Blog by Jean Etridge:
Well we are now back in Sal and still on a high.
Oh my God what an amazing experience.
Santa Maria pontao
From the minute we stepped on board we were made so welcome and felt so at home. Robin showed us around then we all chose our cabins and settled in. We set sail about 10am on Friday and headed up past Ponta Preta and across to Sao Nicolau.
We were all wandering around deck and trying to find our sea legs and navigate the cabins and toilet. Amazingly Robin and Mikey were running around the deck doing their work. There was a 3 to 4 meter swell which was comfortable and we all settled in nicely. At one point we could see Sal and also Sao Nicolao in the distance. The fishing lines were out all the way and we caught wahoo and tuna.
We reached Sao Nicolao around 9p.m. and it was pitch black dark with a few lights on in the small village of Carrical. Robin has never sailed into the harbour before (or to the island) so he jumped on his dinghy and shot into the bay. Five minutes later he was back assuring us we can we can sail in a little further. Once the anchor was down he set about making dinner which was fresh tuna. After a few glasses of wine we all went to our cabins.
Saturday morning and a little cloudy we all came up out of our cabins to the amazing sight of Carrical. After breakfast Robin went ashore to meet the locals who were very intrigued by their new visitors. He came back and arranged that a jeep could take us to Juncalinho and anywhere else we would like to visit. So we set off on a very bumpy dusty road to the next village. Men in the back, women in the front of course! The scenery was fantastic with locals working in the corn fields. After a really bumpy track we reached Juncalinho and of course had a beer and then off to Ribeira Brava.
The bumpy track turned into a main road which is really a cobbled road. This has been washed away in about six different places where the rivers run down from the mountains. After two hours we reached the capital and set off to explore. Unfortunately most places were closing for siesta so all us girlies sent the men off for a beer whilst we visited the local salon to get our hair washed!
So time to get back to the boat and see what Robin has made for dinner after a hair raising journey back through the mountains. Back on board we enjoyed more beers and wine while Robin made a fish dish freshly caught and a veggie curry for me.
Sunday we explored Carrical and visited the remains of the tuna factory which closed 13 years ago. The beach is a volcanic black and we were led by four little locals who sang to us along the way through the trees and up to the hills.
After Helen and Yvonne gave all the children sweets we said our goodbyes and headed off to the next bay with a lovely white sandy beach and clear waters. Here we spent a few hours snorkelling and sunbathing while Robin went to catch dinner.
Mikey & Robin
Time to make the return journey which we were told would be wet and a little rough in places. So all dressed in dry suits, wetsuits and weatherproofs we started out at 4pm. The swell was big, especially leaving the headland but Robin and Mikey werent at all bothered and Robin casually said shall I make pot of coffee!
Watching the sunset out at sea with friends is a must, it was amazing (even if it was a little rough). The flying fish going through the waves is unbelievable. After another fresh fish and pasta dish we were advised by Robin to get some sleep. We were happy to stay on deck with Maria the dog but Robin said it was going to be a long night and said that it would feel better to lie down in bed.
So once again Robin was right, once you navigated the stairs and then climbed into bed it did feel better and we got some sleep. After what seemed like a long journey we awoke to a lovely sunrise and Sal in the distance. We arrived back on the pier about 11am Monday morning.
We can all honestly say that we have really enjoyed our journey with Robin, Mikey and Maria so a big thank-you for making the trip so enjoyable. Simile is such a wonderful catamaran, it was spacious and comfortable. We will definately be booking another trip.
From Sal sailors Jean, Adrian, Linda, Peter, Helen, Steve, Yvonne & Dave.
Photos by Linda Aspden.