Ponta do Papagaio

We left Sao Pedro early (it’s all relative) to ensure arrival at Sao Nicolau island in daylight. And at around 4 pm on 10th November, we dropped our anchor 100 metres from the beach at Ponta do Papagaio on the south west of the island.

This anchoring spot is a popular one amongst the Islands Odyssey fleet. Most of the rally boats deciding to stay to the northern islands of Cape Verde were there. And the anchorage was almost exclusive to the rally fleet, bar one single-handed sailor.

Ponta do Papagaio is a great location. The beach is probably the best accessible one in the north, and the water is crystal clear and full of life. Unfortunately, some of that life is in the form of small jellyfish, which we suspect to be Portuguese Man O War larvae. These are almost impossible to see, but make their presence felt if you touch them. I certainly wouldn’t like to come across an adult version of these monsters – these kids hurt.

The jellyfish might have curtailed the swimming, but the presence of all these rally folks encouraged the drinking. Sundowners were on offer on a different boat each evening.

Ribeira Brava

High on the hill overlooking the bay is what appears to be a small village. So for something to do, and just because it is there, we collectively decided to go and take a look. The only means of transport to get there is by car or donkey. So, I volunteered to be the dinghy taxi-driver and shuttled people from their boats to the beach relatively successfully. Only one person fell in, but I maintain that was his fault. Anyway, he came to no harm, and it helped him stay cool for the rest of the day.

Then off we went along the bumpy road to Ribeira Brava in a Cape Verdean style taxi fitted with specially hardened bench seats assuring a thorough arse-numbing on arrival.

There’s a lot of greenery along the road to Ribeira Brava. Plantations of papaya and bananas are in abundance, so there is water around, which may partly explain the somewhat incongruous location of the village.

One hour later we limped off the back of the truck and wandered around the village, stopping for coffee and then for lunch in a restaurant owned by a German chap who has made Ribeira Brava his home. This is a lovely village, very colourful and pleasant to walk around. Stores are plentiful, and fresh fruit is available in the market. They even have a small Chinese supermarket rivalling any Seven-Eleven or Spar minimart; so we took the opportunity to stock up.


On the way back Maria and I managed to bag the front of the taxi, but we joined the others in the back after a halfway stop. I’m worried that we are developing masochistic tendencies.

I performed the same taxi service in reverse from the beach to boat. And later that evening, Thierry and Michele of Lys de Mer invited the gang over for drinks and, to our surprise, lobster – bought that morning from the local fishermen.

On the 14th November, it was time to head back towards Mindelo. So, up went the anchor, and off we headed to Santa Lucia and an anchorage off the beach at Ponta da Cruz.