19 March 2018 Jacaré, Brazil
After an early-ish breakfast, we caught a bus from Olinda to Recife city centre, where we walked to Marco Zero Square, which is supposed to be one of the “must-visit” places in Recife. We were disappointed - it’s a big square with lots of tourist guides touting for business and a large sanitised tourist souvenir shop, so we didn’t stay long. Instead we walked to the Mercado de Sao José, which was a bustling local market and interesting to stroll around.
At about 11:30, we caught an underground from the Central Station and returned to Jacaré. It took us six hours to get back to the boat because we had a long wait for the intercity coach, which then got caught in a traffic jam. However, we had a good short break and saw a lot of the Brazilian way of life.
20 March 2018 Jacaré, Brazil
We’ve decided to leave Brazil on Saturday 24th, so we walked into the main street of Jacaré to do some shopping. After checking out the three supermarkets, we walked a little further to the beach on the other side of the peninsula. We went for a short stroll along the beautiful white sand beach, but we were soon defeated by the beating sun.
After a double trolley shopping spree in the supermarket, we caught a cab back to Brian’s dinghy dock, which only cost us 9 Reals (£2.25). The afternoon was spent stowing food and chilling out.
21 March 2018 Jacaré, Brazil
Having experienced the slow process of clearing into Brazil, we decided to start a few days early. We parked our dinghy at Brian’s dinghy dock and walked to the Immigration, which took about 25 minutes. We arrived just before 10:00 and were kept waiting for 40 minutes until someone saw us.
The immigration officer was painfully pedantic and checked every stamp on every page of our passports. He then triple checked everything else before printing out two copies of the Exit (Saida) form, which he checked four times before signing it and handing it over. The process took a mind-numbing 40 minutes.
We had planned to catch a bus into Cabadelo, but it was 11:35 by the time that we walked to the main road and we knew that the Customs wouldn’t see anyone after 12:30, so we called it a day and walked back to the boat. We spent the afternoon chilling out.
Every evening just after dark, we’ve been getting these loud tapping noises coming from the hull. When we first heard it, there was only one or two things tapping and I was convinced that a rope or something had caught on the anchor chain and was banging against the hull in the strong current. We pulled up the anchor a little and motored forward to try to dislodge it without any luck.
I now think that our hull is covered by big barnacles or the noise is caused by shrimp or fish biting things off the hull. I’m going to have to go down underwater and investigate, but I’m not looking forward to it. The water is a horrible brown colour and the current rips by at over 4 knots at times, so I’m going to have to time it well.
22 March 2018 Jacaré, Brazil
At 08:15, we caught the train into Cabadelo to visit Customs. We’d been told not to get there before 09:30 because the custom officer’s boss wasn’t in until that time and he has to sign the paperwork. However, we thought that we’d get there early to get a head start. We walked into the office at 08:45 and to our astonishment, we were walking out at 08:55 - it’s a miracle.
Unfortunately, the next train to Joao Pessoa wasn’t until 10:15, so we walked to the little bus station and despite the unhelpfulness of the guy in charge of the office, we managed to get on the correct bus. The cost of the ticket was 3.55 Reals, which is 7 times the cost of the train, but being only £0.80 each, we decided that it was acceptable. The buses have an incredibly robust turnstile just past the driver, which is very narrow and strong, so it’s a challenge to get through it, especially for some of the predominantly large Brazilian ladies.
The driver was a maniac. He roared off as soon as the last passenger was through his door, accelerating through the gears, while using one hand and half his brain to give change to the money offered. There are bus stops along the route, but it would appear that they are just a convenient place for stopping to let passengers off.
Anyone can flag down a bus anywhere. Upon spotting a potential passenger, the driver accelerated towards them, slamming the brakes on at the last possible moment and veered to the side of the busy dual carriageway. The passenger scurries on-board, hanging on grimly as the bus roars off again. It wasn’t very restful, but great fun.
Miraculously arriving in Joao Pessoa in one piece, we dodged the heavy rain showers and walked to the Port Captain’s office, where we were processed within 15 minutes - God is obviously on our side today.
We strolled across town to the Centro Cultural de São Francisco which was a Convent built in 1589 and has been restored to become a religious museum. It’s only 6 Reals to get in and the ticket includes a guided tour. It’s all in Portuguese, but the place is astounding with four chapels, which are beautifully decorated with gilded carvings and frescoes. One of the chapels is dedicated to St Francis of Assisi, who (I now know) was the first saint to be given stigmata by the angels.
With time to spare, we called in at the zoo, which only cost 2 Reals each (£0.50). There’s a lot of building work in progress and the animals are in depressing 1960’s cages and concrete enclosures, but the grounds are pleasant and it was a nice way to pass an hour.
After a lunch of rice, beans and chicken, we strolled to the market where Glenys bought various types of beans. We caught the train back to Alba and then invited Stephen and Alex from “Christiana Pearl” over for a few sunset drinks.
23 March 2018 Jacaré, Brazil
Our plan is to sail tomorrow, so at slack tide, I donned scuba gear and went under the hull to investigate the extent of the fouling. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the antifoul paint has been doing a good job and there were hardly any creatures on the main hull. The propeller had ¼” of barnacles and soft growth, but that was soon scraped away. I even had time to swim around the boat and scrub the water line, before the current picked up.
We walked into Jacaré and did a last food shop at the supermarket. After a taxi ride back, I dropped Glenys off at the boat and did two runs ashore to lug 120 litres of water back to the boat. Brian let me get water from his Jacaré Marine boatyard for free, but I had to lug the heavy jerry cans 100 metres back to his dinghy dock. It’s so frustrating knowing that our water maker produces 170 litres and hour, but I can’t use it in the river because of all the sediment.
We chilled out in the afternoon and then went ashore to the Praia do Jacare to do some tourist watching and spend the last of our Reals on tourist crap and a few Caipirinhas.