|From one of the hilltops|
After a daysail of 30NM from Baie do Camamu, we arrived at dusk to anchor at Morro do Sao Paulo, a tourist town built on several steep hills with four beaches, a rack and ruin fort, many restaurants all serving the same food and pousadas galore. The beaches were beautiful, as usual, protected from the Atlantic by coral reefs. We explored and found the town on the hills where the locals lived much more interesting than the tourist mecca.
|The boat valet service taking TomTom to anchor.|
|The ambulance arriving...|
|No vehicles in this town with the exception of the ambulance above. This is the festive main drag of the non tourist town.|
We relocated to the less affluent Gamboa, only 2 miles away - a great footpath connected the two towns - which was more authentic, with a town quay, two “supermercados”, a boardwalk in an attempt to be touristy, and a welcoming helping hand or two when beaching TomTom.
|The clay/sand combo of this landslide is apparently medicinal. Others roll in it before bathing in the sea. We chose not to but my foot is glowing in health.|
|The shoreline hike to town at high tide|
|Street of Gamboa a little more bedraggled than Morro do Sao Paulo|
Finally, we continued around the island on the mainland side among sandbanks and dolphins, that we now recognize by their breathing snort before we see them, to an impoverished town called Galeao. From the distance a sweet looking church topped a hill in town but when we climbed the hill, the church, like the town, was in a sad state of mildew and disrepair. The people were not as welcoming and friendly as we had so far experienced and we felt conspicuous in our beautiful Milly. We did not stay long.
|Traditional dugouts favoured by most of the fishermen in the area. The pegs keep them in place during the astounding tidal currents|
|Sweet church from the distance|
|Main drag in Galeao|
|The kids were having fun but the impression was that adults were disheartened.|
The most fun part of our adventure in the arquilpelago was a dinner spent in Gamboa. A beach restaurant, as is our habit, hosted by Claudio, a overly welcoming man dressed in a speedo that had seen better days and a towel wrapped around his neck doubling as debonair scarf and drier of tables and chairs. (Rain here is intermittent all day. Large banks of clouds dropping a downpour for ten’s of minutes, followed most often by blue sky or other less heavy clouds.) Claudio sat us down and offered us a drink on the house. This was no ordinary drink. The ice was taken from a freezer that had never been defrosted and was encrusted with ice so thick that nothing fit in it except another block of ice. Claudio chopped a chunk of this, smashed a few smaller chunks off with a wooden stick, blended some ripe passion fruit, poured other key ingredients into a shaker and shook with vigour while swinging his hips. The decorated glass was served to me. Peter got the dregs in a plastic tumbler.
|Claudio's restaurant was decorated with driftwood and natural centrepieces.|
|Claudio behind the bar|
|He had a habit of planting his head very close to us when he spoke.|
|Finished! There is a glass behind the decoration.|
While waiting for our meal, another cloudburst of the lengthier version rained down on us. Claudio reset our table behind his protected tiny bar. Other passers-by took sanctuary with us in what became tight quarters. Then we were served a delectable dinner of mixed grilled fish, shellfish and fruit with beans and rice. The chef, who may have been Claudio’s girlfriend, mother, sister, cousin, business partner - who know’s - came out to regale us for quite some time about something or other in Portuguese, smiling all the while. Finally, the meal was over. It was dark and TomTom was beached with a surf and current to be negotiated. Claudio waded us out and along the beach up to his chest, chanting “Relax, relax” and, of course, smiling. He had invited us to have pizza with his family at a campfire later on the beach. But it poured with rain and after our difficulties getting home, we were no-shows, sadly. We didn’t see a campfire, in any case.
|An enthused wave good-bye from fishermen practising their trade traditionally. Very cool.|