After gazing back at the high slopes of the island for about an hour we started to focus our energy on sailing the boat, keeping up our spirits and not getting seasick. The first 12 hours of a trip are crucial to set the tone and we were determined to keep active and positive.

We had some very strange seas in the first 5 hours. There are several complicated wind and wave effects between the islands and this was one of the oddest we have seen. The wind dropped to 0 knots (when 20 were predicted), the seas started bubbling and dancing and the waves were breaking with big spouts of water as though the sea gods were tickling each other. Fortunately, this state subsided within a few hours and we progressed at 6 to 6.5 knots comfortably for the rest of the night and morning.

Day 1 always involves more relaxing and mindless activity than normal but the monkies have developed a schedule of activities for the coming days to keep us busy and entertained. School (for the first time underway), sports, knutselen (art), baking, cooking, reading, games, guitar lessons, movies, lego minecraft and programming have all been carefully planned into the agenda. We will add some downtime and hopefully catching a fish as we go but these activities are not generally planned.

Date: November 12, 2017
Time 13:00 UTC
Position 25’51.741N / 17’22.109W
COG/SOG: 181/5.3
Trip: 137nm
Distance to go: 770nm
24h distance 137nm
Conditions: wind NE 12kn, sea moderate
Sails: full main and genoa


The seas are flatter than we have had in a long time and there is a good wind. We are making good progress, noone in seasick and we even had a short schoolday this morning. Our friends from the Alutia have joined us and both boats have just hoisted their gennakers. A lovely sight!

Date: November 13, 2017
Time 13:00 UTC
Position 23’29.359N / 17’38.145W
COG/SOG: 191/5.1
Trip: 283nm
Distance to go: 625nm
24h distance 146nm
Conditions: sunny, wind E 12-13kn, sea slight-moderate
Sails: full main, genoa and cutter


Our speeds are staying up and the mood on board is good. However, just as we were about to settle into our watch yesterday evening Seb heard a hissing sound at the back of the cockpit. The deck shower was on and leaking our fresh water supply into the aft locker. A strange and unexpected combination of small mistakes had led to a rather impactful result. We were able to pump out the locker and dry our the gear stored there but half of our fresh water supply is gone. Not a disaster as we still have enough to cover the coming few weeks but certainly a wake-up call to be even more careful.

Date: November 14, 2017
Time 13:00 UTC
Position: 21’19.580N / 18’31.879W
24h distance: 149nm
COG/SOG: 196 degrees / 7.3kn
Trip distance: 433nm
Distance to go: 531nm
Conditions: sunny, wind NE 18-21kn, sea moderate/rough
Sails: double reefed main and genoa


We have now passed the half-way point! And we had our first flying fish on board. Macsen found it very interesting but Emma was a little disgusted. Unfortunately, it had been dead for some hours and we did not dare to eat it. We have seen masses of still living flying fish in the water and hope to catch one of the tuna that are chasing them. We did not manage to have an official school day today but we did assemble a very complicated human skeleton (cardboard) including vital organs and learned a bit about anatomy. His name is Gerard. All well on board.

Date: November 15, 2017
Time 13:00 UTC
Position 19’10.933N / 18’41.184W
COG/SOG: 174 degrees /6.2kn
Trip distance: 563nm
Distance to go: 403nm
24h distance 130nm
Conditions: sunny with some clouds, wind NNE 15-17kn, sea moderate Sails: full main and genoa


The winds became light early in the day yesterday but picked up again late in the afternoon. We sailed most of the day yesterday and the night through with the sails wing-and-wing (the genoa on the windward side and the main to leeward). We set a large pole then to hold the genoa out and keep it from flapping. In Dutch this sail formation is known as the ‘melkmeisje’ or ‘milkmaid’ as it resembles the double peaked white cap worn by women in times gone by. This kept us going at a steady 6.5 knots in 15 knots of wind full from behind. And the flying fish keep visiting us in huge schools but despite great efforts Seb has yet to get a satisfactory picture of one mid-flight.

Date: November 16, 2017
Time 13:00 UTC
Position 17’00.692N / 18’43.013W
COG/SOG: 194 degrees /5.4kn
Trip distance: 695nm
Distance to go: 274nm
24h distance 132nm
Cabin temp: 30.1 C
Sea temp: 23.6 C
Conditions: sunny with some clouds, wind NE 15kn, sea slight-moderate Sails: full main and genoa wing/wing


We took some great pictures with the Alutia yesterday, both boats next to each other and with full sail and colourful gennakers flying. Beautiful. We hope to arrive tomorrow in time to go through the grueling check in process in Banjul in the afternoon. Good wind this morning to keep up a good pace but unfortunately the next 24 hours will probably include quite a bit of motoring. All well on board!

Date: November 17, 2017
Time 13:00 UTC
Position 14’55.838N / 18’20.217W
COG/SOG: 166 degrees /5.4kn
Trip distance: 821nm
Distance to go: 143nm
24h distance 126nm
Cabin temp: 30.0 C
Sea temp: 23.6 C
Conditions: overcast, wind NE 15kn, sea slight-moderate
Sails: full main and genoa

After exactly 7 days at sea we arrived in Banjul, The Gambia.


The last night was hairy with lots of small, unlit fishing pirogues as far as 60 nautical miles offshore some with sleeping crew so we needed to keep a very good look-out. Upon arrival, we took the dinghy in with the crew from the Alutia to find the Port Authority, Customs and Immigration in Half Die (named for a cholera epidemic that claimed half of the population) hoping that they would let us check in late on a Saturday afternoon.

Banjul port is a rather ugly, stinky, busy port and we did not want to stay anchored there for the weekend. I remembered check-in in The Gambia as a lengthy and rather unclear process and it has not changed in the last 8 years. The process and prices seem to depend a lot upon the individuals that happen to be working on a given day.

We arrived on a Saturday and the Customs office that needed to inspect the boat was closed until Monday. However, the customs agent reminded us that “This is Africa” and encouraged us to give him a ‘present’ to allow us to travel up the river to Lamin Lodge for the weekend. With huge relief we paid 10 euros, promised to bring the boats back on Monday and set out just as the sun was starting to set. It was dark by the time we dropped our anchors in the calm creek deep in the mangroves.

Rest, happy to be here.