While sitting in Paranagua waiting for a weather window, it rained continuously, obscuring the mountains behind the city in cloud. The city itself was a bit sad and made sadder by the gray weather. Colonial buildings were falling apart, often abandoned. The cobblestone streets and sidewalks were over grown with grass. The only colour was in the fun local boats which were proudly painted and decorated so that each was unique.Over two days we (Peter, really. Sailing is a man’s world here. All questions are directed to him. All comments are listened to if Peter makes them. Granted, he is the skipper. But he’s also the man.) cleared into Brazil, finally. For various reasons we had not been able to manage it in the ports we had stopped in so we had been in Brazil for close to a month before checking in. Our exit papers from Uruguay were dated in late March. None of the three Brazilian officials with whom we had to complete paperwork questioned where we had been for the past month and none even looked at the Uruguayan papers. Perhaps we were lucky but our clearing in process was easy, even without Portuguese. And even if one of the offices required a two kilometer tramp through the industrial port which I did once but Peter had to do twice and in the pouring rain. Officials were friendly, polite and helpful, perhaps because they never see cruisers and we offered them some diversion to their usual bureaucracy. Added bonus, our three month visa began on our clear in date in Paranagua, not a month earlier.
The yacht club in Paranagua granted us a one night stay at dock beside a diesel station and we used the opportunity to fill our six gerry cans of diesel twice. Usually, this is a physical operation, requiring sweat and toil, as we knew from our experience in Santa Catarina. Here, filling the cans was simplified for not having to transfer them in the dinghy, to and from the boat, with the balancing and leaning that requires. This time, the guys at the club were anxious to help. To transfer the six empty cans to the station, the easiest part of the task, we had a troop of five men assisting. They walked us down the dock, opened the doors, and whistled for the gas guy to unlock his. They sat at the pump waiting, unscrewing tops, etc and loaded the cans onto a trolley, one guy pushing while the others followed, then transferred them on shoulders to the dock all with gestures to us and chattering to each other. Only one stuck around for the second round so only he received the tip which they had all been working for.
|The satellite anchorage of the club.|
Nights in Paranagua, both at dock and at anchor, were not particularly peaceful. The tidal range is so great in the enormous bay, that the current runs like a river. While at dock, there were rapids around the pilings. At anchor the boat was twirled twice a day according to ebb or flood tide and for several days the wind was strong but the current was stronger turning the boat stern into the wind, opposite to usual. Once the current slowed as the tide was about to change, the effect of the wind overpowered the current and we swung around again - a couple of additional swings a day. Of course, I was a tad anxious about the anchor holding in all this twisting and turning of opposing forces. But the Rocna did it’s job. We didn’t budge, slip or slide.
|The anchorage was a place of sad boats!|
To stretch our legs on our last day at anchorage, we explored the satellite club site on the island nearby. It consisted of a parilla, a place to sit, some showers that I wouldn’t choose to use, and a caretakers house complete with dogs, geese, very strange looking ducks with long necks and squat legs. We explored along a path which led to a well manicured memorial site, one simple stone marking the “political emancipation” of slaves? 150 years ago and another 500 years after the discovery of Brazil. A path leading from the site, through the rainforest had recently been swathed, perhaps for the Indigenous Day celebration we had arrived on.
|Bird of paradise marked the first step|
|Why is it that pictures never show how steep the slope is?|
|And out of the mist...|
|Going down was a bit more challenging|
After a six day stay, the weather window opened for our final 48 hour passage north. The sun shone on our last day but we were unable to enjoy Ihla do Mel only from anchor over lunch. We left the giant bay late afternoon.
|Leaving Paranagua. The clouds still cover the mountains behind the city|
|Only enjoyed from anchor|
The forecast for the 48 hour voyage was for light winds but in the right direction. Of course, the winds were not light but moderate - we now add about 10 knots to the weather forecast. However, moderate is the best in all things, including wind. I can’t say that the sail was uneventful. The waves were big enough to make me reach for the Bonine.
|Line squalls marched by all night. Handily, they show up on radar as red blobs which make them easier to avoid or, at least prepare for.|
|Over Ilhabela. Must be a good omen.|
Being able to figure out the problem and fix it under duress in the dark was amazing! I was so appreciative of Peter’s abilities. But it also made me realize how much I have to learn. I’m very glad he is the captain.
|The yacht club in Ilhabela. Very swish.|