Getting up at 0700 isn’t the usual modus operandi for the crew of Lady Jane. It’s way too early for us laid-back cruiser folks. And besides, we had celebrated Maria’s birthday just a little too much the night before.
The reason for this blurry-eyed start to the day was a day trip to the neighbouring island of Santo Antao, specifically the northern part of the island that is better accessed by ferry rather than your boat. There are only two ferries per day between Mindelo and Santo Antao: one at 0800 and there other around 1600, so there was no choice other than to drag our cadaver-like carcasses out of bed.
A bunch of other zombie-looking Odyssey sailors joined this trip, so we met near the marina office and collectively shuffled together towards the ferry terminal a few hundred metres away from the marina. Luc, the rally coordinator, had arranged for a guide to meet us. The guide had, in turn, arranged for a driver to meet us on the other side.
The ferry is a beacon for clarifying you are far away from other countries with a clear maritime policy and an emphasis on health and safety. This rusting hulk of metal doesn’t have stabilisers, so it lists according to where the passengers move. And it doesn’t have much in the way of in-date life-rafts. The service due date on many was 11 years in the past. Still, the ferry floated, and it got us to our destination – although we did feel like lottery winners when we got off the boat.
We found our minibus and driver on the other side of a crowd of ticket floggers and tour guides who had massed outside the terminal building. One of the tour guides wanted to sell me a tour, even though I told him we are on a tour already. You have to admire the guy’s optimism.
From the sea, Santo Antao looks like any other Cape Verdean island: rock in shades of brown. Inside the island though, it takes on a very different appearance. It’s a beautiful tropical green. Papaya trees, banana plantations, breadfruit, taro, corn, aloe vera are there in abundance, rubbing branches and leaves with pine and açai trees to create a terraced landscape that rivals the tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. To say I was mildly surprised is a wild understatement; this is one of the most beautiful places Maria and I have visited.
The photographs may not be doing the place justice, and I can’t post as many as I would like as the internet is too slow at the moment. But if you get the chance to see this place, please do, it is stunning.
We also said farewell to Chris today. He has been with us from Tenerife to Cape Verde. Like many of the other boats here, Maria and I will be crossing the Atlantic to Barbados on our own.