Christmas on Mina2 without CapTim - brilliant!
So, no sooner had CapTim’s taxi turned the corner than we were casting off and bumping our way out of the marina. With about 300 tonnes of bread, cheese and Doritos on board (Neil had done the shop) we were off and heading for an anchorage off Muta in the Itaparica Channel, keeping close on the tail of the lovely Minnie B who promised CapTim they’d keep a close eye on us while he was away.
As we approached
the anchorage Neil (the Acting Temporary Upstairs Skipper) become very quiet and
transfixed on the depth...err...thingy. He’d managed to get us out of the marina
but would he be able to drop the anchor without first running us aground? With
caipirinhas in hand the rest of the crew watched on in delight at Neil’s clear
discomfort. He kept edging into the shore and we’d all shout “Perfect – let’s
whack the anchor down here - it looks fine!” and suddenly he was full throttle,
swinging round and shooting back out into the middle of the bay. In the end Neil
chose a spot that, while I can’t be sure of the exact coordinates, seemed to be
somewhere slap bang between the Muta anchorage and...
Run up to Christmas
In the evenings we plundered the fish from the freezer, caught on the passage and proudly vacuum packed by Tim and his on-board vacuum packer (bizarre but useful it turns out) and cooked it up on the tiny but brilliant tin BBQ that Tim and Selina had bought at the amazing Sao Joao market in Salvador that was a sea of stalls bursting with vegetables, live chickens and goats in wheelbarrows.
The nights were clear and we gazed up at the stars, but it was Sarah who seemed most over-awed as she gazed up from her cabin and marvelled at the brightness of the stars only to be pointed out by a sniggering Neil that those “stars” were actually the anchor lights at the top of the mast.
Christmas Eve -
At about 8pm we settled down to our Christmas Eve dinner with the saloon turned into a Santa’s grotto with glittering candles, paper snow flake chains, crackers and Andy Williams belting out Jingle Bells.
After our Christmas dinner we went into the town nestled behind the majestic church on the river bank. We found the crew of African Seawing dancing with locals and enjoying some strong caipirinhas. We ordered a round and within half an hour with her usual complaint of “This doesn’t taste like it has any cachaça in it at all!” the DS became highly “animated” and was ordering another round.
Feeling by now in a thoroughly festive mood we went with African Seawing to gate crash the far more civilised evening that the rest of the rally were enjoying at a local house cum restaurant. We rounded the evening off singing Christmas carols - French vs English and then made our way back to the boat with the DS insisting on rowing us back gondola style. If it weren’t for Pete valiantly wrestling the oar off her I’m not sure we’d have ever got back to the boat that was sticking out like a sore thumb on the river, lit up like one of those houses that has the Santa climbing up the side of the house and a full team of reindeer on the roof or, as the DS pointed out, slightly vulgar.
Later that morning, before heading off, we went to visit the mangroves in the dinghy and then picked up the anchor and floated back up river and anchored off at the monastery that we’d passed a few days before. Built in 1692 - amazing really to imagine what life must have been like for the monks out there trying to convert everyone to Christianity. It does appear to have been plonked in the middle of nowhere though, so who exactly they were there to convert apart from the occasional conch blowing fisherman passing by, it’s not entirely clear although a little later the Reconcavo as this area is called was important for its sugar and tobacco plantations.
As we left, one of
the kids from the village had charged up on his horse and was cruising around
chatting with his friends. We’ve seen quite a lot of this - the local lads all
getting around on horse-back. They look no different to guys in
In the evening we anchored off a paradise island, lush with trees and a long stretch of sandy beach. It was a beautiful clear and calm evening and we rowed ashore with Suzie Too and African Seawing and had a BBQ beach party.
The caretaker (a toothless old man) of this private island welcomed us, having taken a definite shine to Selina, and with the help of his sidekick with incredible agility sprinted up the coconut trees handing out coconuts and cashews (the fruit) to us all. We invited them to join the BBQ beach party, sharing with them caipirinhas, beers and food. The DS was delighted when the caretaker announced that her caiprinhas were good - too good in fact. Selina was less delighted as her mother’s infamously potent caipirinhas only seemed to further fuel the caretaker’s ardent proposals of marriage.
But the night was magical. The moon shone down and twinkled off our 3 boats anchored close to the shore and we all lay back in the sand and enjoyed a warm and balmy Brazilian evening on our private paradise island.
We had the night and next morning to stock up on provisions before we’d be heading back out into the bay for our New Year’s adventures...
Postscript… Malvinas invasion cancelled
You may have
noticed that since the last blog, the route map on the blog homepage has shown
our position as the
Mina2’s saloon decked out for a festive Christmas Eve
The Lambretta’s of Brazil
The church of Santiago de Iguape