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São Vicente's green hills

Hills in São Vicente

São Vicente is one of the most westerly of the Cape Verde islands. Not only does it possess lovely beaches, but there are also green hills in São Vicente. The capital of the island is Mindelo, which is a mecca for artists, musicians and poets. The island also holds several festivals throughout the year, including the famous Baía das Gatas (Bay of Cats) Music Festival and one of the few African Gay Pride celebrations. This island has something for everyone and the harbour in Mindelo makes a great place for yachting.

ARC boats in Mindelo harbour

Atlantic Rally for Cruisers boats in Mindelo

Since 1986 the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) has been held in November. The event starts from Las Palmas on Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands and heads over the Atlantic to the Caribbean. Boats from all over the world come together for this event.

There are three routes for the sailors to chose from. One of those is via Mindelo on the island of São Vicente in Cape Verde. The boats stay in Mindelo for between three and five days before setting off for Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. This picture shows some of the boats at Mindelo.

Another route is similarly from Las Palmas to Mindelo then over to St. Vincent rather than Saint Lucia. The third route is direct to Saint Lucia from Las Palmas.

Organised by The World Cruising Club, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers is open to all, including couples, families, racers, and large or small boats. It is not just a race across the Atlantic, because it is also a social event where friendships are made before the race commences and during the race by keeping in touch by radio. On arrival in Saint Lucia crews are met with a rum punch and a cold beer.

Mindelo is the main town on the island of São Vicente, and it is a tourist and cultural centre, with a lively atmosphere. It was discovered in 1462, but only really became developed in the 19th Century. The deep harbour meant that it became a refuelling stop for shipping. The restored buildings and refurbished squares are indicative of this being a prosperous town. There are many restaurants and also a cultural centre, and arts and crafts workshops and exhibitions. Mindelo is also home to the only marina in West Africa.

Port of Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde

Mindelo cruise terminal tender launched

A tender will be launched shortly for the construction of a new Mindelo cruise terminal. Mindelo is on the island of São Vicente, which is in the west of Cape Verde. It is hoped that the work will commence in 2019 and a budget of €30m has been identified for the project. Jorge Mauricio, the chairman of Enapor – Portos de Cabo Verde made this announcement recently.

It is anticipated that this will help Cape Verde to improve its service cruise ships and passengers. At present those that call into Cape Verde tend to be the smaller ships. Furthermore, the existing facilities are rather basic, so cruise passengers will have a more pleasant experience in future.

wave power

Wave power project for Cape Verde

São Vicente is to be home to the first commercial wave power project in Cape Verde. SINN Power, a German company is to partner with a local company Fazenda de Camarão to prepare a feasibility study. The plan is to create an organic prawn farm, which will then be supplied with energy from the waves.

The seas around Cape Verde are a good choice to harvest the power of the sea to generate electricity. The country has set an ambitious target to be be 100% reliant on renewables by 2025. This latest proposal will surely help Cape Verde to reach this target. The use of this in conjunction with a sustainable prawn farm has the benefit of not only providing renewable energy, but also boosting food production.

sao vicente beach

Cape Verde beaches

Cape Verde has an abundance of lovely beaches. Some are white sand and some are black from the volcanic action in the past. This picture was taken on the island of São Vicente. Cape Verde beaches are often deserted, except on the more touristy islands.