2016   Cape Verde Islands

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About two thirds of boats heading for the Caribbean sail direct from one of the Canary Islands.  Most of the rest first sail south to the Cape Verde Islands, to get into the zone of the NE Tradewinds.  We chose the latter route.  
The Cape Verdes became independent of the Portuguese empire in 1975.  At the time illiteracy was about 75% and the islands were desperately poor.  Today, life has improved a lot, with illiteracy down to about 15%, but the islands are still poor by European standards.  
The only port we had time to visit was Mindelo
We had only a week or so there, some of which was spent on minor repairs.

The islands are quite rocky and dry.
While strong, the boats are not well equipped for even a short open ocean crossing, wit a single outboard motor We sailed about 15 miles East of Mindelo to anchor beside Santa Luzia, an uninhabited island.   The swell was too rough to go ashore by dinghy so Neil and Pam swam ashore.
We met a few boatloads of fishermen who frequently spend a few days there in a rough camp, while diving for lobsters.  We helped one crew drag their heavy wooden boat through the surf.  They were very friendly, althoug communication was limited by our lack of skills in Portuguese.

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