Sailing around the World,

SUNDAY   13th  FEBRUARY   2011
 
We have just returned from a trip to the " Foz do Iguazu " falls for 2 nights and then " Rio de Janeiro" for 3 nights,
 
The Water falls were fantastic, When we arrived on Tuesday 8th, our driver took us to the Brazilian side of these Falls
and were we impressed, The number of Falls varies from season to season between 160 to 270 and they border Brazil and Argentina,
We have been to the " Niagra Falls" which border USA and Canada, and we think these falls were much more spectacular.
1,300,000 m of water per second fall over the cliffs here, so you can imagine the volume and roaring waters as they cascade
down the cliffs,
 
Later we were taken to our Hotel , " Loi Suites " which was on the Argentinian side, and by now , the rain was comming down in
torrents, just like the falls, and our bedroom block was across a vally connected by means of a shakey suspension bridge, so
we got drenched, but at least it was warm water,  When we dried out , we returned to the Hotel and had dinner,
 
The following day, thats Wednesday, our driver took us to  a shopping centre in " Paraguay " again very close to our hotel ,
Crossing the borders took a bit of time and then the driver decided to take us to his choice of centre, Aileen was not a happy camper
and he got cross when we suggested a trip to the " Monalisa" centre, telling us we would run out of time to do the trip to
the National park back in Argentina,
It was all a bit dissapointing, particularly as he said the cost of things in Paraguay was great value, and that was another misleading
statment, We saw nothing of value, Sooooooooo back into the car and off back to Brazil once more and on into Argentina,
crossing and recrossing this huge river over and over again, 
 
We arrived at the National park just after lunch and paid our entrance fee , before getting aboard this small locamotive train with
its 6 carraiges and off we went through the jungle towards the Falls on the Argentinian side,
once we arrived at the end of the train ride, we got out and walked over these carefully designed catwalks across the fast
flowing river to the " Devils Throat " falls, The crowds were fantastic, and all enjoyed the spray from falling waters which naturally
soaked all and sundry.
The mistical rainbows were everywhere we went, sometimes looking at them from down below , and other times from high above.
 
The colour of the water was brownish, caused be tree felling and forest clearances up river, This alone causes huge problems for
the ecology of the the whole place, not to mention the fish and bird life,   Gawd, what men do to the environment.
None the less, the plaque on the side walk said that there were 2000 shades of green in the National park , where does
that leave Irelands " 40 shades of green "  But we still love the " Old Sod " even if it is burst and looking very green right now.
 
Thursday, 10th   We flew to " Rio de Janeiro " , a 1.5h journey, we were collected at the Airport and transported to our Hotel
on " Cocapabana Beach "   this whole area for 7 km is all reclaimed land including a beach the whole length which must be 300m wide.
This whole area is lined with hotels and restaurants, and has a designated pedestrian / cycling path for the entire length.
The waves from the south atlantic gently breaking onto the white sands in glorious sunshine was breath taking........not to mention
all the beautifull tanned bodies splashing about in the water,
 
The beach was covered with soccer posts everywhere, and of course hundreds of aspiring soccer players doing their thing,
Later we had dinner in a pizza joint down the street, cheap and cheerfull, except for the wine, wine here in Brazil is expensive,
We loved it, and all the Humans flying in all directions, big ones, small ones, skinny ones, fat, very fat ones, and a few normal ones
like ourselves, and a huge portion of them walking their dogs,
Then there were the Joggers, the roller blade's, the skate boards, the bicycles, the walkers, and of course , the usual bunch of tramp's
asleep under the trees and doorways, They have no worries here, nice and warm , day and night,
 
Friday 11th  , We got out early and did a 4 hour tour, well actually  we just paid a visit to 3 different places,
*   " The Sugar Loaf " mountian, this is almost in the centre of the city, well certainly in the centre of all the beaches,
       We travelled to the summit in a cable car, this was the 3rd cable car ever in the world when first built.
       The views were only fantastic.
*    We were taken to the Soccer Stadium, It looked totally run down, and we were not impressed. we were not even allowed
      go inside for a gawlk.
*    Finally, we arrived at the modern Catholic Cathedral , this was a spectacular building , circular on plan and made of concrete
     and stained glass, and conical in shape,  There are many copies of this building around the world, some being in England and Ireland,
     A massive building , in the centre of down town Rio.
 
Later, skipper went off and did a trip on a hang glider, while Aileen travelled off to the " Christ "  a massive statue of Christ perched on the
top of a mountian,   There is a simular one in Lisbon,  Why not, afterall, Brazil is a portugese speaking country, and was formally
a portugese colony.
 
Brazil is huge, bigger than Europe, and almost as big as the United States, it has a population of over 200,000,000 people,
Its the 3rd largest country in the world, ( so we were told )  and has a great selection of wonders,
Like the Iguazu Falls, Jungles, rainforests, and the mighty " Amazon "
 
Saturday, Aileen went to the Shopping Malls, while skipper took off the the old city centre, and did a tour of the magnificant
"National Theatre" , the old Cathedral, the " Tiradentes Palace" ( the political nerve centre for Rio ) plus many markets
for a look. Of course skipper was the subject of pick pockets, however, in this case, he was fast enough to grab the arm of one
and twist it so hard he managed to get his money back.
 
Sat. night, we went fine dining to the Italian Restaurant in the " Cocapabana Palace " hotel,
The food was just terrific, Skipper mainer was more like a " Beef wellington" something we have not seen for a long time,
while Aileen had a "Chef's special" shrimp dish,  The piano music playing in the background reminded us of Aileens sister " Michelle"
who plays the piano in " Ashford Castle "  all very relaxing stuff.
 
Sunday Morning 13th  ( today )  we strolled down a few blocks to Mass at 10 o clock, on the way we passed through a
wonderfull fruit and veg, market,  They had avacado's the size of Rugby balls, and all the veg. was sooooo fresh, but , we were on
a mission to the Church,
Actually the church was really very modern, it looked more like an office inset building on the street, than a church, and the only distinguishing
feature was this enormous cross on the wall out side . We entered through a wall of glass doors and into
a very different style of Church , the ceilings were relativly low, and looked more like an opera house ceiling, and the side walls
were all curved and painted different colours,
It was a big church, and operated very professionally, like it had a reception desk at the door, an information desk, and lots of attendants
lurking everywhere,  The statues were all fully dressed, and yes, different,
The Choir was magnificant, and Mass was celebrated by the local " Bishop" who liked to listen to himself,  mind you, the crowd enjoyed
his cermony, with plenty of clapping and laughing, and the crowd was huge, the place was mobbed, and mass took an hour and a half,
 
We just made it back to the hotel, collect our bags and got to the door just as our pick up arrived for the airport, phew !
we then had  spot of bother at the security desk, Skipper forgot to take two great big lead fishing lures out of his nap sack
and put them into the bag for the hold of the Aircraft, so they were duly confiscated, and then Aileen ran foul of a dragon, who made
her empty her carefully packed napsack looking for some metal object, which turned out to be her belt,
Your one , gave no apologies, or offer to repack the bag, and Aileen went into a total tizzy for about 20 minutes untill we were
safely sitting on the plane.
 
A two hour flight, and we were back in Salvador, We got a taxi back to the boat, and delighted to find it was all still in one piece,
A few of the other boats had moved off to the Islands in the Bay, we will do the same during the week,
Bob and Margaret How, were to join us tomorrow and sail to " Riciefe "  before returning home, but Bob forgot that Americans
need to have a visa to enter Brazil , and as he did not have one, It would take at least 2 weeks to get, so that knocked their trip
on the head for now,  
 
Thats it for now.
 
Signed : -  Stephen Hyde   ( Skipper )