Day 65 - Cape Verde
|Wednesday, December 13, 2023: When we woke up this morning, we had a beautiful view of some of the volcanic islands that make up the island nation of Cape Verde.
|Today was Debbie's birthday, so we started our celebration with breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill since they served Swedish pancakes, her traditional birthday breakfast. Happy Birthday!
|Tom got the breakfast burritos special that he had neglected to get the last time he saw it on the menu.
|By 8:00 AM, we were finished with breakfast and back in our cabin, looking out at the lovely city of Mindelo.
|The inter-island ferry was beautiful.
|Debbie took a few minutes to get photos of her LEGO daily calendar.
|LEGO Debbie and Tom were having a birthday party, complete with balloon animals.
|Our position was correctly marked on our adjusted map of the world.
|For our shore excursion today, we had booked a transfer to a nearby resort. Just before 9:00 AM, our five tiny buses were loaded up and headed out of the port.
|There was a beautiful sandy beach just outside the port.
|The town of Mindelo was beautiful, with murals on the walls and the decorative cobblestone sidewalks that we'd come to expect in countries with Portuguese heritage.
|The Ouril Hotel looked like a really nice place to stay.
|There was a bust of Cape Verdean musician and Mindelo native Luís Ramos Morais in the median.
|We passed shops and restaurants on the drive, ...
|... and an avenue with buildings in pastel colors showing the typical architecture here.
|Our route took us past the Cesária Évora Airport, ...
|... and this adorable little chapel, ...
|... to the Foya Branca Resort Hotel.
|There was a pool at the upper level, near the reception building, ...
|... and a kiddy pool off to one side where a cat was getting a drink.
|We saw a few beautiful grasshoppers that were the size of Buicks. Okay, maybe not that large, but this one was easily three inches long. That's a huuuge grasshopper.
|That's the view from the lower level looking back to the upper. On the left of the upper-level was a cafe and on the right was a huge seating area. This place could handle a lot of people during the high season.
|The lower level had a paved stone walkway to ...
|... a gorgeous second pool with a swim-up bar that overlooked the beach and the ocean.
|The pool was a little chilly at first, so we sat on the edge with our feet in the water, ...
|... and drank the Coca-Cola Lights that we'd brought with us.
|There were smaller grasshoppers around, and these had brilliant red legs. Sometimes they would land in the pool, and we would help them get back out.
|We'd brought our floaties along, which turned out to be a fantastic idea.
|Here's the Birthday Girl getting adjusted to the water temperature, ...
|... and here she is fully acclimated.
|Dunking those last few ... sensitive areas ... was difficult, ...
|... but then once it was over, it was all smiles and good times.
|There was a stiff breeze blowing in from offshore, and we could see and hear the waves crashing on the beach.
|The other people who had come along on the tour sat in loungers around the pool areas and facing the beach, but only three other people got into the pool the entire time we were there. That suited us perfectly.
|There was a turtle mosaic on the bottom of the pool that we tried many times to capture. Here's a photo from above the water, ...
|... and here's one from below.
|Debbie's having a great day!
|Theresa, who we'd met a few days ago at the holiday-themed mixology class, was also on this tour, and braved the water to hang out with us. We really liked her and enjoyed the chance to spend time with her.
|At 12:30 PM, as our time here was ending, Debbie took some photos of the beach. Here's the view to the south, ...
|... and the north. It looked like a really great beach, and if we were staying here, we definitely would have spent some time out there.
|Here's a view of some of the hotel rooms that face the beach.
|As we walked back to the upper level to get back to the bus, we passed this rock sculpture that spelled out Foya Branca using shells.
|Looking over the upper level pool, we could see the reception building and the hotel's restaurant where they'd served snacks during our visit. We still weren't hungry and much preferred to spend our time in the pool instead of seeking out the food.
|Here's the kiddy pool where the cat was earlier. It was a lovely resort, and we very much enjoyed our time here.
|At 12:45 PM, we were back on the buses and leaving the resort. The hotel's access road was paved with black cobblestones, and the center line was created with white cobblestones, in true Portuguese fashion.
|São Vicente, the island we were on, is a desert island and the locals use succulent plants to make fantastic displays.
|This house was on a hilltop and must have had a great view of the harbor.
|A nearby beach had colorfully painted rocks used for barriers around the parking lot.
|A brief study in seamanship. In the foreground, a ship named the Leopard sinking. In the background on the left, the Zuiderdam not sinking. Discuss.
|The Ocean Science Center Mindelo is a marine science organization that performs long-term observations of the oceans and atmosphere in the North Atlantic. They've been located in this pretty building since 2017.
|We went past a large outdoor market, ...
|... the Mindelo Tennis Club, ...
|... a church, ...
|... a statue of a dude looking out to sea, ...
|... the tiniest gas station ever, ...
|... a sculpture of a seagull perched on a volcanic peak, ...
|... and a giant marlin.
|This is the Mansa Floating Hub, a beautiful performance and event center right on the waterfront.
|We were back in the land of black and white pattern on the sidewalk and murals on the walls.
|Back inside the port, we saw Grupo Boluda containers for the first time alongside the usual Maersk containers.
|As we walked back to the ship, we saw this couple having a photoshoot on the pier. They'd been on our tour in Tunisia, toward the beginning of the trip, and we'd forgotten all about them and their habit of setting up a photoshoot in front of every single point of interest.
|Isn't our ship magnificent? We now looked at the bridge with the knowledge of what it was like in there.
|The water in the harbor was an iridescent blue and was crystal clear. Tom had to repeatedly tell Debbie that she shouldn't jump into the water, especially once she spotted fish in the water.
|There was a starfish attached to the pier wall and still Tom wouldn't let Debbie jump in for a better look.
|We love mariner graffiti. These have to be officially sanctioned, right?
|Ooh. We really liked this one. It was very appropriate for our trip.
|Germany was represented.
|There were several from ships on world cruises. Mindelo was the third stop on this year's world cruise for the Aidasol.
|The Aidamar was here last year on their world cruise, and the MSC Magnifica was here early in January on its world cruise.
|Back aboard and in our cabin, we found a birthday cupcake for Debbie and a birthday card signed by Captain Friso.
|We had a late lunch from the Lido Market, and enjoyed two cans of our dwindling supply of Caffeine Free Coke Zero, ...
|... followed by a can of the one and only Caffeine Free Diet Coke. Debbie had saved this can from earlier in the voyage for this special day.
|Just after 2:00 PM, Debbie received a birthday call from Alexa while Tom was on the phone with his mom. She said that she had arranged a birthday surprise for Debbie when we were at the Pinnacle Grill later tonight.
|We spent a little time on the balcony looking at the scenery, and at this Coast Guard patrol boat that was hovering around aft of our ship.
|There was a haze over the city, but it seemed more like a humid air haze rather than a smog haze.
|This three-masted sailing ship was anchored not far from us, ...
|... and seemed to be staffed by young, attractive Scandinavians. It is actually the second oldest Norwegian tall ship, and was turned into a maritime high school in 2015.
|We left port just before 5:00 PM, ...
|... sailing out of Porto Grande Bay, ...
|... and heading toward the Ilhéu dos Pássaros at the mouth of the harbor.
|At the top of the island is the Dom Luis lighthouse.
|The lighthouse itself is at the highest point on the island, and is connected by a beautiful white staircase down to the keeper's house.
|There is a rocky path from the keeper's house down to a small landing at the waterline.
|When it was time to leave for dinner, we took a last look at the lighthouse from our balcony on the starboard-aft side of the ship.
|When we were seated for dinner in the Pinnacle Grill, the island was visible from the port side of the ship. Yay!
|When we received our menus, there was a card left over from our stop in Dakar that offered fresh grilled swordfish. The photo shows the fish covered in ice on the back of one of the supply trucks that we watched them unload in Dakar. Look at the size of those fish!
|We celebrated Debbie's birthday with two glasses of Guinness. Cheers!
|The birthday girl was looking lovely, ...
|... and her man was very happy to help her celebrate another fantastic year.
|For appetizers, Debbie ordered the jumbo lump crab cakes, ...
|... and Tom ordered the panko fried stuffed mushrooms.
|For our entrees, Debbie ordered the filet mignon and added on a lobster tail, ...
|... and Tom ordered the ribeye.
|For sides, we ordered the lobster mac & cheese and a baked potato. The lobster mac was just mac and cheese with another lobster tail in the center, so we both ended up with surf and turf.
|We both ordered the baked Alaska for dessert, and they brought out a birthday cake for Debbie, which was courtesy of Alexa. Despite being very full, we devoured the baked Alaska and the server wrapped up the cake for us to take back to our cabin to eat the next day.
|At 9:00 PM, Debbie got a Facetime call from Jill where all of the grandkids wished her a happy birthday. One of the highlights from the call was when Bennett asked if we were ever going to come home. They obviously missed us.
|Another highlight was seeing Kelly's hair sticking up from the top of her head. It had been a dress-up day at school, and she had gone as Cindy Lou Who from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. It was the perfect end to a great day.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy