Cape Verde

My exhaustion overshadowed the excitement when we arrived in Mindelo, so after the celebratory beer, a nice shower and some dinner I went to bed really early with a massive head ache. Thomas was doing better and he walked around the marina, took a good look at all the moored boats and got up early the next day to get fresh bread. Thomas is much better at taking naps at sea, handing over responsibility and going down below to relax. I guess I have a much harder time doing that so I ended up claiming most of the day shifts. That’s just to blame on myself and to be worked on during the next longer passage! I think its better not to only define night shifts, but also the day shifts so everyone shares the same responsibilities.

Cape Verde is an independent archipelago, so we had to check in to get stamps in our passports and mom had to get a visum to be able to fly out of the country. This all only took a few minutes and not more paperwork than a normal marina check-in procedure. We toured around the city afterwards, got a simcard for internet, visited an abandoned fort and the city beach.

The building style in Mindelo consists of a mix from modern and colonial architecture. The colourful houses reminded my mom and me of Paramaribo. The people are extremely pretty: the majority is tall, young and athletic. When we went on a day trip to Santa Antaõ (opposite of Mindelo) and walked the streets at 6:30 in the morning, the boulevard was packed with joggers of all ages.

Santa Antaõ was like nothing we had ever seen. A lush, green, tropical island like an oasis in the middle of all the dry volcanic islands. The cliffs are very steep and where possible terraced for agriculture. The island has a few natural wells, keeping the island green even in dry years as this one. It usually rains in August, but this year it stayed dry. Its a national disaster: the plants are dying, rivers have run dry and prices for fresh produce are through the roof. The local farmers are receiving loans from the government to prevent the live stock from starvation. At Santa Antaõ, the water from the wells is redistributed through water point over the island for the inhabitants and agriculture. There aren’t many people living on the island and it isn’t very touristic at all.

We shared a tour in a minivan with a dutch couple we met on the ferry to the island. They have crossed the Atlantic on a sailboat 25 years ago, and had many great stories to tell about the dynamics between 11 people on a 16 meter boat. Their captain was a bit unprepared and finished building the boat while on passage. I’m glad times have changed and that our boat is way better prepared than theirs was..!

We said goodbye to my mom on Saturday and decided to stay in the marina for one more day before moving to the anchorage. A lot of younger couples had arrived, and we were excited to finally meet some fellow cruisers. In the Med it was quite difficult to make friends, mostly because everyone was enjoying a week or two of holiday on their own ‘island’ (boat) and was not keen on being social. Here, everyone is cruising and traveling for a longer period of time so there is a totally different atmosphere. I really like that, I love Thomas but its also nice to talk to other people, especially sailors who are in the same situation as we are!

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