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Phespirit goes to Cape Verde
Boa Vista     October 2012

460km off the coast of west Africa, two hours' flying time south from the Canary Islands across the Tropic of Cancer, is Cape Verde. This small independent nation is formed of ten major islands - nine of which are inhabited - plus five islets and various offshore rocks and stacks. Boa Vista is the island farthest east, and it is to Boa Vista that Phespirit travelled for an October week in the sun.

It's all about the beaches on Boa Vista. The interior is fairly desolate, with low peaks of long-extinct volcanoes rising amid a rocky terrain of sand and uneven, uncultivated greenery. Towns and villages are few and sedentary. Connecting roads are mostly surfaced with bumpy jagged volcanic cobbles; four-wheel drive is surely essential. But the beaches ..... the beaches must rank alongside the best to be found anywhere in the world.

Phespirit stayed all-inclusive at a hotel roughly halfway down Praia de Chaves, which begins in the northwest at Sal Rei - the island's capital - and extends south for 10.8km around the west coast. Like all Boa Vista's beaches it is wide, utterly deserted for long stretches, and formed of the finest, palest sands imaginable. The sea is a most seductive turquoise but forceful heavy rollers and a strong undertow add a hint of menace to the magic. The southern half of the beach is entirely free from developments of any kind. Only occasional quad bikes and the most determined of walkers make it to the last kilometre.

During his six full days, Phespirit had a couple of days on the beach, one hiking all the way around to Praia Santa Monica on the south coast, another heading north through Sal Rei to the stark picturesque ruins of Capela de Nossa Senhora de Fátima, and another on a 4WD tour to all corners of the island.

In truth there is very little to see or do on Boa Vista, and by the last day Phespirit was sun-pinked all over. So he sat in the shade on his balcony directly overlooking the beautiful beach and out across the Atlantic Ocean. He did a little writing, a little reading, watched some sport on TV and enjoyed the warmth of an easy life. The next day he would fly for six hours back to his own island in the Atlantic and the stern grind of reality in temperatures at least 23°C lower. Cape Verde was a fine escape.

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