Tag Archives: Recife

Brazil is…

First impression can define attitude for a long time. No matter if we speak about a person or a country. So – that’s my first impression of Brazil.

Coast of Recife in low tide

Brazil is …a coconat milk that is sold in small quiosks along the quay. Near each of them there’s a huge pile of coconats. They are not brown and hairy, like I used to think, but green and bald. The vendor with precise, a bit artistic movement cuts a piece of it and puts a straw in the hole. So we can drink sweet liquid from inside.

Crisa's climbing a coconut palm. Had seen this photo, his 11-years-old niece quickly found a definition: "Macacinha!" By the way, I tried to climb by myself - it's really hard!

Brazil is …a frogs’ concert in the dusk. These specific music attracts many of show-white herons. They pass gracefully above us, holding their long necks mounted like letter “S” and stretching their thin legs backwards.

Sunset over Recife - from Cabanga Yacht Club

Brazil is …an 8 kilometer long beach. I didn’t want to put it as a first point of my narrative, it’s so trivial, but of course this is all Brazil about. At day it hosts voleyball players and leisured citizens, who mostly come here to sit in the shadow and have a couple of beers. Cadeiras e guarda-sols – chairs and umbrellas is possible to rent from savvy locals, who have piles of them, waiting on a beach.

When you lay in your chair, listening the roar of tide, and hear bell ringing, you know – that’s an ice-cream van. Venders on the beach sell simple and extremely tasty dishes. Like queijo quente – melted cheese with spices and honey. Bet you haven’t tried it even in France.

At night, filled with moonlight, beach belongs to romantic souls and less romantic runners and families with children and dogs. Souls, who come in a couple, spend lond time just wandering along the coast, diping bare feet in calm ocean wave and wet putty sand. Lonely souls sit on a sand and stare at the darkness of the ocean, building cloud castles in their fantasies. Children consruct castles from more practical material – sand, dogs bark, runners run.

In Recife seaside is pretty shallow, and tide is powerful. Sometimes, when tide comes, the beach disappeares under water. There’s no place on a beach for anyone then, except the ocean.

High tide in Recife

Brazil is …rich and poor. Thousands of imported cars on streets of megapolises, fashionable appartments along the coast and modern shopping centres. Along with favelas that host thousands of unregistered people, who live in self-made law, or, better to say, without it. Now things are getting better, government tries to organise or resettle favelas. An idea, what has happened in this social gutters and how it was fought, I got from movies “City of God” and “Tropa de Elite”.

This favela on river Capibaribe, Recife is currently separating. People are given new appartments on preferential terms.

Brazil is …helpful people. When you ask direction on a street, you, surely, will hear the answer back and, probably, get a ride or even be escorted to the place. Most likely, some random passers-by will hear your question, addressed to someone else, and join conversation in order to help.

Brazil is multicultural and multinational country. This Muslim (?) monument was the first thing we saw on arrival to Recife.

Brazil is …the bright sun. It’s truly impossible to stay without sunglasses in a daytime. Hot air on streets shimmer and tremble. In surrounding of concrete boxes we feel ourselves like in the Mediaeval kitchen.

I knew that Brazilian summer is hot, as long as winter – quite rainy. Well, when we had just arrived to Brazil after Atlantic crossing, Recife in November (that is almost summer in southern hemisphere, as you remember) met us with heavy pour. While trying to throw  anchor, and later catch a bouy on a mooring we got completely wet. Warm welcome : )

Another "warm welcome": Recife is famous for its shark attacks.

Still my exploration of Brazil has just started! Two days ago we arrived to Salvador, ancient capital of Brazil and the most “African” city of this country. So – see you soon on these pages!

Atlantic crossing: the last dash

Day 12, 11h of November 2011

11-11-11 – symbol readers would point out that this day is special, ‘coz happens once in 100 years. Along with 10-10-10, 09-09-09 and so on. Hollywood’s been even faster: they have already released a movie “11-11-11”.

Despite its symbolic significance, the day is nasty. We go 8 knots. Final ETE (time left before arrival) – 83 hours. This number drops, when wind picks up and the boat accelerates, then GPS shows that we’ll reach land in 3 days. That’s impossible, of course.

But we have a slight hope to reach Recife at Monday’s night. And that’s more optimistic prognosis than before. In Recife we’ll have no troubles with arrival at night, Chris has been to this port before.

We need to go 230 but take the course 10 degrees to the right. Otherwise, waves are pushing the boat too hard. They still hit the board from time to time, throwing flyfishes on a deck. When big wave comes, the yacht digs in it with her starboard, scooping poor creatures like a spoon. I just picked up and threw back to the ocean a small family of them. But I’m afraid, too late…

In the morning a huge black cloud came from the east. When I crawled to the deck, it was pouring rain, and Chris in waterproof jacket was waitng for sky to clear in order to return to the course.
Now clouds are gone but ocean’s still anxious, and I hear terrible noise of waves, spliting by the hull and crushing behind the poop.

I recall my cruise in South Africa. We went to see Great White sharks in Gaans bay. The weather was fresh and waves high. Despite that wasn’t my first time in Atlantic, that was the moment, when I first seriously thought about crossing it one day…

We’re both a bit fed up with crossing. Despite our attempts to keep the boat tolerably clean, it grows dirty from day to day. While such a waving it’s impossible to give it more thorough care.
What really makes me mad is taking shower while waving! Even despite small size of a bathroom, each time I get plenty of bruises. After that I usually slip on a floor – and it doubles my madness.
I do not even complain about normal sleep and shower – I just dream about them.

Food problem doesn’t exist for me – I lost my appetite at the beginning of the crossing. Still sometimes it shows signs of life. Like this morning. I was trying to adjust the course, and my stomach started to complain. I hadn’t ate for 18 hours.
– Well, – decided I. – Before I eat weather goes to hell.
And made myself a sandwich with cheese and Nutella.

Again we had feathery passengers this night. This time they brought “a friend”. That last one had troubles with landing on a tent. His companions made it even more complicated, stretching their necks and trying to bite him. I heard their grumpy, creaky voices above my head. As if that were crows of the sea.

Day 13, 12th of November 2011

After choppy and cloudy previous day the sky cleared up at night. Recently full moon lit out way like a giant streetlight and didn’t give me a chance to admire starlight.

New moon goes down already after the sun wakes up. I has just turned the engine off – and my ears are filled with sounds much more pleasant: waves’ splashes, wind, murmuring in wind generator, and gentle slides of jars in a cupboard. Still – it’s almost silence after engine’s roll.

GPS keeps the same number of hours for the whole day – 38. That shows that our speed is not stable. We’re already not so “fast and furious” how we were a couple of days before.

Today we saw the first ship in last 10 days. It was “Krystal” from Panama, cargo ship. She passed very close to us. Soom there’ll be many of them – back to big human’s world.

I asked Crisa:
– How do you feel, coming home after 4 years journey all over the world?
– Very good, – just was the answer.
It’s hard to understand, when you’re not there yet.

My mind is chameleon, it adapts any situation I get into. There’s no alien in this world for me. Just more or less favourable.
I was always extremely curious about how other people live, what do they think about, what do they feel. And what would I – if I were them. If I were you.
That’s why couchsurfing – it’s not only about sharing and making friends. It’s like trying someone else’s skin. I hope I do not scare anyone: I’m eager to share mine if something : )

Being comfortable everywhere and with anyone makes me feel somethimes that there’s no special place for me…

Day 14, 13th of November 2011

I feel as if my memory has been erazed. I can’t recall even the last months of my life. I exist only here, in this moment, between ocean and sky.

Night was beautiful. Wind that had been growing in strenght for the previous day went to rest. We turned the engine on again, its whir accompanied charming night. The moon, still full and noble, borrowed its mysterious whine to ocean waters. Trembling and shimmering, they hid some unknown life underneath.

At day wind picked up again. Chris has unreefed the mainsail, and we go 6 knots.

Just a moment ago we passed an unknown object in water. These hardly defined things that due to ruthless fate found their way to the ocean make me anxious: I feel – they shouldn’t be here.
Well… should I?

Today I saw dolphins again. And even made a photo – frist one in 4 months of sailing. I was standing on the fore. They went in front of us: as if “Vagabond” was a truimph carriage and they were four strong chargers.

From time to time I inspect th deck and throw back to the ocean flyfishes that occasionally ended up here. I still hope I’m not too late to save someone’s little life.

GPS points 21 hour till arrival.

Day 15, 14th of November  2011

…12 hours before arrival.
The last day of the journey is the hardest one. It’s as if you have already stretched your arm but lack a couple inches to reach desirable aim.

The tricky part is that the finish line of one journey is always a start point of a new one.

…3 hours before arrival.
– Brazil! – said Crisa and fingered a thin strip of land on the horizon. From here we can already see high buildings on a coast.

Happy Captain : )

…30 minuted before arrival.
And hour ago I took a nap. When I was back to the deck I almost dived in halo of colour. Dark cloudy sky and turquose water of a shallow bay created an incredible ansamble.


…Arrival, around 14-00.
So here we are. After 15 days and 2000 miles behind we arrived to Recife, Brazil!

Ocean is like life: if you’re in, you’re not able to quit. And you keep going.