Goodbye Cape Verde islands

Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Thu 7 Mar 2013 23:03
Looking back on our last few days in the Cape Verdes  . . . Part 2 

[Perhaps there are too many pics in this episode, but it was impossible to choose - the immediacy of the volcano which is Fogo was absolutely stunning.]

A couple of days later we finally managed to get the 7.30am ferry to Fogo, a comfortable trip of less than an hour.  We walked down the coast from the ferry harbour into Sao Filipe, the main town. 

Sao Filipe - the capital - has formal gardens to suit

After breakfast of Cachupa (the Cape Verdean national dish of stewed maize and beans) with an egg on top, we hired a car to take us to the crater.  Fogo is one big, active volcano, rising 8,000m from the sea bed, 3,000m being above sea level. The last eruption was less than 20 years ago.  The southern slopes are gentle and dotted with villages and a good deal of agriculture.  Here were plantations of bananas, mangoes and other fruits, a sprinkling of coconut palms and lots of papaya trees as well as fields of the staples: maize and beans.

Final approach to the caldera

So far but no further - just below the rim.  (It's not fly tipping!)

The roads were pretty rough until we started climbing up to the rim of the caldera.  Here a new tarmac road makes the final ascent easier.  The views are stunning but when reaching the crater rim and turning inside everything changes dramatically. 

In we go . . .

The scenery is of overwhelming devastation - and very evocative, being so freshly created.  A cobbled road winds its way through an area covered in massive boulders and across vast lava flows.  You can easily imagine what it must have been like to experience being rained on by boulders and to watch the onward march of the lava flow destroy everything in its path.

The little cone in front was the 1995 eruption . . .

  . . . so that's what a river of molten rock looks like, after 18 years to cool down

The road leads to a village that survived this assault and has since been rebuilt.  Despite the volatile situation it's home to quite a few.  The resilience of the Cape Verdean people is humbling.

Living in the shadow                                                             It looiks as if it should still be warm

The rebuilt village

Returning to the outside we drove around the north of the island which is steeper and littered with older lava flows but still supports a surprising number of villages. 

The 1951 lava flows breached the rim of the caldera . . .

 . . . and made their way to the ocean

Mosteiros - the largest coastal village, facing north east

fertile valleys on the north west coast

The road on the northwest side is being rebuilt so it was slow going and got back to Sao Filipe with little time to spare before catching the return ferry to Brava.

The next day we got ready in earnest, making a trip up to Nova Sintra for last minute provisions: frozen chicken and pork, and fresh vegetables.  We were able to fill some water jerries and change our gas cylinder in Furna, making sure we were topped up ahead of our 3 week voyage.  John-John untied our shorelines and we were off - but we didn't leave that day.  We motored around the coast and anchored at Baia dos Ferreiros, looking up at the village we'd visited a few days earlier.  Local fishermen showed us where to anchor and exchanged some red garoupers for our remaining Escudos.  That evening another yacht came into the anchorage after dark - a Portuguese registered boat, that is also on its way to Brazil.  After a quiet, but sometimes rolly, night we had a leisurely start with little wind for the first 12 hours or so, motoring to charge up the batteries and satisfy the fridge.