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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

SO LONG BRAZIL!

'Oryx' explores Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro States.



Bold and beautiful - Brazil.

Oryx left Bom Abrigo on the wings of a front and had a swift run to our next anchorage off Praia Arpoador near Paranapua. We arrived in the early hours of the morning, the clouds were blotting out the stars and the darkness was profound. We had a warm drink and turned in. Daylight found us confronted by huge verdant cliffs with little sign of habitation. Astern were some small islands with a myriad of fishing boats sheltering from the front. We enjoyed the respite from the front and rode out the storm, before heading further north east.

Santos.


Discussing Santos with other yachties, we decided to forego anchoring off the town itself, as there had been reports of robberies. Apparently the anchorage is near a favella and we didn’t want to spoil our good memories of Brazil, by taking a risk. Instead we headed for anchorages beyond the town. I have fond memories of Guaruja and Santos. When I met Pete some seven years ago in London, he was repairing ‘Pelican’s’ mast and was changing her to junk rig at a boat yard called Pier 26 in Guaruja, Santos. I flew into San Paulo to join Pete some months later and my first impression of Brazil, from the air was a lush green land with many great rivers feeding into the sea. San Paulo’s red rooftops and skyscrapers seemed to grow out of the jungle.




Islands en route.

Enseada do Santo Amaro.

This quiet suburb of Santos provided a safe anchorage with a short bus ride into the centre.
Headland at Enseado do Santa Amaro.

Once the repairs and changes were done, we relaunched ‘Pelican’ and my first sail was from Guaruja to Ihla Bela. This time we stopped at far more anchorages. From Enseado do Santo Amaro Guaruja was visible in the distance. My initial sail with Pete is a distant memory now, but I do remember that Pete was sick with the flu and left me at the helm. A small squall came through and ‘Pelican’ gybed and the mizzen caught me squarely on the bridge of my nose, knocking my specs askew – so my first lesson was duck or grouse! I then called Pete unnecessarily, after having checked the charts. I was convinced we were near to land, as there was a church lit up with what seemed to be hundreds of lights. It was a fishing boat!






On this previous occasion we anchored on the southern side of Ilha de Sao Sebastiao or Ihla Bela (as its popularly known) and my first and lasting impression was of a densely forested, sparsely populated island that rose above ‘Pelican’ majestically. We swam off the boat and that was yet another new experience for me.

Pete swimming off 'Pelican' near Ilha Bela.

The water was clear and balmy and seemed infinitely deep. Sipping away at a sundowner in the cockpit, I heard the jungle bombilating for the first time and listened in amazement. It sounded so unearthly that it conjured up images of aliens. Apparently these aliens are merely cousins to the cicada, but the sound still makes me catch my breath in surprise.

"Oryx" anchored off Vila at Ilha Bela.


This time the travelling was more leisurely, we still had several months on our visa and Pete was resolved to visit as many exotic anchorages as possible.

Pereque.





As Ilhas.


'Oryx' off a deserted As Ilhas.

As Ilhas was another beauty, obviously popular but still deserted in August, except possibly for the weekends.





 Praia da Gueca.


The surrounding topography was breathtakingly beautiful as usual. Brazil evokes emotions that tumble about – the country is a stammer of b’s leaving me bewildered, bedazzled, bewitched and befuddled. Prior to Ilha Bela we wanted to visit the town of Sao Sebastian and anchored in a bay lined with fairly opulent homes that are part of a condominium. The beach is public and although the community is gated, there is a public access road to the beach. We set off looking for a bus stop and found ourselves lost amongst the enclave’s cul de sacs. We asked a nearby motorist, who promptly invited us into his car and drove us to the centre of Sao Sebastian. Again our communication skills hampered a more meaningful exchange, but we thanked him profusely.

Public access to the beach.

Praia da Gueca

Sao Sebastiao.





Fortifications look out over the bay.

Sao Sebastiao is one of the few towns in Sao Paulo State, which has preserved its colonial roots.  It sits on a dramatic channel, which divides the mainland from Ilha Bela.

Viewed from Praia Preto.

Picnic in the park.

The town is a major oil depot and it was striking to see the colossal ships vying with yachts and fishing boats against the magnificent backdrop of mountains.  We strolled around the historic town, did some shopping, basked in the sunshine as we picnicked and then caught the bus back to Praia do Gueca.





Beautiful streets of Sao Sebastiao.


Say no to drugs - rehabilition clinic.




Praia Preto, Sao Sebastiao.

Anchored of Praia Preto with Ilhs Bela in the distance.

Pete spotted a handy garage near a small beach and on the following day we sailed to Praia Preto, which is also conveniently near the centre. I minded ‘Crake’ whilst Pete topped up our diesel and cooking alcohol. Two elderly fishermen landed with their small motorboat in the surf and were shocked when I offered them a hand. They politely declined and then hauled the boat with practised skill onto a nearby trailer, whilst I watched.




The high island affects the winds in the channel and one information board called the area Brazil’s Bermuda Triangle, in addition to the acceleration zone of the wind, there are strong currents and apparently the area is prone to magnetic anomalies all of which has caused hundreds of shipwrecks around the area, which of course makes the diving great.


 Vila Ilha Bela.



Ilha Bela Yacht Club.

We sailed onto Vila Ilha Bela, the main town on the island, and anchored near the yacht club. The next morning we set out early to do some shopping, but then were enchanted by the number of trails available. Ilha Bela caters to cruise ships and there are many small boutiques, art galleries and plush restaurants.








The girl from Ihla Bela?




The information centre provided us with a brochure outlining the delights of the island. We shifted gear and bought fixings for yet another impromptu picnic and set off to the start of a trail to a nearby waterfall.

Streets of Vila,Ilha Bela.

Island etched on a wall







Fallen angel?



Unfortunately the information was misleading and we’d already walked for an hour before we found the start of the trail, high up in the foothills, surrounded by a luxury condominium. The sun was beating down and as we hadn’t thought to bring water, so we postponed the hike to some distant future date, or our bucket list. We walked back down the hillside admiring the splendid views of the bay. We picnicked on a lovely beach and headed back to ‘Oryx’.






The old prison is now a fine museum.



Plush houses and fine views from the condominium.


We picnicked on the beach with the spectacles.


Time was starting to speed up. We had to be in Rio de Janeiro by the end of the month, as my son Dylan was coming to visit, so we set off once more sometimes merely stopping for lunch at an anchorage, or otherwise just putting ‘Oryx’ bow into the bay, finding a suitable depth and taking some photos before heading on. 

My initial impression of a deserted Ihla Bela was replaced by viewing the west coast of the island.



The days were growing progressively warmer and on the weekends people and boats were becoming more numerous as everyone headed for the beaches or the shoals, basking in the sunlight.

Jabaquara.


Rafting up on a Sunday afternoon off Jabaquara at end of winter. Imagine the summer!


Sailing from Jabaquera on Ilha Bela towards the mainland and Tabatinga we met a young man who introduced himself as ‘Bob’. He was sailing a Laser like dinghy and pulled up alongside us. He managed to keep up easily with ‘Oryx’ and he asked for some water as he’d been sailing all day. As the breeze picked up he managed to sail rings around us.


Bob.
 Tabatinga.


Tabatinga.

Tamandua.

Castle rock.


Survival of the hardy.
Praia Lazaro.
We were keeping an eye on the forecast and had decided to head for Rio with the next front. Pete went ashore to stock up for the short passage at a place called Lazaro.



Aerial view of area near Praia Lazaro.





I stayed on board tidying up. Pete had no sooner left, than the wind started pumping. I went on deck in alarm, but although ‘Oryx’ and her neighbouring powerboats were dancing around there was no evidence of our anchor dragging. More alarmingly there was no sign of ‘Crake’ on the beach. Pete had walked across the narrow isthmus and when he returned with the shopping, he found ‘Crake’ at the top of the beach with nasty cracks in the hull. The oars had been locked in, yet one was broken. A gust must’ve lifted her and the dashed her upon a rock. A subdued Pete rowed back to ‘Oryx’ in a badly leaking ’Crake’, with the groceries afloat. The front had arrived. It was time to head north to Rio.


'Crake's cracks.'
Passage to Rio de Janeiro.


'Crake' undergoing repair a few days later in Rio.

We sailed rapidly past Ihla Anchieta and then just as suddenly as the wind had started, it switched off. We drifted aimlessly on the current, awaiting the return of the south wind. I fretted a bit about ‘Crake’s’ unseaworthiness, as we have no life raft, but then I don’t think I’d happily leave the safety of ‘Oryx’ for ‘Crake’ in stormy seas either. I consoled myself that the water is warm; we had life jackets, a flotation device and a pool noodle.

Hard at work to repair 'Crake' in time.

By nightfall a light breeze had filled in and by midnight our cool friend the south wind had returned and we zoomed along with the wind astern. There were thunderstorms overnight, but none too close and the wind remained steady the next day. Because we were sailing well, we decided to trail a line and just before noon we caught a magnificent Bonito! I duly took the photograph and then retreated below, whilst Pete did the cleaning. He threw the lure back into the sea to rinse it and low and behold we caught another Bonito, almost identical in size. Guess what we ate for a couple of days?


Bonito one.

Bonito two.
Rio de Janeiro!


Arriving in Rio we sailed passed the fishing boat bashing into the waves.

The seas off Ipanema and Copacabana were huge, but we sailed blithely by only running out of wind as we rounded Sugarloaf. We anchored just before dark off Urca. The next two days were cold and wet, so Pete was unable to repair the dinghy and we were stuck on board. Fortunately the fine weather returned and we had ‘Crake’ repaired and ready to use by the Saturday, the day before my son was due to arrive.

Reflections of central Rio.




We visited the port captain and had a picnic in the park overlooking Marina Gloria. This park is notorious for muggings by night, but in the daytime is filled with people jogging, cycling, practising their balletic capoeira or just strolling by enjoying the sunshine.

Theatre.

Sao Sebatiao visits Rio.

After lunch we visited the Rio Modern Art Gallery. As we walked around I was surprised to see that the exhibition was restricted to adults, until I saw some of the exhibits. The exhibition was of warfare and strife, past and present and included exhibits depicting Apartheid and South Africa, The Disappeared in Argentina and the Palestinian Issue to name but a few. As I walked around I felt as if my eyes were forcing back a spillage of beer – the unshed tears were acrid and bitter. Seldom has an exhibition moved me this much. It was raw and evocative.




This artist offered some light relief.

Sunday dawned filled with sunshine and excitement. We motor sailed to Flamengo beach and Pete rowed me ashore, but there were fairly big breakers, so I ask Pete to return to Urca, as I was worried about getting Dylan and his luggage aboard without a spill.  As I was walked to Santos Dumont Airport I glanced back and saw ‘Oryx’ sailing! It felt both exciting and surreal.

Spot 'Oryx' sailing back to Urca?


Dylan arrived without much ado and after a slight skirmish with an opportunistic taxi driver we took a yellow, metered cab to Urca.

Pete ferries Dylan to 'Oryx'
Relaxing with Corcavado in the distance.

 I won’t give you a blow-by-blow account of Dylan’s holiday except to say that it was one of the highlights of my year. It was great to have him on board and I think he left feeling more relaxed and slightly smitten with Brazil.

We climbed up Morro da Urca only to find ticket office under renovation.




Pete has a new toy.


Copacabana. the hottest spot south of Havana.


His sailing experiences were varied, as you’ll see in the photographs and he had a bit of sea sickness and a lot of ‘land sickness’ as he calls that swaying, slightly inebriated feeling one has after some time on a boat.

Dylan's surfing safari in Rio.




Surfing off Arpoador with Ipanema and Leblon in the background.

In the thick of things.



Vying for waves, Dylan's board is highly visible.

Arpoador is always crowded and they give surf lessons there.

Coco Gelado para me e Antartica para me filho.
Copacabana was a millpond, so Dylan adapted.






Sailing past Ipanema, note the favella.
Battling the current and the wind.


We spent four days in Rio de Janeiro and then headed for Ilha Grande.

Ilha Grande.

Dylan's surfing safari: Ihla Grande.

Praia Lopes Mendes.

This surf spot was a short walk through the forest from the anchorage at Praia dos Mangues.We later sailed around the south coast and anchored off Lopes Mendes itself, so dylan could surf here again.



Dylan surfs Lopes Mendes.


From the crowds of Arpoador to the solitude of Lopes Mendes.



Tree hugger - the forest protects itself.

Sign of beach indicating the path.

Tripper boats at Praia dos Mangues.


Pete did as much as the weather allowed to give Dylan the full surfing safari. We introduced him to Coco Verde and Caiparinhas, but mostly we just relaxed. It was great. The two weeks flew by.

Havianas as a surfing accessory? No, to prevent bico de pei.

 Paranoica.
Paranoica!
 Aventuria.


Aventuria village.





Oryx anchored off Aventuria.



Catch of the day.

Captain relaxing.
 Vila do Abraao.



Abraao's Big Ben chimes on the hour.
The beach bars and restaurants sweep down to the water's edge.



Mangaratiba.




Mangaratiba, on the mainland gave Dylan an idea of 'the real Brazil'.
Unfortunately, although the Ilha Grande area is perfect for cruising, with many sheltered coves, the wind is less reliable and we were forced to use the engine to meet the time constraints. On one occasion the engine overheated and Pete adjusted the fan belt, thinking that was the problem. Fortunately there was a good breeze to carry us to Mangaratiba, where Dylan was to catch the bus back to Rio. That same breeze chose to blow like crazy, just after Dylan was ashore and consequently I couldn’t get ashore to say ‘goodbye’. To add insult to injury, my Tobago baseball cap blew away as I sat on the foredeck, watching and waving!

Braaing on board.

Jacarei.


This town of Jacarei is much bigger than its cousin in the north.



Jacarei's beaches were humming.


We continued to explore the area after Dylan’s departure and once again the engine overheated and Pete found an excess of oil in the engine compartment.

Angra dos Reis.
The busy fishing dock at Angra dos Reis.
Angra anchorage.

We continued on to Angra, trickling into the anchorage under sail. Initially we hoped to haul out, fix the engine and antifoul at Bracuhy Marina, but on enquiry the rates were exorbitant and so Pete chose to return to a beach near Paraty Mirim to dry out, where he had dried out on ‘Badger’ 22 years ago. All we had to do was get there! Getting a new main bearing oil seal took longer than anticipated and to get under weigh we had to kedge out of the anchorage. We re anchored off the channel for the night and set out with first light the following morning.

Pete rows out the second anchor which he then drops and we pull ourselves out of the anchorages, inch by inch - kedging.

The fishing fleet set out at dawn, alongside us.

Ihla Cotia.


The beautiful area around Paraty Mirim.

After a marathon drift in light variable wind we anchored off Ihla Algodao at 0430. The next morning the weather was beautiful with even a nice breeze to give a pleasant sail to the beach off Ihla Cotia, but when we arrived there was a Brazilian boat and its crew relaxing in the shoals. Pete rowed over and explained our predicament and instead of being annoyed at us spoiling their idyll, they kindly towed us onto the beach.

Brazilian sailors lending a hand to tow an engine impaired 'Oryx' onto the sandbank.

For two days we worked with the tides, Pete removing the drive leg and changing the oil seal, whilst I scrubbed the bottom. He managed to change the seal on one tide, although he was no longer convinced it was the problem, he also changed the seawater impeller and fortunately the engine seems fine. We met a charming couple – Barry and Sue Fuller on a boat called ‘Crazy Diamond’ and finally managed to swap some books again. 


Viewed from the saloon.

Our own coral garden.

Beached.


The beautiful beach at Ilha Cotia.

Oil stained Pete.

The area around Paraty Mirim is another natural paradise. We explored the area extensively for the Brazil guide and at Paraty Mirim itself we found a small Brazil Indian reserve and with as many beach bars as small churches it caters to all spiritual needs. We headed west, along the coast to Ubatuba, to cover the stretch of coast we’d missed by scooting off to Rio de Janeiro.




The area around Paraty Mirim is striking.



Paraty Mirim.


Picking up lunch.

I loved this sign.



Paraty Mirim has as many churches as it has bars - catering to all spiritual needs. It also has a small Brazil Indian community, although most of the teenage boys have hennaed their hair as an attempt at diguise. There is a very regular bus service to nearby Paraty.




Saco de Mamanagua.    
                      

Spring water cascades freely on the beach near the only bar.




Pouso.





This turtle headland lies between Pouso and Trinidade, but is more visble when sailing west.





Trinidade.


Trinidade, Rio de Janeiro State.

Bob Marley has a following in this little town.


I wanted this canga, but the shop was closed.

We loved the village of Trinidade anchoring first off the town and then off the beach where we had picnicked. There is a spectacular natural pool, access to which is restricted in peak season. ( in order to control the numbers, one has to buy a permit).We decided to row over and tie up, but there was nowhere to tie up safely, so we rowed into the pool itself and tied up to a mangrove. The pool is so big that the small motorboat ferry also came right in!

The bay on the far side of the headland in Trinidade.

Serenading 'Oryx'.

Natural pool -access is restricted in the summer time to keep the numbers reasonable.




Ubatuba.






We called on many remote anchorages en route to Ubatuba. In Ubatuba we set off looking for the city centre, but unfortunately we took the motorists route and although we saw much of the suburbs of Ubatuba, we never found the historic centre. The suburbs looked remarkably like Mar del Plata, in Argentina! We stocked up with supplies and the following morning set off for Ilha Anchieta where we spent a couple of lovely days.

Pete thought this looked like 'Lady be Good'?



Leaving Ubatuba proved more difficult than usual.

Ilha Anchieta.


The Correctional facility.




Once again the island is a reserve and is affiliated with the University of Sao Paulo. It has four short trails, through the jungle to various beaches or viewpoints. We took our picnic and did them in one day. There is also a diving trail run by the university and according to one of the conservation officers there are hundreds of varieties of fish in view, including some species of shark, Paddy!  The island is name after the Jesuit priest Jose de Anchieta who was well known and well loved for his work amongst the Brazil Indians.

Jose Anchieta.



The island has been inhabited for many centuries. In the 1550’s the early explorers found the Tupinamba Indians living here. In 1803 the Portuguese kept a military detachment on the island and then two years later the British set up a naval station in an attempt to intercept and hunt down slave ships. In 1902 the Brazilians built a correctional colony at Porto de Palmas, which was deactivated in 1914. For a while a few fishermen and some Russian immigrants only inhabited the island, but in 1928 it was reopened as the first maximum-security prison in the Sao Paulo State. Finally it was deactivated in 1955 after a huge revolt, which cost the lives of some 400 men.


All that remains.


The continual flux of people had decimated the island’s vegetation and there was virtually no wildlife, but in 1977 it was declared a State National Park and today there is an abundance of vegetation, many birds and butterflies and capybaras and coatis. On the eastern side of the island is a submerged statue of Jacques Cousteau, commissioned by a joint French, British and German campaign. Apparently the diving is superb. We didn’t manage to anchor there, as the anchorage is exposed to the east and the wind was blowing from the east during our visit.

There are several families of capybaras on Ilha Anchieta.


There are also several koatis.


We slowly meandered back towards Rio de Janeiro state stopping at some glorious spots on the way. One of my favourites was Saco de Velha where there were a couple of bars and crystal clear water. By day a few tripper boats from Paraty called, but by night all was still and we had the little bay to ourselves.

Saco de Velha.


Saco de Velha


There are many opulent homes in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro States.



We headed to Paraty for my birthday, calling into various coves along the way. We sounded the bay where famous Brazilian sailor Amyr Klink has his home. In the bay off Paraty he has built a marina, with his huge new yacht Paraty III is moored. It is an aluminium, aero rig schooner, and icebreaker!

'Paraty 3'



Paraty is one of Brazil’s showcase colonial towns. The setting is exquisite once again with the Atlantic rainforest encroaching on the bay, with distant blue mountains and countless small islands offshore. In the foreground are vibrantly coloured tripper boats of all shapes and sizes. The historic centre of Paraty is cordoned off and no cars are allowed and instead of the ubiquitous topless bus tours, the town offers the horse drawn equivalent. The cobbled streets are irregular and the main drag often floods at high tide. We set off for the fort, which, while affording great views is not as fine a fort as the others we have seen.







Paraty was a sleepy hollow inhabited only by Guianas Indians when the Portuguese arrived, but in the 17th century gold was found in the state of Minas Gerais and Paraty became the easiest access to the sea, as it was the only place where the majestic Serra do Mar could be scaled. As gold poured in from the interior Paraty became a bustling port, and the wealthy built fine homes and churches, but in 1720 a new road from Rio scuppered Paraty’s progress and the town experienced an economic decline until a brief coffee boom breathed life into the town, once more. These days Paraty is an icon of Brazilian Colonial towns and the main business is tourism. There is even a four-day hike through the forest and mountains on the old trail.






Cachoeira  Toboga.


The little chapel at Toboga.



We had read about an excursion to a natural waterslide in the Lonely Planet and on my birthday we picked up a couple of Subways to add variety to our picnics and caught the bus to Cachoeira Toboga, featured in a film called ‘The Emerald Forest”. We explored the area, swimming in the cool waterfall pools and then had our picnic. Pete braved the slide, whilst I watched. The water level wasn’t optimal, but it was fun anyway. We then tottered over the suspension bridge and visited the aptly named ‘Bar do Tarzan’, where we enjoyed a traditional lime Caiparinha.

Bar do Tarzan.


We returned to ‘Oryx’ in the late afternoon and hastily sailed across the bay to join ‘Cristalino’ whom we had finally met. Our flight wasn’t only to join our friends, but to escape the volume of the music – there was a three-day fiesta in Paraty that weekend. Pete donned his chef’s hat and we cracked open a bottle of fine Argentinean sparkling wine and had a fine meal. The next evening we were invited to join Wagner, Fabi and their little son Otto for sundowners. We had a lovely time and as the evening progressed Otto started to practise his English. He is five years old and is delightful. 

Cachaca shop in Paraty.



Brazilian navy?

Ihla do Arajo.


The lovely chapel at Ilha Arajo.

We think this is a little cousin to Oryx!
We were hoping she is a very modified KD560!


We found this dance school on the island.





Ihla Comprida and surrounds.


Tie up alongside this restaurant on Ilha Comprida.


'Oryx' put her nose into this cove adjacent to Ilha Comprida.



There are many fine houses - some on their own islands.


As mentioned above there are many fine homes in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro States, showing the disparity between the rich and the poor. Often the homes are weekend retreats or in some cases holiday homes that are only used for a couple of weeks per year.

Location, location, location.




How the other half lives?


Ihla Gipoia.

Time was slipping away and we set off early the next morning. There are many fresh water springs in the area, but Brazil is experiencing a rare drought and often the springs had dried up. We continued to island hop and at times it does seem as if there could be 365 islands around Ihla Grande. I firmly believed the tourist information, until we read something similar about waterfalls on Ihla Bela!



Praia das Flechas.




Cooling off on the beaches of Ilha Gipoia.


We sailed from cove to cove on Ihla Gipoia visiting an anchorage called Praia da Dentista, where in mid summer as many as 300 powerboats anchor for the day in the small bay. It was quieter on our visit, but not much. The bay is sheltered with clear water and a fine beach. There are two floating bars, but I couldn’t quite see why it was more appealing than beaches and we wondered if the name dentista came about because the plethora of powerboats look like molars scattered about. For the size of Brazil’s coastline, there aren’t that many boats, but it is strange to see how the powerboats congregate in one area and the yachts in another.


The bar at Praia Dentista.
Ilha Grande.

Banana plant.





We then returned to explore the western side of Ihla Grande and met up with Barry and Sue Fuller on ‘Crazy Diamond’ again. The first heat wave of the season had arrived and we cooled off with a swim and a scrubbing of the waterline. We rowed over to ‘Crazy Diamond’ and invited them for a meal, before going onto the beach where the restaurant makes the most divine Caiparinhas. This time we diverted from the norm and tried the maracuja (granadilla / passion fruit) one.


Caipi maracaju ka?

'Crazy Diamond' sailing to Angra from Ilha Grande.

Saco de Ceu. I.G



Frequencia de Santana. I.G.






Lagoa Azul. I.G.



Subsiding house near Lagoa Azul.
When we initially had engine problems Pete contacted Teresa Zanetti the Royal Cruising Club’s overseas representative who provided him with details of the marina at Bracuhy, so when we returned to the area we arranged to meet. Although they are busy renovating an apartment Teresa and her husband Assis made time to come for a sail with us. We anchored off an island called Ihla Cunhambebe that is a nightclub in season and has raves that can be heard all night long in Bracuhy Marina. To add insult to injury motorboats go to and fro at all hours.

Entrance to Bracuhy Marina.

Is this the jungle reclaiming the resort....

...or a 'green' resort? (Near Frade)
Bracuhy Marina with 'Crac a Toa' off centre to the left.
Frade.



The area around Frade and Bracuhy is called Cunhambebe after a chief of the Bracuhy Brazil Indians and there is still an Indian village on the flanks of the mountains. Frade itself is a small town named after the tallest peak in the area, which is visible for miles on a clear day. There are two other islands of interest in the bay; one is called ‘Donkey Island’ because for years there was a donkey on the island. Nobody knew how he got there, although there was a tale about someone tying two barrels around him and floating him to the island! Fairly near the Bracuhy river is ‘Snake Island’ where poisonous snakes were set free and now scientists come to milk them of their venom!


'Oryx' alongside 'Crac a toa'


The wind was very light, but we did manage a leisurely sail. We had lunch on board ‘Oryx’ and then returned to Bracuhy Marina, to tie up alongside Assis and Teresa’s catamaran called ‘Crac a toa’, a 46’ Kurt Hughes design. We went on board for a cappuccino and admired the fine carpentry. Their boat is spacious and beautifully fitted out, although Teresa prefers our galley. They gave Pete the ultimate compliment by saying that ‘Oryx’ is cosy! He had aspired to Mick cooper’s challenge to build a boat as cosy below as ‘Pelican’. Their boat’s name is a play on the volcano’s name, but crac has the colloquial connotation of relaxing or being like a barnacle! We love meeting with Brazilians as they always have so interesting and enable us to gain a sliver of insight into the Brazilian mind.

Assis and Teresa in their spacious saloon.

The area has grown exponentially due to the oil industry and the nearby nuclear power plants. In the seventies a short sighted, slightly demented Brazil built a nuclear power station in this area of outstanding beauty. It is a fairly attractive orb, but soon a second and third followed and there is talk of a fourth. The second and third power stations look like Auswitz. According to Assis and Teresa these power stations provide a minute percentage of the power in Brazil, so why oh why build yet another?

Hazy day does not detract from areas beauty.

Power struggle?


We anchored for lunch off two little islets that lie between Angra and Ilha Grande. They are little more than some strewn rocks, each with a topknot of palm trees and an abundance of greenery. It is a favourite snorkelling site, so we donned our equipment and went snorkelling. At first all I saw in the clear green water was the sandy bottom and the black spots in my field of vision. We swam towards the reefs. Soon some rocks and a solitary starfish appeared, following by small clouds of colourful fish. As I approached the reefs the numbers and varieties swelled and there was even an assortment of pink coral struggling to survive the order and progress of a modern Brazil. The fish of the day was greyish black and crept along the bottom. It seemed to sport a pair of wings and some short leg like fins. Could this be a little cousin to the Coelacanth or is it merely a mutation caused by some radiation from the neighbouring nuclear power stations?



These latter days in Brazil, I seem to be dragging about an albatross of suadade, or the unbearable longing to remain. The sun is shining, the people are smiling, the water is clear and warm and although I’m going home for Christmas to see my children, my brothers, my granddaughter and my friends, I still feel sad. I have no doubt that I will return to South America, but I hope I won’t find it changed for the worse with too much order and progress.


The Atlantic rainforest on Ilha Grande.


 Yes, the Amazon and the Mata Atlantic belong to Brazil, but I hope Brazil proves to be a responsible custodian of the earth’s faltering lungs, so this is a plea to the politicians – please don’t Zuma your country. The people have entrusted their well being to you for a period, this doesn’t give you the right to abuse their habitat or fill your pockets, at their expense. You cannot change the world in five years, but you can go down in history as someone who gave back to the world. Replant the Brazil trees that gave your land the name. Make more Tijuca Forests from coffee plantations. Yours is a paradise, please preserve it so that my granddaughter can stand and admire it in awe, as my son did. Obrigada!

Bye Bye Brazil.
our email address is junkoryx@gmail.com


Available as an ebook on Amazon. All proceeds go to www.rccpf.org