Cape Verdes Arrival

Tue 22 Jan 2013 16:09
16:53.17N 24:59.5W

Yay! We arrived yesterday about 4am. It was a long night, getting excited as we got closer then waiting for the illusive first glimpse of land. That was longer coming than we'd hoped as, as we'd been warned, the lighthouses weren't functioning, so the first lights were shore lights. It was partly cloudy so it wasn't until the cloud lifted that we were able to see the outline of the mountains of Santo Antao against the night sky - goodness they were higher than I thought, that star was actually a light on one of the peaks.

The channel between the islands is rather gusty and there's a 2 knot current pushing you down so we went carefully and slowly along, but the island in the mouth of Mindelo had a light so it was easy to find our way safely into the bay. Once in there was a confusion of lights, but we had studied the charts well and Phil had been here two years ago, so creeping forwards at 2 knots with Ben on the bow as lookout, Steve with the searchlight midships, Phil helming and me... just kind of trying to be where I was useful, we made our way between the large semi derelict ships moored in the bay, past the ferry port, around the wrecks and into the anchorage.

During the bumpy voyage some bights of anchor chain had fallen on top of other bits of the chain, so we had to keep stopping to free it as we tried to anchor but very soon we were securely in place, we opened some celebration cava and then tumbled into our bunks.

By 8am we were pumping the dinghy for Phil to go check us into the island and see if we could transfer to the marina. We got the boat checked in all right but the immigration were harder to pin down, our third try at 2:30 in the afternoon finally got us all stamped in, by which time we'd come and moored stern to the pontoon.

Once we had all the official stuff sorted we went to look around a little and went to the 'yacht club' for a beer (photos to follow). This place is utterly enchanting. It has a very African feel, with its outside living and open friendliness, but with the sophistication of European Portugal. I've not been able to sort out internet yet but when I do I'll post some pictures and you can see for yourselves the tall, handsome coffee coloured men and women, the cacophony of colourful buildings, the splendid old fashioned trucks and pickups (that double as taxis) and the stray dogs sleeping in the sun all around. I fed one already, she wanted to adopt me, (but not as much as I wanted to adopt her!) however we CAN'T so I have to be sensible - at least, not until after New Zealand.

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