Sunday, November 29, 2009

Greeting from:
16° 59.09' N
34° 06.52' W
21:23:48 GMT
It's another perfect evening, Winds still behind us pushing us at about 6.5 knots combined with the north equatorial current we are 7.5 knots over the ground not bad for just 12 knots of wind. Still have one marriage reef in the main and full Genoa winged out on the pole. Still thinking about the flying the spinnaker, but I know I can't afford the it,... only the lawyers get rich. Just off the SSB radio, listening to all the chit chat on Wx among the hundred plus boats which are within 1000nm of us. We saw our first commercial traffic for this trip, last night. A VLCC tanker heading North to the East Coast, but that has been it since we left. Just us and a thousand flying fish,which are still routinely committing suicide on our decks. Landed a big one the other night, it was almost 10 inches long and would have made a good meal, if it wasn't so bony.

Olous Out

Message Rec'd after our depature Gambia

This is message the Boags recv'ed from one of there Dutch Friends. Dan

The departure from The Gambia waters was very exciting, and damaging. About 8 to 10 miles off-shore a 25 foot white wood/fiberglass boat with 2 small Yamaha outboards on it started heading our way. Only one of the twenty something hp motors was working, and the boat didn't look like the typical local fishing boat. The boat had five or six African guys in it, in the 18 to 28 age range. No name on the boat. No number, No signage, No life preservers, horn, lights, flags, or radio. We were doing about six knots under sail only, joe at the helm. The boat appeared shortly after we passed three small fishing boats. The big guy on the bow kept yelling, "turn off your engine and stop your boat." He and four other crew members we wearing third world hand-me-down T shirts and shorts with no footwear. The leader of the ocean going Thugs was in the middle of the boat and was wearing a well worn World War I jacket with home-made epaulets on his shoulders. The leader kept yelling, "Stop for Senegal Customs inspection." Needless to say we didn't stop, and yelled back that we weren't using a motor and we were NOT in Senegal waters. This pissed them off, yet the guy seated in the boat with a vintage machine gun (or set of pipes welded together to look like a gun) didn't move. We stayed our course, yet they got too close and hit Vision Quest in the rear quarter. Minor damage, we think. The big bow guy grabbed our toe-rail. Jim pushed him away and off balance. More yelling and excitement... I started the motor and headed west at over 10 knots while our crew went below to prepare other defensive steps. The BS Thugs motored a short distance away for awhile, then made the wise choice to turn towards shore.
We are just north of Boa-Vista island, Cape Verde. Hope to make Mindelo by sunset. Winds have been close to 16 to 24 knots just off the beam so far.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Nov 19th to 24th

As quickly as we have arrived, it seems our departure from Porto Grande, (Mindelo) was quicker. Last 5 days has flown by, mostly meeting and talking with friends we have been seeing on and off since our first landing in La Coruna, Spain and ensuring all is good for our trip across the pond. There were 100 or so boats at the Marina or at anchor here all making the trip across, some to Brazil and other S A ports and the remainder to the Carrib's Over the next three months I"ve heard figures of over 500 boat will make this crossing. Most will head to the southern Islands then island hop their way North before heading up the eastern seaboard or Panama Canal. We are the only ones we know heading to Antigua making it unlikely we will cross tracks again before we lay the boat up in Cuba. I suppose maybe on the delievery trip bring the boat back to Saint John in the spring we may meet some that are heading back to Europe for the summer.

We were also going to be missing our Gambia dutch partners who would have been alot of fun to be with in Mindelo. These thoughts combined with the confirmation we rec'd that work awaits come this Feb were all very sobering.... We did however get to see a bit of Mindelo, which again was much more like Europe than Africa it is buildings roads and other infastructure. The Harbour has one small shipyard with two rail ways and a larger one with a working syncro lift good for vessels upto 300 foot, both busy with fishing vessels. The skyline around our anchorage was very impressive with high jagged volcanic cliffs to the North and South, hopefully some of those pictures turned out. Food and beer were good, I think the local beer was called Estrella (portuguese roots) a little stronger than most at almost 6%, always refreshing. Day time tempertures here are a pleasent 30 during the day and 25 at night with water temps almost the same.

We departed Tuesday afternoon (24th) with the routine of Vicky singing that Trews song "i"m not ready to go" .
That's a going to be the name for our next boat "Not Ready to go".... however as it will probably be a dingy for the kids and I, it may not have the same affect, however in Memory of.....
The GPS states we have 2130nm to English Harbour in Antigua, and the forecast is the same... NE 15 to 20. If the trades hold, (which they may not as it's still early) we should be there in two weeks, a few days longer than our last crossing.
We'll keep the same watch schedule with Vicky doing one night watch from 12-3, there won't be much traffic and non of the usual coastal activity, thus anticipating peaceful evening with lots of time for star and navel gazing...until the little loud ones awake. A few years older and we could have Nyah doing her own watch! In the mean time I'm estatic that Rogan is on now one week without diapers!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Misc Pics

Nyah having a time out off the stern, if she's really bad we cut the line...

Banjul again, one of the few local bars we found.

Porto Santos, Maderia Island

Only scenery shot I could find on short notice..

More Gambia pics

Banjul. During our walk around to obtian clearnace and sailing permits to go up river.

Mom's taxi, note side impact bars and surround airbag system, four point harness seat belt!

the Five star Lamin Lodge. Monkey would be all over the roofs in the evening, while the slightly more advanced ones were eating meals and telling sea stories down below.

Another croc shot, with a few of our Dutch friends..
This was actually the mom's day out, while we went fishing...

Gambia pics

After a hard day fishing, Jan bart 50th B day gift.
Cool Jubrews at Lamin Lodge

Nyah riding a croc Gambia style, it's not dead or stuffed, live but not biting, the Croc's keeper (in the back) said he is just too old and is fed well to bite. Once again advantages to having two kids.

"Victory" Jan Bart's Custom Danish Sloop .

Halloween in La Gomera, Canary Islands

Seb & Rhiannon and kids from "Pjotter", the ones are the ground I think are ours.

Ghouls in La Gomera

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Greeting from Mindelo Sao Vicente Cape Verde

16* 53.05 N
24* 59.74 W
Anchored 6m sandy bottom.

Makin our way Westard, and quickly...taking three day to cover the 500nm trip here. It's funny as 15km/hr may not seem fast... but at nighttime when the knot meter is bumping from 8 to 10 knots, it feels as if your going a hundred miles an hour, your just blasting through the waves, ready to take flight. There are few feelings of speed that come close to this.....Vicky's great too, she always confirms my go fast feeling...... usually by screaming at me while she's in bed from the center cabin..."take down some sails, put a reef in"
My ansawers is always the same I read her off the wind speed and tell her I already have two reefs in, and ok I agree I won't put the spinnaker up... only because it is too windy and I can't. Every now and then, Vic (never being satisfied with my lame responces) will fly out into the cockpit to check the wind and boat speed and verfiy that I have a couple of reefs in the main, all the time mumbling and wondering why sailboats have to heel, kids have to sleep, sea are too big, and ending with why did I ever agree to this, before she'll return back down below. One of small and simple things I learned on our last trip was to ensure the instruments are set up properly, ie that the anometer reads about 5 knots lower than it's actually blowin, ensure when sailing up wind you are reading true wind speed and down wind you are reading apparent wind speed. It makes an incredile difference....mind over matter... ..
I suppose when Vic reads this we will be across the Atlantic and It will be ok that I can confess that yes we need to properly calibrate our instruments. Ahh I'm feeling better already.

Oh ya ...Yes the kids and one loving parent are doing very well, they went on tour today by Ferry and taxi to another island... not sure of the name, looks the same as this one, although I'm sure to be told otherwise.
Today I'm getting a chance perform some TLC on our watermaker and batteries and chargers, the later despite spending 1000's on before we left are starting act up.

As always I've said too much and should go back to bilges.. :)


To Cape Verde

So much for no shipping activity on the river, last night we met a small 30 foot tug towing no less than 6 X150 foot barges!!, they evenually passed safely on my stbd doing less than 1 knot, blowing their horn and screaming, although it wasn't english, it was easy to tell they didn't like my anchoring location. At least Vicky gets to tell me she told me so, no no dear, it's fine, stop worring all the time... there is no signs of any commercial shipping in this river ..... We can add this to the other stories, as we also fouled with a fishing net a few days ago and end up in the trees along the river bank, and then there was dredging attempt of the Gambia River a little later as I tried to find a small channel... well luckily this satilite email system only allow a 1000 characters emails. Will spend tomorrow clearing out and getting some fresh fruit and vegs before blasting out of bug ville towards Cape Verde on Monday

Heading down river Back to Banjul Nov 13

After a good trip to the Village and a few tourist camps in Georgetown, we are now heading back to Banjul, we sail/motor for about 14 hrs a day leaving before before sun up and stopping after we run out of light and more importantly before million plus insects come looking for blood. In the morning there are hundreds of dead bug and bat poop all over the deck. With our mast head anchor light on, we are the center of activity. It was little freeky the first time we had the bats visit, thinking they were after more than just the bugs. Some landed on deck as their navigation system sometimes screwed up hitting our wire rigging temporary stunning them to the deck.
Tonight we anchored in the middle of the river to try and be less attractive, only shipping activity we had seen on this river was dugouts and small fishboats. Should be in Banjul tomorrow if we can make another 80nm/day.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nov 9th Gambia, its Potty Time.

Departed Lamin Lodge this morning, and now find ourselves a few miles up Bintang Bolon, which is about 25nm up the Gambia River...our treck up river begins. We saw what we thought were Pilot whales but have been told they are some of the world largest Dolphins at 4 m in lenght. We are anchored with the three other boats with families, Pjotter, Tanagaroa, and Mjolner. The two other non kid boats have wisely picked another river to anchor. Beer cooler is now on as we are hosting a party onboard tonight as Rogan has first (and hopefully not his last) poop on the potty, plus we have decided because of our time frames to fast track the 175 miles up the Gambia to Georgetown, thus it maybe the last time we get a chance to spend time with our new dutch friends. Still stinkin hot here, 38*C with the sun set, it cools down to 30 in the evenings, the water temp is not much cooler at 27*c

Gambia Nov 7th

Hello, its Dan again. Sorry that the posts are a bit jumbled up, the email system they are using can be a bit hit and miss.

Four boats, Pjotter, Victory, Silverrmale, Tangaroa, and ourselves, move from Half Die, Lamin Lodge, which is about 15 nm up Lamin Bolon. We stuck ourselves in the mud just off the lodge and dropped the hook, not thinking too much about digging it in, after all you could almost touch the mangroves from either side of the boat. Of course that was a mistake as I found on later that night when the tide and wind came up and we connected with Tangaroa our closest neighbour, luckily no damage. The Lodge has no electricity or running water, like most of the rural area's, this didn't stop them from having good food and cool refreshments, including the local beer Julbrew, a light lager which tasted as good as any. Best of all the Monkeys came down from the trees in the evening to play with the tourists, they were particularly interested in the Kids but could not coax Rogan or Nyah to run away with them

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gambia River Nov 11th almost there

The river has really narrowed from being 10 miles wide to about 10 meters (in places) generally the river is over 4 meters deep however we are now anchored/aground in about 2 meters of water, (this time we snugged our anchor in the mud just incase) We followed two Hippos into shore and have shut everything down for the day so can get some bettter pics and sleep. We are just upstream of Baboon Island and only another few more hours steam from Georgetown. The Monkeys have been quite active along the shoreline trees and there are hundreds of birds of every colour and shape. Of course the bids are fuel by the millions of bugs which are also out in full force come sundown. Some such as the African earwig have decided to call our boat home, again the distance and difficultly to get to an airport saved our relationship once again as one of these creepy crawlers landed on Vicky while she was lying down. Her cry was louder than those of the Hippos.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Gambia Day 2

Arrival of "Mjolner" Jeroen and Luise and their 4 year old daughter, who had left behind us from Gomera. Big Birthday Party for Jan Bart from "Victory", his 50th, we chipped in to hire a local fisherman to take all the guys river fishing for the day, we caught a bit of everything, sea snakes, stingrays, crabs, butter fish, barracuda, and more...back at the lodge we showed off our hunter gathering skills to our respective Admirals, after beating our chest for a while we then celebrated, cooked and ate our catch. We are leaving up river tomorrow, there are now 5 dutch boats and our selves making the 175nm trip up river.

Arrival Gambia Nov 06

19:45:40 GMT
13° 26.26' N
16° 31.08' W
two near misses with powerless and unlit fish boats (drifting 50 miles off shore) but all is now well, with a little over 900nm in 6 days which enabled us to arrive at the same time as the other dutch families who had left La Gomera a day earlier. s/y "Pjotter" and "Tangaroa" Now in Banjul Harbour, anchored off of Half Die (fitting name) in 5 m of mud (sludge) Just finished all our clearance detials, which despite some stories was easy, especially with the help from another dutch boat Jerome from "Silvermail" sp? (Seagull in dutch) who had cleared a week before us. We were told that we were the 6, 7, 8th yachts to clear into the country this year and the only Canadian boat this one official could remember in his 10 years of working with Customs.
The minute we step ashore it was easy to tell we weren't in Kanas anymore. Feels good........

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 3

20:14:52 GMT
21° 05.21' N
18° 00.50' W

Wind drops less than 10 knots, motoring sailing, fishing line rigged with hybrd warning and tension relief system consisting of shock cord and water bottles. No fish however, other 4 Dutch boats in our group all within 100nm of each other are filling their fridges with fresh fish. We are doing call in at 0600hrs and 2100hrs on 4146MHZ SSB. i
Vicky does school with Kids today, I played hookey sp? taking inventory of forward locker & taking naps.
oh ya it's getting hotter up to 35 to day, no wind chill factor...

Day 2

2:04:28 GMT
24° 05.21' N
17° 49.50' W

Caught a big one today, so big infact that it took our newly purchased reel and old rod out from it's secure spot inbetween our steering wheel and through the life lines, into the big blue sea. Expensive catch and release program. if anyone finds a large tuna complete with tackle rod and reel, please return.
Winds still NE, but reduced and seas starting to subside.
almost a full moon this morning, thus little difference from day and night in regards to visibiiity, with the added advantage of no sun block, (I think)

Rogan pees on his bed, claims he was watering the garden.

Land ho...Dakar Sengal

Busy day (honest) landho Dakar, Senegal, a few hours ago, not stopping, we should be in Banjul for tomorrow morning. Need to get Visa and all paperwork done, apparently takes a full day.
Stinkin hot here,38*C like being back in the middleeast.
21:35:32 GMT
14° 34.00' N
17° 30.02' W

To the Dark Continent


Its Dan (of Dan, Lise & Ben) I am just updating a few post that da Boags have sent.

Day one
22:20:59 GMT
27° 10.43' N
17° 05.48' W

NE Winds 20 knots, Gusting to 25, great way to start off the trip covering almost 200 nm in a day, unfortunately left head window open, during one roll off irregular wave, flooded the entire space and lone occupant in a matter of seconds, Vicky would have been even less impressed if I's suggested shower wasn't wasted, have learned (the hard way) not to talk for the first few days into any of our longer trips. Slow day however for activites, Too rough to fish, kids doing well ......pulling out every one of the 100 plus toys and activiites to play in the pilot house, if they could only learn that putting aways is almost as fun (even if it's not), ya ok it's only a dream I have.....