On the island for the annual Condominium Meeting, diving is always a good way to relax with these blood pressure raising annual events. Having dived in many parts of the word, well 16 different countries to be exact, I sometimes thought that the barren reefs here lacked a certain lustre. Yes, it’s not the Barrier Reef nor those colourful joys of the Red Sea, but there is still a plethora of critters here.
So, here’s my simple video compilation of last week’s diving in Cape Verde. It came out better than expected.
We were diving with ECO Dive School up near the old Sab Sab hotel, on the Leme Bedge beach between the Columbus Restaurant and Josh Angolo’s windsurfing school. Previously called Orca Dive School and run by German born Sandra and South African husband Neil, the dive centre has been operating on the island for ten years.
Water temperatures can range from 20degC to 26degC in the summer months, but in April this is around 22degC. Windchill can be a small problem traveling between dive sites and it’s not uncommon to feel a little cold on your second dive. The school will rent you 7mm suits and although dived in a 3.5mm in the past, a 5mm semi-dry was my chosen weapon but I think a 7mm suit would be more appropriate for these cooler winter months.
The standard format is two dives in the morning. Arrive at the dive centre for 08.30am and kit up for a short drive to the pier. Your kit will be transported for you. Simply board the RHIB to your first dive site with briefing en-route. After dive one, you will be transported to dive site two where you’ll change cylinders and complete your surface interval. Bring a hat or sunscreen for head and face during the surface interval period, plus some water to drink.
Predominantly diving reefs, there is a lot to explore. Until this week, my favourite would have been Bois 32, the number 32 representing it’s maximum depth. One of my early dives in Cape Verde, I remember the black volcanic rock landscape wig its square and rectangular blocks. But I think that may change to the Peredão Reef, the home of the octopus and turtle in the video. Indeed, I found a rather lovely porcelain shell discarded among onto the sand from the said octopus’s smorgasbord gastronomy the night before.
The dive is a simple one at Peredão. Descend the shot to about 18 metres and then drop down to the sea bed at about 22 metres beneath the overhang. Your guide will escort you along the reef to the ascent shot. Don’t hang around as the bottom segment of the dive will be around 20 to 22 minutes before you enter into deco. Keep an eye on your air consumption too if you have a high SAC rate. If there is a current running, you may need to pull yourself down the shot, but this then turns to your advantage as you gently drift the length of the reef. On your way you’ll find the resident octopus and possible turtle too. A magical and surprising element about this dive, was that during ascent we could hear the baritone sounds of the whales in the distance.
Santo Antão Wreck
I think my other favourite dive site is the Santo Antão Wreck. Known for its home of hundreds, if not thousands of Porcupine Burrfish. Depending on tides, you’ll find yourself at a maximum depth of 10 or 12 metres. Get your buoyancy right and with the swell and shore surge, you can hang with these “puffas”. I find an inverted Trumpetfish pose works well to sway back, forth, up and down in total tranquility. If it wasn’t for the sound of bubbles, you could indeed fall asleep. With your NDL never decreasing, you could be here all day. My SAC rate was a minimal 13.67 litres per minute, that’s around 25% less than normal.