Tag Archives: Cape Verde


POSTED: April 2nd

So why am I writing from Cape Verde? Well, we were less than a day out on “the big sail” when we learned that a Brit with a private plane in Cape Verde could fly our passengers to London and they had secured seats on one of the few commercial flights still going to the U.S. from London.   We turned around and headed back to Cape Verde and well, here we are. Our passengers have headed off to the airport and we are gearing up to sail back to Casablanca and then to back to Malta. We are trying to do this quickly as we don’t know what restrictions there will be and we don’t want to be without a port to wait out this virus. At least we are well stocked and have been well paid for our efforts.

Ciara’s spirits, on the other hand, are a bit frayed. So we have a pretty reflective bit of cruising to do over the next couple of weeks, but other than the first few days will do it mostly as day cruising. Not the crazy twenty-four-hour day-after-day business we have had recently.

By the way, for those of you who read these posts to keep up with what Janice and Jim are up to, I can report that they made the decision to scramble back to Toronto from Key West on March 16th and by March 17th mid-day were on the road and completed the three thousand Kilometer trek in record time (well a record for them) two days later. At this point, they are still in quarantine at home.




Well, that took a bit longer than planned. We made it to Cape Verde on the 29th.  Our sail from Casablanca had started with really tough weather and associated tough sailing but we had some better bits near the end.

The Morgan fellow we were picking up turned out to be a female Morgan so we jumped into a bit of a rethink of the quarters again. Morgan turned out to be pretty resourceful at sourcing food provisions and supplies and methanol and had a good stockpile for us when we met her.

As we set out for the big sail across to The Bahamas, Ciara did her teaching thing but actually had and has,  Alisha doing most of it as we learned from our sail from Casablanca to Cape Verde this Millennial is a quick study and a bit of a natural sailor.

What is a little tougher is that Ciara just received news that her ex-husband committed suicide. It seems that at some point shortly after I was there he went into the barn, swallowed the wedding ring, took off his boots, made some cuts on the soles of his feet and ankles and then while standing on a chair, used zip ties to tie his wrists up to the beams above and then kicked over the chair. This is a very slow way to die and very scary stuff. I have a hard time taking out a splinter so it must take some serious control to cut your own feet and then hang there waiting to bleed out.  It turns out that he died of a heart attack from the blood loss and they don’t know exactly how long the process took.

Ciara is more than a little shaken by the whole thing. She is, of course, relieved that her nightmare with him is finally over but equally stressed that my little trip to help her ended up with a resolution that still puts some stress on her. Now in some ways, she will never get away from him, but at least not live in fear.

So as we headed off we envisioned the next few weeks as just days and nights of hard sailing but with four to work the boat and me to cook and keep us organized I was feeling pretty confident. I have heard Captain Ciara say more than once to the group that “this is not November”. What she means is that the tradewinds for this route are ideal for crossing from north Africa to the Caribbean in November or December making that the chosen time that most serious racers or recreational sailors take this trip on – not in March. Well we don’t get to choose our timing for most things in life so why should this be any different?

You probably won’t see anything posted here until we make it to The Bahamas and we are in quarantine there.



POSTED: Casablanca  March 22

It was a real push to Tangier/ Gibraltar and we all took our turns and did it in four days. Aline left us there and we took on a few more provisions and headed to Casablanca. Our trip was quite unnerving as we would hear the news each day and the confirmation of another airline canceling service to the region. Two nights before, Morocco had canceled all flights in and out. A few emergency government-arranged extraction flights, including a Canadian one, happened on Friday the 21st, and on our arrival in Casablanca, two of the doctors who did not make it onto those flights joined us. So at this point, we have gone from a contingency plan to an actual plan for execution.

Earlier today, we set sail again, now with two passengers, heading south toward Dakar, Senegal to pick up two more but learned this afternoon that one is going back to the Gambia, and the other caught one of the last flights from Dakar to Cape Verde to make our sail shorter.  So Cape Verde is our new interim destination and we expect to be there in six days. For those not familiar with the geography of the region, Cape Verde is off the west coast of northern Africa and is both a point to stop and take on provisions, and the last stop do any repairs before crossing to the Americas. It is further south than we would usually go but not as far out of the way as Dakar and does break up that long sail.

We have very good weather and Ciara has started her little class with Alisha and Benji on sailing basics. Alisha is a dietitian by training and Benji is a general practitioner. Benji has done a bit of recreational sailing and Alisha has never been on a sailboat but she is young and very fit.

We have many days on the ocean ahead and on a boat this size with what eventually will be five of us, the provisions are going to get pretty thin if we don’t hit a good pace when we leave Cape Verde. That pace will depend on the weather, which we can’t control, and the discipline of the team, which we can, so Ciara is all over that one right now. She won’t take the time for an overboard drill but will tell them how to do it. As we will always be on the move whether under sail or by power, her “on-deck” protocol is a simple rule – if your anywhere on the deck you are wearing a PFD.

The fellow we are meeting in Cape Verde has our provisions list so he will be sourcing that and we should be in port for only hours.

Wish us luck – the weather forecast is about as bad as it can get within the band of it still being safe to leave.