Saturday, March 30, 2013

We sailed into Baia De Guanabara 3 days ago. It was a thrill to go past Sugarloaf mountain and see the beautiful city of Rio unfold before our eyes.  The city is built along the bay and stretches out and around the numerous high pointy hills and along the white sandy beaches. 
We went to the far side of the bay and anchored at a very safe, secured spot in a town called Niteroi.  We have to take a ferry across to visit the city or we could take the bus across the big long bridge which connects the two.  We are at anchor and in order to have a safe spot to leave our dinghy when we are gone for hours we are paying 17 dollars a day, but we also get to use the showers, get water and use the free wifi, so we figure it is worth it.  

The first day we took the ferry it was raining so we visited museums and galleries. We managed 4 in one day and they all were free. The state capitol building was gorgeous; it used to be the country’s capital before they built Brazillia. The building was filled with outstanding touches, starting with the intricately tiled floor, the cornices, the ceilings and then the legislative chamber was magnificent done in marble and dark wood, with a copula in the roof that was outstanding. 

At the Banco de Brazil building there was a photographic exhibition that showed the recent history of Brazil through the photographer’s lens.  Pictures of the disparity between rich and poor, the parties at Carnival, the repression in the 70’s and 80’s, the life on the beach and the national pastime, football covered the walls.  We wandered through the maritime museum and found out that it was a tough thing to defend Brazil’s long coastline and they fought wars with imperial powers and had many naval battles with Paraguay.  They built very shallow draft boats to fight in the rivers, I could not imagine men being at sea in them.  Barry said they were made to fight in the rivers but I figure unless they were built there those boats would have had to been at sea at some point.  
Looking west towards the Copacabana Beach

Central Rio with the bridge in the background

The type of car Barry's Dad would have ridden up in the 30's
We really wanted to go up Sugarloaf mountain, Barry’s Dad was here in the thirties and he must have went up so ascending it was high on our list of things to do in Rio.  We had a beautiful day and the views were outstanding.  It made you realize what an unusual city Rio is built around the landscape as it is.  We headed to the beach afterwards and walked up and down the Copacabana, it had soccer goalposts and volleyball nets up and down the beach and each section of the beach had a little booth that rented beach chairs.  The road alongside of the beach was very civilized and had a large bike lane, what a great idea. 

We are going to head over to the main side of the bay today and anchor in the shadow of Sugarloaf.  We are unsure of how safe it is over there so did not want to spend all our time there.  We will ask around and if it is okay we will have another day of sightseeing.   We plan on leaving the area tomorrow and start our trek northwards. We may be out of contact for up to a month; our winlink connections from the boat have been very poor.  We are not sure if we are going to stop in any cities up the coast before we get to the big hump because it may be a bit of a slog against wind and current and if that is so we will head about 200 miles offshore to catch the trade winds.  I will be in touch as soon as it’s possible. 
One of many beautiful buildings in Central Rio

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Paraty is an unusual town.  It was built by the Portugese, and  slaves were off loaded to work on plantations here. Then it became a transportation hub for gold that was mined in the hills.  The town was built below sea level and at high tides it floods.  The roads are built with big stones and are slanted towards the middle so that the water just puddles there and the sides are dry.  The buildingS are high enough so that they don’t flood in an ordinary tide.  The colonial architecture is wonderful and we spent the day wandering around admiring.  It is a big tourist destination now and taking tourist out in boats to the surrounding beaches is big business. There are lots of interesting shops and restaurants, but the Brazilian economy is booming and the exchange rate is not in our favour so I am having to curb my shopping instincts.  We are back here after our waterfall outing and most of the boats that came across at the same time as we did have congregated here.  We plan to hang out with them for a day or two and then head north to Rio. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

 We had a wonderful adventure yesterday, and I wrote a big long blog on the boat and thought I saved it on the flash drive to bring it ashore so that I could upload it and it seems that it is not on the drive.  I can´t be sure though because everything is in Portugese, !#$#$!!!

Okay so you probably wanted the abbreviated version anyway.  We went up a river and found a waterfall. End of story.  @#$$%, I put so much effort in describing the trip.  Anyway, we set off, all by ourselves, which was rather wierd, because mostly we have done this type of things with others.  I figure if something had happened the keepers of the garden we came across on a path through the Atlantic forest would have had to find us to help us.   gardens were well kept,
weeded and watered so they must come regularly.
An old homestead we came across, there were signs of fairly recent habitation
Anyway, nothing happened except we got wet and dirty.  We  found the waterfall, had a wonderful swim in fresh water and kept our sticks swinging as we walked along the jungle path.  The guidebook described the waterfall and said to make sure you took a stick along to make noise to scare away the snakes.  That nearly put us off, I tell you, but I think we made enough noise to make any snake within 5 miles aware that we were there.
The water was cool and best of all FRESH!

We have been told this area of Brazil get more rainfall than the Amazon Basin.  There also is more biodiversity here than in the Amazon.  I was constantly amazed to see plants that I had bought in Canada and  tried to grow in my heated house as I misted them regularly trying to get them to flourish.  They grow along the path here looking very happy to be alive.      

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Swimming through a pass with Cat´s-Paw IV in the background

We are happily cruising around Ilha Grande a lovely island about 3 miles off the coast of Brazil.  It has many beautiful, safe anchorages and we are relaxing and enjoying the scenery. Ilha Grande has a great series of trails almost all around the island so we get up early in the morning and go exploring, returning to the boat once it gets hot and then jumping in the water to cool off in the afternoon.  We have a couple of tarps set up so that the boat stay pretty cool donw beolow during the day.  In the evening there is always a bit of a breeze.  At this time of year there is a lot or rainfall here.  The    Atlantic air meets up with the high mountains and as it rises, it rains.  We have had a number of thunder storms and almost every night it has rained, but normally the days are sunny and hot. 
Going into town, Angros Dos Ries, to get some groceries

The boating industry in booming in Brazil and there aren´t enough marinas for all the boats, so they stack them!!

Views from one of the trails on Ilha Grande

Walking up a greasy trail in the rain. 

This must be some kind of bouy, but a really pretty one that got away, check out the super long , super nice beach. 

A not so steady bridge, the stairs were not attached property anymore but we managed to negotiate them okay. 

 We finally got our stay fixed and left the marina and got a bit of a shock at the price. Suffice it to say that we will not be staying in anymore marinas for awhile.  We will spend another week in this area and then head north to Rio for a week or so and then make out way up the coast.  Getting an internet SIM card has become a problem so our access is limited when we go to town.  So if I don´t blog for awhile we are still alive and well and enjoying Brazil.  

Friday, March 08, 2013

I could handle having a place like this
We will have been here five days already and it seems as if we are spinning our wheels.  It takes so long to get things done when you are dealing in a foreign language.  We need to replace our inner stay, on Tuesday we went to a shop to ask about getting it done.  The proprietor had enough English to understand our request and called someone to come out to our boat, he said he would be there 4:00 P.M.  He was a no show, so the next morning I called the shop again and got someone who could kind of speak English and he said that the fellow would come to the boat in the afternoon.  He showed up and looked over the stay and said that he thought he could fix it.  I went up the mast later that day and managed to get it undone and lowered down without too much difficulty, a five minute job that actually only took about five minutes.  This morning, Thur. we walked back down to the shop, about a 20 min, jaunt and gave him the stay, yup, he could fix it but we would have to go back to the boat to measure the fitting on the deck to make sure attachment he was going to give us would fit.  We set out back to the boat and found that if Barry could file the hole about a millimeter wider the fitting would work.  We took the dinghy back to the shop (I’ll explain that later) and agreed to pay the arm and the leg they wanted for this fancy fitting and the wire for the stay.
We took the folks from Mr. Curly, Richard and Kathy to the ATM to get out some money and try and find new starter batteries for them and then stopped back at the shop on the way home and lo and behold the stay was ready.
Back at the boat Barry was busy filling away while I geared up to be sent up the mast to attach the stay.  I got up there and there were multiple problems.  The least of which was how I was supposed to hold up the stay and then use two hands to thread the pin through the fittings and get the washers on the pin as well.  I was up there for over half and hour and I started loosing feeling in my legs, the climbing harness was cutting off my circulation and my feet were falling asleep.  This did not help my concentration on a delicate task that required an extra pair of hands.  I had to tell Barry to bring me down and we will  try again tomorrow!!!!!  So a job we started on Tues, may be done on Friday if we are lucky.
Okay, taking the dinghy to the sail loft where the rigger was working.  There is a long windy river that has very expensive houses built all along it.  Every home has a dock and a slipway.  There are every kind of boat that you can think of tied up to these docks, huge catamarans, small 20 foot sailboats, very large cabin cruisers, speed boats and large traditional sail boats. 
Lots of homes also have some kind of boat hauled up on the slipway that is next to their house, instead of a garage, I guess.  I have never seen anything quite like it.  There is a lot of  very expensive marine hardware sitting around awaiting their owner to come down and make use of it.  Some homes must rent out dock space because there were 2 or three boats tied to their waterfront.  The canal or river has off shoots that just beg to be explored.  We went right to the end and tied up the dinghy and then walked about a kilometer along the main highway to a small grocery store and an ATM.
After we get the stay attached, hopefully tomorrow, ( I hope to  borrow a proper bosun’s chair from Mr, Curly).  Barry has suggested I use duck tape to attach the stay to the mast in the position I need, thus negating the need for an extra pair of hands and Bob’s you uncle I should be able to get it reattached. Then we hope to head out to Ilha Grande to do some serious cruising, no more sweating in the marina.  It is very hot here when the sun shines, probably about 35 degrees with high humidity.  Every night so far there has been a thunder storm and the rain just buckets down.  We are med moored to the dock, anchor out, stern in tied to the dock.  There is no way to get off the back of the boat so we get in the dinghy and pull ourselves over to the dock and clamour up a ladder.  The first day we were here we went out for lunch and came back and the dinghy was stuck under the dock.  The tide had come up and pinned the dinghy underneath.  Barry had to deflate the pontoons and then almost sink it to get it out from under the dock.  Thank heavens we have a cover for it now otherwise I think the mussels and clams may have cut holes in it.  No we had a very complicated rope system so we can pull the dinghy back towards the boat once we get off on the dock and e dinghy stays close to the boat away from the clutches of the evil dinghy eating dock.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Marin Vaz, 800 miles off the coast of Brazil

Changing the sheets, not having fun, it was really rolly 

The Island of Trinidade
The Brazillian military guys coming to the rescue with water, what a relief. 
A possible anchorage on Trindade, but too rolly and a lee shore

A huge rock face on Trindade

A boat to take tourist on trips around Ilha Grande

Our first anchorage in mainland Brazil

Coming into the marina at Brachuy, it felt like B.C. 

Silvio from Matajuzi diving to free our anchor, we met his first in Chagos

I am running out of power will have to add words another time. Enjoy the pictures. 

Saturday, March 02, 2013

We have landed in Brazil!  Yippee, this is our fifth continent and we are still in one piece! It was a 19 day crossing from St. Helena.  We stopped overnight at the island of Martin Vaz and tried to make water as our tank was almost empty.  I have written a whole blog about it but it will not copy on these fussy Brazillian computers so will give you the short version.
The watermaker wouldn~t work and we had to get some water from the military base on Trinidade.  They were great coming out to the boat and giving us 10 2 litre bottles, some with ice in them and then going back ashore and filling up our cans, about 50 litres in total.  We arrived in Brazil, hydrated but pretty dirty as we dared not use the water to wash with.
We~ve got a number of things to fix on the boat, as always.  We are on a tourist island of Ilha Grande about 60 miles south of Rio.  There was no wind the last 100 miles so we motored down the coast past Rio in the night and dodged the tanker traffic.  It get you awake on shift at night that~s for sure.  There is no cash machine on this island so hopefully there will be a restaurant where we can get some cashback on our Visa and we can get some fresh fruit and veggies and some bread.  We are going to go and check in at a place called Brachui tomorrow or Monday.  Hope all is well with all of you.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Ann phoned about 1:30  Winnipeg time. They are in Brazil - had been there about 3 hours.  They are south of Rio De Janeiro