Around The World Voyage : Commentary : Leg 3
April 30, 2002
We are underway for our final run of 2000 miles into Barbados. We cast off our dock lines after fueling for the last time yesterday at 16:45 and haven't looked back. Cape Verde was not the nicest place we have visited. Without being too cruel I can only describe it as one big land fill. Some of the people we met were great while others were not so savory. Just so you know where I'm coming from here, I'll fill you in with a description of our first attempt to clear into C.V.. All three of us took the dinghy into the little fishing harbor which is the only place to land near the immigration office. As soon as we were within 100 yards of the place, you could see about 15 young guys all clamoring for position to help us tie the dinghy up. After all kinds of chatter and pointing and direction we went into an area between a number of larger fish boats and had to climb over several of them to get to the dock. We were prepared to pay a dinghy tender and picked the one that seemed most eager for the job. Feeling somewhat secure, we left the boat in his hands and proceeded to walk thru piles of rotting fish guts, nets and flies so thick I wished I had a mask to keep them from being inhaled. Once through this mess we found what apparently was the immigration office. I say apparently because there is no sign and no one would really give us an answer to our inquiry about its location, only a vague point of the finger and a shrug of the shoulders "Soonday no here" , so we figure we'll have to wait until Monday and return to the dinghy. It's still there and our faithful attendant is there holding the bow line as if he were hard at work the whole time we were gone. We load ourselves into the dinghy and I and my careless actions set the Zip Lock baggy with ships papers, all of our passports, my wallet with about $150 u.s. and my disposable camera with 6 shots left on it, behind me just under the outboard tiller. We start pulling out and all these guys start talking to us asking for our shirts and hats and whatever they thought we had. The distraction was enough for the guy untying the dinghy to reach way down from the fish boat and grab the baggy. I didn't notice until we were about 1/4 mile out and then instant panic. We sped back there and one guy was holding the baggy and saying that the kids took the wallet and ran up this big hill towards what appeared to be a shanty town. Justin and I ran up the dock, Justin ran with the guy who had the baggy and chased the kids and I went to the port police. Justin wasn't about to go too far up the winding trail to the shanty town not knowing what laid in store for him around the next corner, so he came back to the police head quarters. Pete stayed with the dinghy.
I had the ships papers but I thought our passports were gone and I can't describe the utter desperation we felt at that very moment. We knew we were doomed to stay in this hell hole for at least two weeks getting new passports issued. However in my state of panic and terror I didn't look in the right place inside the ships papers booklet and upon a closer inspection found the passports under the back cover. Instant relief. We could get out of this thing with a bit of lost cash and a some photos.
Then we started walking back to the dinghy to tell Pete what was going on and the guy who was chasing the kids with Justin comes stumbling down the street all sweating and out of breath and he has my wallet! I couldn't believe it. Later we replayed the whole scene and we're pretty sure they were all in on it and that the return of the wallet was an attempt at a reward, which was paid in cigarettes (to add insult to injury). We then limped back to the boat and licked our wounds feeling depressed and totally violated. Pete said he felt like the kid that went to town with all the egg money.
The next morning we regrouped and went for a second, much more guarded attempt. We planned every move, the baggy was stuffed down my shorts, no one was going to get us this time. I found the immigration guy and did the paper work, all very simple and would you believe he had my camera. Apparently the cops went up there and shook down some kids and found the camera after we had left the previous day. He said, "I'm sorry we could not get the money". But then I had to wait for the actual cop to come down and give me the camera. I had to show my appreciation ($$$).
That about sums up our brief encounter with the C.V. culture. The one revealing feature was a perfect left reef break that Justin and I were able to surf - right there in the port.
The wind is blowing at about 20 knots from the north and last night we had 35 knots from the north west. Hopefully it will clock around to a north easterly soon.
We have about two weeks to go and then Dan (Streech), Jeff M. (Merrill) and Grego (Mike Gregovich) get their shot at it.
Close This Window