02 February 2012 | heading south
The best bit of Rio is leaving it behind, without doubt. A little light mugging apart, we had endured the close proximity of a disco boat for two nights running - not finishing till five in the morning. Our heads were ringing. I'm trying to think of something positive to say about the place, but from a cruising point of view I can't think of one. We took some advice and nipped across the bay for the night to Niteroi,which was blissfully peaceful; but then again it's not Rio. You have to admit that there are some wonderful parts of the world but not all of them make great sailing destinations.
Next stop, Ile Grande. Now you're talking. It has islands, distant blue mountains, jungle vegetation that comes down the sea, and enough snug anchorages to keep you busy for weeks. And peace! It is, of course, a playground for the rich people of Rio and Sao Paulo, and there are many waterside residences to droll over, but we found ourselves the only sea loch in Brazil. Think Loch Lomond with palm trees.
A word about anchoring. So far, ever place we have been we have found the bottom to be the vilest, most glutinous black mud very have ever seen, and it rapidly solidifies in the heat of the sun and becomes as hard as iron. It is a complete bugger to get off the anchor, the chain, and the deck. However, it provides superb holding although for the last couple of weeks, Cabo Frio apart, the winds have rarely been above force four.
Paraty is a great little place. You find it on thr western side of the Ile Grande bay. The colonial architecture survives, cars are banned from the cobble streets, and the high tide creeps over the pavements and you could almost be in a low rise Venice. Careful, though. It is expensive - St Tropez prices. We fell into a restaurant and when we saw the steak and chips was nearly forty quid, we quickly dropped out again!
However, despite all the romance of the place, the best find of the day was in the supermarket where we found REAL BACON. As Mike quite rightly says, it is not a proper cruising yacht without the occasional smell of bacon coming from the galley. It was another sign, incidentally, that changes were taking place as we sailed further south. We were now leaving far behind the African influences of the north, and I swear it felt, degree by degree, a touch more European.
This is where Al leaves us and Mike and I will now head south without him. He says he is going to spend a day wandering round Rio. Given our recent experience, we are wondering if we will ever see him again.