FROM 1-19. Senegal and Pete's Birthday

Sep 08, 2005 – 0400hrs UTC

0400hrs 08 Sep 2005 UTC 17’30”N 025’55”W Ref 340

Santo Antao is 41 miles away on the port bow and, for the first time since we left Falmouth, we are moving back Eastwards towards Oz. Woohoo. We will pass the island tomorrow morning and, Hugh, I’m pretty sure we will see it, blue mist or no. I don’t know whether the islands were inhabited when the Europeans first sighted them, but the first European was almost certainly one of Henry the Navigator’s Captains, who may have been lost or coming back from the other side of the Gulf of Guinea, or, perhaps, using the technique the Portugese developed of running southwards from Cape Blanc until they reached the required latitude and then running eastwards along the latitude until they reached a known spot on the African coast. The identity of the Captain who actually sighted them first, and his report, were probably lost when the Lisbon Archives burnt down in the great fire in, I think, the 1770’s. Not sure of my dates, but the Ming Admiral Cheng Ho was on the East African coast in the early 1400’s and Vasco da Gama would have been there within the next hundred years or so. It would have been an interesting meeting if they had coincided.

We will try to pick up as much easting as possible from here until we hook into the SE Trades in about 600 miles. This will give us a better angle across the trades into the South Atlantic. There’s a little low forming ahead of us, which may assist – or not – depends on which bit of it we arrive in and what is in it.

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