Capo Verde

Route: Mindelo(Sao Vincente) – Tarrafal de Sao Nicolao – Vale dos Cavaleros(Fogo) – Mindelo(Sao Vincente)
Date: 29/10-09/11/2023
Miles/hours: 281nm/63h

On October 30, I’m going to pick up the yacht and sailing papers in the morning. There is a queue at the port police office, but it moves quickly. At 11 a.m. we leave Mindelo towards the island of Saint Nicolas. We sail half the way on the engine, but the last 2 hours we sail on sails. The weather is beautiful, although there is little wind, but that was the forecast, so no one expected long sailing. After the time change, it gets dark around 6:30 p.m., so we arrive at the anchorage in Terrafal in the dark.

On October 31, Tomek and I sail to the beach and set out to look for the police. When asked, the locals give different versions, but two of them overlap, so we go in that direction. The police station is at the hospital in the southern part of the city. The policeman takes one receipt and gives the other, I also give him the printed crew list. He doesn’t look at the passports, but gives me a form to fill out, and he doesn’t want the yacht’s documents because I check in straight away. Otherwise, I would have to leave my registration certificate and collect it on the day of departure (this is what it says on the form I fill out). When I asked the policeman for directions to Monte Gordo (a policeman from Mindelo recommended it to us), I got the answer that I had to take a pick-up truck, but with a 4×4 drive. We go to the central square and ask the first pick-up driver. He takes us to his brother and they exchange cars. We go to the parking lot at the entrance to the mountain – first on the road, then on the forest road – here we really need a 4×4 drive. We go upstairs. The road leads through the jungle, green everywhere. It takes us almost an hour to reach the peak (1,312 m above sea level) and about ½ hour to descend. The driver is waiting for us. We return to Tarrafal de San Nicolau. We return by boat to Pluskata, eat lunch, and after lunch, part of the crew goes ashore to visit the city. They come back in the dark.

On November 1, the rest of the crew sails ashore with the decision to climb Monte Gordo. They spend much more time, because the pick-up takes them much fare than us and they have a lot more to go. They pay €10 per person. We go out in the afternoon, but we eat dinner at sea. We sail towards Fogo

On November 2, we arrive at Vale dos Cavaleros at approximately 2:30 p.m. A native swims up to us and tells us to drop anchor close to the shore because a large ship is about to arrive. The large ship turns out to be a not-so-big ferry, so it’s quiet. With our guide, we arrange a trip to the large and small volcano for the next day at 5 am. I bargain for 250€ for 2 days for 8 people (at the beginning he wanted 280€, i.e. 20€ for transport per person in both directions, and the rest for him for “guidance”. I go with the papers from the previous port to the police – this time they are looking at the passports. I fill it out application for a large ship (including information on how many tons of fuel I have refueled and how many passengers I have on board). I receive a check-in receipt for Santo Antao at the port of Porto Novo, but they say that we can also enter Tarrafal Santo Antao.

On November 3, at 5 a.m. we sail to the beach to meet our guide and set off to the large volcano. We go by bus and pick up a few French guys along the way. We start climbing at 7 am. It’s already bright, but cold. We climb the slope of the volcano. It is steep and the ascent requires good closed shoes – sandals are not an option. You can wear shorts, although a long-sleeved sweatshirt is recommended (there is a strong wind and you enter in the shade of the mountain). You need a guide to climb to the top (at least that’s what our guide says, and all groups we pass along the way – even single-person ones) have their own guide. You enter along a barely visible path of scree and stones. In the upper half of the route, the poles are more of a hindrance than a help, although they are very useful at the beginning of the ascent. It takes us 2.5 hours to reach the top, although the standard time is 3-3.5 hours. We reach an altitude of 2770 m above sea level. At the top we eat sandwiches, and Mateusz and Michał climb to the very top – the entrance is secured with chains, but our guide claims that you cannot go there without additional security. The boys return safe and sound and we set off down the path on the other side of the volcano. You have to be very careful because it’s easy to throw a stone onto the person in front and slip off yourself. There are no large stones left halfway up the mountain, so we boldly slide down to the edge of the crater of a small volcano. The volcanic sand we slide down is sharp, so there are some minor scratches. At the bottom, we pour “tons” of sand from our shoes, bandage the larger wounds (mainly the French), a small photo session and then we go down. On the way, our guide calls a pub in the town in the crater, but he claims that they do not have lunches for 7 people, but they do have coffee. After reaching the place, it turns out that there is both coffee and dinner. Lunch costs 1000 CVE, plus beer, wine and coffee, it is about 15 € per person.

. Payment by card costs 3% extra. There is internet in the pub. After lunch we go to the beach and return to the yacht.

November 4, the rest of the crew goes on a trip. This time they start at 9 am, because their program only includes a small volcano. Finally, they pay extra €20 per person and go on a trip around the island.
They come back in the afternoon very happy. People who stay on the yacht swim, sleep and take care of the yacht.

On November 5, after baking another bread, around noon we raise the anchor and set off towards Santo Antao. We have over 130 nautical miles to swim. We are sailing in full breeze and the wind is about 19 kn, so it’s quite nice. Mateusz releases the line with bait and the fishing rod. Soon the multiplier on the fishing rod begins to rattle – a fish has been caught. We try to pull it out, but unfortunately the line breaks. In a moment, another fish catches the released line. This time we pull it right up to the yacht – it is about half a meter long, unfortunately the connector from the leader breaks off and the fish and the bait swim away. Too bad, there would be dinner for the whole crew. At night it dies for an hour, so we turn on the engine, but soon it starts blowing again.

On November 6, before noon, we notice land – it’s Sao Vincente. The wind is getting stronger and stronger, with wind gusts exceeding 33kn – it’s a good 7B or 8B. We reduce the mainsail and jib. After getting closer, we decide to sail to Mindelo instead of Santo Antao. This is a good decision, because we can only stay in the marina until November 9, then the ARC arrives. We need to move to the anchor. In the afternoon we enter the marina and moor with the bow on the buoys and the stern to the shore.

November 7 is a day for a yacht. We wash clothes, I do the paperwork with the police and Tomek and I look for a solar panel to replace the one that broke. It turns out that Google has the right store address but the wrong location. The third time, and with the help of another store’s staff, we manage to find the right Pure Energy store. The owner, informed by the staff of the previous store, was already waiting in front of the entrance. It turned out that they had exactly the right panel, so we bought it together with a rail for mounting it. All you have to do is carry it to the yacht. The panel is 120×60 in size and it’s quite windy, so it’s funny, but in the end it works. In the evening we go for dinner to a pub opposite the marina. We eat a typical dish from the Cape Verde Islands – catchupa, which is a mixture of everything: corn, peas, meat, cabbage and whatever they had there – a thick soup.

On November 8, we take a ferry to the neighboring island of Santo Antao. When leaving the ferry, a man accosted us and suggested we explore the island. The offer starts from €200 and ends at €120 for 5 people.
The plan is to visit the north-eastern part of the island. We are driving north through the mountains, we were supposed to admire the Agua de Calderias crater, but there is fog and rain, so it’s white all around 🙁
We reach Riviera Grande – the capital of the island, but there is nothing interesting there, so we continue to see banana plantations and a natural park, where we take a half-hour walk.
We see typical local houses covered with sugar cane leaves. The next point on the program is Ponta do Sol – a summer resort, where we stop for coffee and juice, and then we go to the town of Paul it means water there is a water and…grog factory. We visit a grog factory, try different types and buy a bottle of hibiscus liqueur. We drive a bit further through the valley and return to the port. At 4 p.m. we take the ferry and return to Mindelo.

On November 9, I managed to extend my stay in the marina until November 10 at noon. Tomek installs a newly purchased panel.

On November 10, Michał leaves in the morning, Tomek goes to the city to look for an air vent (unfortunately he doesn’t find it), and we prepare the yacht, buy another 200 liters of water (100 CVE/100 liters each), fill up the tank, then I return the entry cards and at 12 we leave. On the way, we stop at a gas station and fill up (fuel costs 138CVE/l). We anchor near Ti’am’s familiar yacht. Iza arrives in the afternoon, so I go to check us out.

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