic, and chili peppers. It was appreciated well and the Rioja tasted well that Peter selected from our on-board wine cabinet (well-filled: a bottle per planned cruising day). Peter has sound knowledge about quality wines.
Now looking up the sky, I can see objects invisible by the bare eye in the light polluted European night skies. Still in the twilight it is no problem to spot e.g. the Andromeda nebula. Marvelous! Also the Milky Way is so bright. And the moon is decreasing: 16 December it will be new moon. The darkest night in our challenging voyage ...
I now have to start my early nightwatch, from 22h until 02h.
All the best from a silent (3 Beaufort/ 7 knots) ocean where currently we make not more progress than 2 knots presumably due to the windshadow of the Ilha de Santo Antão, the last land we will see before arriving at Barbados in the Caribbean; hopefully within two weeks.
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