A quiet backwater?

Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Wed 10 Apr 2013 23:40
13:23.90S 039:02.24W

We stayed 6 days in Itaparica.  It's a lovely spot and the heat/humidity has slowed us down.  The weekend came and went.  The little marina, where we could leave our dinghy when going ashore, was busy for a couple of nights but otherwise the town and anchorage were very peaceful. There are some good places to eat,  including a restaurant run by a South African couple who sailed here 6 years ago and decided to settle.  It seems to happen a lot - there are quite a few ex-pat, ex-sailors on the island.

main street - Itaparica - full of pretty little houses

The church is not so little, and very old

The water was quite murky and tidal so the job of hull cleaning was not the pleasant exercise one might imagine.  Paul discovered a strained muscle so chose to supervise while Rachel had the pleasure of trying out the Sea Breathe.  The weed comes off easily with the aid of a plastic scraper creating clouds of debris to add to the murk.  Fortunately she didn't read about the water snakes until after finishing the job.  Some bright spark also suggested that next time we take the boat up river into fresh water and the salt-water weed will soon fall off.  We'll see.

Our main reason for going to Itaparica was for fresh water.  There's a spring right next to the marina (and Salvador tap water was not wonderful).  By the time we'd filled up, washed a few things and enjoyed a leisurely lunch ashore, another day was gone!

We're ready now to do a bit of coast hopping and the plan is to head south, day-sailing as much as possible.  Quite a few of the anchorages are in river estuaries so we'll have to time our movements with the tides.  Unfortunately, the winds will generally be light near the coast so we're resigned to motoring when necessary.

We left Itaparica at 5am and even with light winds the tide helped us whizz out of the bay, past Salvador, at 7 knots.  There was enough wind to continue sailing down the east coast of Itaparica for an hour, during which time we caught a fisherman's buoy and line on the rudder.  We hove to and fortunately were able to haul the line (with whatever was on the end) on board to create some slack, cut it free and re-attach the float.  Hopefully the fisherman will find it though we must have dragged it some way off it's position.

Predictably the wind dropped and we had to motor for the rest of the morning, reaching the Island of Tinhare in the afternoon.  This coastline is a series of river estuaries with numerous islands, covered in mangroves and palm trees, full of wildlife.  The beautiful beaches have attracted tourism but the backwater settlements remain very peaceful. 
The tide was with us so we motored past the very touristy Morro de Sao Paulo and Gamboa on the northern tip of Tinhare and entered the river. 

Gamboa - remind anyone of Barry island?

We made our way around the north of two islands to anchor off Galeao, a small fishing village.  The scene is one of jungle as far as the eye can see, with the occasional settlement. 

It may look wide but there's only a narrow channel deep enough for us - lynn Rival at anchor off Galeao

The waterways are busy, not just with tourist traffic but local ferries and fishermen coming and going.  We attracted little attention, just the odd passing wave.  The evening and night were very quiet.  There are no cars or motorbikes on the island.  The only sounds were people's voices, the chirping of insects and birdcalls.

Tranquility in the evening - the ferries moored up for the night

In the morning we went ashore and walked through the village and up the hill to the church above.  Being overcast it was a good day for sight-seeing.

Cocks were learning to fight

The church was being renovated                                                          and a boat was being built

and few dugouts remained on the shore at low water

The church is very old and nothing special but the view of the surrounding jungle is good.  We're beginning to get an idea of just how vast a country Brazil is. 

Mata Atlantica

We took the morning tide halfway down the river to Bom Jardim - a transport interchange where trippers disembark from buses and transfer to the many ferries for onward passage to the beaches. 

The best business on the river? - the fuel jetty at Bom Jardim

After refuelling we dropped the hook just off this little beach.