cabo no es verde

28 02 2010

Once upon a time, long, long ago, the Cape Verde archipelago was covered in a carpet of green. Apparently.

Now, I’m not sure when the drought struck, but at some point, it seems everything died, because there isn’t much you could call green about this little scattering of islands.

My yachting partners assure me there are a few little pockets of lush jungle here and there, but what I’ve seen could be better likened to the surface of the moon.

not at all representative of the other islands

Craggy volcanic rocks stretch skyward from cliff-lined coasts and everything is various shades of brown, grey and black. They’re fierce islands, not the type of spot you’d want to be shipwrecked.

A few fun rocks can be found to climb, but I managed to pick one with an osprey’s nest on top, they seem a little protective of those eggs.

Back on the water, Cape Verdes are quite the watersports mecca.

Islands such as Sal and Boa Vista are world-renowned for kiteboarding and windsurfing, there’s plenty of surf, diving and incredible fishing.

The local fishos roll into the docks each day with giant wahoo and tuna, often having caught them with spearguns. God knows how.

Scrappy little settlements doggedly cling to their slab of land beside the sea on many of the islands, but everything looks half finished; few houses bothering with a final coast of paint.

Apparently, one isn’t required to replay one’s foreign aid loan until one’s house is completed, so why would you finish the job?

surf's up just behind the yacht

looks a lot like west oz actually

the motherland

28 02 2010

Another January, another trip home to Oz.

Pretty much like last year really, ‘cept this time the occasion was for a wedding and this time, Perth’s already over-the-top prices had reached critical mass.

By prices, I mean the cost of everything. But mostly food.

Main courses at decent restaurants are now regularly reaching $40 for say, fish of the day (Barramundi? Really?) but even a coffee is around four bucks.

One pub has also famously begun charging $18 for a pint of Hoegaarden beer. That’s for one pint…

And yes, I know when you convert it to pounds or euros, it’s roughly halved, but no one is earning euro currency. How many European restaurants charge €40 for a main meal? Not many I know of.

But whatever. Let the rich miners have Perth. It’s still lovely and leafy and sun-baked  most of the time, but finally a few kooky bars are breathing new life into forgotten corners of the city.

view across the city

at rotto

A couple of trips further afield also confirmed what I’ve long suspected: although the Perth metro area is okaaay, it’s the destinations nearby that make WA worthwhile.

The emerald waters of Rottnest Island are just a ferry ride away, but you could be in another land.

A land with no cars, rampant wildlife, deserted beaches and long bike rides, where your most pressing concern is what to barbecue for dinner that night and how many beers are left in the Esky.

Even in the south-west, developers haven’t gotten all over the cape just yet and there are quiet corners where you can pull over the truck, unfold a hammock and watch the sun sink below a rocky outcrop with no one around. Good stuff.

rottnest waters