We expected our gap year to feature some excitement but as so often with these things it can come at unexpected times. Super relaxed after a week on peaceful Boipeba staying at what could easily be the best pousada in Brazil and looking forward to our next stop in Morro de Sao Paulo we boarded our speedboat and waved goodbye.
The weather was overcast but this often clears quickly and we were impressed with the speedboat. Bigger than the normal motor launches it looked the business and we were sure Charles was right and it was the most comfortable boat around and at R$200 a bargain as they were picking up more guests in Morro!
On the way down to Boipeba we took the route through the mangroves from Valenca and expected to go this way again as most boats arrive this way. It is lovely and calm but about twice as long as the sea route if you look at the map. As often is the case ‘assume’ makes an ass out of you and me and our skipper headed straight out to sea.
I read somewhere that the local seamen are ‘brave and fearless’ which giving the benefit of the doubt you might call fool hardy but is more likely to be applied to people that die young. The next hour was a lesson in the power of the sea and having your life in the hands of someone else who you hope is not feeling suicidal.
As we headed out it started to get rough so we got Lara’s life jacket on but then had to hold on tight and couldn’t reach Ben and Zoes’ in our bags further up the boat. The first few minutes were fun as we bounced along and I was the only one feeling it as tooth ache and boats bouncing across the waves repeatedly is not a good combo. Soon we were drenched from the spray, rain and seriously hanging onto to BZL, very pleased that our cameras, phones, clothes etc. were in 100% waterproof bags you normally use canoeing and wondering if the guests making the return journey had just got off a plane with wheelie suitcases and no immersion planning?
I put on a brave smile to reassure the girls sitting opposite but I think the sight of Ben doubled up with sea sickness got more of their attention. There was nothing to do but hang on tight while Ben repeatedly decorated the boat with his breakfast. 3-4 metre waves in a 20ft boat is pretty scary as is the change in sound of the propeller (and therefore boat) out of the water before the hull smashes back into the sea as you cut across waves. I am thinking that we were reliant on the skippers skill to keep us from being swept overboard and wouldn’t have given much for our chances if the single engine had cut out.
When you arrive at the pier in Morro helpful chaps in yellow tops start carrying your bags the short distance to shore and load them onto their wheelbarrow. R$40 for the 10 minute walk to our Pousada was negotiated down to R$20 with a bit of haggling and drawing figures in the sand. Feeling sea sick, no idea where our hotel was and in the pouring rain not wanting to get out phones to check the location it was money well spent! As soon as the price was agreed the barrow man set off up the hill and we scrabbled to follow. No time to get Lara’s life vest off I grabbed her hand and tried to keep up. Mo dunked Ben in the sea for a quick wash and followed.
Morro is a posh beach resort with designer shops (whether we fit in here is another question) and as it had decided to not just rain but put on a special tropical downpour for us the well dressed holiday makers were sheltering in the doorways. The site of us arriving like drowned rats walking down the river like road got more than a few looks, we really looked like drowned rats.
I caught up with our barrowman and while waiting for Mo, Ben and Zoe to find us I had an interesting conversation with him where he pointed at Lara, repeatedly said ‘crianca’ (children) and shook his head and made wave motions with his hands and a look on his face that said ‘what was that mad man taking you the sea route for?’. This reinforced my suspicions that this is not the typical way to arrive!
All said we are alive, well and happy to have brought our own kids life jackets and waterproof stuff sacks.
Our next big travel is a night flight with 2 plane changes arriving at the mouth of the Amazon at 5am to get the midday boat, we must be suckers for punishment (or the cheapest flights and saving a night’s hotel bills)!