Boavista island in the Cape Verde archipelago is known as the Island of Dunes and Beaches. The island is located in the windward group of the archipelago and with 620 km², it is the third largest island of the archipelago.
The beautiful Boavista Island (Portuguese meaning “good view”) is a sea paradise located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in the coordinates 16º10'28''N / 22º55'05''W. This is the home island of the first Cape Verde President, Aristides Pereira, who chose well. It's well worth a stay and a couple of days out of the water to see the views and mingle with the gentle and warm local people.
Boavista also offers excellent opportunities to observe turtles, humpback whales, birds and more- it's a true underwater paradise. As for fishing and spearfishing, the best time is from June to early October. In my opinion, August is the best month, where you can spear yellowfin tuna, blue-marlin, sailfish, amberjack, groupers, wahoo, spanish mackarel and lots of reef fish. You just need to be in the water to have the chance of spearing a dream fish.
I had the chance to visit Boavista once again last August, and it didn´t disappoint me, really wonderful days we had! As always the preparation for the trip started a couple of months before departure, this time with the advantage of knowing the place and what I could expect... I was in contact with my good friend Tikeks Ramos from Roiman Sportfishing, who provided an excellent, safe boat as well as logistics and invaluable local knowledge. I also decided to try my luck observing loggerhead turtles nesting this time. For this, I had the support of Jenny Gwen Smith from Giggling Gecko Adventures- a really nice and very competent Scot who is now living on the island.
As I already mentioned in one of my previous articles, one of the things that gives me the most pleasure and truly gives me a rush is all the preparation needed for these expeditions... Not only regarding the gear but also all the study and research you have to do, to totally understand the place and all the conditions... A very special Thank You to my dear friend John Dowling who helped me make contacts and gather information since day one.
From Lisbon (Portugal) the flight to Boavista was relatively short. We had the usual shenanigans in the check-in counter (the sportTube filled with spearguns and floats always opens the door to a few questions...) Before we knew it, we were landing at the Boavista International airport were we were picked up by a nice local driver in a cool Land Rover Defender! The rest of the day was spent resting and preparing the gear for the next day.
As for the gear, I found that a 140 railgun, double 16mm bands, with a 7mm spear was a good compromise. I just added a 30 meter floatline with a 5 meter bungee on the end and a 11 liter foam filled float. A flasher can be of serious help and this year I used one made in fluorescent perspex with a bright green lure at the end: very effective, I must say!
For the first day of diving, I decided to go out with Tumona, a local professional fisherman that only dives the reefs looking for groupers and lobsters. I thought it could be important to make a few dives in the reef before going bluewater, so we left harbor around 7AM and traveled 25 minutes to the first spot. I must say that these reefs are a paradise to all spearos that don't like bluewater or deep diving. The visibility was around 15 meters and all the reefs are really shallow. The deepest one was around -14 meters.
I must confess that the first hour in the water was pure sightseeing. I had the magical chance of swimming side by side with a big loggerhead turtle. I observed the magnificent biodiversity of the Boavista underwater world... But then I had to catch some fish! I had to keep in mind that my fellow Tumona is a professional fisherman and all his income depends on the fish we get, so I turned on the "hunting" mode.
From the surface I saw some good-looking rocks at about -10 meters, and down I went! Just when I was reaching the bottom a nice sized Parrot Fish came from behind a rock- I shot almost instinctively and managed to get him! (There are no problems with ciguatera here, so this fish makes good eating).
The rest of the day was spent bottom spearfishing, very fun stuff and by the end of "Day 1" we speared some nice fish, parrots, groupers and a few other reef fish. We returned to port by 17PM and I was exhausted but happy with the results.
The next day was spent resting at the beach. Then, I went for a day in the Blue with Tikeks from Roiman Sportfishing. We left the harbor by 6 AM and went directly offshore, after getting all the equipment ready it was time to enter the water and merge in the magnificent blue!
After a few dives without success, and almost after 1 1/2 hours in the water (bluewater is also a patience test for your mind), I saw a shoal of small fishes with some nice sized fish. I couldn't identify them from the surface underneath, so I breathed calmly at the surface relaxing and after a few seconds I dove. After a couple of meters and now much closer to the fish, I could see what they were, a nice sized Amberjack. I stopped the descent lining my body with the fish, positioned the 140 Rob Allen Speargun, and after two quick kicks I shot. Right on target, I let the rig do its work, ascending calmly to the surface. The recovery of the amberjack lasted for 15 minutes with not much to tell, just the usual up and down, with the bungee and floats completely fulfilling their job.
I went to the boat for some water and rest and we moved a couple of miles more offshore. After 40 minutes I was again in the water. I was charging the speargun when I glimpsed in the distance a big silhouette 2 or 3 meters from the surface... I started swimming around it, and as I moved closer I could see a big Spanish Mackarel, really big one, more than 30 kg for sure. It was within shooting distance and my adrenaline was pumping high... I aimed, and shot, and once again hit the target! The fish went down with all his power, the rig was completely stretched and it stayed that way for more than 10 minutes of fight. Sometimes I would recover the bungee easily, then next minute I would loosen all the recovered cable and the fish would go down again, with the bungee and floatline stretching in tension. And it was in one of these moments with the fish escaping down that the nightmare happened... Suddenly all the rig was loose and with no tension at all, I pulled it up and saw what I feared the most, I had lost that big Spanish Mackarel, don´t now exactly how but the spear was empty! What a disappointment, I must say.
In this spot I saw lots of whaoo´s, but almost all of them were too small to catch, there was also no sign of the yellowfinn Tunas often found off the island. I returned to the boat and Tikeks the skipper told me that there were some sportfishing boats catching tunas 15 miles offshore from our location, but it was impossible for us to go to that spot, with no gas and it was already too late.
And that´s all folks, once again I enjoyed myself like a little kid, and that´s the most important thing for me. I plan on returning to Cape Verde but this time only to explore some reefs with scuba gear and doing some filming. If you guys are looking for a place to spend your next spearfishing vacation, please consider Cape Verde and especially Boavista Island.