Tag Archives: island

One week on Brazilian Ibiza

On the most southern-east point of Baia dos Todos os Santos (the Bay of All Saints) there’s a lighthouse. 40-meters-high tower perks on a steep hill – not the biggest on an island but the utmost. I take a trail to the left and soon from above I can see an ancient walls – it’s an old Portuguese fort, “welcome” for those, who come to Morro de São Paulo from the north.

More modern picture opens to my eyes as I follow a trail to the right. From there I can see famous beaches on the ocean side: the First, the Second, the Third… They have names but no one remembers them, just numbers.

There’s a quick way from a hill down to the beach – rapel. 30 reals for fast and safe “delivery” of your precious self. For experienced extremals like ourselves – of no big interest, so we save money for famous pastel.

Little tents that sell famous baiano dish pastel have occupied the right side of the Second beach. Pastel is bakery with various fillings inside: from palm hears to carne-do-sol (kind of meat). We choose a table on the corner and watch vacationers.

In summer (from December to March) Morro de Sao Paolo is overcrowded. People come to spend time on a beach, spend money (Morro is expensive!) and party. Parties start after darkness, when children are taken to numerous pousadas (any kinds of hotels/hostels), lined up along the coast, and clubs open their doors. When tide goes down, beach becomes a place for fun too.

Young people love Morro, where DJs play electronic music that can’t be found in Salvador “at daytime with a light” and that is conservatively dedicated to traditional dancing style axe.

But that’s at night. And now sun is shining brightly and time to chill myself. As long as we have come by yacht, we don’t spend time with a crowd but go to a tiny island – reef that is almost covered with water at high tide. Waves are turbulent here, and we can anchor just for a short time, just enough to have a look at local inhabitants.

I put a snorkling mask on – and meet many eyes. Eyes of tropical fishes that scurry all around. Together we are swinging in waves – right-left, roooouuund, right-left. It is so pleasant that in my next life I decide to be a fish near Morro de Sao Paolo.

During my journeys I always tend to search for places more deserted. I love to have solitude or, better to say, – companionship of nature. And that’s why the best part for me wasn’t Morro, tho in southern parts of it and on other islands of the archipelago we could find untouched pieces of nature.

Anchorages around the southern part of Morro de Sao Paolo don’t provide hope for calm sleep. All nights from our week-long stay on Morro we spent on a continent that is in 15 minutes by boat from an island.

Long sand stripe of Curral separates Southern Atlantic ocean from the river. Anchoring on a calm side, in less than 5 minutes walk across the narrow land we admired ocean tide. The only company for us there were… little crabs, with whom side by side we used to farewell the last beams of evening sun.

Curral S13 22.922 W38 57.574

Tip for sailors: going inside the straight to the right from Morro de Sao Paolo (if to arrive from Salvador), keep closer to the island and go all along till the small town with a beach, where many boats are anchoring. There’s a big sand bank on the right that is seen in low tide, but disappears under the water in high. Turn to the right after you will see a long peer on the island and head to a sand strip on the continent.

Tip for travelers: Boats from Salvador to Morro de Sao Paolo are pretty expensive. If you travel not on board a yacht, much cheaper way is:

  1. To take a bus from Salvador to Valença:

  2. Take a bus (or taxi-bus) from Valença‘s bus station (rodoviaria) to Ancoradoro – 20 minutes ride.

  3. Take a boat from Ancoradoro to Morro de Sao Paolo.

Chapter 3: on board of “Vagabond”

After sleepless night in a bus (8-hours drive) we arrived to Reggio Calaria, a town on a continental side of Messina channel.

The bus ride was tiring but not useless. The road goes along the coast, and the coast of Southern Italy is incredible. Rocky cliffs, hills, covered with olive trees and vines, blue Mediterranean sea and plenty of multilevel coastal towns, settled in bays and harbours.

Ferry to Messina – and I’m on Sicily! So close to the aim of my bus journey, the town Taormina, where the boat “Vagabond” was waiting for me. And here’s a point, where my plan starts to be useless.

First I missed the stop in Messina. The next one was in more than an hour drive, in Catania. The point, where I realised the fact of a missed stop,  was a turn to Taormina that we passed. HERE I remembered that I needed to hop off in Messina. “Well, lets look around. Not every day on Sicilia”, – I finally decided. And have a relaxing ride to Catania, admiring landscapes of the island.

Taormina - view from a high point

In Catania we stopped on a bus station, so there was no problem in finding the bus to Taormina. If the previous bus was typically touristic (very good bus, by the way – clean, with smily drivers and even snacks and drinks served. The company is called “Interbus – Ibus”, here’s the link. The ticket from Roma to Messina costs 32 euros, ferry is included), the bus Catania-Taormina was typically public. People attacted it, seiged and took with a battle. Happily, poor driver was able to hide in his seat in proper time.

The public was diverse: Africans, Arabs and a few Italians. There were many sellers with their goods, so I worried a bit for  my bag, which was in a lugguage section. On every stop people opened it to take their numerous things.

The ride was fun: I talked to my neighbour from Bangladesh and watched the scenery through the window.  The result of my unattentiveness:  I was late to Taormina for four hours.

Taormina is a resort town, not far from Etna volcano. I could see it from a distance, with an smoke above its head. The town has three bays with beaches and anchorage for yachts. I ended up on the top of the hill, on a bus station. While going through a winding road up, I saw several yachts, anchored near the rock.

Funny thing was that about the boat I didn’t know anything, except the name of the yacht and the first name of the captain. With this poor information I ended up on a beach.

I asked Rescue service, and they told me that haven’t seen the boat with the name “Vagabond” in the nearest bay. They I rushed to the diving school – but they didn’t know anything useful for me. Finally, I decided to find a restaurant with the internet, write an email to the captain Cristiano and wait.

The waiter, whom I asked about WiFi, spoke English very slightly. But he spoke French! Not perfect but better than me – italian. I explained a situation to him. Probably, because of my desperate face or just his kind nature , but he gave me his notebook with mobile connection to the net.  At the same time, another guy from a restaurant tried to help me, calling to stations all over Taormina and asking about “Vagabond”. Finally, he found some guys, who saw a boat with this name.

Meanwhile, I wrote an e-mail to Cris  and – oh miracle! – he called me in a minute! We were lucky to get the connection, and soon a white dinghy brought me on board the yacht. Chapter 3 of my journey has started…

Vulcano, one of Ionian islands

I’m in Palermo now, the capital of Sicily. The city that I would never want to leave. Yesterday we spent several hours trying to find internet. Today we can’t hire a car.

I can forgive everything – car, internet – but not lack of air. Despite it’s on an island, stetched far along the coast, it’s so dusty here…

Tomorrow we’re leaving to an island Ustica in Tyrrhenian sea. Just 9 km across. Can’t wait to leave Palermo.