Tag Archives: Cape Verde Islands

Cape Verde and northwards to Tenerife

IMG_381415 February

We have arrived in a sunny Cape Verde Islands and in particular the town of Mindelo on the island of St Vincent.

We were supposed to get in at 8am but what with the unscheduled stop in the Amazon for fuel which caused us at least an 8 hour delay, the head wind of about 25mph and the continual swell hitting us we were 90 minutes late arriving which was very good going which under the circumstances is pretty remarkable.

 

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Porto Novo on Santo Antao

An early morning sprint on the port side, past the island of Santo Antao with its rugged coastline, barren tall mountainous appearance and the village of Porto Novo stuck by the coast.

 

Roads or more likely tracks wend their way up to the very sparsely populated mountainside, we are too far away to make anything out though.

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Torre de Belem

 

A Shuttle bus is provided into town through the working dock area and we opt for a leisurely walk along the coast road past a few fishermen, a few guys playing cards, difficult in the wind, towards the sea museum in the Torre de Belem, and a craft square that didn’t really have anything in it.

 

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Fish guarding by a cat

The fish market nearby had the catches of the day being poured over by locals (with a well trained cat guarding the catch) then headed inland to the blue tiled market area.

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Blue tiles near the market

 

The wooden souvenirs in the market were claimed to be made by the individual sellers but surprisingly, the same products were generally on sale around the square and later in some of the shops.

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Market stalls

 

The women’s clothing on sale was very colourful and dramatic but we didn’t see much evidence of them being worn around town by the locals.

A few women were walking along with baskets balanced on their heads and some of the stall holders were hard at work on their sewing machines or chopping up some of the fruit but there were a few pockets of people standing around not doing anything. Not many though.

 

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Colourful side streets

Back to the sea front and up some side streets past a few squares until we get to the Hotel Prassa 3, a modern hotel with an inside courtyard which was happy to provide us with tall capachinos and free wifi for €1.50 each.

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John & Sally enjoying some rest outside modern hotel

As we had been without wi-fi for over a week, it took some time for the emails to download and I came away with at least a further 29 not yet downloaded from a week ago.

 

The town has some buildings that are very modern interspersed with some quite old buildings and some that need a lot of TLC.

 

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Building requiring TLC

From a distance, the houses are generally of the box sort seen in Africa with only a few that have sloping roofs.

 

Many bright colours have been used as outside wall paint, not everything was white which has given it a different look.

A few beggars were in evidence, all of them elderly as the population is generally quite young but they left you alone if you said “no”.

The island was reputed to be good at producing ukuleles but we saw no music shops and, leaving John & Deirdre to wander further, Sal and I take residence back on board in the shade past a lovely mural.

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Wall mural

 

An interesting port of call which is being developed more as a tourist destination in recent years.

Entertainment tonight is Jimmy James (without his Vagabonds) and from my position standing at the back – in between doing a final wash – the sound quality was much better than at the front. Think he is not at his best now.

16 February

A sea day on the way up to Tenerife and Entertainment manager, Elaine Coles gives talk on primates of Cameroon, a passion of hers but we miss talk on ships by Ken Vard, and a talk on Atlantic Volcanoes by Ken MacTaggart.  We do however get to the talk by John Lyons, the actor who played a detective, Jack, in A Touch of Frost. No notes, all off the cuff – very good for someone of his age.

There is a tug of war between various departments of the ship at the rear of the ship which usually means some of them getting wet, much to the amusement of the passengers but good news, the sun is out today so there are more bronzed bodies in evidence.

Entertainment tonight is by 3 West End leading ladies, The Patriot Girls who sang items from the Swing era, some modern versions (such as That Man by Caro Emerald) and Jenny Williams, a Stockport female singer with a mixture of classical, musicals and a couple of film songs, a very powerful voice with a bubbly personality.

Tonight is the last time the clocks change – we must be nearly home.

 

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Awaiting the last passengers before departing Cape Verde

17 February

 

Another sea day and the entertainment is running out of steam, nothing his morning and only a variety show at 3:30 to keep us away from the cooling temperatures of the North Atlantic as we head towards Tenerife.

No decent entertainment this morning so it is book reading time, Sally finishing her 5th and me, well I have finished the book I got for Christmas 2015 – The Blackest Street by Sarah Wise.

This is about the area of Bethnal Green called the Nichol in the late 1800s with references to the Reverend Loveridge whose photo I found a few years back and who I think, was the vicar who married my Grandparents on my father’s side.

Afternoon entertainment was a variety show with some of the Headliners singers and The Patriot Girls and after a stupid film in the evening, “It had to be you”, we were entertained by the International Piano Duo with as well as some opera songs, performed some lively pieces and an exceptionally long solo by Matthieu Esnult.

Northwards to Tenerife.

Crossing the Atlantic at speed

 

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Flying fish from a flying (along) ship

12 February

 

We must have been seriously delayed as we have now left the Amazon delta having spent a night with little sleep as waves are crashing onto our ship which is now doing nearly 22 knots on our way to Cabo Verde.

A very grey day with the hardy sun bathers at a complete loss as to what to do other than sit out under the clouds.

A talk today on Devil’s Island, a former brutal penal island owned by French Guyana and on Cabo Verde with dinner in the Beach House, it saves dressing up again, and more singing of lesser known, but good, songs from the musicals sung by Gerard Bentall.

 

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Ploughing through the sea

13 February

 

Another sea day and an audience with Captain Box, Oriana holds the Golden Cockerel as the fastest ship in the fleet – we are still doing 22.8 knots (about 27mph) which is pretty amazing for a conventional vessel.

A talk this afternoon on Tenerife and the old capital but a leisurely afternoon watching the flying fish.

We establish that the reason we had to go back into the Amazon for refuelling (bunkering) is that there wasn’t enough fuel to give us down the Amazon at Manaus.

Tonight’s entertainment is from the captivating flautist, the very talented Andrea Amat: so good we bought her CD.

11:30 pm we are informed there is a deep fat frier fire in the forward galley on deck 6 with First aid response required. An unusual request to be broadcast to the whole of the ship at this time of night!

Not that I had had much to drink but try saying “deep fat frier fire” after a few alcoholic drinks!

14 February

 

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Valentine’s day

The final sea day before Cape Verde/Cabo Verde and it’s Valentine’s Day. A rose for Sal, but not from me or, John claims, not from him. Sal has a secret admirer on the ship but two days later he and Deirdre admit it was from them!

 

Still doing 22.5 knots, the ship has a top speed of 24 knots; are we trying to break the transatlantic speed record?

A final talk from Bernard Purrier on the type of dolphins or whales we could see around the migratory islands of Cape Verde and the flying fish which we have seen over the last few days whilst crossing the Atlantic.

As the clocks go forward an hour, we forgoe lunch, buy the first Costa Coffee on board and then listen to Martin P Lee’s talk on the similarities between Hitler and Putin. Scary.

The traditional chocoholics display for tea and I sit next to a guy from Wexford who also does a WordPress blog.

 

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Healiners Theatre Co. (Publicly available picture)

Tonight’s entertainment is the Headliners version of a tribute to Queen in the Pacific Lounge with it’s very poor seating but the ability to be up close and personal with the dancers and singers who, if you were in the front row, would be virtually on your lap.

 

A few older gentlemen were in danger of cardiac arrest with the very tight costumes the dance girls were wearing right in front of them. 40 minutes of energetic dance and singing routine and they make it look so easy.

James Michael Stewart provided the entertainment in the theatre and whilst his songs were good, his voice fantastic, the technical crew once again failed him as some of the videos / pictures were not shown and on at least two occasions he asked them to turn down the Mike or the backing sound, with them ignoring him on one occasion. Poor technical assistance.

Tomorrow, our last “new” country – the Cape Verde Islands (Cabo Verde). We are certainly on our way home now.

 

Settling into our cruise for 50 days

3 January

IMG_3126We are now situated on the P & O ship Oriana and in about two hours time we will set sail on an epic 50 day cruise (yes, 50 days of cruise!) that takes in the Azores, Bermuda, 4 US ports (should have been 3), Mexico, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, St Vincent, Barbados, Tobago and 3 stops up the Amazon before returning via the Cape Verde Islands and Tenerife.

This is one hell of a trip and is at least a week longer than our cruise back from Sydney two years ago.  Will we survive?  Will we go crazy?  Only time will tell.

As with all cruises run by P & O, one of the first things to do even before your luggage arrives in your cabin is to attend the usual safety drill and this cruise is no exception, cabin staff checking all cabins and public areas to ensure all have attended before releasing us from our bright orange life vest.

We then unpack, hanging carefully those clothes that might be needed for the formal nights on board – there are 14! but our main case won’t fit in the cupboard or under the bed so our cabin steward takes it from us for us to see it hopefully in 50 days time.

 

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Our cabin for 50 nights

We do have to complain about the configuration of the cabin as there are two bunk beds folded up which restrict our movement somewhat.

 

That is not what we expected when we booked and we can not even stand up straight beside the bed. Reception not helpful but to be fair it was in the small print on the brochure he showed us (you would realistically need an extremely large telescope to read the small print though!) so we will have to make do.

Sail away a bit of a damp squid as we are late leaving so opt for dinner early, a good move as restaurant is virtually empty.

We have opted for Freedom dining although in practice will turn up at just after 6pm each time – sadly though there is no sign of Raj, our friendly waiter from the last two cruises.

Our friends from earlier cruises, Brenda & Mick are on the cruise and they get seated next to us, along with their other friends, Colin & Wendy,  just as we are finishing: we will catch up later.

Headliners opening show is OK as is the singer but we are all tired and opt for an early night afterwards.  The Bay of Biscay tomorrow and you know what that is likely to be like.  See you on my next post.