I spent the last week in Brazil. The original spot we were headed for was Cabadelo, which is at the mouth of a large river that goes inland quite a ways. Where we ended up staying was actually a town called Jacare, and we stayed at the Jacare Marina Village. It was a nice marina and the people were very accommodating. The two partners who owned the marina were colorful characters. The one only spoke French and Portuguese and the other spoke French and English quite well. There was a small book depot, where you could trade books, a laundromat, where a very nice lady did your laundry for 8 Reals per kilo, a restaurant which served 3 or 4 items all day long (pizza, hamburger, french fries, and rump steak on certain nights), a bunch of tables and some pretty good wifi, offered for free. There was also a bathroom with cold showers, which was perfect because it was quite hot the entire time we were there, and quite a treat for our overheated bodies. Also, there was a swimming pool, which we dipped in daily.
Apparently the check in process is quite complicated. Noonsite (a well-known sailing information site) has an article on the check in process and based on this information, it takes days (at least 2, sometimes 3) to check in to this country here in this location. It has partly to do with the distance from the marina to customs, immigration, and the port authority, as well as the fact that nothing seems to get done after noon, so you only have the morning hours to get the work done. Alternatively, you could hire one of the partners to take care of the process for you, and he can get it done in 1 day, for some reason. However, we never found out why his process was quicker or how much it would cost us. We talked to him when we first arrived (Monday) about checking in he said the first availability he had was Thursday. We verified it wouldn’t be a problem for us to wait until then the check in and he assured us it wouldn’t be. So we waited until Thursday to check in. In the meantime, we acted as if we had already checked in. We went to the mall and got some cash and a sim card, we went to the grocery store to get some fresh produce, and we went to restaurants and bars, as if we had already checked in.
Jacare was about 5 miles from the main city where all the resources were, Joaa Pessoa, a touristy town with skyscapers all along the atlantic coast and a population of around 800,000. We were told it was also the captital of the state we were in. In order to access any of the resources we needed (grocery stores, restaurants, electronic stores, etc.) we had to take a taxi. The public transportation was also an option, but it didn’t typically go exactly where we wanted to go and we found out that Uber worked well here, so we started using that. FYI, the train/bus system is really quite good. 50 cents would give you a ride on the train and it allowed you to go around 60 kilometers to multiple cities. If you’re over 60, it’s free! We only used the train once, to go to the fresh market in Cabadelo, about 5 miles as well, from the marina. It only cost 50 cents. The exchange rate was around 4 Reals per dollar, so 50 cents is 12.5 cents, US. Quite a marvelous public transportation system!
About 3 or 4 blocks from where the boat was docked, was a touristy area in Jacare, where you could shop for souvenirs, and daily booze-cruises ran on the river. It was also a popular hangout spot for all of the locals, and on some days there were 100s of people there, just hanging out on the river. We didn’t partake in any of the booze-cruise experiences, but we did do some shopping there in the many booths and stores. There was also a restaurant/bar we started going to, called The Tree House Lounge, where we got Caprihinas, the national Brazilian drink, made from Cachacao, and some decent meal options. There was also good music, and the owner was a woman who had gone to university in Michigan, and spoke English quite well. She was probabaly the tallest woman I’ve seen in Brazil. She looked to be 6’4″ and we found out she played volleyball in Michigan. She also gave us 2 for 1 drink specials, which further incented us to return a few times.
We passed our time downloading movies and getting caught up on many of the Internet things we hadn’t been able to do the prior 2 weeks as we had been crossing the Atlantic. Also, we arranged to go on a tour to the country on Friday. The tour was okay. It was only offered in French, which was going to be a problem, particularly since Keith and Mildred from Atalanta went with us, and they don’t speak any french. But they hired a guy named Paul to come along who moved to Brazil 5 years ago from South Africa, although he has lived all over the world and is from Ireland, orginally. He was a gregarious guy and we all enjoyed the information we received from him as well as the conversation. Since he’s been here for 5 years, it was nice to pick his brain about local things like cost of living and population, among other things. He lives in a modest 1 bedroom apartment in a safe family community and his total expenses for living here are around $5-700 US. He was over 60 so his public transportation is free and he told us that Brazil really takes care of its senior citizens. When you go to the doctor, if they find out you’re over 60, you get preferential treatment and don’t have to wait as long. And apparently the medical costs are not very high here. He had glowing reviews of living in Brazil and it made me consider it as a possible location in the future. The tour itself was just okay. We visited some towns about 80 kilometers out in the country and then went to a cachaca distillery, which was pretty close to a rum distillery, which we’ve seen a few times before. It was such a hot day and we were all crammed in a smaller SUV and the air conditioning didn’t work too well, especially for those of us in the back of the SUV. By the end of the day, despite Paul’s excellent tour-guiding, I was so done with being in that car.
We left this morning at 6 am, going with the tide out of the river and back into the Atlantic. It’s been a great day of sailing with boat speeds up to 10 knots. There appears to be some kind of current pushing us forward rather quickly. Right now we’re doing 6-7 knots with pretty light winds. There have been a lot of boats out tonight, but nothing too close. We are heading to French Guyana, but decided to take a recommendation from another boater, and are going to an island called Ilha dos Lencois, which will be about half way there. I’m hoping it will be nice for snorkeling.
Our current position is 4ͦ°40’32” South 35°27’32” West
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