After coming back to Salvador from the awesome Chapada Diamantina National Parc, we decided to make the most of the rented car, and arranged a day trip to the turtle sanctuary TAMAR up the coast. TAMAR claims to help the turtles having a better life, but to us in mainly looked like they helped the Brazilians get some understanding that the turtles need protection – and more importantly, help them get a good selfie. The place was beautiful from a human point of view, but the turtles were kept in completely empty pools, and we found the place a bit sad to be honest. But I guess they need to start somewhere, and making people care certainly also counts. Especially since Brazil, hands down, is the most plastic polluted waters we have seen. Much worse than Dakar, which we already found bad. I am just not sure that most people connect the cute turtles to action in their own lives. But the restaurant at TAMAR was great.
Our visa only allowed us three months in Brazil, and though we would really have liked to go further south to visit Rio de Janeiro, we had decided that it would have been too much sailing for us. We did, however, did want to go a little bit further south than Salvador. Morro de São Paulo is a beautiful car-free village, which has now been taken over by the tourists. But we had heard that it’s a must-see place, so we started the 40NM journey south. For once, it was the kind of trip that could be taken in one day, so Esben and I got up early in the morning and started the trip. The lobster-lady waved us goodbye, we criss-crossed in between the Salvador-Itaparica ferries and sailed around some fishing boats, and then we were on our way. We had almost forgotten how hot it can be to sail during the day, but other than the heat, the trip went well, and soon we could see the big rock of Morro de São Paulo in the distance. We anchored outside of all the tourist boats, a pretty rolly anchorage, as tourist boats come speeding by every few minutes. As the sun set, the local fisher boats came in and anchored all around us, making for a pretty view in the setting sun.
We decided that it was time for a day on the beach, and got all of our beach gear out before heading towards land. After a hike up to the light house, we made our way to the beach, where Mattis spent the day looking for critters in the sand, and Runa spent the day swimming. We found the village nice, but too touristy to our liking, and decided that one day was enough for our visit.
Instead we continued down behind the island, and found a peaceful spot to anchor close to a palm beach. Again, we had the company of fishing boats during the night, so we weren’t all alone. The next few days were again mainly spent doing school, and swimming to cool down. We found out that we could reach the coconuts in the small palm trees, so we soon had coconut milk to drink every day. And Runa, of course, baked a cake. This time a cheese cake, and Esben found it so good he got sick from eating too much.
Originally, we had thought about going a bit further south, to explore another river, but decided that we had had enough of river sailing in the Gambia, and that we would rather spent a few extra days in Itaparica before heading back north. And so it was that Morro de São Paulo, at 13º23.69′, became the southern-most point of our trip.