Grayhound arrived in Palmeira on the island of Sal. Palmeira is a small fishing village with a new break water. Small cruise ships are starting to come, tourism is in its infancy but feels like it’s growing quickly. With no hotels there one of our voyage crew stayed in a local fisherman’s house in the village prior to coming on board. Locals are keen to make money from the visitors but with a friendly approach . Here in this tiny village life goes on around you and its a pleasure to witness it. Fisherman sell their fish on the quay, peoples homes are basic and open to see. Little tiny front rooms sell basic dry goods, the odd tin of this or that. The bakery is a tiny concrete room with a bed in the corner and a few loafs under some tea towels.
We took a bus ride to the bigger town a short bus ride away to try and find fresh fruit and veg. The buses are all Toyota Hias and they are every where. They hover around touting for trade until the bus is full and off they go. Locals seemed pretty non fussed about us white Europeans getting in their bus, they were more intrigued by little Malachi and his mop of blond hair.
The bigger town has bizarre Christmas decorations up ( feels strange to be nearly Christmas in this hot dry climate) women selling bananas line the streets so I get one for Malachi…and fresh herbs coriander and parsley yummmm green fresh things !
The super markets are better stocked than I remember from five years ago but still very sparse compared to what we are used to. A few yams and sweet potatoes, shrivelled up apples and cabbage. How do I make dinner from this I wonder. Meal times are going to have to change , rice and beans is the local staple so it will be for us too. My freezer is full of garden peas and meat from Tenerife but it is to last us six weeks so I will have to be canny.
Quite pleased with my purchases I find frozen broccoli in the freezer , fresh papaya and some natural yoghurt so we can start to make our own.
Marcus’ brother Guy arrived to spend a week with us and the rest of our crew arrived Ali and Phil both ex policemen, unknowingly from the same division. Button stays on from the previous voyage.
We bought some food for supper and made a banana cake for pudding every one settles in…Marcus helped a cruising boat diagnose a problem with their engine and sent them ashore to ask for a welder. Sure enough they found one who not only fixed it but made them a spare. These islands still have a strong sense of fix it culture . Next morning we still ask , where is the wind ? We start off early for Sao Nicolau West of Sal about 93 miles away but still no wind and it’s hot. Sao Nicolau is a island I had previously visited five years ago and lots had changed. Lots of building along the fore shore for one, tourism is arriving here in a serious way. A French cruise ship in the anchorage shows another change, before you saw just a scattering of yachts. Once anchored we all jumped in and had sea showers and sat on deck eating fresh papaya and oranges . Later a gig row ashore where we were met by a group of kids wanting to be boat watchman while we are away. Always a bit of a shock to know how to handle all these eyes wanting your coins that are in your wallet. We set off up the beach our crew set off to the other side of the island on a Toyota bus while Marcus and myself set about trying . Once all where back on board that evening we all started to feel the effects of a slight virus that stayed with us for about five days effecting most people on board which was a bit miserable. But every one rallied around and kept the boat a happy place. Mindelo on the Island of Sao Vicente was the next stop for fuel and water and a trip around Santo Antao. There is now a big marina in Mindelo which this year hosted the ARC plus rally again another sign of change in these islands. The marina was chaotic with no one seemingly to be in charge. We nestled our way in and filled our empty fuel tanks with diesel. Then for the sake of ease getting ashore and for getting water we found ourselves a fore and aft mooring in the marina for a couple of nights. This meant the guys who were feeling well enough could enjoy the evening bars and live music in the city and a shore party could explore the neighbouring island Santo Antao the next day.
What a great day that was. The guys got the foot ferry to Santo Antao and hired a Aluguer ( a open back pick up with bench seats in the back) They drove across the old cobbled roads through the pine forests and across the top of the mountains and ravines to the other side of the island. They took the driver out to a local cafe for a bite of lunch. Visited the old fishing towns and drove home arriving back just in time for one of Freya’ much loved pizza nights and fresh salad from the market. Every one seemed to be well again and ready for the major sail of the trip to Santiago 150 miles away.
After a exciting sail south of Santiago through the acceleration zones we sailed through the night and arrived late morning in Baia do Tarrafal on the island Santiago.
We ended the voyage in Praia, the capital of the Cape Verde