|São Nicolao is no official port of entry and exit,
therefore we had to go to Mindelo on
São Vicente. According to JW it was a spectacular trip, many magnificent
, a great sail and lots of sunshine, while P remained down below with a
That was the second reason for going to Mindelo, as in the Cape-Verdian
capital the best possible medical assistance is available. Going to a
hospital is an adventure in iteself, the system of intake and administration is incomprehensible but everybody is kind and helpful. The ophtalmologist was
very strict and this might be really necessary over here. Out on the
streets you see all around people with infections of eyes or skin. The
wind funnels through the mountains, blowing lots of sand around. And if
the sand is full of bacteria...
The good thing about Mindelo is that it is a great place to stay. The anchor bay is
very sheltered, with excellent holding (like all around in CV), the boatboys
are not bothersome and the town is bustling. Built in Portuguese
colonial style: many narrow streets with cobbled stones. Women are selling
fruit&veg and fish in the streets but there are also covered markets.
Mindelo's colonial name is Porto Grande and there are quite some
reminiscents to the 19th century, when it was one of the biggest Atlantic ports.
The old customs house adds to the feeling
of decayed international grandeur.
But Mindelo still has style; there is even a Clube Náutico with
live music every night!
In daytime you see and especially: hear drumbands all over town; this is
because of the elections coming up soon. PHOTO
our “obligatory” stay we of course had time for small trips. And in
the meantime we found out that the name Cabo Verde gives a totally wrong
impression of the archipel, as it is in general far from green. Cabo Verde is
actually the name of the cape near Dakar (Senegal), so called by its
explorer who arrived after a sailing trip along the Sahara coast. Yeah
everything seems green then.
The 10 islands are very different from each other. The easterly
islands, like Sal and Bõa Vista, are the result of vulcanic eruptions of about 20 million years ago, and have suffered
ever since from wind
and weather (erosion). The ruined vulcano's on those furthermore flat
islands are only 400 m high. São
Nicolao, São Vicente and also Santo Antão are only 2 million years old and have much higher
summits. The vulcan on the island of Fogo is still active, with a recent
outburst in 1995.
On the Canaries we saw some drake trees, which were presented as a tourist attraction (on Tenerife one pays 4 euros to see the tree
behind a fence in a parc), but here you find them all over the place. For free and
they are huge! PHOTO
The biggest trees are 10 m high and giants in comparision to the Canary drake
else is growing here: banana's (very tasty), mango,
papaya, potatoes (deliciously sweet), corn, beans, tomatoes, onions,
carrots, beet roots and lettuce, so we don't starve here. The
Cape-Verdians eat fish and the langoust is an important export product.
For us, meat is only available in the fridge so we don't buy that. If you
live here, people come by your door if a cow or pig is going to be
slaughtered, and then you order a piece.
The ports in Santo Antão are not
enough to take a sailing yacht PHOTO
but the ferry takes you there within an hour. By aluguer into the
mountains, over that good old cobbled road again, a nervewrecking ride.
The wetter the road (the north of Santo Antão is blessed with lots
of rain, which gives fertile soil; there are even sugar and coffee
plantations) the drivers drive faster, and coincidentally we had a rather
rainy day. The roads are constructed on the grates of the summits and the
slopes are incredibly steep. PHOTO
gives an idea, as far as a photo can show the dramatic effect of the
near abysses. They say Santo Antão is the most beautiful island of Cabo Verde
(even more beautiful than São Nicolao),
and as far as we can see now (score: 5 out of 10 islands) we agree. It is
beautiful and really off the beaten track. We try to imagine the situation in 10 years from
now, when real estate builders have explored the area and start building.
On the Canaries it was once as quiet as it is still over here.