Exploring Brazil

Dick and Irene Craig
Thu 1 Apr 2010 17:54
Moe and Bev went off for a few days sailing on Chessie. That left us free to take the boat out of the marina and spend a few days cruising All Saints Bay. We sailed 8 of the 12 miles to Fate Island but had to motorsail for the last 4 miles, anchoring in about 4 metres. Next morning we sailed on towards the bridge joining the mainland to Ilha de Itaparica dropping our anchor near the Tororo waterfall, taking the rib ashore to the beach, which is completely covered at high tide. The water fall was dry. We then took the rib to another beach, no more than 500metres and swam in the warm water. Both anchorages were quiet and pleasant and being in company with Voyageur and Tzigany, the two nights away from the marina were quite sociable.
There were a number of canoes, the occupants of which were fishing
We passed several private islands, two looked as if they were protected by stone walls encircling them.
On Tuesday 15th February we were up early to meet our tour guide who was going to take us inland to Chapada Diamantina.
As we were accompanying David and Susan from Voyageur and John and Jenny from Tzigany, we had booked 2 cars, one of which didnât arrive until at least 8.30, having been held up in the heavy traffic. Both cars had seen better days. One, driven by the Belgian tour guide, who spoke several languages including English, had a faulty air conditioning system so if one wished to hear details of the terrain through which we were driven, one had to cope with the heat by just leaving the windows open. His assistant, who spoke only Portuguese, did have air conditioning although the odometer showed that his car had done well in excess of 500 thousand kilometers and his tires were quite bald. What was interesting was that his car ran off LPG.
We drove through varying terrain, bush, pasture, rolling hills, mountainous, stopping around 1.30 for lunch at a pousada. There was a huge selection of food on offer including salads, pasta, chicken, steak, fruit and desserts. What we found most interesting was that the plate was weighed and the price paid was per kilogram.
We next went to a privately owned, well established, cleverly designed orchid garden where, in a separate area, relics from the days when this region was mined, for gold and then diamonds, were on display. The water from the waterfall was clean enough to drink and several of our party did so.
Driving on to the national park of Morro do Pai Inacio, we climbed 1066metres to the summit. The views of the rest of Serra da Bacia were stunning.
Arriving at the picturesque, small town of Lencois, we drove to the rustic Pousada Helia, built against and over the rocks, on multi-levels, with a small swimming pool, this is where we stayed for the next four nights.
The owner had purchased the Pousada some sixteen years earlier and spent nine years gradually developing it, as the money to do so became available. Much use had been made of the local natural stone and wood.
Next morning, after a continental style breakfast, we left the Pousada and walked alongside the river towards the bridge into the town. Horses grazed on the grassy banks and the rapidly flowing water was the colour of coca cola. We walked along the cobbled streets and through Lencois adorned with such stunning architecture.
As we were walking upwards, we passed a small, semi-enclosed area at the side of the path. Two pipes were spouting water from a level of around 8feet, to the solid floor. A man was preparing to shower.
We took a track off the road and climbed onto rock, following the Rio Lencois upwards; walking over the multi-colored rock of pink, red, yellow, blue, grey and black, very pitted by erosion. The flow of the water was like radids in places and waterfalls in others, the water was predominantly the colour of coca cola.
As we returned to the village, we watched as a local man washed his dog in one of the pools. Further down, on the edge of town, a number of local women were doing their laundry. Some hung up to dry, some adorning fences and some strewn across the rocks.
After lunch, we drove to Gruta Lapa Doce, a cave that is still being explored. We were told that 12 kilometres of cave has been found and they anticipate that there is a further 40 kilometres still to be explored.
A guide took us into the cave which lacked illumination so, after a short while, we were given torches so that we might see where we were walking and to illuminate the stalactites and stalagmites. Some were huge structures resembling angels, an owl, a dinosaur skeleton, the nativity, or whatever your imagination wanted them to be. After about an hour, we could see light ahead. As we approached the light, the sunshine lit the rock and made it look like rich seams of gold.
Returning to the Pousada we saw a complete rainbow. It looked as if we would drive right under the arch but the road twisted and curved and the rainbow disappeared.
The small town of Lencois was originally a rich mining town. As we walked across the bed of the river that morning, it was easy to imagine people panning for rich rewards.
Day three, it took an hour and a half to drive to the beginning of the climb to reach Cascada da Fumaca waterfall. Dick and I didnât go on this trip but we were advised later that the scenery on the journey was worth the trip. It took 2.5hours for the party to reach the waterfall, walking thigh deep through blood red water as they crossed the plateau. Once the waterfall was reached, in order to see the water spouting from the cliffside, it was necessary to lie flat and lean over, with one or two people holding the feet for stability. It was a long and tiring day.
Taking advantage of not going on the trip to Cascada de Fumaca, Dick spent most of the day on his laptop. Unfortunately HSBC fraud department had taken back in error, some of the money they had refunded following the debit card cloning in South Africa. Once again our bank account was emptied.
Relaxing over a drink that evening, a gigantic, white moth settled on one of the lampshades. It had to have a wingspan of at least eight inches.
Day 4 was free until 2pm when we then drove to Rio Mucgezinho, walking across the rocks and a bridge made up of a couple of thin tree branches, tied together, admiring the waterfalls and the pools of coca cola colored water. There is also a Pousada where you can sleep in a cave house, complete with its own small WC.
We left Lencois at 9am on day five, stopped for lunch en-route at a restaurant where you could eat as much meat as you wanted, the waiters keep coming with skewers of steak, lamb, pork, chicken, etc. to accompany the salad dishes available on the buffet; finally getting back to the marina just before 4pm.
That evening, we attended the celebration, in a large room above the marina offices, of the engagement of Annette and James from Ocean Jasper. Annette has a business in Mackay, Australia which is where they met. James lives in the US. We wish them much happiness and a long life together.