Brave Helios was peeping through the gold and pink shrouds on the horizon as we slipped through the gaping maw into Vulcan’s belly – the giant crater of a bay in which Mindelo was nestled.
The peaks and ridges surrounded us, creating a safe harbour from which to explore. We were up with the sun to photograph the event prior to taking breakfast in the warmth on deck.
Cape Verde, not so much verdant as rusty brown and dusty – no rain for three years! A set of islands off the coast of Senegal – but not of Africa – raised from the sea bed itself in an explosive inferno of molten rock and lava as magma erupted into air, creating islands of solidified rock and compressed ash, islands used by the Portuguese and British as staging posts for slavery and refuelling, as sanctuary in a natural haven.
The day was sunny and pleasant, but hazy as we set off to investigate the vibrant, colourful markets, the murals, sculptures, architecture, art and people.
The fish market provided an incredible array of tropical piscine’s including the most amazing brightly tinted fish I have ever seen – video carnival – all blue, yellow, green and red. Women walking around with baskets on their heads, men sitting outside gutting their catch, gaily painted boats lined up on the beach, cats lurking, dogs sleeping, women hawking fish and vegetables in baskets on the street with babies sitting in the crates, men with dreadlocks, colourful clothing, gaily painted houses, busy traffic, fruit and vegetables, and African carvings.
We climbed to the top of the copy of the Lisbon Belem Tower for a great view over the town, walked through the fish markets to the African Market with its blue tiles of scenes of Cape Verde from the past, and then to the indoor vegetable market with fabulous wooden roof and murals.
We looked at the art, watched the people, visited the palace and the church, and enjoyed an array of painted buildings.
We walked along a beach of white sand, stopped at the café, drank a coffee, a beer, an orange juice, failed to get wi-fi, and then went back to the ship to eat, sit in the sun to watch the islands disappear as we sailed off – and then read about the weather in Britain.