After sailing 4,387nm and spending 35 days at sea, Oroboro safely anchored in Ilha Grande, Brazil, on February 1st, 2019.
I felt like the early explorers, and I thought I could name the bay “Baia de Fevereiro” (just like Rio was named Rio de Janeiro because discovered on January 1st). I know… silly thoughts.
The Bay of Ilha Grande is just spectacular, with 365 islands and 2,000 white sandy beaches. Sometimes I feel like being on a lake in Italy, like Lake Como. But the lake is surrounded by a lush tropical forest instead.
What makes Brazil really special is its people. The sound of the language, the kindness, and the smiles! We get around pretty well with our Portuñol (mix of Spanish and Portuguese), since very few people speak English. Funny enough, often times when they say something I don’t understand, they turn to Yuka asking to translate it for me. With her tan body and radiant smile, she is often mistaken for a Brazilian.
We checked in Angra dos Reis, named like this because discovered on January 6:
Then we headed to Paraty, one of the maybe 2 most well preserved towns in Brazil to my knowledge (the other one being Ouro Preto).
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Paraty means “river of fish” in the Tupi language. It was founded by the Portugueses in 1667 and when gold was discovered in the mountains of Mina Gerais and the “Caminho do Ouro” (gold trail) connecting the town to Ouro Preto was built, it become the main port for exporting gold to Rio de Janeiro.
Since then, Paraty has been out of the mainstream, which is why it did not change for centuries, until a paved road was built from Rio de Janeiro to Santos in the 1970s. Then from a small and almost abandoned fishing village Paraty become a tourist destination.
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The historic downtown is paved with large cobblestones and it’s pedestrian only. During spring tides, the seawater level rises and floods the streets through small openings in the seawalls that separate the city from the harbor. The streets are only flooded for a short time, and a few shop owners put out boards to make a bridge for the benefit of pedestrians. Just like in Venice!
The town is full of cafes, restaurants, pousadas (hotels) and nice boutiques. At night, it becomes very lively and you have live music in almost all restaurants and cafes. Bossa nova and samba, of course! There is also a cachaça distillery, a mandatory stop for everyone. Food is just fantastic, with the Moqueca being our favorite dish so far.
We just love this small town and we decided to make it our Head Quarters. From here, we can sail to countless secluded anchorages and deserted beaches, both on the continent and also in Ilha Grande, one of the most pristine and richest ecosystems in the world.
It’s a fantastic cruising ground, and we are enjoying it very much. Especially the Admiral:
More to follow on Ilha Grande in the next posts. Stay tuned!