After getting a tip from a charter boat skipper in Mindelo, the crew of three of the Islands Odyssey boats: Lady Jane, Mojito and JaJaPaMi sailed to Ilha de Santo Antao to go to a restaurant in Monte Trigo that offers to catch and cook fish to order. And after a gentle sail from Mindelo, we anchored at Baia do Monte Trigo late afternoon.
Soon after arriving, the fishermen from the restaurant came over to JaJaPaMi to help with the logistics of how to get all the people from the boats and to the restaurant. It was agreed that one of the boats should move to a mooring buoy near to the beach with all of us onboard so that the fishermen could ferry us ashore and back. And given that JaJaPami is the largest of the boats – they took on the job.
Unfortunately, we didn’t hear this over the radio, so when the fishermen came over to Lady Jane to pick us up and drop us over to JaJaPaMi. We thought this was a quick meet for drinks rather than a trip to the restaurant. So we arrived with no money, shoes or glasses. Skint, scruffy and blurry-eyed.
Sartorial elegance isn’t the priority of your average sailing cruisers, so the slightly over-worn t-shirt and shorts look didn’t cause distress to anyone, and the lack of shoes and cash was picked up by the JaJaPaMis.
An hour or so after moving to the mooring buoy, the fishermen came back to pick us up and shuttle us ashore. Because there is no jetty or landing stage here, the only way to get ashore is by landing on a pebbly beach where the swell clatters the fist-sized rocks. This beach is not something for a light dinghy, and it needs an expert hand. Fortunately, these fishermen are precisely that. It didn’t ease the pain of walking over those pebbles though. Those things are not for the soft-of-feet like me. I found myself scuttling pathetically over the crab-like on hands and feet.
This restaurant seems to be a cooperative affair run by the fishermen and their family with the appearance of someone’s home with the upstairs made into a restaurant. Cafe-style tables and chairs are arranged in functional style inside and out, but it felt nice. Drinks were flowing and the langoustines we ordered earlier that day were superb. The restaurant folks added a fish to the banquet, and a dessert served at the end. All this for just 2,000 escudos per person – or around £16 in UK cash – a bargain compared with UK restaurants.
Getting back to our boats was more of a clumsy affair, probably due to alcohol consumption. But we all made it, and nobody fell in.
The next day we moved down-bay a little to Baia do Tarrafal for a change of scenery. There is a small village there, so Maria and I, together with Gerrit and Pascale from Mojito, landed on the beach to take a look around.
The village is, I guess, typical of other Cape Verdean fishing villages in that there isn’t much money here and the life is simple. We found small stalls set up to bargain clothes and other belongings between the villagers, a small shop with shelves barely stocked, and people just hanging around. But we felt very welcome and were even invited to play football with some of the locals. Exercising our non-existent footballing skills to the limit.
After a peaceful night at anchor, and a lazy morning, we lifted the anchor and headed off back to Sao Vincente. This time to Sao Pedro on the south of the island.