Ihla do Sal,Cabo Verde
Sal, Cabo Verde - posted from Boavista, Saturday 17 December
We arrived on Sal, 16:45.16N 22:58.91W, one of the Cabo Verde islands, on Tuesday 13th December after a seven day passage from La Gomera of 806 miles. We sailed through lots of (we think) free-floating Sargassum weed as we approached Sal. Can anyone explain how the weed organises itself into long, distinct rows aligned with the direction of the wind?
It was windy when we arrived in Palmeira and the anchorage, tucked up in the corner of the harbour, seemed a bit crowded and I kept getting conflicting advice from other boats as to where best to anchor and, in the end, slightly discombobulated, we picked up a heavy rope mooring which we had to winch on board but instilled a high level of confidence that we would stay put.
Peter and Linda on the junk rigged Coka Chin were also at anchor and, we found out later, were leaving for Trinidad the next day.
All secure, we were able to inflate the dinghy and explore ashore and had a beer from the Coca-Cola kiosk on the front overlooking the fish dock. In the evening we found a basic bar serving barbeque food which was already on the grill but it took them an hour to rustle up the fries to go with it. Cabo Verde sells itself on being laid back and ‘no stress’.
Palmeira is a basic, functional, fish dock and oil terminal with no frills and the only tourist, other than us and a few other yachties, were bussed in from the resort of Santa Maria on the south of the island to photograph the fish gutting and enjoy excursions on a large catamaran. The locals were friendly, colourful, relaxed, very African in style and lived and outdoor existence.
The following day, after dealing with immigration/border formalities, Brian and I took a series of mini-buses to explore the island. It was a slow start but picked up after the local police ladies, working in conjunction with the lady in the Coca-Cola kiosk, explained we were waiting in the wrong place and took us to the bus stop. Actually, we realised later, if you are in approximately the correct location, the mini-bus drivers ‘collect’ customers, and don’t leave until they have a full load. Our first stop was Espargos, about 5km inland through barren landscape, and we walked around the town which was a step up from Palmeira in scale and provision and got haircuts, I was also given a shave - which was a first for me. At a lunch stop bar, we met the same English couple we had spoken to in a bar in Palmeira the previous evening, - it is a small island.
After lunch, now confident in our ability to master the mini-bus transport system, we went to the resort of Santa Maria located on the amazing beaches on the south of the island. The resort provided water sports of shapes from kite surfing and foiling to jet skis. Santa Maria was a big step up from Espargos with lots of shops, bars and restaurants to cater for the tourist trade; we walked to the beach for a dip, had a beer in a beach bar, bought bread and wended our way back to Palmeira.
On Thursday we majored on laundry, showers in a very public but friendly public bath house, buying a fish from the dock for dinner, some internet time and lunch back on board so that we could get the fish into the fridge. Later we went ashore to do more internet connection, check the weather forecast, shop for fresh food and bits and bobs, including some banana fibre baskets for fruit and vegetables. Tomorrow, we are heading to the island of Boavista.
Actually, I'm posting this from Boavista, forty miles south of Sal where we arrived yesterday, but will write about that another day.
All best, Tony, Brian and Morag