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Cape Verde Islands

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New Bedford Whaling Museum Benjamin Russell

Cape Verde is a archipelago consisting of 10 islands and 5 islets. It is located in the mid-Atlantic Ocean, approximately 350 miles off the west coast of Africa. The landscape includes dry plains, active volcanoes, and steep cliffs, and the climate is arid. The ocean near these islands has an abundance of tropical cyclone formation, making Cape Verde subject to intense hurricanes. The New England whalers sailed around the Cape Verde Islands to the port at Tarrafal in order to pick up crewmen known as Bravas. The Portuguese-speaking Africans were excellent steersmen and harpooners, and known for their hard work aboard the ship. The local men were often ready to leave any of the islands to head out on a whaleboat.

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