03 September 2009
We sailed the Happy Shark Route to Rio Itajai to get to the cities of Navegantes and Itajai, which are on opposite sides of the river (Rio Itajai). I had been told by several people that boatyards in this area are the best place in Brazil to get work done on boats, as they build and repair many fishing boats here. This is not a yachting area, and repairs to shinyboats are mostly done around Santos (near Sao Paolo), where there is a big yacht repair industry. I was looking to get some carpentry and welding done, so thought the Rio Itajai area sounded good.
The only problem was that no one I talked to could tell me exactly where to go in the Rio Itajai area, other than "up the river". None of the cruising guides mention it, and I didn't have much luck with googling for names of boatyards (or marinas) here. The river was well-charted for about five miles. The river is dredged, and the ports handle a fair amount of container ships. The chart showed fish processing, oil terminals, and docks for ice and water.
About 20 miles south of Rio Itajai, I could see places to anchor, one with protection from all but south winds, one with protection from all but north winds. So if we could not find a place to dock along the river, we could still anchor and sleep (it is important to think about a place to sleep after a passage where you don't get much sleep).
So, not exactly knowing where we were going :), but knowing safe places to anchor near the destination, and having Del's Portuguese skills for asking questions (my Portuguese is quite basic), we set sail for Rio Itajai.
The plan was to arrive during the day, during the week (so boatyards would be open), and anchor beforehand if necessary to get the arrival timing right. We arrived during early afternoon, and motored a few miles up the river until we found boatyards. We tied alongside a fishing boat at one of the boatyards and Del found the manager and we talked to him about the work. The boatyard seems capable.
Del took a flight back to Angra dos Reis, where he lives. I am working on the boat in Navegantes.