3 June 2015

Two weeks of pictures

We have found that internet connection is a struggle while cruising.  When we settle into a port, one of the first things we do is check to see if we can connect to wifi based on land nearby.  Sometimes we even do this while still on the go before choosing our anchoring site.  Our system rates the strength of the connection. Often there is quite a list of Wifi systems available but most have the audacity of being password protected.  We check those few kind people who have left themselves and their banking unprotected.  A couple of times we have been able to get enough signal to connect and email from the boat.  Once or twice, we have even been able to go on websites.  If we can’t connect from the boat - most of the time - we write the list of password protected sites available and then go to land in search of a restaurant, cafe, bar or ice cream parlour that matches the name.  Peter checks the phone as we wander by to see if the suspected establishment has the internet we need.  If so, we go in, make a purchase, and ask for their wifi password.  We do some emailing etc. while we eat/drink and then go back to the boat to connect.  Sometimes the signal is still not strong enough.  So we eat a lot of ice cream.  The best places are yacht clubs where we moor or anchor and sit in their establishment, before or after a long shower, to connect, blog, email, catch up on world news etc.  

Publishing a blog post seems to take a lot of bandwidth.  Even at a yacht club, once the work day commences, the blog pictures take an eon to upload.  I go to the club early or late to beat the problem.

This is all to say that for the last many weeks we have not been able to access internet beyond weak connections for email - and that is a very lucky break.  We have KVH for internet via satellite - very cool technology for which I am grateful for easy connection to our children.  However, it is too dear to use for blog post creation and publishing.  We are now in Baia da Ilha Grande, reputed as one of the best cruising grounds in Brazil, if not the world.  Only the small hamlets facing the mainland get internet and that is lacklustre to say the least.  And so I am way behind on the blog.  I’ve missed it and hope you have not become disinterested.

The scenery here is spectacular, stunning, wonderful, fantastic, green, lush, gorgeous - all those kinds of adjectives.  Peter would argue, though, that although the anchorages are all of the above, the sailing is lacking - at least for the time we have been here.  We have motored almost everywhere.  The wind has rarely picked up above 4 or 5 knots….during the day.  It is a definite “must see” area but not a place to test your sails on a shakedown cruise.

Instead, we have been practising our anchoring technique and testing our anchor.  On occasion, the wind has picked up in the dark of night to gale force. Even Peter was roused one night - he is much more sound a sleeper than I who waken to the slightest change in wave noise - to sit at the helm in readiness to start the engines if we dragged.  Thankfully, our Rocna anchor has not budged and has probably set even more securely by the stress and strain on the chain.  Even I am sleeping better after several such tests have passed with flying colours.

The good part is that because we are motoring so much we have hot water every day - the motor heats our water.  And because we are exploring voraciously, we have made water whenever we need it - we have to be in the open sea to make water.  

More about water on the boat for another blog.  On with the picture narrative (Note: It is very difficult to self-censor our pictures.  Be prepared for too many.  Maybe take it in a few sittings):
Leaving Ilha Bella. Really was a beautiful island....

as they all were!  Approaching Anchieta.

Ruins of penitentiary where the prisoners rebelled in the 1950's and half escaped.  They set fire to their compound which was right on the beach but none too comfy looking.

Milly looking pretty at Anchieta anchorage

Spectacular view from hike to hilltop

A natural pool.  Sure beats the backyard.

Sorry.  Here's another one.

In our backyard at Sitio Forte on Ilha Grande.  The one and only farm we saw.  Hard to imagine clearing a jungle.  The cows had palms for shade.  Plenty of roosters woke us each morning.

Sitio Forte - front yard view.

Fishermans' pots hanging out to dry.

The only "beach restaurant" choice in Sitio Forte was so great we returned to enjoy it again.  Fried sardines were delicious!  

A snorkeling excursion from the kayak.

Angra Dos Reis

Our anchorage at Bomfim had a sweet little island church.  Almost beats St Peter's on the Rock at Stony.

Angra Dos Reis had a real working harbour.  Very busy, a bit smelly from the kayak.

Angra Dos Reis

Views as we sailed or motored along.

Portuguese church all on it's own in the rainforest.

Character selling his fish at the top of his lungs from his dugout canoe in La Macacos

Abraao on Ilha Grande.  

The police car, garbage truck, back hoe and fire truck were the only vehicles in town.  

The local specialty - fish and banana stew

Abram had only dirt roads.  Walking or bikes were mode of transport with goods hauled by pulled wagons.

Abraao harbour

Aqueduct apparently made from stone and whale oil.

After a 5 km jungle hike, we were rewarded with this waterfall.

but no bridges.

Steep hike!

We enjoyed clambering around on rocks to beach walking.

Rocky side of Lopez Mendes.

More clambering.

Lopez Mendes beach reputed as one of Brazil's most beautiful

A very nice home in Saco Do Ceu beside the outdoor hair salon.

Saco Do Ceu town dock.  A harbour almost completely enclosed.  The town had a myriad of trails up and down hills which we explored one afternoon.


Stocking up at the fish market in Angra before our dear friends arrive from Canada.