|Limbo anchored off Mindelo|
We spent a couple of days exploring Mindelo , which has some real history to it. It was a major coaling station for refuelling steam ships and then a hub for transatlantic cables, so has always had more importance than its remoteness might suggest. Nowadays, it feels lively and prosperous, but still very African. Street sellers offer fish and bananas, lazy dogs lie on the pavements and makeshift cafes offer Strela, the local beer, in faintly colonial surroundings. The climate is extremely pleasant, with constant mid-twenties temperatures but little humidity (at this time of year, at least!). We swum from the town beach, where we spent a while watching the impressive acrobatics of some local guys, a half-buried buoy creating a makeshift trampoline.
|The beach, a 15 minute walk from our anchorage|
|On the ferry|
|The impressive landscape of Santo Antao|
|In the clouds|
Watching fishing boats enter Ponta do Sol, a tiny fishing harbour, in a big swell was a real experience – only expert timing ensured they kept off the rocks. We also visited a Grogue factory , where oxen walk in circles to power the sugar cane press to create a powerful (if somewhat rustic…) spirit.
It’s also been good to meet the similarly-aged crews of some
more small boats. We’d heard about Emma
and Stuart on Amorosa, a Sadler 25, from both Phil and Sara and our friends on
Selkie, so had been looking forward to catching up. We found them anchored behind us one
morning. We all went for drinks and live
music at the Club Nautico, a nearby open-air bar and sailors’ meeting place,
and enjoyed swapping experiences.
They’re heading for the Caribbean too, and leaving at about the same
time, so we should be able to keep in touch by VHF for at least some of the
crossing and we're looking forward to seeing them again soon.
|Entering Ponta do Sol. Verging on the suicidal..|
|Fishing boats hauled out of the water|
|The end product!|
While sailing sub-26 foot boats across oceans might seem reasonably minimalist (Limbo is actually 25’10’’!), we’re cruising in lavish surroundings compared to Capucine and Maxim on Tari Tari - a Bangladeshi fishing boat, almost as long as Limbo, but not much more than a canoe, and made from a jute-based resin. At supper on Lochmarin, we heard that sailing her involves constant wetness, lukewarm food (you have to hold the stove in one hand and the pan in the other..) and the threat of being rolled over; Capucine described how the mast had been in the water at least 5 times on the trip over here. She knows what she’s doing, having sailed Mini Transats and Class 40s, but it’s still an awesome undertaking. Tari Tari was originally sailed from Bangladesh to France by a friend, and Capucine took on the challenge of taking her back, increasing awareness of how jute might be sustainably used as a boat-building material. Her blog: http://www.whereistaratari.blogspot.co.uk/