Posting from Garry & Vicki, SV Mojombo on 20/04/2013:
We have been in Recife for a month now. We arrived with some trepidation! The clearance bureaucracy nightmares, the muggings, murders etc that we had all heard so much about had us somewhat on edge. But none of it has so far eventuated. Brazil, rather like Australia, is almost entirely mono-lingual - and folks here are clearly not used to the presence of foreigners such as us who speak a rather bizarre and abstract sign/'pictionary'/pig Spanish/English language. However they are almost universally enthusiastic to assist and share a laugh.
So sure, in this context clearing in was a little difficult. But certainly not more so than many other countries. The officials were polite and helpful and the process was free! Since being here we have never felt even slightly threatened.
The main marina here, Cabanga Late Clube, is expensive, but at least all inclusive. We are paying R71/day, but they are offering 5 days free for BRally boats. For your money you get free water (although considered not drink water quality), free electricity (but again not great quality), free internet (usually works ok in the morning), two pools, good quality but expensive restaurant, assorted bars, an air-conditioned lounge area, showers and excellent safety and security. Shopping and connectivity to the rest of Recife is good, with handy, relatively inexpensive bus and taxi access. Entrance can only be made at high water, and is best by prior arrangement as they are currently undertaking dredging operations. The berths are shallow and we sit in the mud up to our seacocks at low water springs.
The highlights of our visit have included:
- old Recife Island
- the San Antonio market/shopping precinct
- the beaches, and
- the bike riding opportunities.
Old Recife Island includes many fine old public and private buildings, many of which have, or are in the process of being renovated. There is an excellent craft market at Marco Zero (the centre of town) that is more like an art gallery, with a very high quality of presentation and featuring really talented local artists. On Sunday afternoons and evening the old town has a large outdoor craft market, music and special events.
The San Antonio shopping precinct is a maize of narrow cobbled streets and small squares featuring grand old churches, jam packed with tiny shops, stalls, and roving vendors selling everything imaginable. It is where the 'ordinary folks' shop (by the zillion) - its distinctly Portuguese flavour is just wonderful.
Olinda, one of the oldest towns in Brazil, has in modern times been engulfed within the urban sprawl of Recife. Yet it is still an intact Portuguese village featuring a mix of extraordinarily old, richly ornamented church buildings, museums, public building, simple but colourfully painted houses, restaurants and a vibrant art community. It is so special it has been inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List.
If you're in to looking at beautiful bodies in teenie-weenie bathers, then the beaches of Recife are the place for you to head.
One of the nicest things about Recife is that every Sunday they create a long linear bike path through much of the city (it goes right past the yacht club). They do it properly, closing off an entire road lane with witches hats and manning intersections with traffic cops - and the people of Recife turn out in there hundreds to go bike riding. Its a wonderful way to see the old city and the beaches. We love it!
If folks want more details on the marina, yacht facilities etc, they can email me at garyW@y7mail.com
That's it Silvio. If you want a few photos I can send some.
Gary has provided you with a summary for the BRally site which left out information that may be of some interest to BRally participants.
Night time entry into Recife is straight forward, with the chart recommending anchoring off Pernambuco YC. We found our anchor held well in the sticky mud. We were approached by a small-boat fisherman and asked to move closer to the other yachts, we could only guess we were in his favourite fishing spot. We had no problems with the local fisherman at night always ensuring we were on board before dark.
We investigated Pernambuco YC for cost (R50/day)and convenient access to Recife, The YC has yachts tie bow into a floating pontoon with no side pontoon, aft secured to buoys. They have showers but no potable water. The only disadvantage was the cost of using the local ferry/fishing boats to run backward and forwards across the river R5 per person each way. We were able to get them to run from Marco Zero to Mojombo for the same cost because there were four of us (total R40 each day). Boat security seemed good. They also had two buoys available (taken when we arrived).
From Pernambuco YC Gary dinghied to Cabanga at low tide to view the course from here down the the marked channel to the Cabanga YC yacht basin. We would recommend this approach if there is no-one in the yacht basin that you know already. Cabanga do not monitor VHF 9. The dinghy ride also allows a view of the situation with the floating pipeline for the dredging and get a agreement from Cabanga on the time of your arrival so their staff can be on hand to assist with tieing up. Whilst we have been here dredging has started at 7.30-12.00, lunch rest till 14.00, start dredging at 14.00-16.30 hours. They do not stop dredging during operational hours for yachts to enter or exit no matter when the high tide falls.
We arrived at Cabanga YC at almost full moon so had 2.5 metres high tide. In the channel the lowest depth was just outside the YC entrance at ~2.5 metres. Cabanga YC appears reluctant to let any yacht in that is close to or deeper than 2 metres.
As you may be aware Canbanga ties boats between poles and buoys, and buoys and tie eyes in the sea wall. Some berths have floating pontoons to access the shore, we have had to use our dinghy. Yachts are moored bow-in because of how far yachts sit in the mud at low tide. The YC will position the boat to ensure it is not too close to the seawall. Once the low tide is ~.30 above lowest chart dartum we turned off any pumps, whether day or night, so that mud did not get sucked in. At spring tides this becomes really important (.10 low water). Also at low water the mud gets pretty smelly.