LEG4: GIBRALTAR TO TOBAGO
October 20 th – 30 th : We stayed in Gibraltar for 11 days. Our beloved friend Teoman Arsay came to visit us, brought with him news from friends in Istanbul , as well as the monthly sailing magazines from Turkey . He also gave us valuable advice regarding our journey and the rigging of our boat. Ali's brother Osman, who lives in the United States mailed to Gibraltar an HF modem, which, when used together with SSB and a computer, will enable us to send and receive our e-mails even in the middle of the Ocean. It will also enable us to receive weatherfax from various weather stations. Connecting this device, subscribing to sailmail and getting and address took a long time. We also visited Sheppard's Chandlery to buy the hardware that we needed, We bought an Atlantic map and Rod Heikel's “World Cruising Handbook”. Our four 2 liter butane gas bottles were empty, they refused to refill them in Italy and Spain, therefore we went to La Linea and Algezira in Spain to get a new 2,5 Lt. Camping Gaz bottle and its adopter. In Gibraltar , we bought some fresh fruit and vegetables that will keep us going on the ocean. We enjoyed watching the key ceremony performed every Saturday by the British soldiers. The people of Gibraltar are from Spain , England , India , and Africa . There are Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Jews. The duty free shops selling electronic appliances, alcoholic drinks and cigarettes are mostly manned by Indians. This is an excellent stopover for those yachts that will go out into the ocean.
October 31 st : Finally we are ready and the weather reports proved favourable. Gibraltar strait is a tricky passage for the sailing vessels. It has a constant 1,5 mile current from Atlantic to Mediterranean . On the other hand, the tide flow may reach 2.5 knots and changes direction every 6 hours. The wind and the wave state may also affect the passage. After long calculations, we decided to start at 11:00 and head directly to the African coast. We hoisted all our sails and started sailing across the strait, in the midway the wind decreased and shifted, so we put down the headsails and started the engine. We reached the African coast and changed our route westwards. The current and waves were high and strong, and all against us. Our speed decreased to 1.7 knots. We heard other sailors complaining on the VHF. After four hours of beating to the waves, the current lessened. Our speed started increasing first to 3-4 knots, than, in front of Tangiers, 6 knots. We passed the strait and reached the Atlantic at 10:30 PM. The wind died, however, and we continued with the engine all night long.
November 1-4: Everything is in our favour, except the wind. The 5-6 knots of wind from the stern is not strong enough to move Vagabond. The swell of Atlantic is big, wave height is about three meters, but the distance between waves is so long, that it does not disturb Vagabond. Our mainsail is open, and prevents the boat from rocking too much. Our speed is 6 – 6.5 knots with the help of the one-mile current which is on our favour. Our destination is Porto Santo Island (33 03.5N, 16 19.0W), 610 nautical miles away. We have trough right north of us, and we hoped that it would not reach us in the coming four days. The first day Nilgün caught a one-kilo Tuna, which was plenty for two dinners. After the heavy traffic of the first night in Atlantic , the second night was very peaceful. Now that we fail to sail, we started calculating our diesel consummation. If we use the engine on 1900 rev/min, we can go even further than 600 nm. The third day our current left us, so our speed over ground decreased to 5-5.5knots. We transferred all the diesel in our canisters to our fuel tank, now that the sea is calm. As we could see the cold front approaching, we have reefed the mainsail for the night. It caught us on the fourth day at noontime. As it reached and passed, the wind shifted to northeast and started blowing 20 knots. It was a blessing to turn off the engine, so we did not mind the cold and the rain. In the evening the wind speed increased to 27 knots, increasing our speed over ground to 7.5 knots, so we lowered the mizzen and the genoa, and started sailing more comfortably. The last day the sun came out, but the waves got bigger and came from all directions. The last part of our passage was accompanied by a large group of dolphins. We arrived at Porto Santo on November 4 th , at 6:00PM, and anchored in the peaceful water of the port. We will deal with the formalities the next day. We deserve a good night's sleep now. Our passage of 600nm from Gib to Porto Santo lasted four days and six hours.
November 5 th : Nelson, the marina attendant came with his dinghy and tied us to one of the pontoons of the marina. We visited the customs and the marina office. In order to reduce formalities, the marina office is given full authority, so everything went very smoothly and quickly in 15 minutes. Porto Santo Island is the smaller of the Madeira group of islands. Porto Santo is famous for its wide strand of beach at the south coast. The city center is 2,5 kilometers from the marina, so we will use our bicycles to go to town. The small city is well organized and good looking. There are two supermarkets and a couple of stores and restaurants. For golf players, there is a very good golf course. Coming back to the marina, we watched with curiosity the paintings that the ocean sailors have done on the wall of the port. We looked for, and found the s/y Mat painting done by Archie. When we came back to the boat Nilgün sketched a couple of Vagabond amblems, and prepared a stencil.
November 6 th and 7 th : Today is Sunday. Nilgün filled a bucket with acrylic paint tubes, masking tape, brushes and stencils that she prepared the previous day. The rain and wind makes it difficult to paint. A loud motorcycle group that has been touring the island and having fun until the small hours of the night, are finally leaving the island. When the first layer of painting is finished, we cycled into the town and took a walk. Christopher Colombus (Christobal Colon) has lived in this island after getting married, and his house has been converted to a museum. It was closed, however, so we could not see it. We got some information about Funchal, Madeira from our French neighbors at the Catamaran Grand Citron Verte. They said that the port is very crowded and uncomfortable, therefore it is better to visit Funchal by ferry. They gave us the address and the phone number of the residence/hotel that they have stayed in. We bought our ferry tickets from the town and made reservations for three nights at the hotel. The ferry leaves the port at 6:00PM, and covers the 30 nm between Porto Santo and Funchal in two hours. The island by night was a spectacular scene. We walked to our hotel, which was right in the center of the town.
November 8 th and 9 th : The climate changed somewhere between Porto Santo and Madeira , and we are now comfortable in our summer clothes. We went to the marina in the morning to see that it was full, and a swell makes it quite uncomfortable. The sightseeing balloon next to the marina attracted our attention, and Nilgün grabbed her camera and took a birds eye video of the beautiful city. We took one of the open tourist buses to make a city tour, and got off the bus at Monte, the hill. Madeiran men dressed in whites wearing white hats push the rattan sleighs downhill, a traditional means of transportation that became a tourist attraction. The next day we walked to the east side of the city, and visited the Madeira Story Center to get an idea about the history of the island. After lunch Nilgün visited for the first time in three months, a coiffeur to get her hair shortened. Ali is sticks to his long (?) hair, and refuses to have it cut. We went to sleep early in order to catch the ferry the next day.
November 10 th and 11 th : Our ferry was punctual. It took 2,5 hours on the return journey because of the huge waves on the nose. Porto Santo is cold and stormy, Vagabond is just as we have left her, and Nilgün's painting became excellent. The weather forecasts indicate that Saturday would be a good day to start the journey to the Canary Islands . 20 knots of wind from the Northwest suits us well. We did the last minute preparations while the wind kept blowing with gusts of 35 knots, and produced great waves even in the harbour. We tried in vain to sleep, yearning for our bed in the hotel in Funchal!
November 12 th – 14 th : In the morning the sky is clear and sunny. The weather decided finally to warm us up. Our neighbors said that the waves are huge, and even the fishermen were forced to return to the harbour. We decided to go out, rather than waiting here for four more days for the waves to get smaller. We cleared out from the customs, had a light lunch and started off at 1:30PM to Santa Cruz of Tenerife (28 28.7N, 16 13.8W). We expect to pass in two days. As soon as we got out of the port we found 20 knots of northeast wind and huge waves. We reefed the main, and lowered the genoa that was not comfortable with the angle of the wind that came right from the stern. With just our reefed main open, we were doing a speed of 6 – 7 knots with the help of the current of one knot. We sailed for two days and nights without touching the sails, until we saw Tenerife . The waves created by the gale force winds on our north come mostly from northeast, and sometimes from the east. Rocking day and night is inevitable, but approaching our target makes us happy. Our happiness doubled up when we caught a big mahi mahi. After two days of sailing we finally entered Marina de Santa Cruz of Tenerife . Just as we entered, we have been greeted in Turkish by a man on top of the mast of a Catamaran. What a surprise. We have later learned that he is Selçuk Karamanoðlu, who has done a round the world cruise before, and now planning to sail to the Caribbean together with his wife Catherine and son Maxim. We have tied to a pontoon with fingers that automatically adjusts itself to the tidal waters. We have finished the formalities and made a short city tour, and went to bed to recover our sleep.
November 15 th – 17 th : We have stayed four days in Teneriffe. On the first two days we walked around the city. The Blue Water Rally that we have met at the Gibraltar marina are here. Their plan is to do a circumnavigation in two years. We have also spoken to some participants of the French – Caribbean Regatta. There are many other boats that will cross the Atlantic . We rented a car for two days in order to tour around this beautiful island. First of all we took all our empty lpg bottles to a gas station to be filled with butane gas. We then drove to Candeleria, a small holiday town in the south, by the ocean, La Laguna, which used to be capitol of the island in the old times. The well kept old houses, each enclosing a small garden with a tiny pond, were very attractive. After lunch we went to Icod town, which is on the northwest side of the island. Here, we saw the 1000 year old dragon tree, the bark of which bleeds a red sap when cut, and is used in medicine. We also visited the cave in which the Guanches, the natives of the Canary Islands used to live. On our way back we visited the tourist resort Puerto de la Cruz, very crowded with European, mostly German tourists. The next day we got our filled butane gas bottles, and went south to Guimar. This village is a historical site and situated in the mountains. We had a light lunch and under pouring rain visited the outstanding Guanche museum, the Guimar pyramids and the replicas of Kon Tiki and Ra, the ancient boats that have crossed the ocean. The Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who initiated the building this museum worked on the theme that Guanches, who have no beards have always painted and carved their gods with beards. We bought some provisions at a large hypermarket and went back to the boat. We have planned to have a Turkish Kebab at the Estambul Restaurant, but seeing that it is closed, we settled on a Tropical Kebab, which was extraordinary, indeed.
November 18 th : On Friday we visited the police to clear out and left the marina of Las Palmas at 8:15 AM. We have 50 nautical miles to go, but there is no wind. Nilgun caught a mahi mahi which weighed 1.7Kg, part of which she preserved in salt. We contacted s/y Teka 3 on the way to learn that they are on the way to Tenerife, and will be back in Las Palmas a week later. We arrived in the anchor place of Las Palmas marina of Grand Canaria Island (28 07.9N, 15 25.5W). The marina is completely full with the ARC boats. As we have to wait until the start of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC), we will stay for two days at the anchor place. We lowered the dinghy to go to the marina to look for s/y Odienne, the Turkish boat which will join the ARC race. We wished good luck to the team of Turkish ladies, received the ‘Yelken Dünyasý' magazine that Handan has brought from Istanbul , met Turkan from s/y KATAMA, who is on the way for a circumnavigation together with Kerem. We promised to meet as soon as possible, as they were anchored outside the marina, as well. We were overjoyed that three Turkish sailing boats met at the same port so far away from Turkey . In the evening we were invited to have dinner at one of the ARC boats, s/y Saildance. We enjoyed speaking with Virginia and Peter about the delightful days we had together in Kayra 2004, the Black Sea Yacht Rally.
November 19 th – December 13 th : The next evening we invited our new Turkish friends Türkan and Kerem from s/y Katama, and had a wonderful evening. They have started their voyage from Marmaris, and followed more or less the same route to come to the Canaries. They also have a cat in the boat. They plan to make a circumnavigation in a short time and sail back to Turkey . We feel that we will be good friends with them. The Rally started off on Sunday noon November 20 th , and we came alongside the Texaco fuel dock at the marina. The fuel dealer said that they will not be able to give us diesel until the next day, therefore we stayed at the fuel dock that evening. On Monday we filled our tanks and jerry cans with diesel and tied stern-to at the marina dock. Las Palmas is an excellent stop-over for the boats that will cross the Atlantic , and we have met many sailors who are getting prepared to make the passage. It is also possible to find technical support here. There are three chandleries at the marina.
The city has two districts. The northern part is a modern business and shopping center, whereas the southern part is the old town. The marina is situated between these two districts. The house of Christopher Colombus in the old town has been converted to a museum. We were happy to see the map of Piri Reis among the antique charts. It is very convenient to travel around the city by bus, as they are very frequent and reasonably priced. There is a good supermarket near the marina. They deliver the purchased goods that exceed € 60 to the boat. We have bought our provisions for the passage in this supermarket. We found a computer technician that settled all our problems with the lap-top, and enabled it to communicate with the SSB. With the NOD32 antivirus program that he installed improved the speed of the computer considerably. An electrician that we found tried in vain to repair our wind generator which has been working inefficiently. We will try to have it repaired somewhere else. Kerem from s/y Katama helped us install the alternator generator. Now it is possible for us to charge our accumulators quickly and efficiently with the engine. Nilgün has bought a sewing machine and made a transparent awning to cover the cokpit. It will protect us from getting wet in the rain, and getting cold at night watches. She also prepared a grab bag to be used (hopefully never to be used) in case of emergency.
Our social life during our stay was quite colorful. Our friends Teoman Arsay and Esen Mepa , who planned to visit us in Las Palmas failed to come, but our son Ömer came for five days. Thanks to him, we could give a break and tour around the city. The northern coast of the city is a very long beach , part of which is reserved for the surfers. On Sundays the beach is crowded with locals and tourists, either swimming or surfing. We also had a chance to see Dennis, Mary, Marvin and Nancy from m/y Teka 3, our friends from Kayra, the Black Sea Rally. They are also going to cross the Atlantic . Dennis and Marvin were kind enough to give us the Caribbean pilot books and charts. We invited them for dinner at Vagabond and we had a nice evening. Our neighbor Stephan from the German boat sold us his ICW charts. Our old friends Evelyne and Hervé from s/y Papa Djo finally arrived at Las Palmas from Lanzarote. They invited us and our next door neighbor Stephan from Switwerland to Papa Djo, and treated us to a very special creppe dinner. Two days later the same group came together for lunch at Vagabond. In the meantime tropical storm Delta passed over the Canaries and caused a lot of damage. We were lucky to be in a safe marina, for in the ports of the other islands many boats had suffered difficulties. When we were about to start our passage, we had a chance to meet Erden Eruç ( www.kaslagit.com ) who rowed his way all the way to Las Palmas in a canoe together with his Canadian friend Tim. They plan to cross the Atlantic to reach Costa Rica . We wish them a smooth passage.
This was the longest break in our voyage so far. 25 busy days passed, and having found favorable weather for our passage we decided to start. We will head our course to Cape Verde Islands 950 nm south, than turn westwards to the Barbados Island of the Caribbean Islands , which is 2000 nm away. We wish you a happy new year.
December 14 th – 19 th : We departed on a sunny day at 9:00AM for Mindelo Port of Cape Verde's Sao Vicente Island (16 53.2'N, 24 59.6W). s/y Katama will also sail today. We left the marina and saying goodbye to our friends at the anchor place, hoisted our sails. We predict that our passage will last seven days. The northeast wind filled our sail while we sailed along the south coast of the island. We received an SMS message from s/y Katama complaining about a GPS failure. We reminded them that when GPS has not been used for a long time, satellite access may take some time. We lost contact with them when we reached the southernmost point of the island. The wind freshened quite a bit and forced us to reef the mainsail. In the evening, however, the wind died, and we continued our way with the engine. Who said that there are continuous winds in the Atlantic ? We wondered where we will catch the trades. We started our watches through a heavy traffic of ships. The second day: the 10 knot northeast wind at noon enabled us to fly our spinnaker. We had a wonderful sail with a speed of 6 knots with the help of the 0.5 knot current on our favor. The forecast that we received through SSB indicate that the winds will continue to be light until we reach 150-200 nm north of the Cape Verde Islands . Only after that we will be able to catch the trade winds. We were calculating whether our diesel will be sufficient, when the wind started to get stronger. We put the spinnaker down and hoisted our staysail and yankee. Our speed did not decrease, however, as the wind veered to the East. We came across no ships throughout the night watches. We switched to Cape Verde time UTC-1. The third day: We lowered the staysail when the wind reached 20 knots early in the morning. Later in the day when the wind increased from 25-30 knots to 30-40 knots, we put the second reef to our mainsail. The seas were quite high, but we had a comfortable sail. Our speed reached 7-8 knots. Vagabond and her autopilot directed us to our destination with a perfect cooperation. As the boat started rocking, we tried to discover the sources of noise coming from inside the hull. At night the wind decreased to 20 knots and we hoisted our yankee once more. We have seen two ships at night. The 4 th day: in the morning the wind was light, so we hoisted all our sails, but later the wind died altogether and we put the engine on. We had to charge our accumulators and make some water, anyway. As the wind died the waves got smaller, but the black clouds in the west started approaching. Towards the evening we were watching a magnificent light and sound show all around us. The heavy rain was welcome, as it cleaned Vagabond out of its salt. The cockpit awning that Nilgün made protected us from getting wet, as well as getting cold from the chilly winds at night. The 5 th day: The rain continued to pour from time to time. We continued with the engine. The black clouds deserted the sky and the sun started shining. The ocean became calmer. Nilgün's fishing line was cut twice by something big – presumably a swordfish. She has to make a stronger line. The 6 th day: The long awaited northeast wind came up towards the noon and we turned off the engine. We hoisted a reefed main and the staysail, and continued our way under sail. Our GPS presume that we will arrive in Cape Verde on the 20 th of December. The weather is hot and hazy. The Harmattan winds bring the dust from the African deserts.
December 20 th: We caught sight of the Islands towards noon. Visibility is poor. Cape Verde has declared independence from Portugal in 1975. The majority of the population of 400,000 is Africans. We anchored among the many yachts in Porto Grande port of Mindelo at 3:30PM. The wind blows strong from the mountains, but the water in the port is calm. We hope to have a peaceful night. One boat-boy in a dinghy approached us and told us that he will take care of our boat and dinghy whenever we go ashore. Having read about Cape Verde 's problems in pilot books, we agreed with Ceasar. We postponed formalities until tomorrow and had a restful night.
December 21 st - 22 nd : In the morning we lowered our dinghy and went ashore to be greeted by Ceasar who helped us take the dinghy to the sandy beach. We went to the port authorities, filled out a form and had to sign a paper claiming that we will not deem the Cape Verde authorities responsible in case of any theft. We had to leave the boat papers there until the departure day. As the passport police office was closed, we went on to a city tour. It is obvious that the people are not wealthy, we have seen many beggars. Some of the buildings are in need of maintenance. We changed some money at the bank (1 US $ = 88 Escudos). We had lunch in a small restaurant and went back to the port for the passport office. Politely, he stamped our passports both in and out. We went back to our dinghy and to our boat. Our neighbor from s/y Quarterdeck told us that there is a net on USB frequency 8173 kHz every morning at 9:00 local time, and it might be useful for us to participate. In this net each participating yacht inform the others of their current coordinates and the weather and sea conditions. In the evenings, the amateur meteorologist Herb from Bahamas conducts another net called Southbound 2. Those who participate give their coordinates and receive advice from Herb about the weather conditions and predictions, and what course to take for a smooth sail. As our SSB could not receive Herb loud and clear, we could not participate. We will try during our passage. After a peaceful night, we joined the net the next morning, and took our dinghy to meet Ellen and David from s/y Peace and Aloha, who are conducting the net. They are on their seventh year of their circumnavigation, which will end in Barbados . After the passage they plan to sell the boat and go back home. David found the Turkish coast the best among all the places they have been to. He has bought 17 carpets from Turkey . In the afternoon we went ashore again to take some pictures and to receive our e-mail messages. The internet fees were not bad – only 1,5 Euros per hour. They also rent DVD films for one Euro per night. We rented a DVD for the TV broadcast is in Portuguese. We did some shopping, but the fruit and vegetables were very expensive. We called our son Ömer at the post office, for our Turkish mobile did not work here. The call was quite expensive – 21 Euro for 7 minutes. We watched the people shopping for Christmas and went back to the boat.
December 23 rd : This is our last day at Mindelo. We wish to do some more shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables, fill up our tanks with water and diesel and get ready for the passage tomorrow. We have learned that Peace and Aloha started their journey. Towards the noon we have seen s/y Katama enter the port. We have been worried about them since we have left Las Palmas . They anchored next to us and we invited them to our boat to eat the fish that they caught on the way. We talked about our experiences, and learned that they have left Las Palmas three hours later than we did, and had a very smooth passage, but complained about lack of wind. After lunch, we said goodbye to them and went to the fuel dock. The duty free diesel was inexpensive – 0.5 €/liter. We hope that the quality is good, as well. We anchored again and went ashore to clear out from Cape Verde . We received our boat papers. We settled our account with Ceasar and said goodbye to him. We were invited to Katama for dinner for some more fish. Their plans are to stay a little more for some repairs, and head to St. Vincent . Than they will go south and pass from Panama Canal, Pacific, Indian Ocean and sail back to Bozburun. We promised to meet them somewhere in the Caribbean , and went back to Vagabond.
December 24 th – January 10 th : Nilgün went ashore again and spent all the Escudos she had, and came back to the boat at noon. We left Mindelo at 12:45PM on a sunny day with fair winds. Our destination is Tobago Island (11 21.8N, 60 33.5W) of Republic of Trinidad and Tobago . We have 2097 miles to sail. The trade winds seem to have settled. We will reach Tobago in approximately 16 – 18 days. It seems we will be on the way on the new year's eve. Upon leaving Cape Verde Islands behind, we ran out of wind, and we started the engine. In a short while the wind came up again and we went back to sailing. This concluded our first day. Second Day: We had a peaceful night with a reefed mainsail and a staysail. When the wind decreased to 12 knots in the morning, we opened the full mainsail and the genoa. At the morning net Christmas greetings were made, and we were informed that light northeasterly winds are expected. At noon we completed our first 24 hours and we calculated that we left 110 miles behind. Nilgün prepared a new fishing line and caught one mahi mahi after letting one escape. We sailed with a 10-14 knots of northeast wind. The waves were not high, so we charged our accumulators with the generator. Herb pointed out that the winds will get even lighter. After having fish for dinner, we started our watches. Third Day: The night was calm under the moonlight. The wind died and we started the engine. We covered 121 miles . Fourth Day: We passed another sailing boat which was right on our way at 1:30 in the morning. This is why the night watches are to be taken seriously, otherwise we would crash them right on the stern! In the morning the wind that come from ENE enabled us to turn off the engine. The sky is cloudy but the weather is hot. We are close to the Equador. We continued our way with the predicted ENE wind with butterfly sails. Our performance today is 131 nautical miles. Herb said that the next 24 hours will be wet, and squalls are expected. We started seeing gray clouds around and the wind reached 45 knots in squalls. We had thunder and lightning accompanied by rain over the night. Fifth Day: The squalls continued all night long, but Vagabond and the autopilot manage to cope with them. The one knot current on our favor helps us maintain a good speed. This current never left us throughout the whole passage. We covered 122 miles . We had to put the engine on in order to charge the accumulators, for it is not possible to turn the generator in rolly seas. Sixth Day: The sky is clear, the sun came out. We put the spinnaker up, but although the wind was not more than 10 knots the top corner of the spinnaker was torn all the way down. We had to collect it from the sea. We started the engine. Today's mileage is 130 miles . Not bad. Another day passed by. Seventh day: In the morning we changed our time to UTC-2. We were informed during the net that today's weather will continue the same way until tomorrow, when 15 knots of Northeast wind is expected. We are motoring with the mainsail open to minimize the rolling motion of the boat. The spinnaker that we collected from the sea dried and we placed it back into its sack. Our 24 hour mileage is 114 nautical miles. The waves grew larger and we started sailing again with 10-13 knots of wind coming from the stern. Herb informs us about an abnormal tropical storm. Eighth Day: Wind increased to 14 knots and we continued with main and staysails. Herb's forecasts are quite true. We sailed 118 miles today. Today is Saturday, December 31 st , the end of 2005, the beginning of a new year. This is the first new year's eve we had on the ocean. We celebrated the new year both at the Turkish time, and at the local time. Due to our watches we were alone during the countdowns. Ninth Day: May the new year bring us all good health and happiness. We have 1200 miles to our destination. The sky is cloudy. The wind shifted and started coming from the beam, so we are sailing better now. Most of the boats on the net reached the Caribbean . We charged our accumulators with the engine. Naturally we make water as well. Our watermaker makes 5 liters of water per hour and supplies our drinking water in one hour. The rest goes into the tank. It takes four Ampers in 12 Volts. Nilgün made bread today. This is necessary in a long passage for bread does not keep for a long time. The bread she makes with walnuts is delicious. Our mileage for today is 114 miles . Tenth Day: We passed the midway early in the morning. Our remaining distance will drop under 1000 miles today. There is no moon, and the night is pitch black. The forecasts in the net foresee light northeast winds, but the weather charts that we have received from New Orleans indicate 20 knots of ENE winds. The sky is clear. We caught a small mahi mahi. We have covered 121 miles today. In the evening we caught another mahi mahi which was larger – 2 kilos. Herb predicts northeast winds of 15 knots for the next two days. We had a calm night under the new moon. Eleventh day: The morning watch passed under a starry night and a perfect sail. The weather forecast at the net indicate lighter winds, but we had good sailing with northeast winds. 122 nautical miles are covered today. In the evening Herb said that the tropical storm ZETA that left us with light winds will not dissipate until January 8 th . ZETA is 600 nm north to us, and slowly moving west just like us. Its presence affected the trade winds and we ended up with light winds. ZETA's winds of 50-60 knots, however, sent us large waves, causing Vagabond and the other boats making the passage to rock and roll. Twelfth Day: We readjusted our time to UTC-3. We collected the flying fish from the deck after a beautiful sunrise. One of them flew as high up as the dinghy at the davit. These fish are numerous and swim very close to the surface of the water. As the boat comes they scatter around. Everyone on the net complain about the light winds, but no good winds are expected before ZETA dissipate. We tried every way possible in order to increase our speed, but finally gave up and put the engine on. The distance we covered today is 118 miles . The weather is hot and Herb says this will continue. We hope our diesel will suffice. Thirteenth day: We continued with the engine on. Nothing new in the net, the weather will not change. The wind is not expected until the seventh of January. At noon we saw a ship and had to give way to it. Another rare situation, but it happens. Distance covered is 133 nautical miles. We have 775 miles to arrive in Tobago . Our tropical storm ZETA is moving along with us towards west. We consumed all our fish at dinner, we need a new one. Fourteenth Day: In the morning 14-15 knots of winds arrived, we hoisted all our sails, but it dropped to 5-6 knots again. We started the engine. The weather charts foresee better winds for tomorrow. The waves got smaller and the rolling ceased to some degree. Our mileage today was 131 miles . A northeast wind filled up our sails and we were delighted to turn off the engine. We have consumed more than half of our diesel thanks to this aggressive lady, ZETA. We had rolly seas again at night. Fifteenth Day: Only a few boats participate the morning net, the rest have reached across. s/y Peace and Aloha who are conducting the net have announced that they will reach Martinique today. We are sailing happily under the clear sky. We have 360 miles to go. We will reach Tobago on January 10 th . Herb announced that the wind will increase to 20 knots on Sunday. Our performance today is 119 miles . Sixteenth Day: We readjusted our time to UTC-4. This is now Caribbean time. We have a difference of six hours with Turkey . This means we have covered one fourth of the circumnavigation as far as the time is concerned. Very few boats remained on the net. A very strong squall shifted the wind to south and brought a heavy rain. We had to reef the mainsail. The sun came out after the squall and the wind shifted to Northeast again. We have covered 136 miles today, and 256 miles left to reach Tobago . We continued in the afternoon with a reefed main and staysail. Nilgün's fishing line was cut again by some large fish. The baits disappear, but no fish come. We had a comfortable night with 10-20 knots ENE wind. Seventeenth Day: We have approached our target. The rolling continues. Only two boats are still on passage on the morning net. One of them is Vagabond, the other one is one day behind us. The wind speed and direction are the same, we are running, rocking and rolling to our destination. In the afternoon there was a crashing sound at the mizzen mast. The wind generator and its bracket was detached from the mast and was swinging violently as the boat rocked. We hove to and it was not easy to climb the mast to attach the swinging generator to the mast by a rope. We will take care of it in Trinidad . The wind was predictable, and we sailed on. Eighteenth Day: Today is January 10 th , 2006. The last day of the passage. Only 22 miles left to Tobago . It is difficult to believe, but it is true. We have covered 2097 miles . The weather is all the same. The island appeared. We anchored on the eastern Pirate Bay of the Man of War bay of Charlotteville town of the Tobago Island . This concludes our Atlantic passage. We put up our yellow quarantine flag. We will rest today, and go ashore for the formalities tomorrow. We have covered the distance of 2097 miles between Cape Verde and Tobago in exactly seventeen days including the time difference. We have motored for 4,3 days and sailed the rest of the time. We had a continuous one knot of current on our favor. It was a passage with light winds and huge waves because of the tropical storm ZETA, but we have reached our target. Now we have the Caribbean ahead of us.