We´re in Ilha do Sal in Cape Verde now, after four days of sailing from Western Sahara. We had trade winds blowing behind us the whole way with consequent huge swells that we would surf down with the boat. So, we were going really fast. The trade winds that´s different are very constant and don´t stop at night, unlike the winds in the Med that are caused by the land heating up from the sun (and cooling down at night). We normally average 5 knots, but this whole time we were closer to 7 knots. At times we would get to 8 knots or more, our theoretical hull speed. It was pretty cool to be going so fast, but at the same time it required nearly constant vigilance at the helm. We have to avoid accidental jibes when sailing so far downwind. The rigging on Hunter boat is not the best for downwind sailing either, so that decreases the sweet spot in which we can maintain the boat. Without having to use the motor, we run into serious issues of electricity consumption. The solar panels are just not enough to run the autopilot and the fridge all the time.

We saw lots of marine life including dolphins, a sea turtle, several flying fish (suicidal and otherwise, one hit me in the leg as I was sitting on deck, another tried to get Erik while he brushed his teeth belowdecks!) and, yesterday, some pilot whales. Pretty awesome. Crew morale is up, especially after making landfall last night.

The lights that are supposed to indicate the harbor here in Palmeira are, as might be expected in West Africa, not working. Luckily we had the assistance of a German from a catamaran anchored in the bay to guide us in. There are several yachts out here in the water, almost all of them are getting ready for their own transatlantic hops. When we dropped the hook last night and made sure it was well-caught, we all breathed a sigh of relief. There´s nothing like coming into a safe harbor after a long sail. We all slept like babies for many hours last night.

We are stoked to be here on the islands. It seems nice enough so far. It has a real island attitude to it and it´s very well-developed for being in West Africa.  We´re looking forward to having a few portuguese beers before we get back on our “dry” boat.  We´ve already had real espresso coffee frm the little bar on the edge of the harbor.

Today we went to a place called Salinas, where salt water rises up into the crater of an extinct volcano to be harvested. We got to bathe in the briny water which is buoyant like the Dead Sea. Then we had some beers not from Portugal, but actually from Cape Verde. This place continues to impress us with its development. The internet here is fast, they have their own brands of products rather than just imported ones and the streets are both paved and clean. None of that can be said for Guinea-Bissau, with which C.V. almost united at independence. Lucky for the capverdeans they didn´t.

We are off to the island of Sao Nicolau tomorrow. From there we´ll go over to Sao Vicente where there is a marina in Mindelo. We are thinking of leaving here on the 10th. Then again, these islands are so pleasant, we might be tempted to stay a bit longer!

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