Work day was really fun. After initial chores we had our first lecture/instruction on celestial navigation. Oh I do hope I can get this right. I really want to learn this, it’s so interesting and a super cool thing to know.
We then had painting to do. Mikey and I then went to the head rig(the pointy bit on the front of the ship) to tar and oil everything. Don’t think Gabe the bosun meant me as well, but that’s what happened. Basically all the shrouds etc that we stand on are traditional natural materials, they soak up salt water and rot really easily. The mixture of tar and oil protects these and makes them last longer. I am one personally fully water proofed. Covered in tar.
We were finally stood down from work at 5. A good fun day. Then Alison(chief mate) asked who wanted a swim. We set up a ladder on the starboard side of the boat and a group of us jumped in the water. It was amazing. The water is so warm here. Some of the younger members of the crew(not me) climbed up on the head rig and jumped and dived and backed flipped off. I can not express how much fun and how diverse your day is when you are a tall ship sailor.
This morning I was woken up by Hanna at 6:30. I have special permission to leave the ship before 8am muster. I got the skiff to shore and then a ferry to Santo Antao. the nearest island to Sao Vincente.
I arrived at Porto Novo at 9am and after a wander around found the place to be quite disappointing..
Jumped into a taxi to Rivieria Grande, the capital. An hours drive through some of the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen. The mountains literally fall into the sea. Villages sprout out of the rocks. Everywhere so dry, then a splash of colour hits you as you drive through a sugar plantation, or banana and breadfruit trees. They even grow coffee here. The taxi driver was delighted with my excitement and love of the place.
Rivieria was full of cheap ‘chinese’ tatty shops. Also there was no hotels open, or at least I couldn’t find any so I got a local ‘Alugar’ and traveled the additional 5klms to Ponte de Sol.
So pleased I did. It’s a small fishing village on the edge of the volcanic rock and sand beach nestled beneath the islands mountains. There small wooden fishing boats all lined up ready for the next trips out, the men all sitting playing cards under a small communal pergola/shelter. All laughing and shouting. I have found a bed and Breakfast place to stay in. And a fantastic small local restaurant which has served me a small dish of fish with vegetables and rice. Possibly one of the best lunches I have ever eaten. It was all spiced with lemon and ginger. Perfection.
I am over looking the Atlantic ocean drinking the local ‘fogo’ wine. Going for a siesta this afternoon before venturing out again tonight. A few places seem to have live music tonight. Should be fun.
Went for a cocktail or 2 made with the local ‘grogue’ and was joined by a German lady called Claudia. We sat and chatted about our adventures. I later met her again in a restaurant. It is a very safe place and I felt comfortable walking around on my own in this small village. Local music is being played everywhere.
A great nights sleep, got up and had a typical local breakfast. Large slice of very juicy Papaya(yes mum I did eat fruit). A large mug of the local coffee, homemade bread with local goats cheese, molasses and jams.
The whole feel of this Island is different form Sao Vincent.There are no beggars, there is plenty of employment in the tourist industry, food and coffee plantations and fishing.
I sat watching a local diving fisherman today wearing flippers, disappearing under the water for what seemed like an impossible time with out breathing apparatus. Later he was walking up the street carrying a bag of squid and a couple of large lobster.
The village is filled with a party atmosphere, children practising singing and dancing ready for this weekends carnival. The small children wearing drums round there necks made from empty food cans tied with string for the straps and hitting them with small sticks. The ladies walking around with curlers in there hair in readiness to dress up. So rustic yet such happy children, such a happy comfortable place. It’s a shame I have to leave so soon. I could easily have stayed here for a few more days, just watching the world.
I had fegoida (pork and bean stew) for lunch then at 2:30 climbed onboard a local shared taxi/mini bus and travelled back to Porto Novo to catch my ferry back to Mindelo and the ship.