Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Enterprising Emerson - Friday 9 January 2009

Emerson, Emerson what an enterprising fella!

We both had a bit of a restless night, understandable I guess with all that has happened! We watched Entrapment for a bit of escapism before hitting the sack, hoping it might distract our thoughts from the great loss of RITA. My mind is all over the place at the moment, just cannot believe the continuous run of bad luck. It just feels like nothing went right for us but I do know we are very lucky that we are here to tell the tale. If the Maersk Varsberg had crossed us during the night we wouldn't have stood a chance and they would have gone straight over us not knowing a thing. Moreover if Ken had not woken up when he did, (the man that can sleep for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) it might also have been goodnight Vienna!
The loss feels immeasurable. I'm gutted. I was so looking forward to continuing the challenge from Cape Verde. I knew that once we had the new Solar Panels sorted and we were far enough south, with the weather on our side, things could only get better. Ken and I had had a pretty tough start but having battled through the past twenty odd days the next thirty-five or more would be easier. We'd both had a massive experience in such a short time. I certainly learnt a lot from Ken and his knowledge of the seas and we had worked well as a team (even if he did eat all the Snicker bars).

So here we are in Sao Vicente and we've been befriended by Emerson. On the day we docked we were immediately escorted to a room on the ship and interviewed by the police. This was followed by an introduction to Emerson, a local fella it seemed with his fingers in lots of pies. It was like having our own personal tourist guide and advisor. He turned out to be far more helpful than the British Consul, even if the taxi driver, the travel agent, hotelier and restauranteur turned out to be his good friends! Hey it's not what you know but who you know!

Having sorted our accommodation he was there to greet us in the morning to take us to the travel agent. Getting home to ol' Blighty was our priority now! How much???? You're having a larf! The tickets home near on a thousand pounds each and no direct flights. I could see it was going to be another eventful journey. The adventure was far from over.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Thursday 8 January - British Consul

Had to set off early today to sort out our documents and administration with the British Consul in Cape Verde. We managed to get some accommodation last night (not unlike the frugal apartment where we stayed in La Gomera with squeaky old iron beds!) but we're running on empty in every way. Ken has £24 on him and we managed to get some cash last night with our cards but have no idea of the exchange rate.
I'm without any decent clothes and feeling like an orphan in these second hand shoes but hopefully I can get some things together before we fly.

Understandably we have been treated a bit like suspected criminals and illegal immigrants, arriving as we did in this foreign land! We've been checked for drugs and had to fill out numerous forms but we know it's all just a necessary formality. It's hassle we could do without, just want to be on that flight home now.

My shoulder is in a pretty bad way but we are both doing fine. Thanks for all your good wishes and support.
Ken & Aldo

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Tuesday 6 January - Lucky to be alive!

Just to let everyone know that we had a very close call with a massive cargo vessel but we are fine.

Once again the weather had taken a turn for the worst and we were unable to row. Late Tuesday afternoon we were both in the cabin, feeling rather bored and frustrated when just by chance Ken looked out to see a huge cargo vessel heading straight for us, only hundreds of yards away.
Immediately we sprang into action and set off the flares to raise the alarm. The first flare didn't work but luckily the second one did and fortunately the turkish crew of the big vessel spotted us just in time to change it's direction and a major collision was (at first) avoided.

Unfortunately the day finished catastrophically for RITA. During the events that ensued poor RITA got wrecked and we boarded the cargo vessel to be taken ashore to Cape Verde. We are devastated but thank God we are alive.

Wednesday 7 January 2200 GMT
We had an horrendous 24 hour journey on the Maersk Varsberg with the wind blowing at 32 knots and 25 foot waves, both of us were extremely sea sick, but we are now finally in Sao Vicente and hope we will be boarding the next available flight home. The turkish crew on the cargo vessel were fantastic. They even gave me a pair of old shoes to wear as I have none of my own.

I am devastated beyond words but I know it could have been a very different story!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Sunday 4 Jan - just finished giving our thanks to God!

Morning all,
Just a quickie as Solar panels still not charging but we are doing fine, in good spirits and making good headway to Cape Verde. I'm confident we can resolve technical problems once ashore and so the journey wont be ending yet!

It seems God has answered our prayers. Thanks everyone for your text messages and support, they are so very valuable. Keep them coming as it seems receiving them does not drain too much power and now we are on the home stretch (well mini-stopover) to Cape Verde we can make a better assessment of how much power we can manage on. Hopefully be there in 5 days with VHF ready to alert local coastguard. These coastguard guys in Falmouth are amazing, doing a fantastic job, great to know you're there behind us so at least it wont come as a surprise to the locals to see two foreign nuggets in a row boat in Cape Verde waters. How's your portuguese Ken? Que? Wadda u want?

Sun is out again today and it's gonna be another HOT one. Latest coordinates, little pink number with frills and white....oops only kidding, Ken hasn't really dressed for church!

At 1015 GMT N20 35.685 W21 21.897, how we doin on the map Pete?

Hmm better get that suncream on. Be back soon. Miss you all but really getting into it now so fingers crossed all goes well from Cape Verde. RITA is still going to the Caribbean, yippeee!

Aldo & Ken xxxxx

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Saturday 4 January 2009 - sunnier climes, sunnier spirits!

Hi everyone,
Sorry we've been incommunicado but really on very low battery and still no power from Solar Panels!! Thankfully the weather has improved and we are heading south to Cape Verde. Sunbathing weather today - bloomin' hot so have slapped on the old sun cream. Thanks to P20 for providing this.

It's still very blustery but the waves are good and we're feeling human again with all guns blazing. We reckon we should be in Cape Verde in 6 days so fingers crossed. Hope to get the technical issue resolved once we're there.

Coordinates today at 1400 GMT N21 10 166 W 21 17 758. Once again thanks to Pete and Mo for keeping a track of our route on the web.

Not much more to add and need to keep it short to save valuable battery energy, but we're happy chappies now we know we can reach our mid-point destination.

Best wishes to everyone and belated birthday wishes to Robbie, sorry fella these come a little late, but you know, Aldo style!! Hope you had a great birthday.

Ken & Aldo