Dropped anchor in the Cape Verde
As we were rounding the last marker buoying the channel into the harbour we passed a fishing boat, I waved and he waved back - a good omen, I was going to like Sal.
At 8am local time we dropped the anchor in the crowded harbour of Palmeira, Ilha do Sal, Cape Verde Islands. We were pleased to arrive after seven days at sea.
Our passage from the Canaries was very pleasant as we had a gentle breeze pushing us all the way, though the sky was overcast most of the time and the temperature cool. This part of the Atlantic Ocean is so deep that nobody fishes here, it is also a long way from the shipping routes and we only saw four cargo vessels.
During the last 24 hours we reduced sail so as to slow down as we didn’t want to arrive in the dark. The Cape Verde Islands are notorious for navigation lights not working and seem to have more than their fair share of wrecks, many of them recent and several of them sailing boats that got it wrong.
Usually after a lengthy passage, crew just crash for a day or so until they start to feel human again, a strategy we generally adopt, however today being Friday we were running the risk of being 'illegal immigrants' for the week-end. We tidied up the deck, inflated the dinghy and headed into the village of Palmeira. Formalities were quickly dealt with, accelerating as 12 noon loomed. As the clock struck we were rapidly expelled from the police station so wandered off in the direction of the local town where we hoped to find a bank. The ‘two miles’ mentioned in the pilot looked like a long way across a desert landscape so Franco negotiated a bus ride for 1 Euro.
Everyone we met was friendly, the lifestyle is relaxed and music and colour are everywhere.
Back in Palmeira we were watching yachts manoeuvring in the harbour vying for a better anchor spot out of the swell when we were approached by a street salesman. After the usual greeting and introductions he asked Franco: “is she your wife?” “[splutter splutter] errr, I s’pose so” came the answer. “A fine wife” said the salesman. His english was good but what terrible manners!
Palmeira anchorage, Ilha do Sal
The gas terminal
Sal - a barren landscape