We left Cartagena and headed for Gibraltar to take on bulk fuel but just a few hours out and the overheat alarm on the port motor squealed like a stuck pig. The cause was easy to find – the drive belt had stretched to a point where it was no longer turning the raw water cooling pump. We changed the belt and not long after that the starboard motor decided it wanted some attention as well and its alarm went off as well.

In it’s case however the belt was still driving the pump… this was a different problem. I made a decision to put into Almerimar to sort the issues out but little did I realize that it would take a week to get the problem resolved. After numerous minor nuclear meltdowns we got the cooling system sorted and got back on the road again.

A night time arrival led to some interesting moments trying to find the fuel dock. It had been three years since I had last been there, but eventually we did find it and tied up (illegally as we found out) to the fuel dock. It opened at eight the next morning and by ten thirty we were on our way through the straights. Once across them and off the Moroccan coast we headed out to sea to try and get away from the fishing fleets that are common off that coast.

Winds were light for the first few days and for too many hours for my liking we had to motor sail to get anywhere. Eventually however the tradewinds did make their appearance and once we got the gennaker up we started to make some serious mileage, some days pushing 170nm for the days run. We scooted through the Canary islands very quickly, at times registering up to 12 knots on the gps.

Three days out from the Cape Verdes the wind died and for about 30 hours we once again had to put up with the monotonous drone of the motor. The starboard motor has run sweetly since we cleaned out the heat exchanger and removed a faulty thermostat, but we are still having problems with the port motor chewing up the belt that drives the raw water pump. I pulled the pump and both it’s pulley and that on the motor are very rusty, and this I think is what might be causing the excessive degradation of the belts. We cleaned the pump pulley up with some vigorous application of elbow grease and emery paper but we will only be able to do the pulley on the motor here in the marina as a number of parts need to be removed to get decent access to the damn thing.

Other than those minor irritants the boat is performing well. She is a bit of a dog in light winds but once the breeze gets over 12 knots or so she can pick her skirts up and get a move on. We have seen over 12 knots on occasions and for a 38 foot catamaran that is fat with fuel, water and provisions is not too shabby I can tell you.

Apart from a couple of days when the wind went light the weather has been exceptionally benign, which worries me a bit because the laws of average tell me we are going to get smacked somewhere along the way…we will deal with that when and where it happens.

Once again I can only shake my head in despair at the state of the North Atlantic- it really has become a wet desert. Apart from a couple of dolphins paying us a visit the ocean to all intents and purposes appears to be devoid of life. It is only very rarely that you even see a sea bird of any kind, and that is probably because there is nothing left for them to feed on.. We have pulled a lure on and off for nearly a thousand miles and all we have to show for it is a small yellowfin tuna we caught the morning we arrived in Mindelo. Truth be told that is better than we did the last time I did this run on Ikra ll some three years ago- on that trip we only caught our first fish once we had crossed the equator and were in the South Atlantic. It’s a parlous state of affairs and short of banning all commercial trawling and long lining for a period of 10 years or so it is just going to get worse. The various governments around the world simply do no have the balls to put something like that into effect which means that basically the oceans are well and truly fucked. Pisses me off no end…

We are currently in Mindelo, a commercial ship repair port that just so happens to have a really well designed and run marina. I have been here before and am very happy to say that it has somehow managed to maintain its level of service and cleanliness – you can essentially eat off the bathroom floors – but it would be an odd place to have a picnic…

We are busy tackling the mechanical tasks we have set ourselves and we will have to wait and see what level of language that will result in…

To be continued…

Till sometime later this week y’all keep well and stay safe.

One Reply to “Mindelo…”

  1. Ernst Rossouw says: Reply

    Hi Mr Sean ,
    Glad to hear all going as things should go at sea , never been a place for perfect plans or fainthearted woosies. Im still upset about not joining you , be safe and trust your instincts old friend 😎👍

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