News: 15 Jul 2010, No wind





Amazingly, the 6 knot wind I'd encountered when I'd landed at Mindelo from Santo Antão persisted yesterday. The crew were planning to have another go at filming Stéphane photo-interviewing Cesaria Evora, Cabo Verde's most famous and distinguished singer who lives here in Mindelo. She's obviously a bit of a diva because although she'd agreed with Christian a couple of months ago to do this, she'd 'been at the hairdresser' or 'out' or 'too tired' whenever they'd tried. Anyway, I wasn't involved so I was keen to go flying. NO, said Sacha the cameraman, who is also tired out, "we've finished filming the FIB".

"Give me the Go-Pro and I'll go and get some 'b' shots", shots with views of the wheels going up and down, that sort of thing. Christian agreed.

My first sortie had the camera on a long pole sticking out the side with just the boat at the top of the frame. It has such a wide angle lens the bottom of the frame was looking right down. I hope I got some quite nice shots over the ships anchored in the harbour, and I did a couple of landings and takeoffs on the water. Despite the light wind it was still pretty rough above 200 ft or so, it would have still been too rough for Stéphane who seems to require dead calm. The camera fogged only for the last ten minutes of the 30 minute flight.

No sign of the Tarrafal in the harbour, that old ferry I'm supposed to be taking back to Praia with the FIB to crate it up to return to Europe.

The second sortie had the camera fixed to the control frame looking back along the side of the FIB. Unbelievably, the wind was actually going the other way when I took off, but was the same as normal over Mindelo. In between was quite a significant convergence just about where São Vicente's only wind turbines are. I shot up in it, the turbines couldn't decide, one was pointing one way, the other in the opposite direction. Over the harbour I did more or less the same sort of thing as before, a couple of landings in the harbour and a low pass past a French ketch and an Argentinean yacht hoisting sails as they left the harbour.

Back at the airport I derigged the machine for the last time. The Bombeiros very kindly provided a hosepipe that I could give the machine a bit of a wash with fresh water before it is packed up to go home. There wasn't much pressure, more of a dribble really, but better than nothing. The wing is particularly susceptible to catalytic corrosion between steel and aluminium parts in a salty environment so washing is important. I also gave everything a liberal oiling with ACF-50 which is my new discovery of this trip, I've seen it described as 'WD40 on steroids', and seems to be a bit more slimy so it doesn't evaporate quite as fast and lasts longer. I left the wing partially rigged to thoroughly dry overnight.

With the light wind it was boiling hot in town. Cesaria Evora was yet again 'busy' when the crew had called, so they had given up and gone to a quiet place where they could finish Stéphane's 'long interview'. The place they chose was a bush a couple of hundred yards off the road to the airport, so who had disturbed their nice quiet place? Me, as I buzzed back and forth to Mindelo port...

The Tarrafal arrived here in Mindelo this afternoon, Thursday. The route is a monopoly on the condition it goes at least once a week and its actually supposed to depart from here on Thursdays, but it doesn't get enough business so it 'breaks down' until there is likely to be a profitable load. Of course the trouble with this is it is completely impossible to get any kind of idea when it really will leave until more or less the day it does.

Nothing much I can do anyway, but it doesn't look like it's going anywhere this week and we're supposed to be leaving for home tomorrow. It's now obvious I won't be going to Sal with the rest of the crew to catch the flight tomorrow night to Germany but I'm pressing for an alternative solution to be found because I don't want to sit around here for a completely indeterminate time. The obvious solution is to abandon the crates in Praia and put it in a container here, but apparently it came in to Praia, so it must go out by Praia. There's talk of an oil tanker going to Praia tomorrow, which might be an interesting trip if we could somehow get the FIB onto it.

Still a light wind, still boiling hot, I went back to the airport today to put the wing into its short form so it's ready to go anywhere at a moment's notice. I know Marcus, one of the producers in Germany is reading this and wants to know how short it can be for future shipping - so Marcus - I measured it and it can't go less than 4.35m, but if you say it's 4.2m I don't suppose anyone will bother with the difference.

Micro Avionics - Suppliers of pilot intercom and radio equipment to the expedition
Joint Aviation Services, suppliers of insurances to the expedition
Cam-ARA - Suppliers of video equipment to the expedition
SKYDRIVE, the UK Distributor of ROTAX engines
Articole Studios - GRP mouldings
Polaris - manufacturer of the FIB