Mindelo / Sao Vicente / Cape Verde Islands

On our first day we just roamed through the city of Mindelo. The wind was all the time blowing like hell with very strong gust. According to the sailors who had been here for some longer time already this is not the normal wind speed.
We came to a market where they were selling all sorts of things among others we got a new 12V-Charger to charge our smartphones via USB cable. The one I had broke on the trip here.


Market in  Mindelo

Market in Mindelo

The next day we spent with repairing the toilet and the holder of the lee board (Leebrett an der Koje) on port side.
Many of the other sailors we had met between Lisbon and Las Palmas are here as well. It is always a joyful feeling to see an old acquaintance and to hear their story how they got here. One boat for example experienced a knock down (when the boat is heeled over by a wave or wind gust to 90°) and got 250 litres of water into the boat.
We also went to the immigration office and the marine police to fulfill the entry formalities. But that was an easy and straightforward proces, if you had your papers in order. Meaning you need the ships papers, the passports of all crewmembers and two crew lists (one for each authority). I had only one so I had to quickly fill out another one.
Then we explored the local beach. The water is beautifully turquoise green and the sand quite white but it was also very windy. So when you laid flat on your back in the sun, in the wind gusts the sand was blown against your shoulder and it felt like sand blasting (Sandstrahlen). Thanks to the hot tropical sun it was warm enough during the day despite the water is here only 20° C warm.
On Friday evening a swiss sailor and I had set up a Couchsurfing meeting but only one local showed up who was actually Portuguese.

Life music in a Mindelo pub

Life music in a Mindelo pub

But some other sailors were there, for example two you Danish sailors who had just arrived from Las Palmas that afternoon and an Austrian couple who are our neighbours in the marina. The local guy later showed us around to some nice pubs and a discotheque on the beach. Because that evening a popular DJ was playing many people, mostly women were queuing. We took a table in the first row of the bar that was above the discotheque and where everybody had to pass along because that was leading to the entrance. So we got a good impression of who would be in the discotheque. Many beautifully dressed up women.
Being in a place like this with a boat takes all your mental power to get accustomed to the place because one has not only to orientate one self in the new environment but at least in our case we also had to take care of certain things on the boat and we had to plan the next leg of our trip. It is not like with a plane or ferry where your only worry is to be there at the right time. No, every decision you have to take yourself and it is absolutely down to only your responsibility when you leave.
The result is that walking again and again the same streets does not become boring.
But on Sunday Markus, a fellow sailor from another boat, and I checked out two places where people were preparing for the weekly Sunday pre-carneval parade. It was a really poor neighbourhood without any cars, no paved roads and not many streetlamps. But the people seemed to enjoy their Sunday afternoon with some guys practicing the Samba drums.

Street Pre Carneval Drums Dressed up



























And on Monday Sören and I went by taxi to the other side of the island and climbed onto a quiet volcano by taxi. A young man of 19 years had recommended us the taxi. It was one of his friends. The young man had talked to us in the street asking whether we could buy him some writing blocks. At first I was astonished about this to my mind a bit peculiar wish but he explained that he has not much money and that he really needs the writing blocks to finish his A-levels (Abitur). He pointed out that he did not want to ask for money to buy the blocks himself. It was important to him that I see that the money was really meant for the blocks. He later explained that he has already a 4 years old son and that he has to support the child, the mother and his own mother who is blind. He was dressed in neat and tidy clothes and spoke an excellent English. He lives in a village 12 km away from Mindelo and walks this distance every day which takes him 2,5 hours each direction. I asked whether he has a bicycle. He said yes but that he has a problem with it. He said he needs a new tyre which costs 7 Euros which he does not have. The house he and his mother are living in consists of two bedrooms and a kitchen and costs 50 Euros rent per month which they get as social welfare from the state. It shows how poor some people here are but he was very determined to finish his A-Levels because he wants to study medicine in Toulouse in France and become a radiologist. He said he would get a grant from the state of Cape Verde for which in return he will have to work as a physician for the State of Cape Verde afterwards.
Whether that is all true or not I do not know but it sounded credible (glaubhaft) so I agreed to buy him two blocks for 2,80 Euros each.
It makes in so far sense if you know that the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita is 3810 US-Dollars in Cape Verde http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/capeverde_statistics.html
compared to 44000 US-Dollars in Germany http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/germany_statistics.html
. That is 11,5 of the income in the Cape Verde Islands. And that is only the average, meaning that there are many people who earn even less than that.

The village next to that volcano was also very basic. No paved roads and more surprisingly literally no cars although there were some 30 houses. Only occasionally a Toyota bus showed up, apperantly some kind of bus service. But there was a little restaurant where after our climb we had dinner.


in the Taxi dwellings dry landscape street of village view from the volcano the volcano we climbed on the volcano















































On Tuesday there was a holiday here, the day of the national here Amilcar Cabral, who played a role in the fight for independence, so we could not make our shopping. Instead we just hung out a bit with the other sailors and read in our books.

So Wednesday 21. we did the shopping and went to the immigration office and the maritime police to declare our departure. And I dived the hull to clean it from algies so that we are faster.

And now, Thursday noon as I write this, we are about to leave to Rodney Bay on St. Lucia in the Caribbean where we normally should arrive in 17 to 20 days, i.e. between 8th and 11th February 2015.