20 Januari 2015. From the Ocean Xploration pen+book diary.
“Wake up, little Suuuzie, wake up!” Noor sings me awake. Time to start my night watch.
I’m used to this rhythm by now. I had a good 6 hours of sleep. No problemo to wake up. It’s getting warmer. I only put on one sweater and pence today. This has been different the last nights! I remains a challenge to find your clothes and get dressed in a swinging boat. I enter the cockpit. On the horizon there is a boat! Excitement! The first vessel we see since 3 days. Rudy and Noor called them on the radio. It’s another sailing boat named Kalibu. Also destination Mindelo. We overtook them with our 2 front sails. hehe… Noor goes to bed. The first 2 hours of my night watch keeping shift are with Rudy. The clouds disappear and there is the starheaven again. In the last few days I’ve seen more fallen stars than wishes to be made. With my Sky Guide app I’m scanning the stars and learning about the universe. The phone is on flightmode with the battery still half full after 5 days. When does that still happen? ’The big dipper’ star sign is passing from east to west every night. And I know now where the name Orion comes from (the Greek hunter!), the name of the OceanConservation boat. The nights these days are as black as it can get. We have no moon and I cannot even differentiate the sea from the sky. The night watch is a lot of staring at the meters and compass ball. We are sailing 220 degrees. Now we’re ’only’ going 6 knots. For 5 days we have had 18-25 knots of wind, straight from behind. Not sure what the sailing term for that was again. We talk Dutch on board and the sailing terminology is like a new language. Anyway, we are going like a rocket. The wind couldn’t have been much better! At one point we even reached a speed of 11,4 knots! Everyday the numbers go up a bit. We have made 760 miles so far. Water temperature is now 24,5 degrees, 2,5 more since leaving in Las Palmas. The tropics here we come!
Rudy jumps into bed and Goedele and I make the team for the next hours of watch keeping. I hope she slept well. Last night she literally flew out of bed when we surfed a wave. She and the wooden thingy ‘preventing’ her from flying out of bed, ended up in the mess of the boat. No boats on the horizon, AIS and Radar. I make a tea. I already mastered the art of making teas in a swinging boat. This remains a funny task to do. I don’t need seasickness pills anymore. The sea legs are back on! This is my last night shift, for now… Tomorrow eve we should arrive in Mindelo, Cape Verde! With a warm tea in my hand I watch at the butterly shaped sails taking us over the ocean. I observe the tricoloured head of the mast going from left to right, admire the fluorised plankton, feel the ocean breeze to my face and look around for fallen stars. It’s a beautiful peaceful super relaxed night. I would also be happy to just keep sailing to the other side of the big pond.
Time for a change. I wake up Noor and I crash in my bed, I sleep immediately. I already figured the perfect sleeping position in a swinging boat: on the belly, 1 leg up and no waves can get me out of my sleep.
Sometime in the morning…
“Suus Suus. Wake up!” There is a huge school of dolphins around the boat.” They were little spotted dolphins as Noor knew to tell. They are jumping in the waves, playing around and making the famous flipper noise. Then they’re gone. What a wake up call!
It’s around 10 am. I only slept 2 hours but apparently it’s enough. I feel fresh and excited. The second start of day 6. We have 60 miles to go. The wind picked up since I left my night watch. The sun is shining. Water temperature increased to 25 degrees, the air temperature to 26 degrees. The tropics here we come! Goedele announced she will leave the boat in Cabo Verde and not join for the Atlantic Crossing. She figured the offshore sailing is not for her. Good we have a stop in Cabo Verde then! A pity. We make a great team with the 4 of us. Hopefully we will find a 4th crew member in Cabo Verde. The rest of the day I played around with my my Drift Innovation action cam, read a book, tried yoga on a swimming boat (which is impossible), washed my feet in the ocean, ran a few rounds around the boat, took water samples for ocean conservation.org.uk, watching and did some breathing exercises to improve the freedive skills.
5 PM- ish
Noor is coming green out of the mess (=living room in boat), after her cooking session. It is a rocky boat. Everyday around this time we have diner. The moment of the day we at least are together. Today we eat something simple. We (the girls) have given Rudy too much exotic stuff. It’s becoming too much for him. So rice + ketchup for the captain. The girls slaughter a fresh Canary pineapple for a tasty touch, which is de-li-cious. Rudy does the dishes today and comes back up with a tint of green in his face as well.
I see land!!!!! That is quite euphoric. To see land after 5,5 days of only ocean. The sunset is spectacular. 20 more miles to go!
I take an attempt for a little siesta. I’m too excited to fall a sleep.
We have arrived in Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cabo Verde!! It was quite a challenge to manoeuvre into the bay, the sky being pitchblack and the lights not very clear. But we did it! In the pilot I read that it’s ‘day of the hero’ in Cabo Verde today. Would they have started that for us :)?
I cannot wait to touch shore and explore! Mañana…
This was a casual day on the Sea-ya at sea! The trip was the appetizer for the big pond!
Apologies for the bad ass English. I’m talking too much Dutch and don’t have/make time to proofread.