Baia Ilha Grande Two
19 Feb to 7 March 2013
19 Feb 2013 Tuesday
Early morning Zack wake me up with coffee, eager to let Vagabund be in open seawater again.
The previous day a diver has cleaned Vagabund from the entire organism that gowned on her hull. (Zack normally scrap the crenation growth off and will spend hours underneath the hull of Vagabund but in Bay of Guanabara he refuses to swim in the polluted water of the bay, as with the pollution alien growth takes over). The growth rate is mindboggling; it is like a petridish with the pollution the agar medium and the temperature the oven. From our previous experience we have learned to try our best that no fender or mooring line is submerged into the water while tied to the walk on. This was especially difficult as all the walk-on moorings where either a boy or anchor at the bow, the stern is then tied up to the walk-on. The fast ferry's that run close by caused a wave that easily jerks you of balance when you stand upright in Vagabund. Zack improvised a rigging system to reduce the dynamic impact on the cleats. His structural knowledge came in handy.
Once we cast off I washed all the mooring lines in Demostos water to make sure there is no organism on them. They are alive and attack the fiber of the lines. The previous time we had to replace some of the fenders lines because it started to disintegrate.
I received a message from Zandia very disappointed that she could not speak to me after midnight the previous day. We managed to get Internet at half past seven but because of the five-hour time difference everybody was asleep in South Africa.
At about eight we were in the open water. Our Captain was in his element with trying different fishing lures on the lines. Late afternoon he had success with catching a Dorado. He lost the bigger brother to be caught another day. We had fresh fish for one meal and a snack for the next day.
After a long day on the sea we made landfall just after dark at Praia dos Mangues, the first cove at the island of Ilha Grande.
20 Feb 2013 Wednesday
A perfect day with clear skies, we are back in paradise. Around the yacht there was several schools of small fish. The water had a lot of plankton and the small fish were in abundance. We enjoyed being able to just jump into the clean warm water from the boat if and when you feel like it. For daily exercise we rowed around to Praia Grande das Palmas. With the kayak close to the water edge and the sun at the right angle you can see clearly into the water. It is not as good as snorkeling but we could cover a much bigger distance while we were exercising. Around the corner we saw a big turtle swimming under the kayak before he dive into deeper water. At 11h00 the trip boats started to arrive all loaded with day visitors transforming a quite beach into a buss of activity for a few minutes till almost every one disappeared for a 30 min walk inside the tropical forest to Praia de Lopes Mendes a beach open to the ocean. The trip boats then lay at anchor and about three hours later the individual groups appear again out of the forest onto the beach where the floating restaurant gets its fair share of attention. From three in the afternoon the operation of trip boats takes over again and after five everything is quite again.
We lift anchor to explore the open ocean side of Island of Ilha Grande again. Our previous experience was motoring against a stiff breeze with a choppy sea. Most of the beaches had a choppy sea with a big swell and we could only motor by. Ilha do Jorge Grego is a small-inhabited island less than 2 nm further into the open sea. At the outside side of the island we caught two Bonitos. Zack was frilled to catch fish two days in a row. This island is beautiful with a lot of birds roaming the skies above the treetops. We anchored in the protected cove on the inside side of the island. With the kayak we explored the rocky edges. Unfortunately the visibility was not to good. We would have liked to dive here, as this is apparently one of the better dive sites in Brazil.
We anchored for the night at Praia Parnaioca in a small cove halfway down the open coastline of Ilha Grande, on the right hand side of the beach. It is a pleasant inlet that is open to the southwest. The beach was splendid and we enjoyed strolling down the beach with sand varying from coarse sand mixed with broken shells to fine powdery sand that squeaks under your feet as you step on it.
We walked along the beach and came to a small church decorated with flags and enjoyed the statement of there religion.
At the end of the beach we found a crystal clear stream flowing into the sea.
Because of the remote location and distance of travel required day visitors were not present. Long-range motorboats transported campers that stayed a few days in dedicated three campsites. The result is only a few holidaymakers that enjoy these exquisite beaches. We have a beautiful sunset on the beach before returning back to Vagabund.
Looking at the stars on the foredeck we talked about what we would like to enjoy doing when we will be back in SA for March and April. Seeing our children, family and friends is a priority for both of us. For Zack supporting and encouraging the team back at home, experiencing the power of his convertible again, enjoying unlimited fast Internet and playing golf. For me: Pampering with my hair, nails, and facial, to be able to take a long bath with a lot of warm water. Being able to walk in our garden and shop in shopping centers of my choice. To be able to phone when I feel like it, visit friends and family and to have Internet for emails and surfing for info.
21 Feb 2013 Thursday
I woke up early and with coffee in my hand put the satellite phone on, eager to receive messages from our children. Only 15 days left before we are back in South Africa. We are past the point were we have to suppress the feeling of longing. Yes we will miss Vagabund the moment we set foot back in SA as it is our new home and two months later we will return to further our quest but for now I can start making plans of when to see who and do stuff that I only can do in our house in Fochville. I could even made an appointment for a hair cut on the Saturday in March after landing in SA, before we will take the road to Van der Bijl Park and Pretoria. Zack just do not have the heart to say no when I asked him if we could go and greet our children instead of getting rid of jetlag. That we will do later!!! I think he just want to drive his car again!!
Another yacht came into the cove. It was Nina our Italian friends. They wanted to stay in this cove for tonight. We did not need much convincing to decide we will also stay another night. Paulo and Sylvia were invited for dinner. The rest of the day we enjoyed the sunshine, rowing, swimming and going to the beach, playing beach tennis. A new record of 53 strikes of keeping ball in the air was set. Zack showed me a trick of standing in the water on your pool noodle while balancing with your hands. With a lot of laughter and splashing it took some time before I could do it.
That night we had delightful companionship and we learned a lot about sailing conditions in the Mediterranean, as we were considering sailing Vagabund to the Med. We were absorbing their advice.
The temperature and weather we were enjoying is were different to what we experienced in January when it was much hotter and raining almost every day. It was decided to enjoy it while it last and we postponed our over due entrada stamp from the caputanee of Angra dos Reis.
22 Feb 2013 Friday
It is planned. I will be able to see our children that weekend. 14 "slapies" left before I will be sleeping in our bed at home. Now to make every minute count while we are still here with the sun, clear water and Vagabund.
The next morning we nipped further West around the next bay to Praia do Aventueiro. This is a State Marine Park where fishing is not allowed. I was disappointed the previous time when big swells prevented us from anchoring at this beach.
According to me this is the most beautiful beach in Baia Ilha Grande. It could any time compare with the beaches that we enjoyed in Seychelles. I was intrigue with the beach: turquois water and the interesting rock formations. On every lookout point a bamboos bench was erected with a "hangman", and at some places even a swing suspended from the overhanging trees on the beach.
On the Eastern side of the beach we explored the edges of cliffs with beautiful lookout points over the bay and beach before returning for refreshments at a small restaurant on the beach.
All we could get was cold beer, water and a Pasle to eat. Without a menu we could not found the translation to know what it was. Sounded like pasta or stew but it could not be for R&5-00. We ordered one. To our surprise it was a delicious pastry pie filled with cheese. We ordered another three to fill all the empty spaces.
With our thirst and hunger quest we explored the beach. I only stood in awe to enjoy the balance of the beauty combined in torques water, see through waves building up and breaking in bright white energized water, whipping out onto clean coarse sand beach with portions of the rushing wave disturbed with a vertical splash-up by the occasional dark rounded basalt boulders. These boulders where not randomly positioned but carefully placed to form a perfectly balanced picture that was engraved into my mind as one of the highlight to our Brazilian adventure.
On return to our anchor spot the beach was invaded. A dozen or so motorboats with huge sets and sizes of outboards have transported their day visitors and every one was enjoying the beauty.
30 minutes later the light Westerly breeze has veered to a fresh Southerly breeze. Clouds started to roll in from the South, fishermen were checking and re-fastening there boats on there moorings and within fifteen minutes the beach was cleared of all day visitors as the motorboats disappeared quicker than what they appeared. The veering wind direction indicated that the feared South Western wind that blows in with a cold front is about to make its appearance. We launched our paddle ski and when we were back on Vagabund our anchorage has already became choppy and we were relieved to be on our way. This is the end of a spoiled perfect weather window. As we rounded the point that sheltered the beach a 15 to 20 knot Southerly greeted us back on the open sea with a steep chop.
We beated up into the wind for a few miles till we could round the SW corner of Ilha Grande. Shortly after we spotted the day-tripper fleet that diverted from Praia do Aventueiro to the small cove at Ponta dos Meros. We decided to investigate. By the time we secured our anchor most of the motorboats has left back to Angra a 15 to 20nm trip. The wind was already at fourteen knots SW in the cove but the SW swell has not yet picked up and the cove offered enough short-term protection to do a quick snorkel by. The left hand side of the cove is lined with submerged rocks, the fish was good and it was like being in aquarium. Along the rocks overgrown with sea life we could observe many different species of fish and other sea life. Being on the open ocean side of Ilha Grand and on the edge of the conservation area the fish was in abundance. For an hour we were lost in another world.
The amount of Vagabund forward and backward rocking indicated to us that the swell is starting to pick up inside the cove. The beach was deserted. Minutes later the spaghetti chain was slurped up into Vagabund chain tummy and the Rocna Anchor where overlooking the speeding water underneath Vagabund as both motors where pushing us towards the end of the cove.
The welcoming party for latecomers’ where fully dressed and as the last guests to arrived made us felt like guest of honor with all the attention we received. The 20 knot wind on the beam with a build up swell and the tide running out made us to scramble to tie everything down. We rose to the occasion as we unfurled our genoa and Vagabund quickly responded by speeding up to 8 knots before Zack cut back on the motors to reduce the slamming. We have special appreciation for our well build ocean going vessel. Fortunately the heavy metal band slamming only played the opening song and shortly turned into rock and roll as we rounded the most Western Point "Praia de Acahia". By the time we reached our anchoring spot at Praia do Sitio Forte we were close dancing on a laid-back 8 knot breeze. Amazing how the weather differs from the open side to the inland side. Later that night the wind gusted up to 18 knots on our well protected anchorage and we lay comfortably with appreciation that we are not in this wind on the open ocean side wandering what the wind readings would have been.
If in the next two weeks as soon as the weather permitting the weather I want to go back to these weather well protected beaches.
23 Feb 2013 Saturday
It was overcast with no wind. We exercise with our kayak around the whole bay exploring the different beaches. At 12h00 we left for Ilha de Macacos. This anchorage is known as Lagoa Azul, which means Blue Lagoon. It was crowded with trip boats and motorboats.
We squished in and found a spot to anchor at the back of the island. Two yellow buoys in the water marked the snorkeling place where no boats were allowed. The water was clear and various species of fish could be seen between the rock, coral and sea stars. It was an enjoyable hour of snorkeling. The rest of the bay was explored with the kayak.
At 15h00 we left for Praia do Sitio Forte where we have prawns and French fries for dinner. Relaxed after a day of enjoying Brazil.
24 Feb 2013 Sunday.
We decided to leave early to the windward side again. The wind was blowing at about 10 knots but the sea has big swells. At Ponta dos Meros we put anchor and with the kayak we found that the water was not clear enough for snorkeling. We went to the beach for about two hours. We went around the corner to Praia do Aventueiro, but have to turn back because the wind and swells will not allowed us to anchor in the bay. I prepare lunch and we were early back at Praia do Sitio Forte. We took an afternoon nap and enjoyed a perfect evening on the front deck.
25 Feb 2013 Monday
Early exercising with our kayak. Left for Angra at 9 h00 to visit the overdue Caputanee. To make it easier because their copy machine took more than an hour to make about 15 copies we made copies of all the documents. We put 100 liter of fuel and water and stay on the side of the fuel jetty. That way we are not on the moorings of the Marina Piratas shopping center that are monitored. Zack went to the caputanee while I was doing our grocery shopping. It took him only 10 minutes with the copies already made.
We phoned Teresa at Marina Porto Bracuhy and were received friendly with two people waiting on the mooring to help fasten the mooring lines. Much easier to moored to a buoy and reverse back than anchor and reverse back. We confirmed at the office with the help of Teresa as interpreter of Vagabund staying in this marina when we are flying home. We met Caio and Miriam on boat Miroco. He helped to find somebody for the aircon. He will be able to come on Tuesday at 10h00. We decided to stay for the night. We used the opportunity to Tango with Zandia and Andre, Michael and Andre as well as Hendrik and Cornelia.
26 Feb 2013 Tuesday
All my emails were up to date and I have a long conversation with Suzette, getting all the news from home. Zack managed to download the manual of the computer, as it seems a programming fault. We met Reggy and Pascall on Tocata; they are French and are also on their way back home to return in June going north. Maybe we will meet on the North again.
Baia da Ilha Grande can be broken down as follows:
Ilha Grande, the largest island with leeward and windward side
Angra dos Reis as the main town
West of Angra dos Reis:
Baia da Ribeira and Baia de Paraty
East of Angra dos Reis:
Baia de Jacuacanga, Baia Mangaratiba and Baia de Sepetiba
We want to do the rest of west and east of Angra dos Reis that we have not seen before. With the weather downloaded we know that it is going to start raining at 18h00 and for the next two days. On our way out of Bracuhy we visited Frade and around Ilha de Paqueta and Ilha Itanhaga We anchored at a small cove at Ilha Itanhanga for the night.
27 Feb 2013 Wednesday
It started raining late the previous day and come down in buckets during the night. Zack put out our cool bags for drinking water and both were filled to the brim in the morning. About 20 liter of water each. Enough drinking water till we fly back.
We rowed around both islands for daily exercise and decided to do some chores on the yacht before we will go and eat at the restaurant on the beach.
We found they are only reopening on Thursday after been closed for 7 years. We walked up the trail onto the rock. You have a view of the whole bay from the top of the rock.
We took an afternoon nap and Zack managed to sort out 2 of the air cons. I did some needlework.
28 Feb 2013 Thursday
It is still raining and we decided not to go and row. We pulled up anchor and visited the main along the main land. We went to Ilha da Gipoia but on the windward side the wave heights were to high to anchor. We turn around to anchor again at Ilha Itanhanga. We went to the restaurant and have a meal for two that was fish and prawns in a delicious sauce with rice and mash potatoes. A gourmet dish.
Took an afternoon nap.
1 March 2013 Friday
Early morning kayak around island. Meet Ivan at 10h00 at the fuel jetty of Bracuhy. On Monday repairing is going to start. Arrange with marina to come in on Sunday on pier I. I arrange with Teresa to take the family out for lunch on Sunday.
The afternoon was spending at Angra. Bought our bus tickets from Angra to Rio and withdraw money at the ATM. It was still raining. We anchor for the night at P de Ubatuba.
2 March 2013 Saturday
It is still raining and overcast. I am struggling to get the washing dry. Everything is now getting wet. We are started with the final things to be done to leave the yacht for 2 months. Zack busy with the planning to go up north. He fixed the leak in the water cabinet and installed a new deck wash pump. Later the morning the sun peeps through the clouds. The wind is blowing about 10 knots and swells are coming from the sea. Our rowing with the kayak was quite a struggle against the swells and wind.
At sunset we row to the next cove and much better anchorage that is protected against the wind and swells. We move Vagabund and at the time we are settled it was already dark. We enjoyed a sundowner on the front deck before we had a braai with the fillet out of SA.
There are products of Brazil that I really enjoy and take some of it back. Kids Off insect repellent that does has a pleasant smell and I am not allergic to it. Heliocare SPF 90 gel is a sun protective cream in a gel form that goes into your skin without forming a white layer on top. I have bought all the tubes I could find in the pharmacies in Rio. Cole drinks powder to make a drink to prevent you to drink fizzy Cole drink all day. Quarana zero that is my favorite fizzy Cole drink. It is much nicer than coke zero.
3 March 2013 Sunday
It looks like a perfect day with the sun coming up over the hill and the sea like a mirror without any swells.
We picked up Teresa and her family at the fuel jetty of Bracuhy at 11h00. We ate at the restaurant at Ilha Itanhanga. They brought with her Mother in law of 85. What a remarkable lady. After an enjoyable day we moored Vagabund safely on pier I in Bracuhy.
4 March 2013 Monday
Early Zack started to open up the front space to be able to reach the points on both sides where the bowsprit is fastened. Zack have to crawl into a small space to be able to reach the screws. First the genset have to shift back after some of the pipes were removed. The black water tank was removed and you can sea the screws but have to sail upside down into the opening.
It was 36 degrees inside with all the fans. At the end of the day the gel coats have to settle and for Tuesday only the sandpaper works, polishing and drilling of the holes.
5 March 2013 Tuesday
We have to go to Receita Féderal (Customs). Teresa is going to take us to act as interpreter. Every foreign yacht while in Brazil must formally be the responsibility of someone. They issue you with a certificate stating that you are responsible for your yacht for the 90 days that is the same as your passport visa.
If you leave the country after 90 days upon expiring of your visa, you have to arrange for someone else to be approved by the Receita Féderal as being responsible for the boat. It could only be a public marina and not a mooring of a friend. So before you leave you have to get a form from the marina accepting the responsibility and have this (and other documents) stamped by the Receita Féderal. When you return, you once again visit Customs to reassume responsibility. When the yacht is the responsibility of the marina it must be locked and can not used by any other person. You are not allowed to took it out of the marina during this time, but can still sleep on it. The boat can stay in Brazil under these arrangements for a maximum of two years.
6 March 2013 Wednesday
At night there is a lot of “mossies” and I improvise with some net and masking tape to cover the windows.
The final washing and cleaning of Vagabund before we are coming back to SA. All the walls and ceilings to be washed with a vinegar solution to prevent moil growth.
7 March 2013 Thursday
Assis is taking his mother back to Rio and offer to drop us at the airport.
Teresa and I have a last chat waiting with our luggage.
With all the rain you find mudslides along the road.
On the airport we have something to eat before we get on the plane to Sao Paulo and then only after midnight our flight to Johannesburg.
I cannot wait to see our children. Only one more night!!!!