Goodbye Brazil…

A disintegrating Brazil

I’ve spent almost six months in Brazil, and despite there being so much more to see and do, I must once again weigh anchor and set sail to new destinations (to boldly go where no 23 footer has gone before…). It’s all because my visa is about to expire…. Darn!

But I won’t tire you with my incessant complaints (since surely you already know of the hard life I lead).

Arduous as it was, sailing to Brazil turned out to be a wonderfully exotic adventure, and even if I feel its conclusion is somewhat premature, I’ll console myself by admiring my many photos and by reciting an idiom or two on the ephemeral nature of good times.

I’ll stake some other persons reputation (since I’m still in the market for mine), by stating that sailing to Brazil and exploring it’s Northern coast is relatively easy. The sea swell is consistently slight (rarely more than 2m), the winds are relatively predictable (SE to E in my case, with the exception of the leg from Salvador to Recife) and the overall temperature this time of year (February to July) is a bearable mid to high 20ºC or so, (occasionally more, but no 40ºC scorchers).

Eileen has held up well in the conditions (three cheers for sturdy #9), and I’ve even managed to avoid “being” mugged (as opposed to “behaving” like a mug) while I was here!

What more could I fancy?

Sunset, Fortaleza Brazil

Well…. I didn’t count on having my bank account emptied by some unknown criminal who somehow managed to clone my credit card and deduce my pin code.

It would also have been nice to make at least one real Brazilian friend. Evidently it’s not so easy. I’m frequently antisocial (a hobby of mine), but somehow I managed to get the impression that the “well to do” of Brazil don’t readily mix with the yachting equivalent of “trailer trash” (unless they happen to have heart attacks), and the more “needy types” see gringos as nothing more than walking dollar signs.

So I leave Brazil with mixed feelings. Some good, some bad… but mostly good… 😉

Things I loved about Brazil included:

We love Brazilian beaches!

  • The white sandy beaches and remote island getaways. I’m thinking specifically about Gamboa! It was my favorite island anchorage, and the closest I’ve come (in Brazil) to finding “cruisers paradise”. It has the obligatory long sandy beaches, the beautiful friendly natives, inexpensive restaurants and night life galore (just a stones throw away in Morro de Sao Paulo). If the water were crystal clear and the anchorage just a little less exposed I’d still be there, but as not all the criteria for Shangrila are met, I’m still wandering aimlessly about the Atlantic.
  • The music and dancing… Salvador de Bahia is my pick for the best in Brazilian music and dance! Spend a Sunday or Monday night partying in Ribera, and you will surely agree.
  • I was going to say Brazilian bikinis but instead I’ll be brutally honest with you and go with “Brazilian bottoms” instead! Arguably an acquired taste, but I see a huge (or medium) market here for budding cosmetic surgeons… Too embarrassed to be seen in anything but a one piece? Why not have your buttocks adjusted to fit that tiny Brazilian bikini… Didn’t you know that breast implants are so yesterday… Today, a bum that says yum is all the rage! No? Well…. perhaps not… My mind seems to wander and I never seem to get past this last point so I’ll stop here…

Things I didn’t like about Brazil! Oh dear…I’ll admit there were a few…

Getting fat?

  • It’s either new or it’s all about to crumble! Yes, Brazil is a country of extreme contrasts and while I applaud the investment in imposing new real estate mausoleums, it appears that the “average Joe’s” house is going to the dogs… Evidently Brazil is in dire need of a season or two of British DIY television! Todays favela is tomorrows villa! You see… I have trivial solutions for everything! Give me a job in politics… lol
  • It’s all buy buy buy on easy credit! Apparently Brazilians are also readily warming to the idea that they can live like millionaires by borrowing like there is no tomorrow and by just working enough to service their debts…Do only sailing bums realize that the mantra should instead be… save save save and forgo that easy credit? Buy a small sailing boat with your hard won savings and then live like a million…. like a… like… hmmm…. like a homeless person? Maybe I’m the one that’s got it all wrong….

Happy to see me go?

Well, they’ve stamped my passport so I’m off… Next stop are the islands in French Guiana. A ten day passage if all goes well.


Bye bye Brazil.

I’ll be back…. but only if the girls remember to write to me…. which they never seem to do. 🙁

A sailors guide to Fortaleza

A skyhook for sailors ?

Don’t rely on skyhooks when visiting Fortaleza. Read this and save yourself time and money.

While I would like to take all the credit for gathering the following information, it was in fact a joint effort, with contributions from the many yachtsmen moored at Marina Park in May/June 2011.

Planeta Agua. Drinking water delivered to your yacht

I’ll start with the basics:
The water from the taps at the marina is of dubious quality (some days it flows yellow). Fill your tanks with it only if you have amazing filters or only use tank water for washing and showering.
Drinking water can be delivered to your yacht in 20 liter bottles (5 Real a Bottle). You can either catch up with the truck that delivers for the hotel 3 times a week (it parks just opposite the pontoon entrance in the morning) or you can give Ligou Chegou a call on 32121402 (the office), 30877972, 30941849, or 86861006.

Why they have so many phone numbers is a mystery to me but take note that they will also fill your cooking gas bottles for a fair price (3 Real per Liter).

The BR service station located near Marina Park Hotel

If you have trouble calling, their shop can be found as follows:
Walk across the freeway opposite the hotel (near the BR petrol station because the condemned buildings opposite are a hive for drug addicts, stay well clear day and night. Don’t take the stairs. Don’t take the bridge).

This is the road to take once you cross the freeway...

The road you follow to town is called Sem. Pompeu.

It takes you past a large mustard colored building (more on that later).

The bus station is behind the flea market.

Take a right (onto Rua Dr. Joao Moreira) and you will come across a bus station / flea market.
At the diagonally opposite end of this bus station square you will see fishing tackle shops (look for nets hanging outside).

You are getting close!

Follow the road (Rua Castro e Silva) and you will see the water bottles outside the Planeta Agua shop.

This way for the supermarket...

Retracing your steps to the square with the buses and flea market, take an immediate right and follow the road (Rua 24 de Maio for 2 blocks) to a small supermarket (on the left called Mercadinho Lene).

The small supermarket within walking distance of Marina Park

This is the closest to the marina. A couple of shops further up is a butcher.

The nicest (but somewhat overpriced) supermarket is Pao de Acucar, one street up from the night markets at Beira Mar.

Expensive, but you can find everything

It boasts free WiFi at the cafe inside (but no power outlets). Free Internet is a issue in Fortaleza. It’s 20 Real for an hour from the Hotel! Try the Internet cafe next to McDonalds for a better rate or buy a long range WiFi antennae for your boat.

You will find an automatic cash dispenser inside and to the right

The previously mentioned mustard building (with arched doorways) is a tourist center and contains many small shops. You will find a Bank of Brazil Automatic Cash dispenser here. Cover the keypad with your hand when using the cash machines in Brazil, two crews have already had their bank accounts emptied by thieves employing hidden cameras and card duplicators.

The first pedestrian walk crossing Sem. Pompeu.

If you follow the Pompeu road rather then taking a right to the bus station, you will reach several pedestrian only crossroads. Taking a left at the first or second will take you to the main square.

The only place to stock up on medicines...

If you need to stock up on pharmaceuticals the place to do so is here (on the side of the square with the taxi rank).

Hammocks galore opposite the cathedral

Head toward the obvious landmark of the cathedral if you want to buy a hammock (Fortaleza has the cheapest), and stock up on pet food or souvenirs. There is a post office here.

Varejao das Redes (the hammock shop where this lady works) is getting a free plug, so insist on a fair deal...

Diesel is purchased at the BR station just to the left of the hotel as you exit the foyer. You will have to carry your Jerry cans unless you are willing to part with 30 Real to entice a taxi driver to help.
A word on Taxi drivers. Make sure the meter is running when you catch a ride. Complain if it is not. It should be on setting 1 during the day and setting 2 at night. Otherwise agree on a price beforehand.

We all live in a gray? submarine...

Share a taxi to get your paperwork done as only the skipper needs to attend (must take crew passports).
For Fortaleza you visit 4 offices starting with the Federal Police, followed by customs, Health and the Port Captain. Wear long pants!! The same (less Health) on the way out. The officials are efficient and polite.
You can take the 52 bus to the Passenger Terminal where these offices are located (Look for a submarine conning tower as a landmark). Take the number 11 on the way back (2 Real per person per trip). Don’t walk!

Everyone hangs out here after sunset!

Going out you can book a free ride on the Hotel Bus which takes guests to Beira Mar (and it’s night markets). You need to reserve your place with reception. You can also catch this bus back (check times with the driver).

Note: There is an aquatic center opposite the night markets where divers can get their air tanks refilled.

Beira Mar is where everyone goes for their evening promenade. It also has the best beach (Praia do Futuro is a tourist trap, even though there is a free bus from the hotel, give it a miss).

Anchor opposite this new landmark

There is a new building going up (called landscape), and just opposite this development is a sweet day anchorage (03’43,404S 038’29.881W). If you get organized, 3 to 4 boats could anchor here indefinitely (in 3 to 4 meters) by keeping a rotating watch (to discourage night swimmers).

The beautiful people hang out at Boteco (on the western end of Beira Mar) opposite the pier, or at the Centro Dragao (great pizza there at Buoni Amici’s Sport Bar!).
Go to Pirata on a Monday night (Half price for guests… see reception), or take in a concert at Mucuripe (wild!). Too lazy? Don’t go anywhere… Some of the best concerts are held in the Marina Park grounds,in which case your entertainment is free.

I’ll leave you to discover the rest yourselves… Enjoy!

Plenty of “nuts” this side of the Atlantic

I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts...

What have I been getting up to of late? Not much, just chilling out on the beach in Fortaleza with my favourite refreshment…. I like it so much, I bought two!

Luciana loves her coconut

Nah, just borrowed it from one of the locals… Mind you she didn’t let go easily. Never thought I’d be jealous of a nut, but here in Fortaleza anything is possible. It’s a sailors paradise…

I found this bunch at the end of the pontoon one morning!

No not that kind of sailor… the yachting bum kind….

My neighbour Daniel on Goyave

Yes… otherwise known in Portuguese as a Vagabondo do mar. The locals are more likely to be seen on something like this:

You don't suppose the locals have all gone commercial do you?

While the Brazilian tourists pay 20 Real for a ride on the pirate ship… What a deal! They even get to go swimming on the other side of our breakwater…

Let's all go for a swim from the pirate boat...

I prefer to anchor across from the beach on Beira Mar.

Eileen of Avoca anchored off Beira Mar

It’s just a short swim or paddle ashore…

Day crew for Eileen on kayak duty.

and what all the cool sailing dudes in the know do…

I borrowed some South African crew members for the day!

The locals seem to be enjoying themselves…

It's fun in the sun at Beira Mar, Fortaleza

Despite the lack of surf…

No waves... What a shame... What will we do?

And even if they don’t seem to have any reason to be happy.

The natives sacrifice another victim to the tide...

Perhaps he saw this man coming and was wondering how to place an order…

No need to move... Everything comes to you at the beach...

It’s been a month of song…

A song from the crew of Ercolausa II

and dance here in Fortaleza.

Dancing girl at Pirata Bar

The ideal balance of entertainment!

Try balancing on a truck strap at the beach for entertainment.

Fellow sailors have been great company…

The crew on Out of Africa

We’ve all been well fed, dining in

South African potjie for all...

and out…

Yes... it's even here in Brazil...

Met many a local for a taste of the exotic,

Get your acai from Paris Tropical on Beira Mar

and mucked about at the pool…

Beware of the pool noodle...

Always safe under the watchful eye of INACE.

Do you suppose it's loaded?

Marina Park is an excellent stopover. Don’t worry too much that it’s been shrinking of late…

Sunken pontoons are lifted for repair

There is still plenty of room to park your yacht, or helicopter…

Another VIP comes... or goes...

and party time is just around the corner.

Went to an ASA concert at Mucuripe... Have T-shirt for proof!

You can’t help but like the place….. even if at first it feels like you’ve arrived on some other planet…

I come in peace.... Deposit coin here...

This is Eileen of Avoca calling it a day here in sunny Brazil…

I'm getting more famous by the minute...

See you all for the next exciting episode of… nut’s across the Atlantic.

It’s all happening in Fortaleza


Marina Park Hotel. Note the 100ft yacht parked next to Eileen of Avoca

What a marina… what a hotel… what a city!

Not a day goes by without something to entertain, amuse or horrify the visiting yachtsman. My last stop in Brazil is fast becoming the most interesting and I am becoming increasingly reluctant to leave. Nor am I the only one. Everyone else at the marina has already doubled the intended length of stay and with a few photos I’ll endeavor to show you why. But before I deliver the rave review, let me point out some of the perceived inadequacies…

See this man for a better deal on mooring fees!

It’s not the price that has us all enthralled with Fortaleza. In fact, the marina is absurdly overpriced (1 US dollar per foot per night) given the appalling state of the facilities.

The pontoons are disintegrating rapidly, connecting (or should I say wiring yourself in) to shore power is a risky affair (I didn’t dare), and water (if you can reach it) is of dubious quality.

However, a little price negotiation with the marina manager yields dividends. I paid 700 Real for the month and 35 to 40 footers managed the same amount (+- 50R) for two week stays. Oh, and you didn’t hear any of that from me… 😉

The big plus is that you get to use the Marina Park Hotel facilities and one dip in their pool will have you sold on the idea of an extended stay. Last chance to swim for nearly 2000 nautical miles… Why not enjoy it?

Perhaps it is a bit unfair to criticize the state of the marina so flatly. Only last week there was a hive of activity as a dozen or so INACE workers chipped rust, welded fittings, filled holes and daubed fresh paint all over the place. It was almost looking rather spiffy!

Some of the marina pontoons have had a facelift

Unfortunately the renovations were limited to one third of the pontoons, those that were to be used in the commissioning of three new fast patrol boats built at the neighboring shipyard.

Mowe Bay, a Marlim fast Patrol Boat

Two were built for the Namibian Navy (Terrace Bay and Mowe Bay) and a third (Anequim) was reserved for the Brazilians. For those of you interested in this sort of thing, have a look at this link.

We took it in shifts to keep the pontoons afloat

The yachties, were assigned the other other end of the pontoons, given a pump to keep them afloat (I’m serious!), and left to their own devices.

Don’t expect to have marina staff lend you a hand with your warps upon arrival. Everyone relies on the good will of other sailors to move lines (strung across the entrance) or to help yachts maneuver to a safe mooring.

Marina staff move yacht...

This fellow didn’t have any marina friends…

I’ve probably frightened most potential visitors away by now, but I assure you that Marina Park is no junkyard. It’s the ultimate in luxury! Only the owners of that 100 footer (called Atrevida and registered in Rio De Janeiro) seemed to think it was a tip; depositing their mounds of refuse in front of Eileen of Avoca and expecting a non-existent pontoon cleaning staff to deal with it…

If you come across the owners, tell them their rubbish is still waiting for them to collect in Fortaleza. I’m not their cleaner!!!

Marina Park, Fortaleza... A dump?

One last horror story before I get to the good stuff! Despite our best efforts (including getting up at 4am for pump duty), Marina Park marina is now significantly smaller than it was a week ago. The above-pictured pump died in a squall over the weekend and with all the electrics shorted (and nobody at the hotel willing or able to lend a hand), three more pontoons have sunk.

Marina Park is shrinking....

Surely none of the above will put you off visiting Fortaleza!

Remember, it’s only a minor maintenance issue… nothing serious…. According to my South African friend John, Brazil glories in its state of advanced entropy. Maintenance just doesn’t appear in the Brazilian vocabulary, and in his words the whole country is: “Run-down”.

Due to certain redeeming features upon which I will soon elaborate, I remain ambivalent on this issue.

We love Brazilian bikinis!

Beauty and the beast?


The bride and ungroomed...

Dear mum,

Sorry you couldn’t come to the wedding but it was all a bit rushed… and…well…

If you believe that, then I have a wonderful commercial venture in which I’m sure you’d all be thrilled to invest…. 😉

No, its’ just another Monday night in Fortaleza and I’m at the Pirata Bar practicing my dance moves (all 3 of them) on the local talent. They are not impressed, probably because my boots have unwittingly been making numerous impressions on their dainty little toes… but they are very forgiving, and besides…

I have good reason to dance…

I saved someones life the other day. Really!

Not that I felt I had any choice in the matter, but now that I’m over the initial shock, I’m in a celebratory mood.


The professionals take over.

On a day like any other, I was relaxing by the pool with fellow sailors watching guests arrive for a wedding ceremony set in the sumptuous surroundings of the hotel garden. Quite a do, with no expense spared. Floral arrangements, grandiose chandeliers in fancy pavilions, cinema big screen for those not close enough to see the action, live bands, gourmet food and fireworks!

Except it was all too much for one rather overweight individual who sat beside me by the pool for a brief rest. His wife sought to make him more comfortable but within moments he had some kind of fit and she began screaming for help…

For what seemed an eternity, everyone just gawked. I thought it might have been an epileptic seizure in which case there was little to be done, but I’d seen that disorder before and this was definitely different. This must be a heart attack! The cries for help were answered by myself and a fellow sailor from South Africa. We moved the individual from his chair to the floor (no easy matter as he probably weighed 120kg), before realizing he was no longer breathing. His lips were blue and there was no pulse. What now?

I thought he might die there and then, and I couldn’t just watch it happen… Time to do something about it…. or at least try… Time to start mouth to mouth resuscitation.

In training courses I’d learnt of special sanitary devices to cover the mouth so that there is no physical contact with the patient, but who on earth carries one of those things in their pocket at all times? Well, if his wife kisses him regularly and still lives perhaps I’m not at too much risk…

With the heart massage delegated to my friend, I set about getting some air into his lungs… to my great relief and considerable surprise… it worked… and within five to ten minutes (but what felt like ages), while still unconscious,  he began breathing on his own.

I backed away and let others take charge while we waited for the medics and ambulance to arrive. Rather shakily, I ordered a beer at the bar and rinsed my mouth with it.

First time I’ve ever had to do that… resuscitate someone that is… plenty of experience with rinsing my mouth out with beer though…

Half an hour later he was wheeled into an ambulance and taken to hospital. I hope he pulled through, though I’ll never really know. Either way, I did all that I could.

Time to put the “do not disturb” sign up on the pool and just relax for a while now.

I'm taking it easy for a few days...

Visiting Tibau do Sul and Pipa?


How to get past the sand banks at Tibau do Sul

Poor weather prevented me from visiting Tibau do Sul and Pipa (approximately 50NM north of Cabedelo), but I am posting the little information I have so that other sailors may take advantage of this idyllic free anchorage (especially since it isn’t mentioned in the pilot books and nobody wants to visit Natal anymore).

The crew of Nemo of Sweden told me it was safe to enter so long as you followed the path indicated (see google earth photo). Obviously you will need to approach the entrance at high tide and ensure there isn’t too much of a swell running.

I would have charted the depth and given GPS waypoints, but now the task if left for another intrepid adventurer. Let me know how it goes….

On second thought… let me know how it goes only if you don’t run aground… 🙂


Rampant inflation in Brazil or special prices for visiting sailors?


Too expensive to catch the train?

While in Salvador I made note of Michel Balette’s correction of the daily mooring rate in Natal. Previously listed as 8 Real per day after 3 days “gratis”, it was increased to 35 Real in the corrections supplement.

By the time I’d sailed to Cabedelo, the price had risen to 42 Real per day irrespective of boat size (confirmed by a couple that had driven to the marina from Jacare). Approximately 20 Euro a day to use your own anchor and a quintupling of the price in just 2 years.  You’re not even allowed to use the swimming pool!

Apparently the Yacht Club of Natal (Iate Clube do Natal ) has priced itself beyond the budget of most visiting international yachtsmen. No one that I know plans to stop there.

I’m no economist and assumed I was finding myself in more expensive cities with each stop, but now that I’ve been forced to retrace my steps, I’ve witnessed the doubling of prices on everything from train fares to restaurant meals in a period of less than two months!

I suggest sailors visit Brazil before it’s no longer affordable.

Sailing north to Fortaleza

Squall at sea off Recife, Brazil

A week at sea battling contrary winds to return to Cabedelo, ten days to recover and another three days on the water before reaching Marina Park, Fortaleza.

Not that there was much recovering going on in Jacare! The place was infested with sand flies (no-seeums, gnats or what ever else you want to call them). All boats were affected, including those at anchor, despite mosquito netting (they are small enough to get through the mesh). After several nights of playing host to the creepy crawlies, no sailor was feeling particularly rested.

For entertainment, we’d compare ‘war wounds’ each morning and complain about the incessant rain! For me, one visit to Jacare is more than enough, and if it had not been for the excellent company of fellow yachtsmen, I’d have left almost immediately.

Just hop on the bus Gus....

Suggestion for sailors visiting northern Brazil via Fernando de Noronha: Head directly for Salvador so you only have to contend with ‘bad sax’ and this part of the coast once.

Making bread in a pressure cooker

I’d wanted to stop at various small ports along the way, but few are safe to enter in anything other than perfect conditions.

Besides, it’s taken me three days to regain my “sea legs” and I’m not going through that process again any time soon if I can help it.

I’ll busy myself making fresh bread instead…

It’s been the usual uneventful solitary affair at sea. Cruising 20 to 30 miles offshore, Brazil is out of sight. The only reminder that I’m not too far from civilization is the reflection of city lights upon an ever present band of cloud to the west.

I’ve been feeling somewhat melancholy since leaving Salvador and I’m not particularly sure why this is. Am I suffering from the anticlimax to “great expectations”? Perhaps… It could also be that watching the cricket all day isn’t my thing…

Watching the cricket Brazillian style...

It’s true that no crowd of teary eyed maidens came to wave goodbye upon my departure but my expectations weren’t that great! Three or four would have been enough. 😉

Fantasies aside, I happily (forcibly) settled for the maiden-less cacophony of ships horns sounding from my marina neighbors as I made way in Eileen. It was a fabulous substitute send off guys… Thanks!

No, I suspect that freedom itself breeds melancholy. With no social ties or responsibilities and nothing but the vague objective of sailing westward in mind, it’s easy to feel emotionally adrift, oscillating between euphoria and a mild despondence.

As long as the oscillations don’t increase in amplitude or frequency I should be fine, but if ever you come across someone who laughs and cries in the same sentence, it’s a sure bet he’s done too much single-handed sailing!

I’ve no idea what the long term psychological effects of DIY bathroom renovations or mowing lawns on weekends is but it frightens me, so for now I’ll stick with the potential hardships of sailing while emotionally adrift… 🙂

Regards from Fortaleza!


On the road again…With a bad hair do…

Hair by unknown Bahian artist

It’s been a slow month blog wise. A month of waking up at 11am, wandering up to the restaurant for a habitual morning chat with Peter over coffee while waiting for lunch (breakfast for me). None of which makes for entertaining copy. Some of his sailing adventures would, but unfortunately they’re not mine to tell.

The best I can come up with is my cheap and nasty haircut story. For 7 Real (approx. 3 Euro) what was I to expect! I must however sympathize with the barber, because I don’t think he gets to deal with gringo hair very often. The problem is the heat! It’s so hot I’m almost always covered in a sheen of sweat. It appears to worry the locals (who by the way are not bothered in the least by the sultry conditions), when clients look like they’re about to expire of heat exhaustion at any moment, and I can see that the barber had my continued well being in mind when he turned on his counter mounted electric fan. What he failed to realize was the effect an artificial breeze was to have on my hair (think Bee Gees 1980s video clips).

A big smile from Rennany the receptionist

Judging by the look of the locals I suppose it takes nothing less than a tornado to displace a single hair on the head of a Bahian, but in my case a nearby fan is all that’s required to make impressive Medusa impersonations. As my hair danced every which way, so too did the barbers scissors. What a spectacle of non-choreographed live theater. I can only applaud his artistic interpretation of the abstract form so painstakingly rendered upon my head. I call it “The wild wail”. I’m afraid that the end result is too sublime for general distribution but here is a sneak peek.

"The wild wail" haircut....

Wandering aimlessly about town, burdening Renanny the receptionist with my life story or killing time by reading trashy fiction for hours on end doesn’t inspire much creative writing, so I’ve spared you most of the humdrum by remaining uncharacteristically silent.

Sailors leave their mark in the marina lounge

Fear not, this hiatus was but a mere aberration while antibiotics rid me of my lingering bronchitis. I’m now done with Salvador. I’ve left my mark (in the sailors lounge) and provisioned Eileen of Avoca with enough goods to carry me to new exotic locations. Regrettably a month of sedentary marina life has taken it’s toll on Eileen, and my boat isn’t going to take me anywhere before I rid her of the invertebrate reef that has taken root on both propeller and hull.

Scratching around for cockles at Pier Salvador

Swimming at Pier-Salvador is out of the question (unless your immune system is miraculously adapted to it in which case you can apparently withstand dining on the local shellfish), so I parked Eileen on the beach opposite to give her a last minute bottom scrub.

Parking Eileen for a bottom scrub

Two days later, sporting a new layer of red anti-fouling I was ready to move back to the marina and say my goodbyes. The maneuver itself was uneventful but before changing the topic, there is an aside about a simple shackle that I feel compelled to share with you.

The story of the wandering shackle

Many visitors to Brazil hear numerous horror stories of the crime and lawlessness here. Nobody is safe! I do not deny that bad things do happen but I’m beginning to wonder if the hearsay is a little exaggerated. The same way Australians take delight by striking fear in the hearts of English tourists with alarming tales of killer fauna (including illusory drop bears and hoop snakes), Brazilians boast of their rampart lawlessness!

I was looking forward to adding my own tale of the great shackle heist to the annals of Brazilian crime but was thwarted at the last moment by an honest “do-gooder”.

Being single handed, I’d left a large shackle (part of my anchoring tackle) on the seawall to facilitate departure when I motored back to the marina at high tide. Naturally I intended to fetch it as soon as access by the beach was possible but lo-and-behold, even before the tide changed it had gone astray!

Upon discovering this my rage was witnessed by a nearby fisherman and stomping about I half expected he had had a hand in its disappearance, but what was I to do?

Later that evening the same fisherman rowed up to my boat and unexpectedly returned the missing shackle. He’d asked around and found the tourist boat operator who’d “borrowed” it and took it upon himself to return it to its rightful (if somewhat falsely accusing) owner. Thrilled to have “my precious” back, I burdened him with beer in gratitude.

Apparently not everyone in Brazil is out to steal all your gear at the first opportunity…

Michel Balette on Izarra

With the help of Michel Balette I made last moment corrections to my copy of his Brazil Cruising Guide (isn’t it amazing who you run into when sailing. BTW Use this link to get the vital supplement), said goodbye to my friends on the French yacht Graffiti with a last meal before setting sail for northern Brazil. I should reach landfall in about a week.

Stay tuned!

Fun in Ribeira?


No, I'm still not sailing anywhere...

I’m still in Salvador Bahia, Ribeira to be precise, the “gringos with their camera’s aren’t welcome here” zone I’d written about earlier, but the atmosphere has changed.

Pre-Carnival, I felt somewhat unwelcome, but now that it’s the off season (and the rainy one) the locals seem much more relaxed and agreeable. Perhaps I just needed to stay a little longer in order to break the proverbial social ice.


The crew of Rhapsode

I’ve even manged to meet with and befriend what is a surprisingly rare site in Brazil, the English sailor! Peter (see photo) is stranded at Pier-Salvador marina due to severe weather damage. The bulkhead of his yachts mizzen mast cracked in rolling seas and must be repaired if he is to continue his journey.


Everyone needs to have a hobby...

While the tradesmen are at it (in a slothful frenzy evoking memories of my Brazilian banking experience), we make the most of the local beaches, where I enthusiastically conduct a study in comparative anatomy for remedial purposes.

You don’t suppose that all this solitary sailing has made me develop obsessive tendencies do you? 😉