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Date: 20/04/2009
THE DAY THE AIRSHOW CAME TO SANTA MARIA - Bev in Sal.



Sunday 19 April 2009

Excitement had been mounting for days…. Something different was going to happen in Santa Maria. Something very different, a top jet air formation team from France were going to be displaying their talents over Santa Maria bay on Sunday, at 10am, we were told. It didn’t take long for word to travel and people were planning to be in bed early on Saturday night in order to be up bright and early for the event. It was part of a series of events that have taken place to celebrate 25 years of the aviation company ASA.

Sunday morning… I left my house at 10am, even though things usually run very late here, I didn’t want to risk missing this momentous event…

I arrived at the beach, and was amazed to see it was completely full, a sight not seen before, not even at the annual music festival. Everyone who lives on the island must have been there; families, groups of friends, all the different communities that live here (Italian, French, Senegalese, Portuguese to name a few). Any available roof terrace was taken up, and the Beach Club Bar was full. There was a youth drum band energetically beating out Cape Verdian rhythms, there was a stage with a pa and loud music playing causing feet to tap and hips to wiggle….

The commentator kept announcing ‘the little planes will be here soon….’ (that’s how I translated it anyway), and lo, around 10.30, they arrived….

Truly incredible, 7 jets (Breitling team, from France) flew over in formation, so close together it hardly seemed possible. They thrilled us with almost half an hour of swooping and plummeting, acrobatics and feats of aeronautical skill, occasionally two or three jets broke away, and then flew at each other from separate sides of the sky to just miss each other by inches…. Well that’s how it looked to us on the beach anyway, as thousands let out a collective sigh of relief and then a giggle of amazement at the daring feat…..

There were even Lifeguards on duty on the beach, in smart orange ASA t-shirts; no-one was allowed into the sea until the show was over.

It was fabulous, I was so glad not to have missed it.

As the planes flew off over the horizon after the finale, everyone clapped, people hurled themselves into the sea, and Santa Maria beach resembled a thriving holiday resort with a crowded beach, maybe one day in the future it will always be this busy, but for now we are the lucky ones experiencing our relatively untouched long white sandy beaches, clear water and endless blue skies…..

Blog Bev Chadwick, Photo Linda Aspden




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