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Transat - the last day, the last preparations

The day before departure is always a strange one. It’s that day we are constantly mentally going through the pre-departure To Do list making sure nothing was forgotten while still going through the last tasks.


On top of that there was the important task of checking out and get the clearance documents required at our next stop.

This could not be done later in the day due to the risk of either Port Police or Immigration offices to be already closed. Yes, they seem to have a very relaxed working hours schedule. Or maybe it was just because Xmas and New Years fell on a weekend this year and they decided to close office by lunchtime on the Friday before (we arrived on the Friday before Xmas and they were closed and we returned to Mindelo after a sail to the south of the island also on the Friday before New Years and they were closed).


9am the day before departure, we notice a boat is dropping several danger markers in the path of the ferries. We know before we arrived Cape Verde they had been doing dredging works just by the commercial peers, the danger markers have been in that zone for all the time we have been here but this morning they were moved very close to the catamarans next to us.

Hmmm this could be interesting…

As we were about to jump in the dinghy with all our rubbish (another important task, get rid of all rubbish otherwise we are stuck with it for the entire passage) when we notice a big RIB from port police approaching the two catamarans next to us, whistling trying to call the crew on deck. No luck there.

We waited a bit. It seemed clear something was up and they were going to come and annoy us also. As they approached us I replied in Portuguese, that seemed to startle them but very politely they said we needed to move further inside the anchorage to be sure we would not be on the new path of the ferries.

We lifted anchor and moved, watching as they approached several other boats telling them to move. A few of them replied in a rather angry tone which it’s never wise in my opinion.

At our new position we waited to confirm with them if we would be ok there while looking at a neighbouring boat that asked what was going on. They were later asked to move but we were told our position was fine.

(We would later find that our positions was a bit close to the ferry path but acceptable if the wind didn’t change direction.)

Yup we ended up this close to the ferry manoeuvring space!

We went to both Port Police and Immigration, in less than 5 minutes all formalities were completed and we were on our way to buy fresh bread for the crossing. It seems they don’t care if we leave today, tomorrow or the day after. All is very relaxed here.

The lady at the shop seemed a bit confused when we bought 10 bread rolls.

We returned to the marina bar had coffee, download the weather and played on social media for a bit before returning to the boat.

Upon returning to the boat the last job was washing the dishes and recap the provisioning situation. This was for me the hardest part, figuring out what to prepare and buy. It wasn’t much a fuss on all our other passages and the longest was 8 days so couldn’t quite tell I was I feeling so at lost this time. Maybe it was because of all the people around us lately buying massive amounts of food they probably don’t usually eat and insane quantities of fruit I know will go bad within a couple of days from purchase.


In the end we had prepared a few frozen meals ahead as usual, had our normal ingredients at hand and some fruit and fresh produce. This was the hardest thing in Mindelo due to the holidays probably also the reason why things didn’t look fresh. Bought tomatoes in different stages of ripeness and super green bananas, that the very next day were yellow and ready to eat (glad I only bought a bunch and not a huge stalk like everyone else was doing). The price per kilo of everything seemed to be around 2.5€ at the market and 3.3€ at the supermarket, what a rip off!

The snack food in Mindelo was disappointing and expensive, bet John was now wishing we had not eaten all we bought in the Canaries.

With all that done it was time to relax in the cockpit.

My mind however had different plans and was constantly going through lists of everything from tools, to spares, to what food was where, did we had enough….

Port Police and even Coast Guard kept coming and going on their huge RIBS telling people off always looking to see if we were within the space needed for the ferry.

Nothing was conducive to the much needed relaxing time.


Indeed, all of a sudden I was feeling a bit nervous about this trip, even a bit lost.

Bizarre, all this planning and dreaming about it and then is the uncertainty of others that was mucking up my day.

Last sunset in Mindelo

***In the spirit of sharing our dreams and experiences we have shared this blog post in the NOFOREIGNLAND.COMwebsite sailors community.

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