After almost a full 24 hrs since the start of our passage from Cape Verde to St. Lucia, WIDAGO has finally settled into trade wind sailing. With the big blue Whomper out front and close to 170 miles behind us, we are riding almost comfortably in confused seas doing 7-9kts.
Yesterday afternoon and evening however was a different tale. Between the acceleration zone caused by the wind funnel of the islands, and the deceleration zone caused by the land shadow, we saw true wind speeds range from 1.5kts doldrums to gusts of 35+kts. The wind direction was so shifty, that at one point, it was like a bad game show – rotating about 360 degrees. With variable wind speeds and direction, the sea state settled into chaos. We had initially set out with a single reef, and kept adjusting the wraps on the Genoa, as Ahab did his best to find an angle that kept me from puking. Well done babe. Only one casualty from the wonky seas – we blew the sheave on the clew end of our first reef. Luckily, the line did not chafe and we made it through the night without even knowing there was any damage. Ahab already has a plan in mind to fix it, but since we are flying the parasailor now, we can wait for calmer seas.
On a more positive, what I had accepted as defeat, turned into a teachable moment. As some readers may not be aware, Mindelo’s provisioning options left me in a state of panic – there was no bread that I could find. There aren’t typical grocery stores, so the savvy galley wench must scout out multiple sources (you gotta go the butcher, the baker, the candlestick make, the farmer, dairy maid, etc). Since we are a limited crew, this means that Ahab stays aboard making repairs and organizing gin cocktail parties, and the boys take turns braving the provisioning battlefield with me. In Mindelo, there is great poverty. Before setting foot out of the marina, you tend to be approached by multiple folks (usually men and young boys) who are poor and hungry. As you await to get change from the abuelas in the farmer’s market, there is usually someone begging for your coins. Almost to the point of harassment. Bottom line, I cut the shopping short because I was starting to feel uncomforta
ble and unsafe – we would do without finding the bakery. No bread for the passage, but compared to kids on the street, William and I realized how fortunate we are.
Upon returning to the boat with a pretty decent haul of fruits and veg, I informed the other crew members of our lack of bread predicament. In my mind, I was somewhat conflicted; two weeks without bread might not so bad for the skinny jeans, but when you’re seasick – buttered toast really hits the spot. William was fine, “Mom, we don’t need bread.” David said nothing, but there was a tear in his eye as he realized that it meant no egg sandwiches. Gordon however, took the initiative and made himself our new CBO, Chief Bread Officer. Together we pulled out the bread pans, found packets of yeast, and got to work. The last time I tried making bread, it turned out to be used for a door stop – disaster. With a calm disposition, Gordon carefully followed the directions, mixing, kneading, and punching. We wound up with a pair a decent loaves on our first try. Good thing too, because the rockin rollin seas, kept me out the galley. Well done Gordon!
Looking forward to what the next batch of Gordon’s bread will be, perhaps Rosemary/garlic loaf or a walnut oatmeal. Now that we have the bread situation under control, all that is left is for the seas to settle (and my stomach).