Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chilling out in the Cape Verde Islands

Everyone who made landfall in the Cape Verde’s agrees that it was a welcome relief after the frustrating passage from the Canary Islands. A little piece of heaven mid Atlantic.
A brief appearence from "Stardust"

We awoke the day after our arrival to see Stardust anchored not far from us. They had snuck in around dawn with the plan of refueling and leaving ASAP, and that’s what they did. Not setting foot on land, they were gone by 10am.

"White Rose", very happy to arrive in Mindelo

White Rose were the next to arrive just after 8am. The crew were elated to be here and were looking to enjoy a few days of R &R. Soon after, Bondi Tram also pulled into the anchorage. Over the next few days many more boats arrived ,some with mechanical problems but most just looking to rest until the next week when the trade winds are due to settle in.

Now that our group of friends were all here a pre Christmas party was organized for that evening.  GWTW was the host boat. The festive mood commenced with the Christmas lights on the life lines and on our small tree in the saloon being switched on.
Liam and Phil
cooking up a feast of fresh Mahi Mahi.

We had 14 on board that evening for a big fish bbq, many thanks to Tehani Li for providing the catch of the day. It was a fun night and a last chance for a big get together before we all go separate ways once in the Caribbean.

Party time on GWTW  with Tehani Li ,
White Rose, No Rehearsal & Bondi Tram.

Happy hosts

Bridget, Sandra & Annie enjoying some R& R.  

Sunday was a lay day as the shops and most of the town of Mindelo was closed. We did go in for a stroll and the place was all decked out for Christmas A nativity scene was set up in the main square with carols playing over the loud speaker system and the shop fronts had lovely decorated displays including some rather raunchy xmas underwear for the ladies!

As it looked like we would all be leaving Mindelo on Tuesday a plan was made to visit the island of Santo Antao by ferry on the Monday. Our travel companions were to be  No Rehearsals’ and White Rose.Once we arrived at the bustling port we sought out and negotiated a “aluguer” , a type of ute with benches in the back to take us around the island for the day.

Drivers at the port gate
clamering for business
This one looked good

All ready for a big day out
Our driver could sing in english
but that was it.
Setting off with our Portuguese speaking driver, Liam was having fun in the front listening to bob Marley while the rest of us were taking in our new surrounds.

One of the ravines with Sao Vincente in the background

Donkey power
alive and well on the island
The views were stunning
with  the rugged NE coast  far below
The views looking back towards Sao Vincente were beautiful. As we climbed higher into the mountains the scenery change dramatically, growing lusher and greener every corner we turned. Once we made it to the top there were even pine trees growing. The north western side certainly receives much more rainfall than the south east. Our driver was excellent, stopping where ever we wanted for photos. Large ravines snaked their way down the slopes towards the sea and the high mountain ridges looked like they were` piercing the sky.

After driving for a few hours we stopped for lunch at the small fishing harbour of Ponta Do Sol on the north coast. An excellent meal of freshly caught Wahoo washed down with a little Cape Veridian wine went down a treat.

The small but busy fishing port
Colourful boats bring in their catch

Surfing in through the harbour enterence
  The coast road brought us back to the ferry port right on time to catch our ride back home.
Heading back to our ferry

We had a terrific day out, and had we had more time an over night stop in the hills would have been fun
Today, as always on the last day before a passage we are busily doing chores and preparing the boat for the next leg of our Atlantic crossing.
Fruit and Veg sellers in Mindelo

The wind is piping up nicely this morning and very soon we will be gone with the wind, again.
We are Barbados bound..mon !

Our last glimse of land for a long time

There are many ATM's in Mindelo however they will only dispense cash if your credit card or debit card is a VISA card. This is also true of the ATM's on SantoAntao. Our cards along with a few fellow cruisers were MasterCard and we had to rely on friends to help us out with cash advances.

Euro cash can be used at the marina and in the supermarkets. Fuel was 72 euro cents per litre and water 2 euro per hundred litres. One thing to bear in mind that all change is given in the  local currency, the Escudo. 110es = 1 euro

Formalities.. entry /departure costs were a total of  11 euro  or 500 plus 650 escudos( Port police and Immigration) and they do not have euro change so it's best to pay in escudos. The port authorities are only open Mon-Fri. They will check you in and out on the same day and will also back date and forward date your papers by  day or two if need be.

Produce… over all it was pretty good. Lovely selection of lettuce, coriander, shallots etc as well as onions potatoes eggplant and fruits etc. The  ripe tomatoes were fairly poor though I did find some very good green ones. Bananas are plentiful. All the  meat and chicken I saw was  frozen but the fish was almost still swimming. Wines and beers are a good price as were soft drinks and tonics.
I would encourage cruisers to stock up to the max in the Canaries and just buy the essentials  to top up the larder in the Cape Verde's.

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