Convinced that there was more to Bahia than tourist traps and “gringos aren’t welcome here” zones, I motored Eileen of Avoca across the bay of Salvador to the northern tip of Itaparica. The island was once a popular getaway for the well to do of Salvador city and still attracts many a floating “gin palace” (or should that be a “cachaça palace” in Brazil?) on the weekends, but the “in the know” crowd have adopted Morro de Sao Paulo as their current playground…
I’ve taken note of this and will investigate soon… 😉
I found thirty or so sailing vessels anchored outside the marina. Quite a crowd, and not the most considerate in terms of swinging room. It’s an unwritten law that there must always be a few anchorage hogs with boats bigger and uglier than yours threatening collision as the wind or tide turns. For peace of mind I moved several times to avoid them. It’s times like these I wish I sailed a rusty steel monstrosity. 🙂
What could possibly draw so many yachtsmen here anyway?
Is it the women?
The slow pace of village life?
The sea side promenade?
No…None of the above….
In fact it’s fresh water!
There is a natural spring across from the marina and everyone here is filling their tanks with wonderfully clear mineral water. Nobody dares taint their storage tanks with what comes out of the hoses at marinas elsewhere. So my first day was spent toting water to claim my share.
I also tried to restock my boat larder but there is a very limited range of packaged foodstuffs to be had. Other than fruit, nothing is very fresh. If you are not quick enough to eat what you have bought, you get to share your biscuits, pasta or rice with all sorts of critters. Fine if you’re an entomologist, but I’m not too thrilled about the added protein, especially when I discover that I’ve been charged 20% more than what the price tags indicate I should have.
Hint: Advice from a local….Make a list of everything you buy and do the sums yourself. If you are asked to pay more, make a fuss! Even suggest that the police might want to check their dubious accounting practices.
The northern tip of Itaparica has its share of white sandy beaches though only the tidal sand spit across from the marina is frequented by the boating crowd. Other attractions include one old Dutch fort, a collection of reasonably priced restaurants / bars (the unreasonably priced ones are situated within the marina complex), and a small town feel.
Weekends is when things get lively as there’s usually plenty of organized entertainment in the main square. I had my heart set on a “Miss bikini” contest but had to settle for “drag queen night” followed by “children fantasy fashion night”.
Disgruntled, I did not linger in Itaparica….