The fact that the high-speed ferry boat Kriola was brought to Praia by a ship christened Pantera is one of those coincidences that can make the most agnostic among us believe that destiny is determined by transcendental interconnections. For a country that has the late Orlando Pantera as one of the heroes of its musical pantheon, the fact that a ship bearing his name carried the new vessel to the country nearly ten years after his tragic and premature death cannot but be impregnated with significance. At approximately 11:30 am, the first of Cabo Verde Fast Ferry's two high-speed hydrofoils entered Praia de Santa Maria bay, concluding the long trip that had begun in Singapore, where the vessel was built. With its arrival, the people of Brava have also begun to see the fulfillment of their dream of putting an end to the island's isolation. The ship will be put into the sea tomorrow, January 4, after which it will head to Brava, where it will be stationed.
With a 158 person, 20 car and three-truck capacity, the vessel differs from all others currently plying Cape Verdean waters because of its comfort and modernity. Built with high-technology motors, the ship will be able to travel at 20 knots, connecting the islands of Santiago and Fogo in approximately three hours (between 2 hours and 45 minutes and 3 hours and 15 minutes, depending on the weather).
João de Deus, the director of the Maritime and Port Institute, emphasized the added value the arrival of the Kriola represents for Cape Verde: "they have a well-guided and sustainable project," he pointed out, adding that the ship may also help resolve problems related to passenger luggage and the transportation of vehicles from one island to another.
In the opinion of the shipping agency Agenav manager Henrique Pires, the hydrofoil will solve the problem that has always plagued transportation to and from the island of Brava. Even with regards to the islands of Fogo and Maio, islands to which there are regular flights from the city of Praia, the Kriola will be useful in other ways, making trips less expensive. "This ship has all the comfort of an airplane, and should be treated with great care. Now an émigré from Brava can travel to his or her island without worries," he stressed.
Pires also affirmed that Kriola's maintenance can be guaranteed by the various competent technicians that exist in Cape Verde. For the time being, however, a number of foreign technicians from the company from which the vessel was purchased will remain in Cape Verde to provide assistance.
Among the few people present this morning on the docks at Praia sea port was Editur manager José Teixeira, who expressed satisfaction with the arrival of the ship at the very beginning of 2011. "The future of our islands promises to be better," said Teixeira, who added that "this vessel represents a major step for tourism" and that "the ship has the advantage of being very fast. The second ship, which is scheduled to arrive in April, is even faster," concluded the manager of the real-estate company.
After being placed in the water, the Kriola will undergo a series of tests, after which the technicians will navigate for some time in Praia harbor.
The Kriola will cover the routes among the islands of Brava, Fogo, Praia and Maio. Its official inaugural trip is scheduled for Sunday, January 9.
The tickets (3,000 escudos Praia to Fogo) may be purchased by phone or by Internet, on the our website.