THE ISLANDS OF BRAZIL
By Adam Tarleton
Seldom explored by foreign yachts the Brazilian coast has some exquisite and unspoilt cruising grounds to offer. Visitors might also consider trying the very different regional food and specialities. Present regulations allow a foreign flag vessel three months in Brazilian waters before leaving. This can be extended depending on the Nationality of the Captain. It should be noted that some nationalities require visas to visit Brazil and these are not granted on arrival but must be obtained before the vessel arrives. The required document is a tourist visa. The national language is Portuguese and it is rare to find English speakers in government offices or for day to day provisioning and getting around. Bureaucracy is slow and complicated and it is highly advised to use an agent.
The Amazon is a whole adventure voyage in itself and the S.Y. Fidelis Amazon voyage was covered in April 2015, Issue 28, of this magazine. Superyachts have cruised to Tefe and beyond, upriver from Manaus, where the mighty Amazon is better known as the Solimoes and nearer the Pacific than the Atlantic ocean. In the right season it is possible to voyage to Iquitos in Peru. Highlights include the national park of Mamiraua, schools of pink river dolphins; the dark slightly acidic waters of the Rio Negro and the two colours running side by side at the meeting of the Solimoes with the Rio Negro and, virtually unknown outside of Brazil, the beach of Alter do Chau near Santarem. It is also possible to cruise up the Rio Tapajos to Henry Ford´s failed plantation Fordlandia.
You can also try the sweet tasting fish known as Pirarucu and have a Cupuaçu ice cream afterwards.
FERNANDO DE NORONHA
Some 200 NM off the NE corner of Brazil is the World Heritage site and National Park of Fernando de Noronha. With a similar climate and vegetation to the dryer parts of the Caribbean this archipelago is renowned for its extraordinary diving from April through to November, with average underwater visibility of up to 120 feet and with an average water Temperature of 26 C. These waters are home to some 230 varieties of fish, five types of shark, two species of sea turtles, 15 coral reefs and, unique to here and the South Pacific, the Spinner Dolphin which come inshore to feed.
Vessels have to anchor in the roadstead and should be completely self-sufficient. Local operators are used for all dive excursions. There are also several outstanding beaches and some great surf. The Hang Loose surf contest is an annual occurrence. There are daily flights to Recife and Natal.
A Port of Entry, the city of Salvador with its historic Pelorinho district was the early Portuguese colonial capital of Brazil. The historic centre is a hub of colonial architecture and modern nightlife. The secure downtown Bahia Marina, close to the old city can accommodate yachts up to 45 - 50m.
With a deepwater anchorage close by for larger vessels.
The typical Bahia favourite dish is Acaraje and Bobo de Camarão.
There is plenty of nearby exploration to be had not only in Bahia de Todos os Santos but slightly South to the Morro de São Paulo and the Bahia de Camamu.
The largest and richest coral reefs in the South Atlantic are found around the Abrolhos archipelago, a National Park and dive destination. Diving permits are organised in the sleepy little town of Caravelas. Compulsory local dive guides are also picked up here. There are two reef banks between seven and 25 NM offshore which have depths under 30m and leads to a drop off at 70m.
From July to November the Abrolhos are visited by humpback whales that come to give birth.
BUZIOS / ARRAIAL DE CABO
90 miles East of Rio is Cabo Frio named for where the cold Malvinas current comes to the surface resulting in abundant maritime life which is great for divers and for sports fisherman. Just to the North of Cabo Frio is the picturesque and cosmopolitan town of Buzios with its beaches, galleries and restaurants. Known as Brazil´s St. Tropez, Buzios has a sculpture of Brigitte Bardot on the seafront which celebrates her visit in 1964. Since then Buzios has been on the tourist map.
Sit at one of the many waterside cafes and enjoy an Acaii.
RIO DE JANEIRO
Known as the Cidade Maravilosa Rio de Janeiro has an iconic anchorage in the Enseada de Botafogo with the stunning sight of Corcovado off the bow and the Pão de Azucar to port.
This is an ideal spot to stay for a few days and explore the city. This eminently safe and protected anchorage is an essential stopover on any visit to Brazil. Rio is a gateway city famed for its beaches, shopping, music and laissez faire attitude to life as well as home to that cathedral of football the Maracana Stadium.
Sunday lunch special is Feijoada washed down with a cold Chope or three.
ANGRA - PARATY - ILHA GRANDE
Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande are Brazil´s most popular and frequented cruising grounds and lie midway between the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The bay of Angra dos Reis, which incorporates a town of the same name is home to as many islands as days of the year, many offering small sandy beaches and privacy. The town of Angra has an upmarket shopping mall and Helipad.
In the south west corner of this bay full of tropical islands is the beautifully preserved colonial town of Paraty close to the unspoilt tropical fjords Paraty-Mirim and Saco do Mamangua.
Paraty is host during the year to renowned photographic and literary festivals as well as local cultural events and music. During Carnival there is the infamous ``Bloco de Lama´´ or Mud Carnival.
This event is fuelled by Chope and Cachaça, some of which is exquisite and rivals any aged Grappa.
As a deep contrast the nearby tropical fjords offer safe anchorages surrounded by forest and with small sandy beaches.
The whole bay of Angra dos Reis area is protected from the Atlantic by Ilha Grande, itself well worth exploring from the sheltered anchorages at Saco de Céu to the world famous Lopes Mendes beach which is ranked among the 10 best of the world.
In the bay´s hinterland there are Waterfalls to discover, Cachaça distilleries to relax in and mountain peaks to hike to, and much more to explore by foot, bike and on horseback. For the sports enthusiasts there is a Golf course at Frade and there are numerous Tennis courts in the area.
After all of the exercise relax with one of Brazil´s many fresh fruit juices such as Maracujá.
The favourite destination for residents of São Paulo seeking to escape from the city, Ilhabela is renowned for its sailing, sun and beaches, with those on the Atlantic side having some good surf. Ilhabela is a pleasantly laid back and relaxed island to spend some time around and has many small exquisite restaurants to suit all tastes. Helicopter transfer to the city of Sao Paulo international airport is easy to arrange.
Don´t forget to try some of the Southern Brazil wines some of which are excellent.
Yachts heading south towards Punta del Este, Argentina and Patagonia may want to explore the area north of Florianopolis – Floripa as the locals call it. There is a new Marina at Itajai which can normally accommodate yachts up to 40m and has an option for larger yachts on request provided they do not exceed 4m draught.
This will be useful when exploring the nearby regions of Camboriu and Porto Belo prior to heading further South. There is a stretch of 350 miles without shelter until Rio Grande and the entrance into the Lagoa dos Patos which is navigable up to Porto Alegre.
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