Friday, 30 December 2011

Life in Mindelo

Hi from Clare,                                                       Thursday 29th Dec 2011-12-30


This will be a quick update as we are very busy preparing to leave.
Andrew is at present in the water scrubbing the bottom of the boat.
I have been busy shopping and cooking for the passage.

We had a lovely Christmas starting with drinks on ‘Balvenie' on Christmas Eve.
Fourteen people attended and so it was a good opportunity to celebrate together.

Christmas day was a much quieter day with most cruisers having lunch on their boats. I had bought a vacuum packed leg of New Zealand lamb in the Canaries so we had that and plum pudding and Christmas cake brought from home.
Christmas Lunch on Eye Candy


Our friends ‘Balvenie’ and ‘Tactical Directions’ left on Boxing Day for their trip across the Atlantic. We hear from them on the radio and they are rolling a fair bit. Our friend and helper Bronwyn is arriving tonight. At this stage we think we will leave on Sunday when the wind drops down.


The town of Mindelo is a funny place. The ATM machines run out of money regularly. If you have cash the supermarket will trade as long as you don’t want too much change. They will only take their local credit card. Visa and Master Card are not accepted. Trying to buy food is a nightmare. The supermarket is extremely small and poorly stocked; no room for a trolley. It is crowded to the point of being claustrophobic and you keep bumping into people.

There is always a long queue at the cash register and invariably long delays for price checks etc. Yesterday it took me 50 minutes to get through the checkout.

Vegetables are bought from the local market or in the street at a high cost. The fish market is good but scary as every time we have been there the people are arguing. The butcher doesn't speak English and doesn't have meat on display; so somehow you have to ask for what you want. There is red meat in the supermarket but the cuts are unidentifiable. You can buy only frozen chicken. I found a baker after much searching; the bread is very sweet a bit like American bread so we have been making our own. Oh how I long for hassle free shopping!


The internet is not very accessible and we don’t have any phone coverage here.

I had intended to send eight photos on our last newsletter but we were running out of battery due to a slow connection. So this time I’m only going for one as I can’t afford to tear any more hair out.

Love Candy xx

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands

Hi from Clare, 23rd December 2011
Mindelo is a town of contrasts. Some facilities like the laundry is amongst the best we have seen. There is a brand new Shell Service Station and we have even seen an Audi. On the other hand the buildings are in a state of disrepair and there are many people squatting in the side streets selling fish, vegetables and all kind of merchandise.

The restaurants are very basic but the dinner we had the night we arrived was delicious and very inexpensive. I couldn't help but make a comparison between the mouthwatering menus in Oz and the menus here. At home garden fresh salad, oven baked potatoes and a list of spices to stimulate appetite are mentioned. Here I chose "pork chop and potato' and Andrew had "Stuffed chicken chest". It didn't sound very appetizing but when the meal arrived I had two tender and delicious pork chops cooked in a lovely light spicy sauce and a side dish of baked potato, sweet potato, pumpkin and a fruity cabbage. Andrew's stuffed chicken breast had two side dishes, light buttery rice and a tomato, peppers and onion. We washed this down with a large beer and a full glass of red wine for the total price $24.

Yesterday we spent the best part of the day re establishing the boat to its former glory. The smell I couldn't track down remained after the wet cardboard was removed from the bilge. By this stage I was starting to panic so down on my hands and knees, more sniffing required. It turned out to be stale sea water on the bottom edge of the seat in the saloon. I think there must have been some decaying sea life attached somewhere. A good soaking in Domestos has done the trick.

Today we went for a trip around the island. Eight of us sat on bench seats in the back of a Ute for the five hour trip. The comfort factor was about one step up from sitting on the back of a scooter. We saw a few small fishing and framing villages and went to the top of one of the mountains. The road was narrow and winding with a sheer drop to a "bloody long way down". Some of the crew got out and waited for the rest of us to go to the top. The view at the top would have been break taking had it not been spoilt by a dust storm (as seen in the photos) which has engulfed the island for the past two days.

We wish you a wonderful Christmas, don't eat and drink too much and stay safe.
Love Candy xx
Andrew's Fish

A small (2M) wave

Drying things out

The cruising gang on tour
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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Wednesday DAY 6

Hi from Clare, Canaries to Cape Verde Islands Wednesday 21st Dec 2011

DAY 6 - Plus 2 Hrs

We arrived into Mindelo at 12.30 to the sound of a victory horn and shouts of "Welcome to the Cape Verdes". This lovely piece of theatrics was compliments of Balvenie who arrived some hours earlier. The past 26 hours of sailing was much kinder to us with 12-20 knot winds and a one metre swell. Last night was quite mild and today is beautiful and sunny; the sea temperature is a very agreeable 24.7 degrees; things are looking up.

Yesterday with the calmer conditions we set to work and cleaned out the bilges. Today we have pulled the cockpit lockers apart so we can remove the salt water and wash everything in fresh water, dry it and start again. Who said boating was all about lazing about in the sun and having drinks at sunset?

So our latest mini disaster is that the throttle on the outboard motor is jammed. Andrew discovered this when he was ready to go to the Customs Office. Instead he has now pulled the engine apart adding one move item to the 'immediate jobs' list. At present the boat looks like a Chinese Laundry with washing flapping on every rail. It will take a day or two before we can recover from Neptune's little joke. I wondered if perhaps he was annoyed with us for pinching one of his fish - maybe we should sell the fishing rod!

The highlight of the day was arriving safe and sound. Tonight we are going out for drinks and dinner to celebrate with the new arrivals. I think four or five boats have arrived today. Already we have been invited to a Christmas Day get together involving all the boats - time to kick and enjoy.

All is very well.
Love Candy xx

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Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Hi from Clare, Canaries to Cape Verde Islands, Tuesday 20th Dec 2011

In the last 24 hours we sailed 143 miles and have 145 miles to go to Mindelo in the Cape Verde Islands. At this speed we should arrive in day light which will please Andrew very much. The sea state is still confused with big sets of rolling waves. I will talk more about that later when I report on the highlight of the day.

After yesterday's radio message about the rowing boats, we heard this morning that the crew of one boat has been picked up by the officials. So now we have a 25 foot wooden rowing boat adrift in the Atlantic. The boat has a tracker and there is a retrieval vessel on its way to pick it up. I'm only glad it is far away from us, I don't like things that go bump in the night. The moon rises around 3am and most nights we have a glorious star filled sky. However when there is cloud cover to quote our New Zealand friend Mark (Balvenie) "It's a black as the inside of a cow out here"

So our latest mini disaster is centered around an unidentified smell on the boat. We have been getting a whiff of it for a few days. It smells like dirty feet and so I immediately accused Andrew, as it's either him or me and I'm a girl! However after a shower the smell was still present. So we have been playing 'stiffer dog' and we tracked it down to the salt water saturated beer boxes in the bilge. I knew they got wet the other day but I was hoping to deal with them later. I doubt we will last the distance but the thought of fixing the problem in rolling seas doesn't thrill us either.

So on to a brighter note, the highlight of the day and we are divided on this one. Andrew thinks it is surfing down a huge wave doing 13.9 knots.
I think it is, I was asleep at the time and didn't have to witness it. This is a new speed record for Eye Candy and one we hope will remain until we put her on a truck one day.

Thanks once again for your emails - they are brilliant.

All is well
Love Candy xx

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Tuesday, 20 December 2011


Hi from Clare, Canaries to Cape Verde Islands Monday 19th Dec 2011

In the last 24 hours we have sailed 148 miles and we have 288 miles to go; we expect to arrive mid Wednesday. At the moment the sea has flattened out a bit and we have about a 2 metre swell and 20 knots of wind. Earlier this morning I was sitting in the cockpit in similar conditions and thinking how wonderful. However within 10 minutes I was busy reducing sails due to confused seas, a much larger swell and 30 knot winds.

Would you believe that there is an annual rowing race across the Atlantic? There are currently 14 rowing boats crossing the Atlantic. They are manned by 6, 4 or 2 rowers. I can't for the life of me imagine why anyone would want to do such a thing. Apparently 2 of the boats are in difficulties and we have heard calls on the radio for yachts in the area to assist by standing by with the distressed boat until official help arrives. The closest rowing boat is about 200 miles away from us. In this sea condition, I think rendering assistance would be very difficult.

The highlight of the day was surfing down a wave at 11.7 knots. That was enough excitement for us.

Andrew hasn't had the fishing line out since day one. I have been trying to take photos of the waves. I have managed some at 2 metres but once they get bigger than that I need 4 hands; it's a full body workout.

All is well
Love Candy xx .

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Monday, 19 December 2011


Hi from Clare, Canaries to Cape Verde Islands - DAY3 Sunday 18th Dec 2011

In the last 24 hours were have sailed 145 miles. Not bad considering we slowed down for seven hours yesterday while we recovered from the wave strike. Andrew had fortunately backed up our computer before leaving home. He was able to reload the software onto our second computer, so we are back in business. The windspeed has now mysteriously started to work again so there must be some water in some wires some-where. The engine control alarm no longer tweets so Andrew will have to investigate that too.

The wind and wave conditions are the same as yesterday and are forecast to stay that way for the rest of the trip. We are running a four hour roster in the day and three hours at night. Shift change times are 6am, 10am, 2pm, 6pm, 9pm, 12pm, 3am and then back to 6am. It seems to be working well and we are getting enough rest and sleep.

So what mini disaster befell us today? Oh yes, our toilet seat came away at the hinges, turning the whole procedure into a balancing act. Andrew, who's temporary fix always starts with a piece of string, jokingly said "All I have to do is work out how to tie the seat onto our bum first, then we just have to sit down" problem solved.

The highlight of the day was a school of 30 or more dolphins. They were having a ball surfing down the waves in an S motion. Some were jumping off the top of the waves flying through the air doing a barrel roll and landing down in the trough. Others were leaping vertically out of the water - what a show.

Thank you for your emails. No mater how short and sweet, it is great to have the contact while on passage. It's a bit like getting the morning paper.
All is well here
Love Candy xx

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Sunday, 18 December 2011


Hi from Clare, Saturday 17th Dec 2011

In the last 24 hours we have sailed another 140 miles towards the Cap Verde Islands. The wind speed at its highest was 33 knots and wave heights yesterday and most of last night were in access of 3 metres.
Around 6.30 am this morning we had a wave strike from behind which dumped a large amount of water into the cockpit and below.

The damage on deck: Washed overboard was the inflatable dan-buoy which inflated and set off flashing, gone also is the cover to the bilge pump. The rear cockpit seat broke away but it was tied on so it didn't go overboard. The stern light now points skywards. We think the bimini is bent - to be confirmed. We have lost wind speed because of the drenching of the electrics in the steering pedestal. The auto helm tripped off but not before twisting the steering quadrant around the rudder shaft and last but not least one shaken and saturated watch captain - me.

The damage below deck: One dead laptop due to flooding. All the electrics on the nav table i.e the switch panel, the chart plotter, VHF and HF radios were all sprayed with sea water - damage due to corrosion will reveal itself in time. Several litres of sea water spread throughout all the bilge compartments from the nav table and aft.

Now that Neptune has played his little joke the wind and waves have abated, the sun is shinning and conditions are quite pleasant.

The highlight of the day was, Andrew's fish for dinner was delicious.

Love Candy xx

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Friday, 16 December 2011

Canaries to Cape Verde Islands

Hi from Clare, Friday 16th Dec 2011

We commenced our trip 10am yesterday morning. In the first 24 hour period we have sailed 140 miles. The sea is lumpy with a 3 metre following sea and wind strength of 20-25 knots, max gust 32. The ride is a bit uncomfortable and last night it was really cold.

On the bright side, we caught our first fish late yesterday. We think it is a small Tuna, it is a very handsome shiny white and silver. We hit it on the head with the hammer, the cockpit ended up looking like a scene from Dexter.

Today is sunny and we are enjoying the warmth. We have 725 miles to go to Mindelo, Cape Verdes and closer to the equator.

That's all for today as I am typing this with one hand and holding the computer with the other so it doesn't fall off the table.

Love Candy xx

PS check the YOTREPS link for the up to date positions

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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Leaving thwe Cannaries

Hi from Clare,

Well we head out tomorrow morning to sail the 850 miles to the Cape Verde Islands. This is the beginning of our Atlantic crossing. Some boats travel south to within about a hundred miles of the Cape Verdes and then turn right and head for Barbados. Others like us, head for the port of Mindelo in the Cape Verde Islands. Balvenie will be leaving with us and Tacktical Direections will leave the following day. We will have Christmas on land and then tackle the 2000 miles to Barbados in the Caribbean. We have an additional crew member Bronwyn Adamson joining us on the 28th December for the trip to Barbados. With three people on board, we will all get enough sleep. We are looking forward to sharing the experience with Bronwyn as we have know her for many years. She is an excellent sailor and can talk engineering to Andrew forever, leaving me time to read - just joking.

For the past week we have been busy preparing for the trip. Andrew has checked the engine, the rig, the water maker, the rudder etc. Everything has been either screwed or tied down and I've bought enough food for three months or more. So we are ready to go .

Tonight ten of us are going out for drinks and the last supper. I will regularly write a short note to the Blogsite at keeping you updated on the passage. Also you can check our progress by clicking the YOTREPS link on the right hand side of this Blog page. This will show where the boat is and Andrew will update this daily.

love Candy xx

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Sunday, 4 December 2011

Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Hi from Clare,                           Saturday   3rd December 2011

We have now been back on the boat for one week, but somehow it feels much longer. Maybe it’s because we had a quick trip back to Oz and traveling back and forth between countries has caused some disorientation.
For example the other day I went to the supermarket here and tried to pay in Australian dollars. At first I couldn’t understand why the girl was rejecting my money and looking at me as if I was stupid. Then the answer came to me – I am stupid. I had to run back to the boat and get some Euros.

The boat is in good condition and it only took two days to polish the deck, restock and prepare for sea. We are now at anchor and yesterday we discovered a water leak under the engine which necessitated replacing the salt water pump bearings and seal. Apparently the seal had been leaking for a while and the bearings were very rusty inside.  We had all the spare parts needed and fortunately Andrew had previously befriended the local sailing school owner who was conversant with overhauling Volvo water pumps. Andrew was very grateful for his help and the use of his small workshop (with press) and for the car ride another cruiser gave Andrew to the workshop in the next town. 

We plan to leave tomorrow night to travel 95 miles to Las Palmas on the Island of Gran Canaria. Hundreds of boats come through Las Palmas each year and many step off here for their Atlantic Crossing. Consequently the town’s business is geared to this event and all boat and food supplies are plentiful we hope.

There are a number of boats crossing the pond now and we have been listening to the daily radio sked. They seem to be having a good time with approximately 20 knots of breeze with a one to two metre swell. The further south they go the warmer the weather. Some are dusting off their sarongs and swim wear; others are busy fishing or trying to fish. 

The weather here in Lanzarote is cool, windy and with a little weak sunshine. Not too bad considering that this is their winter. Poor Andrew went in the water twice to scrub the weed off the bottom of the boat. Both times he came out frozen and was glad to sit with a hot drink, a hot water bottle and a rug around him.
Rubicon Anchorage

We are anchored off the town of Rubicon. There is a lovely paved walkway connecting the old town with a newer resort township and up market marina. 
The walkway is really good for getting some much needed exercise. This morning we went into the marina and had morning coffee with newly met New Zealand friends Peter and Barbara on ‘Musketelle’. They too are crossing the Atlantic this year. We intended just a quick hello but ended chatting for hours. That’s life in the cruising community and what a wonderful life it is.

We intend spending a few weeks in the Canary Islands before heading 900 miles south to the Cape Verde Islands where the weather will be lovely and warm.  We will spend Christmas there before the crossing.

Love Candy xx.        
                     Lanzarote Landscape                                        Walk-way to town