Cape Verde Dog Lovers Kite People & Culture

Cape Verde: Little Brazil

Written by Renato Matiolli

This country is the most similar place to Brazil I have ever been. It has European and African influence, nice beaches, it has beautiful woman, people love music, bitch about life but are filthy happy, the place is a bit dirty and messy, yet it feels like home. In Cape Verde we were able to rest, prepare the boat, get supplies and get some kite action. During our week here we said goodbye to two crew members and got to new Russians in exchange. Finally, Feijão completed his 30 days of recovering period and he is now 100% again!

Just a few kilometers away from the city of Mindelo there is a beach on the windward side of the island called Salamansa. The locals at the beach are extremely nice, great hosts and are always willing to help or chat. We arrived with no one at the beach, needless to say that the scenery of the place is incredible, with the mountains close by raising steeply from the sand and the water color changing from green, to light blue, to dark blue until it arrives in the other steep island (Santo Antão) in front of us. The kite action is not bad either, there was steady 20+knots of wind onshore to side shore with half meter waves with bigger sets. On the right side of the beach there is a world-class right-hander wave that breaks over shallower reef every now and then and which must be perfect on a bigger swell. At this spot the wind is a bit gustier but certainly “rideable”. One of the crew members, Jens, also kites so we had a great time here.

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While Cape Verde has beautiful scenery and beaches, the highlight of the country is certainly the local people. We felt a lot like in Brazil many times, not only because they speak the same language, but because the attitude is pretty much similar to those Brazilians in the Northeast of the country. The most friendly chaps we met in the island were:

  • Simone, a local girl from Mindelo, and her boyfriend from Portugal, Diogo, who showed us around town and the island;
  • Jair, the local kite instructor of Salamansa beach. He thought all the local kids how to kite and he is the only local and certified instructor in the island (e-mail: kitesurf@hotmail.com). By the way, he also saved Sarah’s board at one point, our savior!;
  • Elder, a super friendly guy at the marina, who got us a prime spot and was always helping us with the ropes and how to get thing done for the boat around Mindelo;
  • Odair, a van driver who would take us around the island and tell us the histories about each place. (e-mail: odairramos27@live.com.pt). He told us of this crazy story that a few year ago more than a thousands kilos of hashish washed up in the shores of Mindelo, the locals thinking it was some sort of chocolate ate it and even gave it to their dogs… guess what? Everyone was extra happy for months until the locals and authorities figured out what was going on, all sorts of crazy things happened around the village;
  • Girls at Salamansa beach were enchanted by Sarah and vice versa. They were all super sweet, brought tasty local muffins (luckily with no “chocolate”) and were up for a lot of chatting.

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As we wrote in the previous post, the cable of our lazy bag snapped during the crossing from Canaries to Cape Verde. Do you know what this means?! It means that I had to climb the bloody mast again to fix it (it was the fourth time since we bought the boat). You know… when we were thinking about getting a boat this was one of my main concerns… having to climb the mast. But then I thought… how often would I actually have to climb the bloody thing? Realistically… never! Right?… Wrong! I have had to climb this stupid thing a lot of times (way too many) in my opinion. Well, to be honest this time I only went ¾ of the way and I was a lot less scared, though sometimes the wind would gust above 30 knots and I would grab that mast as a Koala on steroids. Even though I was shitting my pants up there I think we did a great work and the lazy bag is now much better and cooler than it was before. Many thanks for our friend and experienced seaman, Mr. Paolo Pezzica. What a cool dude.

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João, who has been the person who stayed the longest with us so far (about one month), has now left the boat to continue his study to soon became a Yacht Master. He has helped a lot on the sailing from Portugal to Canaries and then to here and we will miss him a lot. Timm, our crewmember from Sweden, has also left the boat to go back to Scandinavia. He is a pretty cool dude and the entire crew is going to miss him. We hope to have the opportunity to have him on the boat again in the Caribbean so that we can dive together someday.

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Since the team cannot be running outnumbered we got some strong reinforcement from Russia! Phil and Arthur are the two new crewmembers who will compose the Atlantic crossing team for the last portion of the trip. They just arrived to the boat boat with some gifts from Russia! Guess what?!

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So for the crossing, in addition to the Russians, we will continue to sail with our glorious Italian friend Paolo and our own Scandinavian seaman, Jens “The Thor from Ipanema”. These guys have been with us since the Canaries and we can’t think of better people to be doing the crossing with. They have great sailing experience, were very calm when the weather got rough, both are super positive and always willing to help around the boat.DSC01015_Fotor

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And just before we left we visited the local market and stocked up with local groceries. We bought mainly fruits, vegetables and fish. We also had one last taste of the most popular local dish… Cachupa!

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Finally, the great news we have about Feijão is that, finally his 30 “resting days” (requested by the vet for his recovery) are over! The sweet beast is all joyful again. It is really great to watch him running and jumping around like a little mad goat.

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Well, now it is time for the longest leg of the Atlantic crossing… from Africa to the Caribbean. The interesting thing about this crossing is that going to Fernando the Noronha, in Brazil (our favorite place in the world) is actually closer than going to Barbados. It is just two thirds of the way… but Brazil we will do later some day… who knows. For now, let’s go to the Caribbean and let’s hope that wind is on our side!

 

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Renato Matiolli

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