No time to waste in Catu


Catu anchorage, Itaparica

Southbound, skirting the western coast of Itaparica, Eileen made good time following the tide to the village of Catu (just north of Cacha Prego). Catu has a superb anchorage, perhaps the best I’ve found since arriving in Brazil. Had I not met the simpatico crew of “Black Elise” (visiting Itaparica in order to finalize a land purchase), I would have bypassed the village altogether.


Crew of Black Elise

Guide books briefly mention the area but effectively discourage visitors by only stressing its dangers. No wonder then that most sailors avoid the shallows altogether and round the islands eastern coast despite the extra miles.

A shame because the locals in Catu village are genuinely curious about visiting yachtsmen, even when they are as spendthrift as yours truly.

Darn! Just when I was getting comfortable with my current crop of prejudices I find barren ground for nurturing my puissant cynicism.;)


A winning smile

Yes, I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised with Catu, but perhaps being invited to join this crowd for a brief chat and being accorded a generous share of their sugar cane cache amended my views. I also happen to be a sucker for a pretty smile.

While my Portuguese is almost as fluent as my Russian, Hebrew and Cantonese ;), I was making slow progress impressing the natives with my quick wit and dry humor. Having the vocabulary of a three year old can cramp your style, but I wasn’t going to let that deter me. Time to switch to plan B and draw my athletic Olympian physique and handsome features to attention. Surely that will win them over.

The outcome was never in doubt…., :(but at least I did raise a smile or two for my efforts). As a consolation prize I managed to gather reliable information on crossing the dreaded Punta Garcia bar to the south.


20m clearance at low tide!

Most sailors take the long way around Itaparica to avoid the bridge and shallow entrance, but as long as tidal information is taken into consideration, even a boat with a 20m mast and 2 meter draft can get through.

If you have a Yarmouth23, it’s ridiculously easy!!

Despite the perfectly protected anchorage and agreeable village atmosphere I only stayed two nights. I wanted to reach the previously mentioned Morro de Sao Paulo (supposed mecca for fun seeking Salvadorians), and not even a killer smile or plunging neckline could sway me from my chosen path.

Yes, on occasion I’m not known for being the brightest of lads….