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21st November, 2016

Mystery Cruise. Port 7

We slipped away into the night, the lights of Santiago passing down the starboard side, eventually being left behind in the increasing darkness. By the morning São Vicente came out of the gloom and we approached the pilot boarding position with caution. The south westerly going current is notorious here and at one stage I had over 20 degrees of ‘set’added to the course just to ensure we actually travelled in the direction required. The pilot for Porto Grande joined from an ageing tug, a nice chap, but seemingly about twenty seconds behind my own thought process. Never the less, we docked without incident on a quay somewhat hemmed in by a variety of fishing craft of varying sizes. On the other side the ageing ‘coastguard’cutter looked worse for wear compared to previous visits, but a brand new one was tidily secured to starboard and the reveille crew appeared most presentable.

The tours went off in their minibuses bound for the city, locally known as Mindelo, passing the fish market on the way to the main square of the Praça Nova. Here there is the African Market and a small museum with a guitar workshop, a retail opportunity perhaps, but I have not seen or heard of any stringed purchase since the Saganauts return. The tour continued with a panoramic drive to the top of Monte Verde Mountain where I only assume it was possibly a challenge to stand up against the gusty trade wind. They returned via the coast towards the beach at Praia Grande and the agricultural valley of the Ribeira de Calhau.

It all sounded most interesting, alas this day was, for me at least, involved with ‘matters of state’and the furthest I went was across the quay in order to chat with the foreman discharging a fishing boat. Frozen shark were being discharged from the hold into a reefer container, hundreds of them. Bound first for Spain before being sent worldwide, I guess they would have to make the transhipment ‘snappy’in the heat of the day.

We stayed alongside until after midnight. The pilot, not originally going to board for our departure, came up to the bridge anyway. We never had the opportunity to see whether we were back on the same time zone as he was gone before we passed the breakwater.

Captain Philip Rentell

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