BOA VISTA ISLAND- AFRICAN TREASURE
Impressive white sandy beaches, vast volcanic landscapes, vibrant blend of cultures, with influences from Portugal, Africa and Brazil… That’s Cape Verde, a unique collection of islands found off the west coast of Africa, around 500km from the land. Cape Verde is formed by 10 main islands and about 8 islets surrounded by clear waters of Atlantic Ocean.
Despite its remoteness, the lack of natural resources and its isolation from many other countries, Cape Verde has won a positive reputation in promoting what is considered the most stable democracy in Africa and every year hosts bigger number of tourist willing to explore its wild lands.
Among 10 paradisiac islands of Cape Verde, there is Boa Vista, the third largest island of the Archipelago. When you first clap eyes on Boa Vista’s beaches, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the Caribbean! This tiny island in Cape Verde is wrapped in dazzling white-sand beaches in total of 55km, all tickled by turquoise waters. Everyone can find a beach which will be perfect for him: from small, rocky bay to huge sandy stretches. And because Boa Vista is still a newbie on the tourism front, you won’t be sharing your spot with hordes of other holidaymakers!
Apart from wide sandy beaches and local land attractions, there are turquoise waters which are hiding a treasure called Megafauna – large or giant animals with the thresholds of 45 or 100 kilograms, what surprisingly make us, human being, Megafauna as well.
Megafauna of Boavista is something unique, what can make become your holiday unforgettable experience. The cool Canary current meets here warm waters of the Gulf of Guinea, what in result brings here both cold-water and warm-water fish. Another contributing factor is that Archipelago of Cape Verde, being located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, becomes a perfect stop over for migratory and pelagic species, which can be seen during your underwater adventures!
In practice, the most common usage of Megafauna is to call the biggest land and underwater species like elephants, hippopotamuses, giraffes, whales, sharks and big size rays. If you decide to spend your holiday in Boa Vista, you will take a chance to encounter these enormous marine creatures, including humpback whales, nurse sharks, sand tiger sharks, mantas and turtles.
On the top of the Megafauna list there are humpback whales, known for their magical songs, which travel for great distances through the world’s oceans. These whales pass through waters surrounding Boa Vista Island in the spring, what makes part of their annual winter migration to the warm waters close to Equator, in order to mate and calve. Humpback whales tend to swim and feed close to the coastline, what allows tourists to observe them from little distance. With some luck, and being “in the right place, at the right time”, you will have a possibility to see whale mothers and their young swim close together, often touching one another with their flippers with, what appear to be gestures of affection. It’s not common to encounter whales underwater, but you can be sure, that as a diver you will be accompanied by their music and magnificent songs.
In Cape Verde there is the third biggest in the world population of Loggerhead Turtle, after the one in Masirah Island in Oman and second in southeast USA, mainly in Florida.
Adult males reach about one meter in shell length and weigh about 113 kilograms, but large specimens of more than 454 kilograms have been found! Loggerheads are the most common turtle in the Mediterranean and US, but their population is still decreasing as a result of illegal hunting, degradation of nesting beaches, collection of eggs and meat for consumption, climate change and pollution. For this reason there were created, also in Boa Vista, many non-profit organizations for the protection of loggerhead turtles which work to protect this specie throughout specialist programs and regional projects devoted to the conservation of marine turtles.
Nests are spread between all the islands of Cape Verde, but 90% of them are built every year in Boa Vista, out of which 75%-80% on beaches of the east coast of the island. Every summer, between June and late October, 12.000 to 14.000 females nest, and lay from 40 to 190 eggs per clutch.
Loggerhead turtle can be seen all year around underwater and it’s a regular enjoyment for the divers, providing up to three or even four individual encounters on a single dive.
You can be sure that during your underwater adventures in Boa Vista, you will encounter different species of sharks! Don’t hesitate to swim through caves and overhangs, as they are the most favorite hideouts of nurse sharks. These calm creatures, if not disturbed, won’t mind to pose for your photo. Another rare, but possible to spot, is a sand tiger shark, which despite its name, is not related to the tiger shark, however, it is a cousin of the great white shark. Although it has fearsome appearance and strong swimming ability, it is a relatively placid and slow-moving shark with no confirmed human fatalities. You can expect them close to shelter near rocks, overhangs, caves and reefs often at relatively shallow depths below 20 meters.
If you are snorkeling enthusiast, let surprise you with the shallow waters along the beaches which from time to time become a nursery for black tip sharks! Put your mask and fins and enjoy your snorkeling surrounded by baby sharks!
By ones called “devilfish” because of their horn-shaped cephalic fins, by others considerate as underwater angel thanks to majestic moves full of glance. In both cases we talk about manta rays, which are frequently passing through waters of Cape Verdean Archipelago during their migration season. If you want to maximize your chance to spot them, you should visit Boa Vista between April and October and stay attentive during your dives, as they can silently pass just few meters from you.