Ground to a halt

Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Sat 20 Apr 2013 21:18
13:56.01S 038:59.43W

We arrived here just over a week ago and have been weather bound ever since.

On our way we stopped at Guarapua.  The narrow entrance is lined with reefs.  Inside there's a beautiful bay.  We anchored and rowed ashore for lunch in the little village.  Like so many settlements in this area, their only contact with the outside world is by boat.  A fisherman approached us and made sure we understood - speaking in slow Portuguese -  that bad weather was coming in a few days.  Southerly winds make the anchorage uncomfortable if not untenable.

The busy part of Guarapua bay . . .

 . . . and the less crowded part - the view from the bar

That was OK because we had planned to move on the next day and we made our way down to Campinho, in the bay of Camamu, about 30 miles south, where the shelter is good.  Soon after anchoring there was a loud hail from the shore - in English no less -  by someone inviting us to his house for a sundowner.  We duly rowed ashore and were treated to cocktails by Andreas and Guida, with their friends Halina and Peter, in the garden of their holiday home.  They all spoke many languages, including excellent English, so we had a break from struggling in Portuguese.

We wanted to take a lancha to Camamu, the local town, on Saturday as it was market day.  We knew that the daily 'bus' launch would leave at 0540 and take an hour and a half to cover the 12 miles to Camamu.  But there is an alternative - Andreas got on the phone and confirmed that the local speedboat company had a trip scheduled and would pick us up.  They operate to a schedule subject to demand and include pick ups/drop offs at any of the many timber jetties.   A thirty minute ride, leaving at 0915 sounded much better.  We enjoyed a fascinating journey through the shallow waters, small islands and mangrove swamps. 

Camamu has a few historical buildings but is a workaday town, lively on market day.  Most of the coastal communities in this region, with all its river estuaries and islands, depend on waterborne transport for trade.  We stocked up on as much fresh fruit and veg as we could carry but bottled out when it came to the meat market.  The scruffy, pokey building and smell coming from  strange cuts of grey-coloured meat were not encouraging.  We must be getting soft!

When we arrived the barrow boys were busily delivering purchases to the many lanchas

So after a thirst-quencher at the nearest quiosque . . .               we followed the crowd to the market

There was a hill - so we climbed
. . .

 . . . to see what the roofs looked like . . .

 . . . and look over to the boatbuilder's yard

The town hall was in a pleasant setting, opposite the church, but neither were very lively

While in town we met other cruisers who were in an anchorage nearby ours.  We returned to Campinho for another night, including a fantastic supper ashore with Andreas, Guida and co.  They would be leaving their holiday home the following day - back to Rio, but before the flight they faced an 8 hour drive in their 4x4 to Salvador, the first 2 hours on dirt roads.  The beautiful beaches and scenery, as well as the remoteness, make this area a very desirable holiday spot.

On Sunday we moved (a mile) to the anchorage at Saphinho.  It's even more sheltered and has a couple of good restaurants - serving local specialities - ashore.  With 3 other cruising yachts (South African, Swedish and Austrian) we've been waiting for some stormy weather to pass over.  After the heavy rain and thunderstorms we're enjoying cooler conditions (26-29 deg C) but the forecast is still showing southerly winds, which is no good for heading south!  So we wait, with the boat covered over to keep the rain out, including our first proper test of the awning side panels, complete with 'windows'  that Paul made in 2009.  Some more maintenance and left-over refurbishment items are being tackled: an  oil change for the engine, the AIS antenna cable's been replaced (in the hope of getting it to work properly), maybe the last few cupboard doors will get hung...

Crossing the river at Sapinho - the sign reads 'take care in the crossing'

Morning fishing opposite our anchorage . . .

 . . . . Needle fish for lunch

By Friday the weather forecast still showed unending southerlies, and squally conditions alternated with drizzle.  We needed to do another shop.  This time we managed the 0500 rise and shine, rowed ashore and made our way to the jetty for the regular lancha (not to be confused with lanchonetteI which is a snack bar) to Camamu.  We whiled the four hours until the return trip shopping and trying out some of the bars while dodging the drizzle. 

Fishermen under the shade of some healthy mangrove - or more likely shelter from the drizzle!

lancha was licensed for 12 passengers and yes the string does operate the throttle!

With the side screens down to keep the weather out, and the centre of the boat filled with tons of shopping it was a cramped and noisy return trip.  Maybe we'll save up for the speedboat if we're still here next Saturday.