The approach was dramatic with incredible mountain ranges. It took a little longer to actually get there than expected after we saw them. There was a very short dolphin visit but they were busy and in a hurry to get somewhere but a pleasure to see them nonetheless.
We got tied up, said hi to our Danish neighbors (two boats on our rally) and then a shower and out to explore Mindalo of the Cape Verdes! It is very cool, we went to a couple of places to check out the local frivolity. We had a lovely evening.
The town is very colorful, and it is buzzing with life. Why do cultures lose their color when they become more affluent? This place seems to be a delicious combination of African and Portuguese culture.
We found a gorgeous beach nearby and spent the afternoon there with the families on the two Danish boats. It was fun to go for a swim, pick seashells and run around and play football. The sense of community on the rally is fabulous. Two German boats are here as well and they came by with hugs and checking on our spreader. We are talking about all leaving together.
All the while, we were giving our attention to the boat and the repairs that need doing. Our crew have been amazing and generous with their time. The spreader issue turned out to be a false alarm but there was still work to do up there. Jon and Kevin worked on that. Tina has been repairing our snubber, she has been splicing it. The ball bearings we found on the deck halfway between Tenerife and Cape Verde turned out to be the car that holds the pole to pin out the sail from here to Barbados. We are considering the timing very lucky since we could fix it here. We could not get the parts we needed, but Kevin and Jon came up with a solution and a Plan B. Plan A is complete, using new ball bearings and epoxy. It was a long process and Kevin and Jon worked together on it.
Tina and I started on the decks which had sections that needed recaulking. When the decks are 19 years old, the caulking lifts in long strips and can lead to potential leaks into our living space. We hope we are not taking advantage of our crew, but this is the first conducive weather we have had in two months and with high seas we were concerned every time we saw waves over the decks. It took most of the day, finishing up with head torches. Tina and I did a lot of the prep, removing the old stuff and scraping and cleaning the areas and then taping the sides. Later I was caulking, Jon was removing the tape. This job is really messy, and Kevin was always there with some paper towels or trash bag as we worked our way around, he even cleaned up Teo when he stepped in the stuff! We were worn out when we left the boat for dinner.
We continue to do chores like shopping and laundry and then treated ourselves to a tour of the island. Our guide, Felix, took us up to the highest point where all the telephone masts and TV antennae are, and we enjoyed the view but also checked out the grasshoppers, ladybirds, and butterflies. The winding road up was steep and full of hairpin turns, sharp cliffs down thousands of feet and tall rocky peaks into the sky. Next, was a colorful village with a gorgeous beach, which is the site of an international music festival. Even though it is 30 degrees C, it is winter here and place was deserted except for some fishermen who showed us their catch. We stopped at a sand dune with honey golden sand and within seconds Tina and Teo were racing down, jumping and turning cartwheels. Felix gave us tidbits of information along the way, like how the overfishing is effecting the community and how the shark population is increasing. Just a short drive down the road was the beach hosting a surf school and Teo couldn’t hold back any longer; he threw himself into the sea fully clothed. I don’t know who was smiling wider, Teo or Felix who was giggling to himself. We went to the base of a volcano and saw a blow hole before heading back to Mindelo. The trip back was also full of photo ops with kids walking home from school, windmills and farmland with papayas and bananas and a spider city. Felix grabbed one to show us they were harmless. Every country has their issues with their government, but it feels heavy to see the new housing standing there ready for people to move in, and then to be told they never have the right paperwork. From what he was telling us the Cape Verde people are very happy with their lives and feel in their hearts they are African, Portuguese and pull for the Brazilians when it comes to football.
The remainder of the Atlantic Odyssey fleet have been discussing when to leave and, after some debate, we agreed to leave on Saturday at noon. In the last week we’ve met many other lovely boat crews who are also planning on leaving on the same day, so it should be a fun start! With the leaving day set we then go started working on the last few preparations, filling with fuel, topping up water, a trip to the market for fresh fruit and a couple of runs to a supermarket for more basics.
In the last few days Teo has also had the pleasure of many more boat kids coming around, along with the six kids from the two Danish boats from the rally, we’ve also had the company of two lovely girls from Emerald Bay, a boy and a girl from Blue Zulu and others we met in Santa Cruz.
So we’re ready as we’ll ever be and all have Itchy Feet.