We are just at our stopover in the marina of Mindelo, the capital of Sao Vincente in the Cape Verde Islands. Since days we are ventilated by a strong wind in the marina close to the city. Ironic, because the last two days before our arrival we had zero wind and had to motor. Exactly when we entered the bay of Mindelo on Saturday night in pitch darkness, the fan turned up properly and hasn’t stopped since.
We entered as third catamaran, but we were sent back because of our very honest and accurately reported engine hours. But this first leg was also a teaching and training course for us. We were able to test all the different sails and also improve the manoeuvres. We are now prepared for the more important route to St. Lucia. But first we have to work through our new work list. This time it is the navigation and radio that urgently need help. Why can’t this stupid list remain empty?
The Cape Verdeans are obviously very happy that there are finally some visitors again, even if only the crews of our 24 ships. The normal tourism is not yet running, despite good C19 values. However, wearing masks is a bit tedious at 30 degrees. I think the most important thing for the locals is hope. After our trips over Sao Vincente and the unbelievably beautiful San Antao, the people have impressed us extremely and gained the utmost respect. I have no idea how the people here survive and yet they dance and sing at every opportunity.
Even before C19 Cape Verde was a poor state and as some locals told us, it is not very well governed and corrupt. Of course we cannot judge that, but with the great potential of these islands, the people should be much better off. In the streets you can still see many people without shoes and this is certainly not for orthopaedic reasons.
The 500,000 inhabitants of the 9 inhabited islands had to cope with extreme drought even before tourism was discontinued. Sao Vincente is dust-dry, practically nothing grows here any more. Desalination plants help to supply a little water, but many people and villages do not have running water. Many of them also have no electricity. Although the land is kissed by the sun and spoiled by the wind, there is no sign of sustainable energy production. As if to threaten, there are a number of windmills above Mindelo, all of which are broken. The tourist islands Sal and Boa Vista have no visitors and no income.
The entire fleet seems to be in the same situation as we are. We enjoyed the evenings in the restaurants here. To the delicious food there were always some musicians playing live. A wonderful atmosphere. I keep my fingers crossed that soon tourists will fly in again to continue the trip. The Cape Verde Islands have earned it.
We take these points of contact and impressions with us, but our journey will soon continue to the other side of the Atlantic.
The start of our second route has been moved from Thursday to Friday. This was necessary because otherwise the C19 protocol would probably not have worked. We all had to go for a PCR test again and if everything is negative we are allowed to enter St. Lucia – 14 days at sea provided.
As I write this, a damaged Vendee Globe ship is towing itself into the bay. The Corum has lost the Master and with it the race.
We are now setting off on the 2,200 nm long journey and are looking forward to the first rum punch in the Caribbean. Around St. Nicholas Day in Advent we should arrive in Rodney Bay in St. Lucia. Stay healthy and in a good mood /Holger Binz
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)