20 December 2008

Porto Grande, Mindelo, Cape Verde Islands

Anchored at Porto Grande
Sao Vicente Island
Cape Verde
North Atlantic Atlantic

Cape Verde has been a pleasant surprise stop for us. With our anchor securely set after an exciting 8-day trip from Grand Canary we were quite happy to not be rockin’ and rollin’. We celebrated with a victory beer and hit the sheets hard. The next morning we assessed all broken systems, and thanks to Tom’s mad boat fixing skills, everything was back to new by early afternoon.

The day before arrival we were able to get the engine started while at sea. Sailing into an anchorage is not something we like doing. So if we could get her back up and running then it was going to be a major relief. We figured that the walls (20 feet) of water that kept smacking the hull of the boat is how we got water in the engine. Since this was the roughest trip we have ever had in 3.5 years, we had no way to prevent the seawater from entering. We drained the oil, let her dry out, gave her some new oil, and finally she started. How happy were we to hear that sound again.

Thanks to our shore side support and friend Tom, we were able to fix the generator too. It turns out a plug blew out because water entered the engine of her systems too. So when we ran it at sea, the water boiled, and boom!, the plug exploded. We actually found the plug in the bilge, and with a little glue we are making power again.

The last project was the autopilot. We took the motor off and tested it to see if it had seized up. The electric meter read it was receiving 12 volts. So we cleaned out the motor, loosened the belt, and fingers crossed this works. We aren’t really sure what happened with the autopilot and won’t know if it’s fixed until we get out there. As Captain Ron says, "If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen out there."

It was a huge relief to us to be able to fix all systems ourselves as trying to lug boat parts to shore and find a mechanic is never something we enjoy. We did however invest in two cut-off valves for the engine and generator exhaust systems. So while underway we won’t have to worry about water entering the systems.

With all jobs completed, we hit the town. Our guidebook mentions town as being poor, dirty, with little to no resources. But our guidebook was way off. Town is bustling with music pumping out of the central market place and locals enjoying the Christmas shopping. ‘Club Nautico’ is where all the sailors hang out and share their salty stories. They occasional have live music too, and has been a daily pit stop for us.

The last few days we have met some really great locals and have enjoyed our visit. A lovely treat we had not planned to experience.

Our current plans are to try to check out this weekend and head west…

Amy and Tom

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