Living on the Water and Dinghy Parking in Cabo Verde

Sal-Rei Anchorage, Boa Vista Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

On Boa Vista Island, we experienced big swells at the beautiful sandy bottom anchorage (Sal-Rei Anchorage). Wanting to see the island, we went to shore carrying up our HEAVY HOMEMADE HARD dinghy to the beach.

Departing from the beach back to the boat, lots of children voluntarily came to push the dinghy into the water. Once the dinghy was close to the water, a couple of kids were already on the dinghy for fun.

With waves and the motor running, John was worried that someone would get hurt. A local swimmer/fisherman helped the situation telling the kids get off from the dinghy and towed the dinghy to waist depth water.

We walked in Boa Vista Island for only a half day: seeing the center of the town, visiting a fish market, buying some fruits, and having a lunch in a local restaurant. During lunch, I finished all of my lunch faster than John finished his, not wanting to share my food with the flies.

Police Vehicle, Tarrafal, Sao Nicolau Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

We sailed 94 miles overnight from Boa Vista to Sao Nicolau Island. Sao Nicolau is a mountainous island and we already like this island even though the Tarrafal anchorage (Sao Nicolau Island) is a bit rolly. We need to clear our visit from the Police Nacional. By looking from the boat, we are not optimistic on the dinghy parking situation (dock), or at the shore. Not having a dinghy dock is like not having a parking place on land. Is it going to be another challenging day bringing our dinghy up on the shore?

All the worry about dinghy landing turned out to be nothing. As we went into the harbor, two sets of children whistled at us to come and land at their spot. One set of kids was on the beach, the other near the port which we ended up choosing. Neither John nor I likes carrying the dinghy up a sandy beach, and the opportunity to tie to a dock with rubber tires was too good to pass up.

Local Fishing Boats on the Beach, Sao Nicolau Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

A Tanker Transporting Fuel Using a Floating Hose, Sao Nicolau Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

View from Tarrafal Anchorage, Sao Nicolau Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

Canyon in Sao Nicolau Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

Hazy Day Sunrise, Sao Nicolau Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

Outdoor Gym, Taraffal, Sao Nicolau Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

School in Session, Sao Nicolau Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

Yellow Dust from the Sahara Desert Covered on the Boat, Cabo Verde, Africa

Hazy Sky and Yellow Dust on the Lines, Cabo Verde, Africa

Posted in Atlantic Islands, Sailings

Souvenirs from Sal Island, Cabo Verde

Wall Paint, Palmeira Town, Sal Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

(December 3 – 8, 2017) On the first day at the Palmeira fishing port, many children wanted to watch our dinghy during our outing on the island. Not knowing what language to speak to me, the children tried to speak in simple French. I responded to them in English and assigned one child to watch the dinghy.

Cabo Verde used to be under Portugal; however, in 1975, it became independent. The official language is Portuguese but some people speak Portuguese-based Creole (Kabuverdianu). If heard, I wouldn’t know the difference.

“Ouril” Game, Sal Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

On the street, vendors sell secondhand clothes. Looking for a local tailor, I later had him my pants length shortened. He did a great job. The next day, we brought a boat related sewing job to him. For grocery shopping, we went to four small stores in town. Three of these stores are owned by Chinese. I wondered what made them come to this far and if their children go to a local school.

We took a bus to the capital of the Island to buy a Local Simcard. The owner of the small computing store, spoke in perfect English. He was from Nigeria. Walking on the street, an English speaking woman approached me twice to sell souvenirs. She was from Senegal. I bought a necklace and a bracelet for 50% off (still tourist prices). Thinking back, prior to my sailing trip, I gave away most of my jewelry to my family.

Trail to Buracona Park, Sal Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

We visited the Buracona (Blue Eye) park on the island, and a couple of English speaking vendors wanted to explain their items. I didn’t buy anything this time but gave some small change as the vendor unavoidably asked. They are from other countries in Africa. Coming back to fishing town, John stopped by a local gift shop to buy a local game called “Ouril”. The owner spoke in good English and I think he is originally from another African country also.

We stopped by the tourist town Santa Maria, and saw a street vendor selling Tuna fish. We were told Tuna price is about 3 Euros per Kilogram during season. It could go up to 10 Euros/kg based on the supply. Can you believe that a good Sushi grade Fresh Tuna cost about US$2 per pound? Not wanting to carry the fish with us all day, we didn’t buy but we wanted to.

Fresh Tuna for Sale, Sal Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

Fishermen seem to go out for fishing before dawn. Upon the fishermen’s arrival, the port got very busy. Seeing these small fishing boats, I had goose bumps thinking about the situation of a boat breakdown at sea. Who is going to rescue them if they drift away with a boat problem? How would they communicate? In such situations, finding them alive would be a total miracle. It doesn’t look like these fishermen carry a VHF radio, maybe a cellular phone? Do they go out beyond the cellular transmission range? I learned that a Fishermen’s job is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.

PS: According to a tour guide from Senegal, all 55 African countries including Cabo Verde belong to African Union (AU). Wikipedia says “The AU’s future goals include the creation of a free trade area, a customs union, a single market, a central bank, and a common currency, thereby establishing economic and monetary union. The current plan is to establish an African Economic Community with a single currency by 2023.”

Houses near Palmeira Port, Sal Island, Cabo Verde, Africa


Snowman in a Bar, Santa Maria Beach, Sal Island, Cabo Verde, Africa


Kite Beach in Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cabo Verde, Africa


Palmeira Town View from a Restaurant, Sal Island, Cabo Verde, Africa


Palmeira Town Library, Sal Island, Cabo Verde, Africa


Garden in Buracona Park, Sal Island, Cabo Verde, Africa


Natural Pool in Buracona Park, Sal Island, Cabo Verde, Africa


Aloe Plant in Buracona (Blue Eye) Park, Sal Island, Cabo Verde, Africa


“Less Alcohol More Life” Poster at Palmeira Port Terminal, Sal Island, Cabo Verde, Africa

Posted in Atlantic Islands, Sailings

Sailing from the Canary Islands to Cabo Verde – Arrived at Sal Island

(December 4, 2017) We left the Canary Islands on Monday and arrived the Cabo Verde on Sunday. This trip is the third longest trip for us. It took 6 days and 10 hours (154 hours total) at sea, seeing and talking to only one human (John) and two cats. The distance was 764 nautical miles.

The arrival time was good. We had enough time to anchor and organize everything before sunset. After all was settled, we grilled fish for dinner and enjoyed it. We thanked that we had no boat issues during this trip. Maybe regular check/monitor, routine preventive maintenance, and tender care worked! If there were issues though, we have our mindset to fix the problems anywhere. We plan to inspect the boat thoroughly tomorrow to make sure.

Finding a good spot at the anchorage was a little challenging yesterday. According to a book, this anchorage can accommodate about 30 boats but I think there are about 40+ boats anchored at this moment. Seeing this many boats surprised us. We previously assumed most of European sailors might have been gone to the Caribbean by now.

PS: Thanks to my dear friend Nane for posting my sailing stories on my website. Our friendship has never faded away for last 40 years even though we have been living in different continents of the world.

Posted in Atlantic Islands, Sailings

Sailing from the Canary Islands to Cabo Verde – Day 6

(December 3, 2017) We are aiming to arrive at Sal Island this evening. This island is located in the North East side among the Cabo Verdes. Our estimated arrival time is around sunset. I am not keen on entering a new harbor when it is dark but we will be cautious approaching our new anchorage.

Some say that Cabo Verde is “Africa’s Jewel in the Atlantic!” It comprises nine populated islands (out of a total of 15), about 500 kilometers (300 miles) off the coast of West Africa. The closest countries are Senegal and The Gambia.

We caught another Mahi Mahi fish (about 3 feet = 1 meter long) yesterday. After eating the first fish for three days (one day with fish breakfast, lunch, and dinner), I kind of had enough fish for a while. No complaining! The second fish is all filleted and stored in the freezer. Cats still love Sashimi. I noticed that they prefer eating fish to kitty food. One of our cats has the flu, but is getting better now. Seeing her sneezing with stuffy nose and teary eyes, we finally decided to give her antibiotics, a couple of days ago. She started meowing today which is more normal. During her misery, she has never lost her fish appetite.

While writing this, I heard something rattling on the deck. My guess was right; it was a flying fish landed on the deck. I wanted to grab its tail to throw back to the ocean. When I touched the fish, it itself jumped back to the ocean swimming away fast. Lucky fish! By the way, I found freshly dead flying fish on the deck last night. This will be grilled for the cats.

Kay Chung @0900 UTC on Sunday, December 3, 2017
GPS Position @N17’39″/W22’30”

Posted in Atlantic Islands, Sailings

Sailing from the Canary Islands to Cabo Verde – Day 5

(December 2, 2017) My night watch started one hour early today at 1am when John was trying to communicate to another boat via a VHF radio. This sailboat was right behind of us getting closer. He wanted them to know it. He spoke to the other boat and they changed their course to pass astern of us. This sailboat is 1.5 times longer than our boat (22 meters = 70 feet), making 9-11 knots of speed.

We have strong winds (15-20 knots) and bigger waves (2-3 meters = 6-9 feet) today. For safer and more comfortable night sailing, we lowered the Main Sail (First Reef) and rolled in the Jib Sail making both sails smaller. We are sailing twice as fast now as the average speed of the last four days. Our present sailing speed is 6-8 knots. Waves are coming from almost astern of the boat making us surf with the waves. It seems we have about 40 hours to sail to our destination. Not wanting to arrive at night, we may have to sail slower. We will decide later today.

When the sea is rough, I try not to read or to use my computer much; because when I do, I get seasick. Earlier, while using my computer to download the weather forecast, I started feeling nauseated. As soon as I got the weather files, I went outside to get some fresh air. After feeling normal, I am writing my sailing log. Somehow, I am encouraged to update this sailing trip daily. Time to get some fresh air watching the moon and stars.

Kay Chung @0400 UTC on Saturday, December 02, 2017
GPS Position @N20’44″/W21’11”

Posted in Atlantic Islands, Sailings