At dawn we can see Sal. From the sea this low-lying, sandy and dry Cape Verdean island looks like a miniature version of the Sahara desert. Aided by a strong northeast trade wind, we sailed here in six days from the Canary Island of El Hierro. We even slowed down towards the end, so we would arrive in daylight at. the bay of Palmeira. It is well-sheltered and we anchor behind a group of other sailboats. Ahead of them wooden fishing boats in different bright colours make for a pretty picture. Just as we step into the kayak, a sea turtle swims by. “As if it knows that we’re here because of it!” Ivar jokes.
On the quay boys of around ten years old are competing for our attention. They offer to guard our kayak, while we stroll through Palmeira. Lined by brightly colored houses its streets are remarkably tidy. A woman sits on the street selling fruit from a wheelbarrow. Around the corner, a Chinese family runs the local mini-market. When a group of tourists arrives in a touring car, stray dogs curiously approach them.
We head to the police station, where an inexperienced but friendly officer helps us with the formalities. “Where is your visa?” he asks us while flipping through our passports. “We get them from you!” we reply in a matter-of-fact way. After phoning is his boss, he stamps our passports. Just as we thought we were done, he sends us to make copies of all the documents we filled in at the library around the corner.