BRally - Europe or Africa to Angra dos Reis


Posting from Barry & Ann from Cat's Paw VI - 21/05/2013


We were happy to join the BRally as my husband Barry always wanted to see Rio de Janeiro and joining the rally would add safety and companionship to our voyage to Brazil.  We had a good sail from St. Helena to Brachui, about 60 miles south west of Rio. The entry point of Brachui was a lovely setting but not very practical, there was no ATM to get local currency, there was only a very small store for groceries and you could not buy a SIM card of get independent internet access, although there was free Wifi at the dock.  Our stay at the dock was more expensive than anywhere else in the world and for that reason I would recommend that the landing site in the future be at Angra Dos Reis where you can anchor for free, take a mooring ball or go to a dock. 

We set off to Isle Grande to enjoy one of Brazil’s premier cruising grounds.  It has numerous anchorages located around a hilly forested island.  The waters are clean and the swimming was great.  We really enjoyed hiking the well kept trails that wind around the island from one anchorage to the next.
 The Lopes Mendes beach on the south east side of the island is not to be missed, it is superb.  We thoroughly enjoyed our wander from one end of the beach to the other. We visited the heritage town of Parati with 3 other boats from the BRally and enjoyed exploring, shopping and eating out with them.

 We headed up to a more remote anchorage and found a waterfall that was described in the cruising guide.  We had to beat our way through the forest to scare away the snakes, but were rewarded at the end with a lovely fresh water swim in the pool below the waterfall.
We headed off to Rio and were so happy that we had made the trip.  The harbor that the city of Rio is located on must be one of the most beautiful, protected harbors in the world.  The setting of the city surrounded by rock pinnacles and beautiful beaches is second to none.  We lovely all the old colonial buildings in the downtown area and were fascinated to read the rich history of the city and the state. On Easter morning we wandered through a deserted downtown and visited four beautiful old churches as they prepared for their services. 
We needed to head home to Canada for the northern summer; we planned to leave the boat in Trinidad at the end of May so it was time to go.  We knew our sailing trip would be tough up the coast in early April and we were right.  The first bit around Cape Frio was the worst, pounding into waves and current, making little progress.  We bit the bullet and put on the motor whenever we needed to in order to make the progress that was required. 
We had a short but wonderful stop in Salvador. It is a city with a rich history and culture and although we only touched the surface we really enjoyed the area. Our last stop was Fortaleza and we were happy to be there.  It is at the top of the bump of Brazil and once we started sailing westward, it was smooth sailing.  We had the wind and current with us and were pushed along at great speeds.  The weather co-operated and we just flew along. Fortaleza was easy to check into and out of and soon we were off to Trinidad our Brazil adventure was finished. The one thing I regret about our visit to Brazil was that it was too short.  We did not get to take a trip inland or do any other extensive exploring.  One thing we found very difficult in Brazil was our inability to communicate; only about 1 in 10 people speak English.  We were very thankful to Silvio on Matajusi for teaching us a few rudimentary Portuguese phrases on the radio schedule on our trip from St. Helena to Brazil.  One of the things we enjoyed the most were the Brazilian people.  They were so helpful and friendly wherever we were. In Isle Grande a local cruiser came up to talk to us and wanted to know all about our travels. At the dock in Niteroi, across the bay from Rio, a woman gathered us up and took us to her favourite shopping center and drove us up the hill for a look at the gorgeous view.  Shop keepers were patient with our lack of knowledge of their language.  All in all we had a very positive trip to Brazil and have no regrets and lots of good memories to take with us through the years.

Submitted by Ann Lange
First Mate
s/v Cat’s-Paw IV

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