Memories of Cape Verde
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Fri 9 Jan 2009 12:00
Memories of Cape Verde
We arrived here on 9th December 2008 very excited to have done our longest passage to date, from Lanzarote.
Happy Birthday Pete on the 12th December.
We have spent time resting, exploring, pottering, paddling and planning our biggest voyage yet - Barbados.
Skipper and a bit of "jobbing". The festive lights of Christmas decorating the library, the cute crib on the front.
Happy Birthday Jenny on the 27th December .
In 2006 the population of the Cape Verde Islands was 484,904. The population is young, 42% are 14 years of age or less. The general average is 17.3 years. There are 109 inhabitants per square kilometer and 53 out of 100 Cape Verdeans live in urban areas.
The intermarriage of European and African races since the beginning of settlement of the archipelago formed a new human type with a strong cultural identity. Nowadays about 70% of the population is of mixed breed - Mestizo. 28% black and 2% white. We have never visited such a young country, with such a young population, who are the least racist of anywhere we have ever visited.
The pretty hair of the youngsters. This chap was an Elder of the Mormon Church, whilst most of the islands are Catholic as I said in a previous blog, they are very tolerant of all religions. This particular chap got on the ferry with his brand new shoes, and trousers that were way too long, that he had to keep tucking under by hand. He was so tiny he looked about 9, but so proud.
80% of the labour force is in the agricultural sector providing only 15% of the general needs of the population. Cape Verde has long been a land of emigrants, supporting family "back home", despite their physical absence from their country, have their souls and dreams rooted in the motherland. The number of Cape Verdeans in the Diaspora is higher than the local resident population, that is, more live overseas than on home soil. Despite 'sending money home'the Diaspora cannot fully support the islands. 25% of the active labour force of the country is unemployed. 14% is very poor and about 30% is poor. From 1990 to 1995 the level of illiteracy went down from 37% to 25%.
Cape Verde has no contagious or endemic tropical diseases, therefore no need for any vaccinations to visit. Currently Cape Verde occupies the fourth position as far as the best index of quality of life in the African countries is concerned. It is our first visit to a third world country since leaving the UK and have been overwhelmed at the friendliness of the people. They are so welcoming, shaking us by the hand and just saying welcome.
Seeing the Boxing Day sea, us on Boa Vista and Bear plunging off Beez Neez for the first time ever (in Mindelo) are everlasting memories I shall cherish.
Tourism has risen from 19,000 in 1991 to 230,000 in 2005. Whilst tourism has become "the Jewel in the Economic Crown", compare this to the 5,626,337 in 2006 that visited Lanzarote and it's all put into perspective. They have a VERY long way to go. The climate may be warm but hotel holiday goers want SUN, to lie by the pool and sip cool beer. The sun may go days without appearing here, the beer is £3.00 a pint and a vodka and coke is £4.50. We met a couple who had paid £3000, half board for two weeks, compared to Lanzarote can be deemed expensive. The thing we have noticed is the startling lack of 'service' shown by staff in hotels and eateries, these are by no means the typical Manuel. We saw a waitress screech at a man who had asked for a top up of lager, his pint was a quarter froth !!!! This attitude is just one example of many that we saw.
Happy First Birthday to Joshua on the 4th January 2009 it was wonderful to see the video on Face book of his first steps.
We saw paradise. One day I was so very lucky when Bear called me to come up on deck to see the Brown Booby - Sula Leucogaster, featured on some of the coins of Cape Verde. We first saw this chap in Manchioneel Bay, Cooper Island on the BVI's in May 2005. This made us realise once again how lucky we are to be on this great At-Venture as we have the chance to go back to the BVI's this time not as boat charterers - but on our very own Beez Neez. This chap was flying just over the girl and chirping his heart out. A dream of ours is to see the Blue-footed Booby on The Galapagos Islands, but he will do for now.
We had one potential crisis.
The Loo Saga. Although no problems, I felt it was time to service the Lavac Pump (together with First Mate Millard's gentle nagging) and check the pipes etc. in case problems came to a "head" at sea. A lovely job, but pipes not too bad. However on close inspection of the Marelon Discharge Sea-Valve it had a slight leak, due to three of the four bolts holding the valve in place, stripping their threads in the nylon composite base - PANIC ? - A LITTLE ! So rapidly into the water to plug the outlet and remove offending valve. Of course the anti-fouling excess etc. always means the bung is not a perfect fit - but slow enough ingress of water for the bilge pumps to cope easily. Not what I wanted to hear - a slurping sound every four or five minutes. Fortunately the 113 mm bolts (what an odd length!) once changed to 120 mm resolved the problem as spares here are very limited / non existent !!!!. Other yachties were full of enthusiastic and helpful ideas, only some of which could have sunk us !!!!! All now calm but I will probably change the sea-cock at next haul out. I guess that's an excuse for yet MORE spares. All in all a MOVING experience, better dealt with in harbour rather than at sea. All I will say as wife and First Mate, I hope not to see the look of abject shock on Bears face again when he came to find me with the news we could have sunk you know. There I had been feeling guilty for nagging him to start what I knew was a" crappy job", scuse the pun. There I was now feeling OK for nagging, too much of a roller coaster for me.
All in all pleased we came to visit the Cape Verde Islands. We wish them well and will forward to reading about their future development with interest. Time to set off for Barbados on Friday 9th January, we expect to be at sea for about three weeks.