Fernando de Noronha

In the morning we were surrounded by dolphins! Dozens of them chirping in dolphinese, mostly slowly swimming by as they caught their breakfast, but with some doing crazy aerial stunts. My guess was that they jumped out of the water to make a big splash, to scare the fish toward the pack. Nora suggested it was adolescent males showing off. Whatever their reason, they put on a delightful show for an hour.

We dinghied over to Blue Wind to pick up Ruy, and headed ashore. The harbormaster/captania loved Ruy (doesn’t everyone?) and was happy to help his friends. He drove us to immigrations to get our passports stamped, and then to the airport so we could get cash at the ATM there. He also said he wouldn’t charge us for the previous day – Fernando is tremendously expensive and they charge a fee for each person for each day, as well as a fee for the boat. Looking at the form I had just completed indicating that the length of the boat is 13 meters, he said he would charge us the 10 meter price. Ruy translated, “Your boat is under 10 meters, right?” I replied, “Yes, we are 13 meters.” Everyone smiled. They still collected over $300 from us for 3 days at anchor!

High on Nora’s list of priorities was snorkeling. So after lunch we took the dinghy to an area where we were told there was a wreck. We weren’t sure exactly where it was, but we saw a light/shallow patch of water and dropped our anchor there. Turned out that our anchor rested on the deck of the wreck. It was fun checking it out, and a few fish, but the water was rather murky due to a high surf, and the fish were not plentiful. Nora will get more snorkeling chances in two months, in the Caribbean.

Before returning to the boat we did a little sightseeing by dinghy. Mostly rugged rocky shoreline, sprinkled with beaches. We passed one spot with a “blow hole” – where the waves washed into a cave and compressed the air, which would rush out of fissures above at high decibels…like the breathing of a huge nightmare leviathan.

After a nap it was time to head ashore again as the three crews were meeting for dinner at a Brazilian style (of course) steak house. We had two rented dune buggies– the standard mode of transportation on the island. Not surprisingly, we were the first customers at the restaurant, since we are not on the schedule of Brazilian nightlife. Ruy took charge of arranging for our food — great meats kept appearing, sliced off the skewers at the table. And at the end the skewers appeared with roasted pineapples with a sweet glaze, an excellent dessert.

Back to the boats…unless you wanted to follow Ruy to the bar for some dancing. Our crew all went with Ruy. Again, we were early, of course. But the band was fun and we danced as best we could…not up to Brazilian standards I’m afraid. When we got back to the boat, well after midnight, Nora said, “Is it really the same day that we checked in?” I had to think hard about that (through a fog of alcohol, of course)…it had been a very long and remarkable day.

In the morning there were dolphins. Ashore we did some food shopping. Siestas on the boat. Then ashore and into the buggies to go to a beach. But first a stop to purchase SIM cards so we can get some Internet. We needed Ruy to give his Brazilian ID number to register the accounts. And we needed him for the intricate discussions with the vendor of the cards, and the separate vendor of the credit to the accounts. And still it was a long drawn out process (we sent the other buggy/crew ahead to the beach), and in the end we still could not figure out how to turn our new credit into a data package. Getting Internet has been very frustrating of late!

But onward to the beach. Wow, it was beautiful! Acres of superfine sand, pleasant surf, and almost nobody there. We played in the waves and walked on the sand, and could have hung out there longer but we had to return the rented buggies, and the other two boats were going to leave. Ruy came out for one last drink with us while he tried again to deal with the cell phone service. He shouldn’t have, not only because our phone efforts failed, but because it was nearly dark by the time we ferried him out to Blue Wind, and his captain was clearly not happy that he was so late. Ah well, Tahawus and Blue Wind got off okay, and I hope James forgives both us and Ruy.

In the morning there were dolphins. We all worked on cleaning the bottom of the boat, since this is probably our last chance to be swimming. Liam and Nora did a last visit ashore, while I soaked up a little alone time, and started dinner. When they returned we had just enough time to get the dinghy stowed and things put away and dinner consumed, and then get the anchor up before it was dark.

We only have 250 miles to go. We almost certainly could have left in the early morning and arrived before dark, but by leaving in the evening and planning to sail through two nights we remove any risk of having to navigate up the river too late in the day. And we’re happy to go slow (double reefed in 12 knots of wind, to try to keep our speed down) and enjoy the peaceful ride.

Dolphins
Dolphins
They swim past the boat each morning.
They swim past the boat each morning.
Feeding frenzy
Feeding frenzy
Some perform aerial stunts
Some perform aerial stunts

img_9093

img_8939

Frigate bird...reminiscent of the Galapagos
Frigate bird…reminiscent of the Galapagos
The Crew goes exploring
The Crew goes exploring
It's the standard transport on this island
It’s the standard transport on this island

img_9018

Nav conference
Nav conference

img_8996

img_9004

Ruy misses Daphne!
Ruy misses Daphne!
At dinner led by Ruy
At dinner led by Ruy
They seem to be born with rhythm
They seem to be born with rhythm
Of course it wasn't REALLY this color...but close enough
Of course it wasn’t REALLY this color…but close enough

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s