*Even though your blogwriter tries to keep the posts chronologically it seems impossible to write fast enough for all the things we want to share. We are currently in Cabo Verde but have only managed to write up to the Madeiran islands. We are taking a small leap forward to report on our whale encounter in Cabo Verde.
On Thursday we woke up at first daylight, a bit before 6 am local time and started business as usual. Having coffee, breakfast, checking mails, having a look outside at Tarrafal on the island of Sao Antao (Cabo Verde) and the beautiful bay where we are anchored. Gitane had a morning swim around the boat under the watchful eye of Arthur.
He was the first one to alert us to the gigantic pod of charcoal dolphin like creatures approaching the bay. We sat and watched them for a while in great awe and saw them move to the other side of the bay. Having only arrived the day before, we quickly had to put the dinghy in the water in order to have a closer look. This is a sample of what we saw.
At least a hundred pygmie killer whales taking breakfast in true feeding frenzy style! Tales and fins flapping, whirl pooling that specific corner in the bay. After having their fill, they made their way to the dinghy to give us a close up look at their black bodies, sizing around 2 meters in length with rounded heads and flat noses. Their dorsal fin looked more like an Orca’s than a dolphin’s. Although they are called whales they are part of the dolphin family.
Determining the species became easier when they lifted out of the water to show off the pink or white spot on their chest and some lighter markings on their lips. Apart from that they were pitch black and not interested in us. We just stared at this long band of sea mammals trailing past, trying to capture enough footage to share with the boys. Having a whale of a time. Sometimes life is just fin-tastic.
We took a leisurely drive along the coast having a look at Tarrafal village and returned to Exodus. Gitane and Winnie started schoolwork while Arthur had a quick jump in the water. He came back some time later with a Big eye Kingfish he shot some meters away from the boat where the sea bottom drops off to greater depths. We cut off two big fillets and gave the rest of the fish with still plenty of meat on to one of the passing fishermen.
After lunch we went for a stroll in the village, which is set in a lush ravine on a steep mountain slope. Life is simple there, with only a few mercearias that sell basic food, where drums and jerrycans of water are filled from one tap in the communal area, where the locals live from fishing and are sitting under a big tree discussing the state of affairs, where there is only a small school and one Centro de Saude, where outhouses are made of macuti, where the soccer field has not a shoot of grass. Very recognizable.
We played on the beach, went for a snorkel off the beach and saw lots of small and medium sized bait fish. It seemed that all the different species required for a healthy food chain were present in this bay. It had taken quite a while and many miles for us to be able to observe this. In most places some of the species are missing completely. We even saw a shark swim on the surface next to the boat the following day!
After a sundowner and skype with the boys we braaied our two fillets. They tasted delicious. Gitane mistook them for pork chops and wanted to verify from which animal chops are really made.
With this we ended a perfect day of complete mental peace, observing a rare dolphin species, reading up on them, learning a few new things and enjoying the simplicity of island life in a remote place. This is why we sail.