The journey continues to Tarrafal after Part 1 here
From afar, we could see and even smell the sea and some of the guys started to get excited, probably because it was a welcomed change from the earlier dry, hilly route. Tarrafal was indeed a small town next to the sea but seems cleaner and more organised compared to Praia. The houses and commercial areas mostly two and three stories high were well organised and clean.
Seriously the Government and private enterprises need to do more to promote their beautiful beaches here. If this is in Malaysia, the plan would have been overrun by local and foreign tourists on the weekends. Just take a look at Port Dickson which is about 100 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur – there are already plenty of hotels, service apartments and houses for rent and the town continues to be developed for tourism.
Admittedly this was one of the largest beach I ever seen but one without shades. In fact, before the trip, we have been warned to take the necessary precautions by ensuring we cover ourselves with a good UV protection cream.
Based on the UV Index, the months between March to September are expected to have the highest UV Index reading at 12 whilst the remaining months records a lower but critical index of 8 to 9. For records, any UV Index that is more than 10 which is considered as a very high risk – in other words, one would burn severely within 30 minutes.
For this reason alone, I did not decide to go down to the beach even though as precaution, all of us had applied (or rather out of fear, smeared) enough sunblock lotion to last this trip to Tarrafal. But instead I found myself at a restaurant high above the beach, under the shade and with a mug of cold chill beer in my hands.
The water surrounding the Cape Verde islands is in pristine greenish, blue water unless the colour of the seas that we have here in Malaysia which is dark blue or light brownish. However we were warned that the undercurrents are strong and the sea is deep so only those who can swim well (not an issue to anyone who have stayed long enough in Cape Verde) should go down into the waters.
The hole as the locals call it as was translated by one of the users – this looked very deep and dangerous but interestingly it is one of the favourite spot for those who are looking for some thrills. One of the users who is an expert swimmer informed that he and his friends had jumped into this hole in the last trip they were here and assured us that it is pretty safe. However none of the guys in my team wanted to take any risks.
As it was high time for lunch, arrangements have been made at a nearby seafood restaurant (walking distance from the Tarrafal main beach) but as in the case of any restaurants in Cape Verde, we expected that it will take some time before the meals would be ready especially since we were not a small group. A few more users joined by the time the lunch commenced.
Whilst waiting for the main dish, we were served with some tidbits and cooked of squids, prawns, bread with butter. For drinks, we had both the alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks – some of us including myself opted for Gin Tonic (which was becoming my favourite being in Cape Verde).
The main dish itself is nothing new – even Praia, we got something very similar – grilled chicken, rice (not in the photos) and steamed vegetables. As before, the meals itself was not spicy, very little gravy so to compensate, we asked for chilly oil (it was a big mistaken as I found later – the spiciness had spiked up my stomach and I got a severe stomach pain for the rest of the day).
The lunch was good and since there was still time, we need to go to another side of the Tarrafal – somewhere there is less crowd and instead of sandy beach, this part was more rocky and looked dangerous. However the rock formations was the perfect place to use to dive into the sea. Someone had build a makeshift ladder to allows the swimmers to climb up the rocks and dive again.
Before we leave the town, there was enough time for coffee which was excellent as usual and we enjoyed the coffee whilst watching a group of locals dancing to a local music. It was fun indeed. The return trip back to Praia was via the coastal road which was more scenic because the sea was always on our left and the mountains on our right.
There were small villages dotted throughout the journey back and unlike the dry vegetation that we saw on the earlier trip, there were greenery here with villagers planting corns, papayas and other vegetables & fruits. By the time we reached our hotel, most of us were already fast asleep in the van.