Vagabund Log

Baia Ilha Grande

Baia Ilha Grande

8th January to 19th January 2013

On the 8th January we say our goodbyes to Michael and Cathri. Would be two months before we will see them again. Wonderful two weeks to have spent with them. They are traveling by bus from Angra to Rio de Janeiro where they are flying back to South Africa.

For the next three weeks we are going to explore Baia Ilha Grande. From Angra dos Reis to Paraty there is dozens of islands and inlets with sheltered anchorages and beaches besides limpid water. In the middle of the day clouds form on the summits, and in the late afternoon and night the overcast sky often brings rain with isolated storms.

8th January  2013: Saco do Ceu

After topping up our supplies and enjoying some junk food we set sail for Saco do Ceu. We ate a seafood stew at Coqueiro Verde Restaurant.


We also used the opportunity to top up our water from a water buoy. They build a small water retaining structure in one of the ravines, place a pipe from the dammed up water down the ravine over the beach to the water buoy. The fresh mountain water runs permanently and there is no tap! It took some adjustment to anchor Vagabund to the buoy, recover the floating hose from the sea, fill up your precious water supply and then not closing the tap just dump it back into the sea while it is still running.  

We decided to anchor closer to the inlet of the cove and settled in just before sunset.  It has beautiful surroundings and a secured anchorage. The next morning we started our day with our paddle exercise exploring the shoreline for three quarters of an hour. We ended up making landfall at the restaurant enjoying a cold drink and patata frita’s while we saturated our bodies with sunlight on two deck chairs. At the back of the restaurant is a walking trail up to a look out point.


10 Jan Thursday: Enseada das Palmas.

In this cove are two beaches Praia dos Mangues and Praia Grande das Palmas. Praia dos Mangues is the deepest cove with calm water. A lot of trip boats are visiting this beach.

A 2.5 km small path in the forest leads over the ridge to Praia de Lopes Mendes on the open seaside of the island. It is a path through the forest with the treetops making a tunnel. It was raining with a soft drizzle.


On the other side is the long beach with white sand. It is to the open sea with waves for surfing. Surfboards and body boards can be rented on the beach.

We paddled out to the restaurant on a floating pontoon. They have a boat that is been handled with a rope to slide the boat to the beach and back to bring visitors to the restaurant.


12 Jan Saturday: Abraao

We decided to go by taxi boat to Abraao. Zack wave to a taxi boat passing Vagabund and he took us aboard.


What a pretty little town. Experience the feeling of the local Brazilian vibe. There are a lot of small shops with the most reasonable prices.  I bought a few dresses for the beach. We found a shop with a lot of boat things, even silica adhesive. Afterwards we had lunch at a restaurant with a buffet where you pay per g.


Accommodation is available in the form of   Hotels, hostels with rooms and camping in tents.


We lift anchor and went to P Grande dos Palmas. An inlet not well protected from the sea. Small swells coming through and rock the yacht for the night. It is a beach with local fisherman and a camping site. We ate at the local restaurant.


13 Jan Sunday: Praia de Ubatuba

While walking on the beach it started raining again and after a while poured down with rain. We had a seafood stew at R$110.

We put some water from the buoy in the port tank. It is a hose with fresh water out of the mountain. We filter the water and it has a light brown color. 


14 Jan Monday: Marina Piratas at Angra dos Reis

Managed to do our email and eat a hamburger at Bobs. Zack find a Volvo shop inside Marina Piratas with the main shop in town. All the spares we needed were at the shop in town.

15-18 January: Marina Porto Bracuhu

Teresa arranged with friends to receive us at the Marina. We enjoyed the welcoming and it made us feel at home.

We met Helio at the fuel jetty and he directed us to our docking space where Ivan and some of the marina crew helped us to safely moored Vagabund on the jetty. Ivan gave us a tour of the marina and decided that we are going to leave Vagabund at Porto Bracuhu when we return home for 2 months.

We met Ivan’s wife Egle as well as their friends Mara and Helio. Both vary experienced sailor couples. Especially sailing up the coast of Brazil. We spend an evening with them where they shared there years of accumulated knowledge. Ivan shared his waypoints that are widely used by rally sailors.

Cat-Avento is a catamaran that has sailed into the harbor the same day we arrived. We met with Silvino Meno and his son. They have been sailing the East and North coast of Brazil. He shared his experiences with us and we are looking forward to cruise up the coast of Brazil.

With the Wi-Fi at the Marina it was possible to update our emails and scype with dear ones at home.


We rediscover our bicycles that were stored folded away and went for a cycling tour around the Marina during the late afternoon with Mara and Helio. Afterwards while having a beer at the bar we were soaking wet with rain that start poring down for 20 min. This is the rainy season in Ilha Grande and a 20 to 40 min pour down in the afternoon is the norm.

On Thursday we decided to go cycling for exercise early for about 10 km and afterwards we had a breakfast buffet at the hotel for $R22 per person.


19 Jan Saturday: Ilha do Cedro

This was the fourth time that we have visited Ilha do Cedro. A good anchorage with a few fishing boats from the local fishing village. A clear sky with a few clouds over the hilltops was our first sight when we woke up. The 40min paddle around the island offers a good exercise and beautiful scenery for both of us.


20 Jan Sunday: Bay of Paraty

We pull up anchor after it stopped raining late the Sunday afternoon. A beautiful rainbow was in the sky.


A beautiful inlet in the bay of Paraty is at Saco Jurimirum. We did go around the island and anchored at the anchorage of Ilha da Cotia. It is a safe anchorage in all weathers. We spend a perfect evening of looking at the stars and enjoying all the sounds of nature.


22 Jan Tuesday: Ilha da Cotio 

We row around Ilha da Cotio in our double kayak. It was quite an exercise. Late that afternoon we used the rubber duck to explore the other side of the bay and further up the cove. The water closer to the open sea drastically improves in clarity. We enjoyed a late lunch at one of the restaurants surrounded with beautiful torques water. 


Just before sunset Zack tried to do some fishing.


23 Jan Wednesday: Saco do Mamangue

Saco do Mamangue is a deep passageway between two rows of steep wooded mountains. The small village to port can only be reached by sea and is complete isolated with no land access. At the end of Saco do Mamangue the water become shallow and ends in an enormous mangrove swamp. We anchored at Ponta do Bananal and use our canoe to explore the swamps in search of the waterfall.  We tried several waterways in the mangrove swamp. The average depth was about 0.5 to 0.3 m. We saw the mangroves with their entangled twisted branches; we saw the red colorful crabs running up and down the black branches into the silt mud. Mosquito repellant was used to try scaring the mosquitos. Each time we reach the end where you cannot go further and had to return to the swamp.


Several hours later the waterway we where exploring changed from swamp to crystal clear water. Rio Cairucu snakes its way through the mangrove swamp. The river has a sandy bottom with a few rocks and branches over the river. After about a mile the mangrove change into a beautiful tropical forest. The red crabs and mangroves made way for forest and bird life.


Some of the descendants of the Indian tribes that inhabited these parts before the Portuguese and Spanish arrived are still living on the banks of the river. Signs of small-scale farming was visible on some of the banks. You can charter an Indian guide with his own canoes for the day.


We paddled in shallow water till we reached a rapid, tied down the canoe, climb the steep banks of the river and pursued the quest to find the waterfall by foot. A small track through the jungle lead to the waterfall. The water was clean, refreshing and surrounded with beautiful scenery. The cold mountain water was a big welcome to lower our body temperature after a mornings exploring. We enjoyed swimming in the sacred natural pools of this majestic river.  


24 Jan Thursday: Sc da Velha and Ilha da Cotio

 Sc da Velha has beautiful clean blue water where you can snorkel and look at the rock formations and a few little zebra fishes. We have a beautiful sunset on our way back to our  anchorage at Ilha da Cotio.


25 Jan Friday: Enseando do Sonda

Enseando do Sonda are outside beaches located east of Baia de Paraty to the open seaside.  Mountains that come straight into the sea surround Enseando do Pousa.


We were intrigued with the small local fishing village on this long sandy beach. I bought some handicrafts.  Beautiful torques warm water breaks on the beach.


With the summer days in Brazil that is so hot the only clothes they are wearing is a swimming costume. I can get used to it.


When we returned to the favorite anchorage place at Ilha da Cotio, yachts crowded the inlet. We counted them and there were nearly 40 yachts seeking shelter for the night. We anchored on the outside to be free of yachts that is still experimenting on optimizing their anchoring techniques.


It was pouring down for the next two days. The opportunity was used to replenish our drinking water and filled whatever empty container we could get with rainwater. The rain catcher did his work and we managed to fill up our port tank as well with rainwater.

 28 Jan Monday – 29 Jan Tuesday: Paraty

Still overcast with the temperature that has dropped to the mid twenties. On our way to Paraty we passed a lot of the ferry boats with people going to the different islands for the day.


Arriving in Paraty we called Marina do Engenho on Chanel 68. With only the few Portuguese key words we could enquired about the availability for a mooring buoy. A friendly voice of Fabio from the yacht Plancton come on line and helped with the translation. We met Fabio and his wife Cecelia with their son of about 4 years. They are living onboard and charter their boat around Ilha Grande.

At Marinho do Engenho lying on anchor does not cost anything. A small payment is to be paid should you want to use the marina showers and toilets. R$10 for a shower and we could fill up with water and get rid of all our garbage. You leave your dingy next to the pontoon of the office that is the whole time under supervision and leave for town. The taxis in Paraty are the most expensive in Brazil.  Standard rate of R$40 one way into town for about 4 km and the bus is only every hour with a long walk up to the main road. 

We walked the cobbled stones in the streets of the historic town of Paraty. It was spring high tide and with the result that some of the streets were filled with water.


The little shops were intriguing with healthy free economy competition amongst each other. Utilizing the opportunity to get some of the tourist feet into there shops. We found even a donkey cart that you can use if your feet are tired.


Paraty 33 draw Zack into the restaurant for an early supper not being able to withstand the black Bohemia draft beer advertised on the outside. With Tango loaded on our cellphones we tried to call Zandia and Andre. Tango is a new system that uses less data than scype and can be loaded on your cellphone. The video call is stable even with a weak Wi-Fi reception. We could talk to them, show them the inside and street and see their faces. 

Izak was contacted to finalize our last arrangements. We are looking forward to talk Afrikaans and see dear ones again. 

We strolled back in rain that start drizzling down again to the supermarket. The supermarket is big and provided every thing we needed. With the trolley loaded we commandeered a local taxi to take us back. 

Laundry you leave with Talita at the marina office in the morning and collect them the afternoon. She asks R$20 for wash and dry. Would be nice to have towels and sheets again that was tumbled dried. 

The next day we decided to go into town with our bicycles. We stopped at every marina and hardware shop. I could even get mosquito repellent Off for Kids. Worked well for me with an allergy for all the other repellents. Off is a repellant in Brazil with a pleasant smell that is the best we have ever used.

30  Jan Wednesday: Baia Ilha Grande

We fill up with water at the marina. First is to moor unto the pontoon. You pick up a mooring buoy and then reverse back unto the pontoon till the back sheets can be fastened to the cleats on the pontoon. We filtered and chlorinated the water before use. In a few Portuguese words we thanked Luis at the marine and was on our way to Ilha Grande. We only left about midday. 

We pass a little island and found 5 fishing boats trawling with nets. In Brazil fishing license is not needed. It appears that there is no limit on the amount or size or species you can catch. The sea is overfished and not enough is done to limit the human impact on nature. This is eminent in the lack of pelagic fish around the island, the small size fish offered at the restaurant and the lack of fish when snorkeling.


Beauty is not only what can be seen on the outside but also underneath the water. Abundant sea life is definitely amiss.

We explore the outer coastline of Ilha Grande. Enseada de Aracatiba with a small beach and a fishing community.


Around the corner we found a small fishing village nestle at end of a cul de sac of Saco da Longa.


Sheltered by Ilha Longa is another anchorage with a floating restaurant. Water very clean and it was a delight to see so many small fish at the restaurant when they feed them some rice.


31 Jan Thursday: Open sea side of Ilha Grande

 By passing Praia Vermelha the wind started blowing about 15 knots. Going round to Praia Proveta we were exposed to the offshore swell and the South West. A fleet of fishing vessels was lying on anchor. Only a few fishermen on there canoes were out trying for calamari. 


Ponta dos Meros is a beautiful inlet with clean water and a place to visit for some snorkeling in good weather. A pity that we could not do it because of the South West that was blowing at 15 knots even in the protected areas. Around to the other inlet we were in the State Marine Park where fishing was forbidden. On the fish founder we see a lot of activity. This Marine Park is a breeding ground for some fish to grow.


Now we were off to Ilha do Jorge Grego where scuba is the best in Baia Ilha Grande. The wind was between 15 and 20 knots on the bow and we are still sailing on a very bumpy sea with good waves. From time to time, one of them goes over the deck. At the island we found a beautiful protected cove in about 20 m water depth that would provide the scuba they were talking about. Something to come back to on another day. 

At Ponta das Velhas Zack caught a small fish and release it. A little later when looking back a trawler with nets was sweeping the same area. Hoping that little fish escape their nets.  At Praia dos Mangues we anchored for the night after a day on the sea of about 8 hours. 

1st Feb Friday Abraao

Cleaning, cleaning... How I miss Sarah to help me spring cleaning the kitchen. Later that day we lift anchor and anchor left of the jetties at Abraao. A big pleasure boat was also anchored in the bay.


We called a boat taxi and he delivered us to the beach for free. We walked around and ate at a restaurant on the beach where Vagabund was in view.


At 18h00 all the boat taxis were already anchored for the night. The only boat taxi remaining asked $R30 for the small distance. We walked to end of beach and found a fishing boat. The fisherman gives us a lift back to the yacht.


We anchored for the night at Saco de Ceu.

2 Feb Saturday: Saco de Ceu

A perfect day of clear skies and no wind. We enjoyed the sun and swim again, again and again in the warm tropical water. Last of the cleaning and the bedroom fitted with clean sheets as preparation for family visit.


The plane landed in Rio and the last leg was by taxi to Angra dos Reis, at Marina Piratas shopping centre. They arrived way after midnight. It was so great to see relatives and people we love. We enjoyed all the goodies in their bags. We were spoiled with biltong, rusks from Woolworths, Corn Thins as well as all the spare parts that we needed.  We were spoiled with all our requests. We anchored in a close inlet about 20 minutes from Angra.

3 Feb Sunday: Ilha do Cedro

We enjoyed the morning with rusks and coffee on the front deck.


We return to Angra dos Reis for some shopping.


After shoppping at Angra we enjoyed an afternoon at Ilha do Cedro. Swimming in the timid water and Kyra even dared to jump from the front deck into the water.


We spend the evening on the front deck, catching up on all the news from home.

4 Feb Monday: Paraty

Izak and Heleen row around the island and we meet them on the beach at the local restaurant. It starts raining again.


That afternoon we left for Paraty. Kyra act as co-pilot.


Spend the evening in the historical town of Paraty. Wandering the streets and enjoy the music at the different restaurants.


5 Feb Tuesday: Baia da Preguica and Ilha do Cotio

After receiving our freezer back we spend the rest of the day at anchor in Baia da Preguica. Izak prepared a bruch with bacon and eggs. The fishing line  of Heleen’s rod got entangled with the stay.

We could still feel the sun even if it was overcast. Late afternoon we went with the dingy to a nearby restaurant.


After anchor safely at Ilha do Cotio we all swam in the rain to the beach. Kyra was so frilled that she wants to swim again to the beach. That evening we were spoilt with Eland steak out of SA (brought in in a cool bag in their luggage). 


6 Feb Wednesday: Saco de Ubatuba

A morning with sun peeping through the clouds. Daily exercise of rowing around Ilha do Cotia. While it was  Izak and Heleen turn we enjoyed the water with Kyra. Swimming to the beach and walking to the other side where she could see her parents passing by in the kayak. Kyra caught two small fishes.


We set sail to Ilha Grande. We moored in front of the restaurant at Saco de Ubatuba. We ordered some food and enjoyed walking on the beach.


7 Feb Thursday: Angra dos Reis and Abraao

Early morning the geese visit our yacht for food.


We went to Angra dos Reis to visit the Capetenia for a saida stamp to go to Rio.


The afternoon we spent at Abraao. We eat at the restaurant on the beach. A fishing barca was our transport from Vagabund to the town and back. We were even spoilt with fresh fish.


We anchored at Praia dos Mangues. The men and Kyra went to the beach.


Heleen baked a cake and Kyra add the topping for her mermaid cake for her birthday the following day.


8 Feb Friday: Praia dos Mangues and Lopes Mendes

It is today Kyra’s 6th birthday. Early morning she unwrapped her presents. It was a beautiful day with clear skies. She was spoiled with a tortoise that swim close to the yacht. We enjoyed swimming around the yacht.


We walked over to Praia Lopes Mendes with a path that leads through the forest and ends on a long beach with white sand and waves breaking from the open sea. There were several stalls where you could buy beer, cool drink and chips.

Surfboards were to rent per hour or for the day. Kyra get it right to stay standing on the surfboard. A day of sun, sand, swimming and tanning.  Kyra have a coconut just for herself after the walk back.


Late afternoon we have fish pieces and fresh fries at the floating restaurant. For desert we have Kyra's birthday cake. Late afternoon all the pleasure ferries have left the praia.The end of our island holiday.


9 Feb Saturday: Rio de Janeiro

Early morning we start the engines on our way to Rio for the carnaval.