A small rubber dinghy took us to the catamaran, passing a really peaceful and beautiful sight of children from Palmeira swimming and playing by the shore while a young boy skilfully and gracefully practiced Capoeira movements as though he had been doing them all his life. It was the perfect photo moment, but my inflated life-jacket prevented me from turning to get a
Below are some pictures of the creatures I snapped around the hotel grounds.
I’ve tried this chemical bombardment trick before and it has worked on all kinds of English bugs, but this Cape Verdean spider was some kind of super-spider. I spent about 20 minutes chasing the thing around the room. I used up so much of the spray, I almost knocked myself out and had to retreat to the balcony for oxygen. However, I persisted and the spider was eventually defeated. Cruel, I know, but I would not have slept if it had lived.
The charity workers were trying to get tourists to purchase turtle-related merchandise or adopt one of the artificial nesting sites in the cordoned off pen to financially support their efforts in protecting the turtles on Sal's beaches. Many turtles had previously been found dead on the beaches and local people still hunt them for meat. I assume they've been doing this for years, but the charity workers go out every evening and patrol the beaches to dissuade the hunters.
The conservation efforts of the charity workers are noble and very thoughtful, but personally, I would speculate that the central problem is probably the fast-paced growth of tourism without due consideration for the wildlife. I'm guessing it is the resulting increase in building projects on the coastline and not locals hunting turtles for meat that has had the bigger impact on the turtle population. Beaches that were once used as nesting sites for turtles are now being used by hotels to accommodate their beach-side apartments, beach-front bars and lounging space for guests. The hotel my friend and I were staying at led out onto Tortuga Beach (meaning 'turtle' beach) and so i assume this was a beach where turtles nested. However this was not highlighted as the main problem at the turtle hatchery.
As we began to feel the chill of the wind in the late afternoon, it was decided that it was time to head back to the hotel. To get back to the taxi, we had to slide down the sand dunes and so after killing a spider and accidentally terrifying freshly excavated baby turtles with the flash of my camera, I added destabilisation of sand dunes to the catastrophic list of anti-ecotourism activities during my holiday. I hang my head in shame.
As I have been writing what has become an epic four-part holiday blog, I have had a chance to mull over all the things I miss about Sal. I miss the all-encompassing chirp of crickets in the night-time, the wonderous sight of a pitch black sky uninterrupted by tall buildings and being able to see a multitude of stars because their shine doesn’t have to compete with the glare of city lights. I miss going outside without a coat and not being afraid that I’ll be cold. I miss washing my hands at the sink and rubbing them furiously thinking the soap was not washing off when in fact the water was so soft it was silky. I miss the comforting and liberating absence of CCTV cameras everywhere. I miss rolling in the sand and watching kite surfers doing jumps in the massive waves. I miss collecting sea shells on the beach and the dry Saharan winds that provoked the dramatic ocean waves. I miss watching the local dogs wandering the streets freely simply because they can. I miss watching the sun setting into the ocean and casting an orange beam across the water and up onto the beach. And I miss the club we went to where super-sized cockroaches came out after midnight and there was only one toilet for males and females with no running water, but that didn't interfere with the positive vibes. And even though it irked me when things weren’t there or done when they were supposed to, I’m beginning to miss the “no stress” tag line that rolled from the lips of the locals. But most of all, I miss the way the sunshine made my skin look and feel as though it was never made to be ravaged by an English winter. And for that reason, I intend on planning another holiday to some place sunny soon.