If You Steal My Sunshine
“You’re very welcome to Paradise,” grinned Jay, leaning easily from the circular workout zone in the shade of numerous palm trees. And so the tone was set for the week to follow as bags were unloaded in the beach car park at Praia do Tarrafal. Cool sand stretched away from our party towards a bright sea, contrasted only by the throng of coloured fishing skiffs dragged above the high-tide line.
We had come with a purpose – to surf and enjoy ourselves – and very quickly we eased into the island way of life. It’s an easy pace; steady but not slow, everything happening when it should. The sun glowed early each day and we rose with it feeling fresh and productive, our bleary eyed gazes focused upon locals already well into theirs. A regal air surrounded the people regardless of possessions or class, illuminated by not only their natural charisma but also brilliantly coloured clothing, sashes and traditional headwear.
Days were indistinguishable except for the way we filled them. Tom and Dan found small waves early on a more exposed coast - almost the perfect morning if not for the hundred or so urchin spines buried in Dan’s foot. We took turns to help, whether with the needle or a hand squeezed, but the spines relented, and Dan left with a souvenir most would rather not take home.
We soon swapped the mountainous and green climes of Santiago for the dry windswept expanse of Sal. The hero shifting from people to nature, we marvelled at endangered red-billed tropicbirds, gracious and elegant, their long tail feathers trailing like a wake behind a boat.
We wistfully hoped for a long range swell that was forecast, and camped at what we thought was our best option on the last day. With camp set up on the beach, we occupied ourselves bodysurfing in the shore break and enjoying the sun. It was encouraging to see one or two others with boards gazing hopefully at the ocean; she merely gazed back at us, flatter than the vast sand dunes that stretched to the windward side of the island. We could hardly complain.