Cape Verdes Islands - Saturday 5th to Thursday 10th January

Thu 10 Jan 2013 21:35
                                                                              Arriving Mindelo on Friday 4th January                                                              
Spent the first day or two tidying ship and finding our way around. As we thought Mindelo is a fascinating and quirky place.  We were wary about security here as rumours were rife in the past. A recent pilot book says that the crime here is no longer a case of armed robbery but now just organised pilfering!  So far we have seen none of this and the marina seems reasonably secure.
The weather was clear and sunny on our arrival, but since then the Harmattan has set in . This wind blows dust from Africa over the islands producing a hazy mist through which the sun comes and goes throughout the day. It is not noticeable through breathing, but does lay down a fine layer of red dust over everything.
                                                                         View across harbour with Harmattan blowing!
Monday and Tuesday were declared as crew leave. We have taken it in turns (so as not to leave the boat unattended) to visit the neighbouring island of Santo Antao which is an hour away by ferry.  It was an unexpected treat. We were met by our Belgian guide Pascal who looked after us for the day. The island is completely different from Sao Vicente (which is rather barren). We travelled in his pick up climbing up a long cobbled road which wound its way for miles up the ancient volcano which forms the heart of the island.  Everyone we met all day seemed to radiate happiness. Pascal would regularly stop as he passed children walking to school and they would hop in the back of the pickup grinning from ear to ear. Most had miles to walk and although living in very primitive dwellings they were all immaculately dressed. The community spirit on the island is such that everyone helps everyone else which was heart warming to witness. Pascal appears to have fingers in many entrepreneurial pies and being a keen fisherman had recently introduced the concept of the smoking of fish to the island.  We now have some aboard Petronella to enjoy mid Atlantic!
                                                                       R&R in the local Club Nautico!!
A few more jobs to be sorted, a little bit of reprovisioning to be done and then we should be ready for the off tomorrow after a very pleasant stopover in the Cape Verdes Islands.