Fernando de Noronha and Departure…..
June 30th, 2013 (Western Hemisphere) Time: -2 on GMT
When we first arrived here on Friday night, all was calm. Saturday however was a holiday here and the party boats came out in force.
The music was bizarrely loud and the stereo speakers were blow out years ago. Frankly, I have no idea how the tourists could tolerate it as at 100 yards, I couldn’t.
Another interesting thing. This is the first place I’ve ever been that when you wave to other boats passing close by, they don’t wave back. Quite strange actually.
Fortunately, the music mayhem only lasted a few hours and all of the boats ran off to Golphino (Dolphin in Portugese) Bay to show the tourists the Spinner Dolphins this island is famous for.
The topography is stunning, the infrastructure, not so much. At the next internet opportunity, I’ll post some photos retro to this blog and let you all know.
We did go ashore yesterday and found the party atmosphere wasn’t too our taste. Something about men over 35 in Bikini speedos and women who are way overweight in string bikini’s didn’t quite appeal…:-) Welcome to Brazil! The tourists at this time of year are predominantly from South America. There were 40 Police in force to watch the drunken behavior.
Today, (Sunday), things were MUCH quieter and we took a dinghy tour along the north side of the island. There are some lovely beaches, but alas, I think the hotels have seen better days. We went swimming with some Spinner Dolphins 50 yards from the boat, using the dinghy and a local paddle boarder came over to tell us it’s “not allowed” to swim with the dolphins. When the Dolphin Police show up, I know it’s time to go. This same syndrome exists in Niue and Tonga and it’s frankly unpleasant. What they really mean is, “you can’t swim with the Dolphins unless you pay for a boat ride with us”. Before his arrival, Nikki had some nice opportunities to swim quite close to the Dolphins who seemed to enjoy the experience as well. We noticed lots of the tour boats having their clients swim with the Dolphins as well.
According to the charts, you may not anchor anywhere on the island except where we are in San Antonio Bay. Of course…the local tour boats ignore the rule. So much for Eco Tourism in the world today as we know it. This is actually quite common; it’s about money and turf; a shame.
The island is also ridiculously expensive. Think prices in Hawaii! So, we were a bit disappointed in the people, food, prices and infrastructure, but again, the island itself is stunning. It reminds me a bit of Ua Pou’s spires in the Marquesas, the foot print of a Yasawa in Fiji and the general feel of Kelefisia in Tonga.
A mixed review, but I’m glad we stopped. We’ll be off tomorrow morning to Forteleza, Brazil on the main land. This will be my first ever stop on the continent of South America. It’s a funny thing that I’ve been to three South American countries and never yet set foot on the continent itself. Cindy and I went to the Galapagos (Equador), flew to Easter Island (Chile)from French Polynesia and now I’ve sailed all the way around to the East coast here in Fernando de Noronha (Brazil).
S/V “This Side Up” is ahead of us and in radio contact so we hope to get a full report on the Marina in Forteleza. We here the docks are horrible, we must Med Moor (which I hate to do), it’s expensive (but negotiable) and if we don’t stay in the Marina, expect problems with locals coming out to steal things off the boat. The shopping is supposed to be quite good. So it will be food, fuel and most likely a short stay as we then cross the equator and head toward the Amazon!
We’ll be departing around 9 a.m. local time tomorrow, July 1st.
Scott and Nikki