28 February 2011

Day 418: Gamboa, Brazil – 28/02/11

It rains quite heavily during the night and is very overcast when morning comes but this fits in with my plan to clean the starboard hull before there’s any sun and the cloud cover allows me to wait a little longer before having to get up and do this.

After my cup of tea I don an old tee-shirt and get into the dinghy.  Mike ties it bow and stern to the boat and with my bucket full of soapy water I attempt to scrub the exhaust fume residue and black tyre marks off.

This is easier said than done.  The marks are stubborn and I don’t want to use anything abrasive as I don’t want to completely remove the wax that we had applied in Cape Town.  I use proper hull cleaner and a softish scrubber but every time I apply any kind of pressure I push myself away from the hull.  Every few minutes I have to call for Mike to come and drag me further along the hull and eventually he gives up trying to do anything else but just stands and watches me dragging me slowly along the length of the boat.  I manage to get the worst of it off but by the time I have gone along as far as I need to, the dirt has dried in streaks as it dripped down the hull and I have to slowly work my way down again, rinsing if off and wiping it over at the same time.  All the twisting round makes my back twinge a bit too which is a little worrying.

The constant coming and going of the ferries plays havoc too.  The wash that they sometimes create throws the dinghy around and throws the dinghy against the hull and off again, washing into the dinghy and soaking me in the process.  I love this sailing lark!

When I’ve finished, the hull looks better but you can still see the marks which is frustrating given how clean she was when we left Cape Town.  It was all that motoring on the way to Salvador that did it and we mainly used the starboard engine as the propeller is slightly bigger and it makes us go faster (well, marginally anyway).

After the cleaning is over I have a quick shower and go back to bed for a while before spending the rest of the morning on the computer.  By mid morning, all the clouds have gone leaving a bright blue sky and a scorching hot sun.  Thank goodness there is a little breeze.  It’s 33 degrees with 50% humidity, better than yesterday’s 35 degrees with 65% humidity.

Mike spends the morning looking for a flight for me to return to the UK but as they are all so expensive, he doesn’t book one, hoping for a better deal nearer the time.  He is going to leave his until the last moment anyway in case bookings for the boat change.

I spend the afternoon reading, tidying up and doing a spot of cleaning in preparation for the off tomorrow.  I even manage to get a decent Skype line for once.  Mike pumps the dinghy up then we sit and sip tea watching the last sunset we will see over Gamboa.

P1060943 Photo:  The setting sun looks like a ball of fire as it descends

I notice that Mike has yet again deliberately let the bananas go off so that I have to make a banana bread with them, so in the early evening I oblige.  And that’s what we have for tea.  Rum punch and cake for him; Amarula and cake for me.  How decadent!

I have so enjoyed our time in Gamboa, a different side to the Brazil we saw in Salvador and will see in Recife.  How I wish Johanne and Steve had seen it too.  It has given us a chance to re-charge our batteries a little in time for the long passage in just over a week, the last of this little adventure.

27 February 2011

Day 417: Gamboa, Brazil – 27/02/11

We wake early as usual and find ourselves still anchored in the same spot as last night.  Always good!

Preparations on Chessie, Crazy Horse and Ocean Jasper are obviously underway for the relatively short passage to Recife.  Although it’s only about 400 miles, it won’t be a particularly pleasurable passage.  The weather reports are all predicting light winds on the nose, so there will be a lot of motoring.  On top of that, WARC boats that have already made the trip have reported fishing vessels quite far out to sea that have no lights but huge nets out.  Great.  It could be that we actually have to sit and look out from the helm.  If we do, we’ll definitely have to change our watch routines as we can’t sit there for five hours.

We go over to each of the boats in turn to say goodbye, sad that they are leaving.  Mike wants to leave tomorrow although I would be happy to stay an extra day and leave on Tuesday.  We’ll see what the weather reports bring.

David, a lone sailor on a 23 foot boat, paddles his canoe over to chat for a while.  Alone on a tiny boat with no air conditioning, water maker, generator ie none of the things which make sailing more comfortable, he has been sailing for the last two years and even done an Atlantic crossing.  I take my hat off to him.

Mike and I get some computer work out of the way then go over to the village for lunch.  We time it late, as being the weekend, the restaurants are filled with locals eating out and the staff get stretched in the kitchen.  We have an octopus and shrimp moqueca, which is much better than the one we had the other day – truly delicious with all the accompaniments.  We eat as much of it as we can as I know I won’t have to cook tonight if we leave here full.

P1060939 P1060940 Photos:  Mike and I enjoying our moqueca

I have enjoyed all the moquecas that I have eaten and slowly savour this one as it will probably be my last.  It is a traditional Bahian dish (Bahia is the province we are in) and Recife will have its own regional dishes.  Maybe the cooking will be even better there – who knows.

We load our full stomachs into the dinghy (after untangling it from between the ferries) and go back to Jeannius for a little afternoon nap.  After that it’s more computer work, TV and bed.

26 February 2011

Day 416: Gamboa, Brazil – 26/02/11

Today is the day for beaching the boat and cleaning its bottom.  There is so much growth - most of the anti fouling has now come off - that it is slowing us down and as it still looks like we will face north easterly winds when we eventually make a move from here, we will need all the help we can get.

I do a bit of interior boat cleaning in the morning but nothing too strenuous.  I know what the afternoon has in store for me! 

Mike goes out for a scout around the bay to find the exact spot to beach Jeannius.  He is armed with a poking stick aka the boat hook.  As the putters around in the dinghy, I can see him leaning over the side and poking at the sea bed to see if there are any rocks.  Now if this was the BVIs, French Polynesia or any one of the huge list of places with crystal clear waters, this would not be necessary.  However, the water here is full of silt, and although clean, is anything but clear.  The bottom is also weedy in places which makes it doubly difficult to see what’s what.  He comes back convinced he has found the right spot but I’m still nervous.  It was so easy in Darwin where we could see what we were doing.

Around noon, Jutta, Jochem and Eline come over for a drink on their way to shore.  Poor Jochem has the unenviable job of attempting to fix one of the toilets on Chessie today, a shit job if ever there was one!  They are thinking of leaving this afternoon if he is successful but since they are now heading out for lunch, I think they will end up staying one more night before departing.  Ocean Jasper and Crazy Horse are probably leaving tomorrow too so we will be alone once more in the bay (apart from the zillions of small ferry boats).

We have a light lunch and then have an early nap.  We need to take Jeannius up to the beach when the tide is about half way out – at about 2.30 pm – and then work like crazy before it gets dark and then wait until the tide floats us off again.  Mike sets the alarm and we manage to doze a bit even though the temperature is 33 degrees.

The alarm goes off, and with a huge level of trepidation, I get the anchor up and we motor slowly towards the beach, meandering carefully between the ferries and mooring buoys, most of which are marked with a couple of bottles and are therefore not easy to see.  We follow a slalom course through until we are about 100 foot from the shore, then with just 2.6 ft of water below the hull (actual depth about 4.5 ft), we come to a gentle stop as our keels hit the bottom.  Thankfully there is no grinding sound so we know we have landed in sand, mud or weed.  Then we wait.  In Darwin, the tide rushed out and you could watch the water level move steadily down the sides of the boat.  Here, it inches out so slowly that you wonder whether it is going out at all.  At 2.1 ft, Mike gets his cleaning gear on and slips into the murky water, being able to stand up when he gets to about the middle of the boat.  I put the evil moment off another 10 minutes or so, then donning my silly white hat and one of his old white tee-shirts, I get in too. 

Now anyone who knows me, knows how pathetic and nerdy I am in the water.  To make matters worse for myself, I am wearing deck shoes, carrying a spatula to clean the hulls with and am terrified of attempting to put my feet down until I KNOW I can stand up.  Mike is nowhere to be seen as I choose the wrong side of the boat to swim down.  I start to yell for him and he doesn’t answer.  I yell time and time again but with the noise of the sea and the ferries, he can’t hear me.  With my strokes getting ever more desperate I round the side of the boat and see that he is chest high standing in the water and I realise I can put my feet down.  Panic over.  I admonish him for not hearing me and he admonishes me for not letting him know I was going in the water before actually going in.

The sea bed under my shoes is disgusting.  I have no idea what I am standing in and really don’t want to think about it.  Mike, barefooted, says it is slimy and squidgy.  The hull of the boat is worse.  Close up, Jeannius’ beard is much worse that we realised.  It varies from the green grass-like stuff, about 6 inches long, to actual weed of about an inch wide.  Living in this stuff are strange creatures.  There are the usual barnacles and tiny crabs at the bow and stern, but also strange red blobs which look disgustingly like pieces of tomato.  As we scrape and scrub, all this stuff goes in the water and floats around you until the tide takes it away.  The occasional wake of a passing boat sends globs of it flying towards your face, and it smells like a rockpool at a British seaside in the summer, a pungent seaweedy smell, not unpleasant exactly, but not inviting either.

For three hours we scrape and scrub.  There are 176 feet of hull to be scraped and we go over most of it twice because by the time we have done it all once, the tide has gone out further and we can see bits that we missed.

Having started off in water up to my shoulders, I finish in water just above my waist.  As I jump in the air with my scrubber to clean as much of the hull as I can high up as well as the waterline, wearing nothing but a bikini bottom and white tee-shirt, I realise I must look like an advert for why middle aged women should not enter wet tee-shirt competitions!  Ah well, it gives the people on the beach something to laugh at.

Just before 6 pm we finish, and as we throw our cleaning materials up on the steps and prepare to clamber out, Rosemary and Bill come over to see how we are doing.  Bill offers to come over later in the dinghy if we need help getting off the sea bed when high tide comes.

Just as they are leaving, two local kids swim over, jabber at me in Portuguese and clamber onto the boat.  Mike and I sit and watch as they wander around the outside of the boat, asking us questions that we don’t understand.  The try out the seats at the front, lie down on the trampolines and giggle when I squirt them with fresh water from the hose.  They take some time looking out with the binoculars, pose for photos then jump off and swim back to shore. 

P1060923 Photo:  Cheeky but cute

Cute as they are, I pull the swim ladder up quickly before they can bring all their mates back for a visit and go inside for a hot and very welcome shower.

We are both absolutely shattered so I just take a container of fish stew out of the freezer that I prepared a couple of weeks ago and sit and watch some TV until it is roughly time for the tide to come back in.  It’s almost 9 pm and we sit and wait as the water inches higher.  The boat eventually starts to rock and turns round 90 degrees, luckily in the direction we want it to go, and after half an hour of wobbling around we are off and can motor slowly through the obstacle course, me on the bow with the searchlight panning across our path for buoys and ropes.  We get through unscathed and drop the anchor once more just 17 feet from our pervious position.  Then it’s a well earned Amarula for me and a rum for Mike before we flop into bed, aching and exhausted.

25 February 2011

Day 415: Gamboa, Brazil – 25/02/11

Via our little morning broadcast for the four WARC boats at Gamboa, I find out that most people are going to have a day on the beach here after they have done their boat jobs.

I dither through the morning.  I am not actually keen on lolling around on beaches, getting hot and sandy and sticky, and I like to be able to get into the shade when I want to.  As Mike is going to scrub the waterline of the boat to remove her lovely, full, green beard, and has no intention of going to the beach, I continue to dither so that by the time I decide I will actually go with them they have all gone.  I then have to disturb Mike from his scrubbing and get him to run me over in the dinghy.

As we come in to the beach, Matt comes to meet me, arms outstretched for a cuddle of welcome.  As he is covered in a thick coating of pink and yellow chalky mud like the two girls yesterday, the offer of a cuddle is not particularly inviting and I scoot away from him quickly before he can cover my white linen shirt in goo!

Everyone has been in the gloop except Eline, so abandoning my bags into the communal care, I walk up the beach with her to the spot where yesterday you could just roll in it.  It’s still there.  Still as soft and pink so we both get down and roll around like two little piggies in a mud bath, then walk back down to the beach bar to wait for it to dry off.  I weigh a good few pounds heavier as loads of it is inside my bikini and starts to dry in great big clumps.

P1060894 Photo:  All glooped up!

Once it’s dried off I go into the sea which is unbelievably warm and rinse it all off.  Matt helps get it off my back.  It’s rather nice to be rubbed down by a rather beautiful 27-year old even if he is doing it as his bit for ‘Help the Aged’!

Given that the gloop is meant to promote youth as well as health, I skip out of the water looking and feeling 10 years younger (in my dreams) and buy myself a caipirinha and sit and talk to the group of young girls next to me.  These five beautiful women are enjoying the last day of their holiday and heading back home to Argentina tomorrow.  They are really friendly and interested in what Rosemary and I tell them about our circumnavigation.  Then it’s time for the photos.

P1060896 Photo:  Rosemary and I with Victoria, Gabriela, Daniela, Camila and Daniela (yes, there are two of them)

P1060897 Photo:  A bevy of Argentinean beauty

P1060899 Photo:  Our lively bar owners who mix very generous caipirinhas for me

Funnily enough, as Matt walks past, the girls eyes light up and he is invited to pose with them.  Always the gentleman, and always photogenic, he agrees.

P1060901 Photo:  Matt and the babes

Taking our leave of the lovely ladies, we all walk along the beach to a restaurant and have a light lunch  Not being over hungry, Rosemary and I share a wok meal, a sort of Indonesian mix of noodles and shrimp.  It’s good.

A beautiful dragonfly lands on one of our chopsticks – and just stays there.  For a while I think its little legs are stuck to the sauce but then I see them moving.  He even lets me stroke his wings!

P1060907 Photo:  A friendly dragonfly comes to visit

It’s not long before Matt finds another friend on the beach – a lovely boxer mix of dog – and they play together on the beach digging holes.  Boys!

P1060916 Photo:  Matt makes a friend

After our lunch we walk back down to the original bar and just laze around enjoying the late afternoon sun (or shade).  I have quite a laugh with the owner as she keeps taking the piss out of me because I cannot pronounce the word ‘caipirinha’ without actually seeing it written down.  Bringing some over, she makes me say it without looking at the drinks board and I bodge it again!

P1060917 Photo:  One more for the dinghy

By 5 pm Rosemary and I have had enough of the great outdoors and decide to join our husbands back on our respective boats.  Matt takes us back with instructions to board Chessie in an hour or so for sundowners.  Having left Mike to fend for himself two days in a row I start to prepare an evening meal and get it ready to cook when we get back.

On board Chessie, everyone discusses when we are going to leave but most of us keep putting the evil moment off as it’s so lovely and laid back here.  Chessie may leave tomorrow but Mike and I are in no real hurry to get to Recife and may well leave it until Monday or beyond and no decision is made tonight.

We are good.  We stay on Chessie for just two drinks, one more than we intend of course, then head back for our garlic sardine dinner.

24 February 2011

Day 414: Gamboa, Brazil – 24/02/11

I talk to Rosemary on the VHF and as Mike will be spending the day working on our website and has no intention of shifting from the boat, I arrange to go over to Morro de Sao Paulo with them.

Matt comes over for me a couple of hours later.  My intention is to walk around town with them and then walk back to Gamboa along the beach by myself after a couple of hours.  It’s only meant to be a 40 minute walk – how difficult can that be?

We meet Jutta, Jochem and Eline at the ferry dock and Annie, Jim and Lee join us shortly after in town.  There is a lot of choice for shopping here (as long as you want beachwear) but the quality is not particularly good and is very expensive as you would expect from a tourist destination.  Still, a little bit of retail therapy is great even if I have absolutely no intention of buying anything.

Our party gets separated somewhere along the road through town but as might be expected, we find the half that disappeared shortly before, sitting sipping cocktails at the first beach bar we come to – but it is Jim’s birthday!

P1060866 P1060867 P1060868 P1060869 Photos:  The start of the birthday drinks

I take my leave after one drink and start the long walk back to Gamboa.  Even by the time I arrive at the ferry dock I am tired.  It’s 1 pm and the sun is sapping my strength already.  The ferry to Gamboa suddenly looks very tempting but I decided I would do this walk and being the stubborn little mule that I am (or rather just a mad English woman in the midday sun) I plod past and down the slope to the beach.

I try to get hold of Mike with the hand held VHF but I seem to be too far away or land in in the way.  The first part of the walk is the hardest.  They are doing some construction work on the old fort wall and I have to take my flip flops off to walk around the workmen.  For the first (and I guarantee it ) only time ever, I acknowledge just how useful those disgusting reef type shoes and crocs are as I hobble pathetically over the rocks and stones underfoot, whimpering pathetically and wobbling around, terrified of falling over and dropping my camera.  But I negotiate this bit OK and continue on.  At least the water is really warm.  The last time my toes went in the water was in South Africa and it was like ice.

The beach walk is deserted for the most part and I feel like I have been cast away  for a while.  I am alone with my thoughts and my mind wanders to the four unfortunate crew members of the yacht Quest who were murdered the other day after their yacht was kidnapped by Somali pirates.  The picture is still unclear, but the outcome, their death, definite.  Once again, I think about how glad I am that our route did not take us so far north in the Indian Ocean, and also glad that we are doing this now as the situation can only get worse as these pirates get more desperate but more capable as now their vessels can take them further and further offshore.

I let my thoughts wander further off to the thorny question of what we are going to do with our lives over the next few years when I start to hear a Bob Marley song somewhere in the distance.  “Don’t worry, about a thing, ‘cos every little thing’s gonna be alright” and suddenly I realise I am smiling and singing along.  Ahead of me, perched up above the beach is the One Love bar and restaurant and it is from here that the music is coming live.  I can just about make out the singer but more obvious is the huge mural of Bob Marley on the wall of the bar.

P1060870 P1060872 Photos:  One Love on the beach

I stand and listen for a while, clapping when he finishes.  The singer gives me a wave as he notices the strange woman standing alone on the beach with her stupid white hat on and a sarong wrapped around every bit of exposed flesh as the sun is so strong, then I’m off again, chirpier than I had been just a few minutes ago.

I pass countless fishing boats and fish traps on my way.  The sand is clean and soft underfoot but I make sure I stay on the wet stuff as the dry stuff further up burns my feet even with my flip flops back on.

P1060874 Photo:  A shrimping boat

P1060880 P1060882 Photos:  Behind me and in front of me, the beautiful beach stretches out

Up ahead I can see the pink chalky cliffs renowned for their health and youth giving properties as they are meant to be full of minerals.  There are people covering themselves with this pink mud and I get talking to them, a couple of young women from London, Hannah and Leigh, who are here on holiday.  We chat for a while and I promise them their photo will be on my blog, so here it is!

P1060885 Photo:  Pink and beautiful, Hannah and Leigh

At long last I am able to get Mike on the VHF mobile unit and let him know my eta at the ferry dock.  I am now really hot and desperate to be back on the boat with some cold water in and over me!  I pass some more beach bars as I get nearer to Gamboa which remind me of the Caribbean and not just because of the reggae being played.

P1060888 Photo:  I could be in the Caribbean

About 20 minutes later I am in the dinghy heading for Jeannius, a cold drink and cold shower awaiting me.  After cooling off in the shade of the cockpit and drinking about 4 glasses of water, I stretch out and doze off.

The sunset when it arrives, is not spectacular tonight but the swirls in the cloud formations over it are beautiful in their own right.

 P1060893  Photo:  Another beautiful end to a beautiful day

23 February 2011

Day 413: Gamboa, Brazil – 23/02/11

Jutta does the morning broadcast at 9 am complete with music.  With just four boats in the bay and all of us within shouting distance, there’s no need to announce our positions.

We arrange to go ashore around 10.30 am and as Mike is staying on board to do boat bits, I scrounge a lift over. 

Having visited and already seen most of what this village has to offer, I act as unofficial tour guide as we wander down the main street with Rosemary, Matt, Annie and Jim, which, given that there isn’t actually much to see, doesn’t take much effort.

We wander back along the beach and notice that Bill, left alone on Crazy Horse, is trying to move the boat away from the recently arrived fuel barge and Mike has gone over to help him – the boat is long and it’s difficult to keep running the distance from the helm to the windlass when in a tight spot.

P1060851 P1060852 Photos:  I like this house on the beach – its fence is made from old painted gas tanks stuck together

As we round the corner of the beach we find Jutta, Jochem and Eline and stop for some caipirinhas, idling away the time until we can legitimately order some lunch.  Matt, ever the shopper, manages to find a pair of swimming shorts in the tiniest beachwear shop I have ever seen opposite the bar.


P1060855 P1060857 Photos:  A riot of colours on the beach

Eline and I keep trying to get photos of one of the porter/taxi drivers.  He wears a huge hat tied under his chin and has very short legs, scuttling along pushing his wheelbarrow piled high with produce and luggage from the ferries, but there are always people in the way.

P1060860 Photo:  At the ferry dock

Rosemary and Matt to back to the boat to see if Bill wants help re-anchoring and obviously they decide to move down to Morro de Sao Paulo as we see them motoring off shortly afterwards.  We move to the restaurant next door and order a leisurely lunch.  Eline, Lee and I share two moquecas and when they arrive with all the usual accompaniments (beans, toasted manioc, bread, salad and rice), we realise that we could have got away with one between the three of us.  The food is cheaper here than in Salvador, is every bit as good and the setting on the beach is wonderful.

P1060863 P1060865 Photos:  Bright colours and hard work

By 3 pm I am almost ready for my sleep.  We suddenly notice that Crazy Horse is back in the bay and minutes later Matt arrives in the dinghy.  Bill hadn’t been impressed with the other anchorage as there are a lot of rocks close in and his boat has a very heavy anchor that he really didn’t want to get caught up.  Matt gives Eline and I a ride back to our boats and then brings Eline over to us for a beer before going off to explore the sandbanks and mangroves.

I fall asleep, waking too late to go over for drinks on Ocean Jasper, so Mike and I have a quiet night to ourselves.  I am still full from lunch but Mike only had a piece of cake (despite me giving him instructions on what to eat if I didn’t reappear) so I quickly make him a huge pile of baked beans on toast.  Sometimes, stodgy British comfort food just hits the spot!

22 February 2011

Day 412: Gamboa, Brazil – 22/02/11

It rains heavily early in the morning and as I lie in bed listening to the hammering over my head, I am pleased that my boat is being washed for me.

Mike wants to go out and explore but I drag my heels, realising what I am doing quite early on.  It’s strange.  I want to explore but even after all this time of going to new places I find myself nervous of being out of my depth or doing something to offend or to make me look stupid.  Not being able to speak a word of this somewhat strange language doesn’t help either.  I put off the evil moment until about 10 am then having admitted to Mike what I am doing and feeling very pathetic about feeling that way, I get dressed and we leave the boat.

We tie up at the ferry dock and drag the dinghy along so it won’t be in the way of traffic and walk the short distance into the village.  It is like stepping back in time (except for the mode of dress).  There are no cars on the island of Tinhare apart from the Land Rover which acts as the local ambulance.  The main road is not paved and is a mixture of grass and sand with an occasional concrete patch acting as a pavement.  There are trees down the middle offering some limited shade from the sun.  And people smile at you and say “bom dia” which is so different to Salvador where you had to work really hard for a smile and rarely got one back.

P1060795 P1060801 P1060808 P1060811 P1060812 P1060814 P1060816 P1060817 P1060819 P1060820 Photos:  Views of Gamboa village and beach

Having walked the entire length of the village and then back along the beach, we decide to take the dinghy to the resort town of Morro de Sao Paulo.  It only takes about 10 minutes but the sea is strange, with the riptides and whirlpools that we went over when we arrived yesterday except that they are a little more disconcerting when you go over them in a dinghy rather than a 20 ton boat!

As we approach the main ferry dock, one of the ferry captains shouts to us pointing back the way we have come.  Obviously we can’t understand a word he says but we go over to see if being any closer makes him more intelligible.  Obviously it doesn’t but he continues to gabble and another ferry captain on another boat joins in.  They seem to be telling us that we can’t take our dinghy to the ferry dock and instead point to a dilapidated wooden jetty that loads of fishermen are using.  Tying up there would seriously jeopardise our outboard motor’s propeller so we point back to the ferry dock and try to indicate in sign language that we would like to go there and they nod in agreement that we can – so what the hell was all that about?

We approach some concrete steps and as we arrive, a man comes running down to help take our line and give me an arm to grab on to as I alight.  We notice that a lot of men here are wearing yellow tee-shirts with the word “assista” (or something similar) and lots of them are pushing wheelbarrows with luggage or produce from the ferries.  When we see some with “taxi” written on the side of the wheelbarrows we twig what is going on.  These are the porters/taxi drivers.  They take your luggage wherever you want to go, even if it’s a mile away, up and down hills covered in sand with an odd bit of concrete thrown in every few hundred yards to act as speed bumps.  These guys work hard!  They are all lined up, as if in a taxi rank to greet the people getting off the ferries.

He helps us tie up and I indicate that I would like him to watch the dinghy for us and Mike slips him some money.  “Si, si”  he says “watch”.  He obviously knows what I want him to do.  We are spotted from a distance as not being on a ferry and nabbed to pay a tourist tax for entering the island.  It is only small and covers us for our whole stay as long as we keep the tickets.

P1060822 Photo:  The wheelbarrow rank at the old fort archway

P1060824 P1060823 Photos:  Taxis, Tinhare style

We walk through the town, grabbing an ice cream on the way.  The town is quaint in a way with narrow sandy streets even on the main street, but it is totally geared up to the tourist.  Swimwear shops are evenly spaced with Haviana shops, restaurants, bars and tee-shirt shops, everything to help a tourist spend his money.  It is spectacularly clean – no cans, bottles or any other types of trash anywhere and again the people are friendly.  But it could not be more different that Gamboa just up the road.  The tourist industry is the only one here – and it shows.

There is even a Tahitian pearl shop and I just can’t help myself – I have to go in for a look.  I get talking to the guy, who is from Rangiroa in the Tuamotus and he gets his pearls from there.  The guy I bought my first beautiful pearls from at the pearl farm is a friend of his.  What a small world.  Luckily I am all “pearled-out” and Mike escapes with his wallet intact.

P1060827 P1060828 P1060830 P1060831 P1060836 P1060837 Photos:  The beaches at Morro de Sao Paulo

There are five beaches, all flanked by bars and restaurants.  As we walk along, the tide is out and the rock pools appear.  Boats are pulled up onto the beach and sticks marks the channels back out to sea for when the tide comes in again and they can move.

We decide to have lunch out and wander back through town looking for somewhere to eat, settling eventually on one of the ‘pay by the kilo’ restaurants.  There are quite a few of these around.  You literally pick up a plate, help yourself from a local food buffet and pop it on the scales.  I end up with a huge chicken breast and lots of shrimp moqueca.  Yummy.

P1060843 P1060844 P1060845 P1060846 Photos:  Morro de Sao Paulo

I actually manage to get Mike to buy a pair of Havianas as his deck shoes are looking a bit sorry for themselves but have to last a little longer.  With full bellies we plod back to the dock, relieved to find our dinghy still in place, and motor back to Gamboa.  As we approach the bay we can see that Crazy Horse is just putting their anchor down and we go over to say hello.  Rosemary invites us for a drink tonight.  Apparently Ocean Jasper are on their way in with Chessie following hard on their heels.

We have a little nap then get ourselves ready to to over to Crazy Horse around 6 pm.  As we leave the boat, the sunset is magnificent and Ocean Jasper are getting their dinghy down, having just arrived.

P1060847 Photo:  Sunset over the bay at Gamboa

We have a lovely time on Crazy Horse.  As usual, Matt and Rosemary have prepared a whole load of hors d’oeuvre and Bill pours his usual stiff measures.  Chessie arrives after dark and after a couple of attempts to anchor (not easy in the dark with all the plastic bottle floats around) and come straight over.  After introducing Rosemary to the delights of Amarula, I switch to wine, then water, although Matt slips me another glass of wine and forces me to drink it.  That will be the one which gives me the hangover then!