Caribbean - Brazil and Chapada Diamantina
Some time has passed since the last letter from us. Some of our experiences are covered in “PICTURES”, but it is time for a little summary.
After Vanvara ”left” us in Venezuela , Empire has been on land for maintenance, and we have been sailing long distances. The sailing from Tobago to Brazil went easier than expected. “Everybody” we met before this long voyage were shaking their head, when we told them where we were sailing after Caribbean . South to Brazil with strong northwest going current and headwind was crazy, most people told us. Anyway, we were lucky or smart with our track south. We spent shorter time sailing south than we planned in “worst case”-planning. We had in mind that it could take us up to six weeks to get from Tobago to Fernando de Noronha or Recife , but we did it in only 18½ days.
After Fernando de Noronha we sailed to Recife . After two days with check-in work, we could lower the yellow flag. Even though things seemed a little bothersome in Brazil , the people we have met are the kindest, most helpful and most smiling people so far, both authorities as well as the man in the street.
Linda and Gary signed on the ship in Recife , for a three week “winter”-holiday. In these 3 weeks we have nice days in Recife before we sail to Macèio, Salvador and Itaparica. Linda and Gary are experiencing both calm sunny days and really windy days. Gary is compeering his existence inside the boat to being inside a washing machine. Linda is experiencing what seasickness is like…
Itaparica is a nice quiet island in Bahia de Todos os Santos , the bay which is expanding into Brazil south of Salvador . We did like it at Itaparica. After a short visit back to Salvador for Linda and Gary to sign off, we returned to Itaparica.
The Norwegian steel sailboat “Embla” from Dyrøy is stil at Itaparica when we get back. We become good friends. Embla has been sailing around for six years. The year before they came to Brazil , they spent in Gambia at the northwest coast of Africa . We also met the Swedish sailboat “Pärlen II”. They have been sailing together with Embla for some time. “ Lindisfarne ”, another Swedish sailboat also shows up at Itaparica. We also get to know Ali and Jürg from the German catamaran “Sposmaker”, and the Dutch shorthanded sailor Willem in “Triple S”. Sposmaker and Lindisfarne are both sailing south, and Triple S is heading for Ihla Grande outside Rio de Janeiro. Maybe we meet again further south.
We are enjoying lazy days and working days alongside Embla at Itaparica. It is always a good thing to shorten the maintenance-list. We are also nearly done with mounting the Dickinson Heater we got onboard in Trinidad, and we got some time to look at Embla's gearbox.
Together with Trom from Embla we decide to travel to Chapada Diamantina, a six hour bus tour. Earlier Ninna (also from Embla) and their guests have been to Chapada Diamantina. Trom therefore takes the possibility to join us.
Chapada Diamantina is now a National Park. In earlier years this was a mining area for diamonds. Today tourists make their mark on the area.
We met at the Rodovaria (bus station) in Salvador , ready for the nightbus to Lencois a Friday evening. But two busses where filled up, so we had to wait until the next morning. We found a reasonable hotel nearby, where we could spend the night. The “Pyramiden” Hotel had a room. Except from that the hotel was not so interesting. The hotel was probably more used as “rent a room for an hour or two”-hotel, than for all-night-guests like us…
6 o'clock next morning we got on the bus. We had a nice trip through a variety of landscape. We found a “Pousada” (an old lady that is renting out rooms, with a hammock outside) where we got installed, before we went “downtown” Lencois.
Lencois is a peaceful, friendly city. Tourists and the city's 19 trekking companies mark the city. We bought a book and a map of the area and went for several walks in the terrain on our own. One of the days we went sightseeing with a bus, to some of the highlights nearby. The guide showed us the way to several nice areas. Among all we visited some beautiful caves and some peculiar mountain formations. We also visited a waterfall. Another day we went with our guide Jorge from Nas Alturas to Cachoeria Sossego, a beautiful waterfall far up in the valley. We had lots of nice scenery, and a good walk in the terrain and along the rocky riverbed. In the evening it was nice to feel that the body was tired. It was also nice to discover that some of the muscles that had not been in use for a while were telling they were still functioning…
Our stay in Lecois became a little longer than planned. Some days before planned leaving, we wanted to buy our return tickets, but again the bus was fully booked. We found out that we were visiting Lencois in the middle of the Brazilian winter holiday. But that only meant one more day in the mountains…
None of us remember anything of the return to Salvador . We entered the bus at 2330, and wake up when the bus drove in to the bus station downtown Salvador … Back at Itaparica we found Embla and Empire in good shape. Ninna had taken good care of both ships.
After another week at Itaparica we broke up and headed south. Maybe we will meet Ninna and Trom and Embla again at Galapagos in a year or two – who knows ? They are not, at least not for the moment, planning to go south. We are expecting Børre and Espen (friends from Oslo ) to sign on in Vitoria about 20. of August. That is, if the broke airlane company Varig does not make too big troubles for them… We are looking forward to have some friends onboard again. Børre and Espen are joining us for a month, and we are looking forward to show them these beautiful waters and to show them the nice people here. Brazil is a lovely country.