Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Fernando de Noronha

At the end of the last Brazillian passage, our 700 mile trip upwind from Salvador was Fernando de Noronha. There are honestly no good words to describe this place, and for Giulia and I it was the best stop on our travels to date1.

A small isolated island archipelago about 6 km long the whole place is a nature reserve with visitor numbers strictly controlled, as well as fishing, diving and boating – leaving those lucky enough to visit with an unspoilt treasure trove of wildlife and beautiful wilderness of beaches and jungle covered hills.

Let me start by describing some of our experiences snorkelling: There is a wrecked ship in the small harbour entry. Why not snorkel on it on our way to shore? We spent an hour tracking a shark and his baby through the bones of the rusting tanker until Giulia got on his nerves and he was forced to make a threatening pass to send her on her way. Afterwards we didn't even make it to the beach before finding a playful turtle gliding in the swell back and forth amongst the rocks at the shore.

At Baia dos Sanchos we joined a shoal of mackerel to watch the highlighter shaded, coral eating parrot fish. That is, until the seagulls put on a show plucking the smaller mackerel from beneath the water in front of our eyes..

In fact, every time we went swimming we were in marine life heaven, we played with the timid box fish, elongated trumpet fish and numerous other colourful fish who surrounded and followed us enjoying the shade we created or watched us from their rocky hidey holes.

Oh, and don't let me forget, tempted by the delights on the surface, we both spent some time diving2. On the bottom, I followed a stingray as he made repeated passes gliding underneath me, while Giulia cautiously watched a shark (as big as a Matt Scott, apparently) taking a nap, snoozing under a rock.

Hiking to Baia dos Porcos means descending through the cliffs via a series of ladders and caves, surrounded by mammals unkown to us scampering about the rocky outcrops and representing something akin to the offspring of a guinea pig and a marmot. In the bay, behind the palm trees a wall of rocks plays host to thousands of coloured crabs who take it in turns to pop in and out of cover3.

When not underwater we travelled the island by bus, visiting beaches and other scenic spots. The pictures will do a better job than me of describing the beaches, most of which are considered amongst Brazil's most beautiful. We spent most of our time on the island hitch-hiking for lifts as we had no Brazillian currency, due to a simultaneous fault in both of the ATM's that cater for foreign cards. During these travels we repeatedly bumped into friends Giulia made while diving, and they took us to a local Reggae party. As well as watching a local wedding party turn up for the show (bride still in full paraphernalia), we were greeted by another diver who bought us a drink, impressed by our travels on little Auriga. His words of kindness brought confidence for the next passage, our longest to date, the 2000 mile treck to the Caribbean. I just hope everything will not be a disappointment after Fernando!

1 Full confession, my second time there after a brief stop while heading South with Igor and Simon. However, I feel bad about it, but you missed out by not spending more time there while heading South.
2 Just a beginner dive for me, carried around by an instructor. Giulia is the underwater expert onboard.
3 As an aside, why are crabs so timid? They are armoured and have huge pincers yet they scuttle away as soon as you so much as look at them.


  1. The furry thing is a chinchilla

  2. My family had a membership to the Riverside Yacht Club where my brother, Sandy, learned to sail, and I competed in local swim races. My sister, Marcia, became a competitive springboard diver, and my brother excelled in water polo.
    Read more at #cozmoyachts #blogs thank you