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