4 April 2010
The following afternoon we were to go to Bracuhy, tie up
in the marina and start the hard work of decommissioning Mina2 who was to stay
there for 6 months. This was the last night of our cruise and we were all alone,
at anchor in a romantic setting. The stage was set.
A few hundred yards down the coast was a restaurant with
a pontoon for their water-borne clients (Ilha Gipóia, 3-miles long, and
completely covered in lush tropical jungle, has no roads and all the waterside
properties can only be accessed from the sea). As darkness fell, the lights of
the restaurant were switched on – bright, garish greens and reds, and a
searchlight which described patterns across the sky. “How ghastly” we said “thank God we
aren’t eating there”.
After a romantic on-board dinner of beautiful fresh
prawns, marinated in olive oil, lemon and garlic, cooked to perfection by the
Skipper, and served on a bed of pasta with a wine and tomato sauce and washed
down with an excellent bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, we retired at 2245 for
our last night at anchor.
The searchlight was an indicator which we missed
entirely. At 2300 the “music” hit us like a sledgehammer. The “Îla” was open for
business. The owners of the open-air club (or disco for those of a certain age)
had invested enormous amounts of money on the best and loudest sound system in
Brazil. It was
fantastic. The noise could be heard in Angra, four miles away. From two hundred
yards away it had a physical impact.
Had the DS and I been sound engineers, we would have been
waxing lyrical about the high fidelity of the monster, saying “Maria, listen how
the higher frequencies resonate perfectly with our rigging, causing them to
twang in sympathy with the Brazilian rhythm”. “Indeed”, the DS would have said,
“but what I find even more remarkable is how the strength of the lower
frequencies cause the entire hull to act as a sound box, so that with the
regular bass notes, it is like sitting inside a constantly beaten
But we weren’t sound engineers, we were a couple of tired
old sailors needing a bit of kip. And we weren’t going to get it.
Just as the DS and I were debating whether this was
Garage Music or HipHop, the first of the rocket-fuelled revellers arrived in
their rocket-fuelled stink boats. Stink boats only have two speeds – flat out
and stop. As the constant procession passed us to anchor off the club and get
ferried ashore, their enormous wash caused Mina2, already under the physical
onslaught of the music, to start rocking and rolling with our stern, right
beneath our bed in the aft cabin, crashing up and down in the waves. As the last
of the revellers arrived at 0300, so the first of the revellers started to
leave, so the bucketing was continuous. Incapable of sleep I went on deck to
survey the scene and my guess was that more than 100 stink boats (not one
sailing yacht) were anchored off the club.
But we knew that this purgatory would end. And it did -
at 0800 the following morning. I don’t suppose any of the professional crews got
any sleep either.