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Rio Paraìba (Brasil), our Leg 3 final stop

And as if by magic the bow of Pius sees the is April 2nd.

But before talking about our arrival I want to tell you about this last leg from the island of Fernando da Noronha (Brazil).
We had a lot of hope in exploring this remote paradise in the Equatorial area of South Atlantic. Unfortunately, as there is no real port or even a protective breakwater, the anchoring is particularly wavy... the Atlantic wave torments Pius for 4 days and 3 nights. It's risky to leave the boat and set off to explore....I let Marco and Olivier go and stay on watch enjoying at least a nice swim in the ocean waters which are a nice 30° while outside it's 38° with 90% humidity !

Marcus, the Harbor Master, announces the peligro de Suelo for the next day and Sunday...what will it be, a tropical monster, a disturbance or an animist adversity that Brazilians believe in a lot?
Suelo derives from swell in English... therefore a long and powerful wave (we know it well) that turns from the NW and the closer you are to the coast protected by the islands the more it swells as it finds the shallow rocky seabed.

We would have to leave on Sunday morning but the 250nm that divide us from Brazil would make us arrive at night, something to always avoid and here even more so having to respect the shallow waters and low tides.
So the departure is scheduled for 5pm... we are shaken by the Suelo from Saturday afternoon until Sunday evening. And exactly on time, at 5pm a strong squall arrives with heavy rains and gusts of 30 knots. Marco and I take advantage of the opportunity for a healthy rain shower while Pius is jumping!

Very eventful departure as usual... but we take advantage of this unexpected wind to take a good pace and head to Brazil.
We are too fast, we need to reduce the sails to avoid arriving in the darkness of the very early morning... fortunately on the second day of sailing the wind drops and as expected we encounter the famous SE wind which from South Africa slams into the South American continent and blows from the NE .

The best gift, the arrival in Brazil, the finale of this calm upwind navigation at 6 knots speed in a gentle 8 knots breeze...not bad Pius after just 5000 nm of navigation.

Finally at dawn we were greeted by the scent of Brazil, for those who have already been there like me the smell of it is unmistakable; taste of forest, of warm sea, of hot air full of humidity.

I had been missing from Brazil since 1996. 30 years later, an avalanche of memories overwhelms me and everything seems so close, so familiar. 7 years of great adventures planning M'bike and 4X4 tours in Brasil, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay through the cooperation of my ancient Tour Operator Exploring Adventure and the brasilian Terra.

Our first choice for landing in Brazil was Recife. But the fear of being traumatized by the skyscrapers of the metropolis of the Brazilian North-East that we can see so far made us change our choice: let's tack west of 50 degrees and go up the Paraìba river!

This big river gives its name to this state of Brazil, located on the easternmost tip of Brazil. Here too the capital Joao Pessoa is a swarm of skyscrapers but the vastness of the river and the several hundred hectares of mangroves are a true eco-environmental filter.

The Brazilian coast is famous for its shallow waters which descend from the enormous mouth of the Amazon River to Argentina.
3 miles from the entrance to the Paraìba river, the dredged channel is marked by buoys.

A peculiarity for navigation is that throughout the American continent, whether North or South, the green and red signals are reversed: Red on the right and green on the left and the cone and cylinder are also inverted and here they are green and red respectively.

From our Pilot book we find a Marina about 7 miles from the mouth of the Rio Paraìba. Marina Jacaré, in Portuguese caiman. Will it be populated by caimans or are the managers caimans? ;)
The river navigation seems well signposted and respectful of the bathymetrics of the cartography...but as soon as we reach Ilha da Restinga at 3 miles the red and green buoys disappear...all that remains is to rely on the cartography which fortunately shows a constant bottom of 4 metres, thanks to the high tide expertly respected by our navigation.

The Rio Paraìba still offers huge wild areas of mangroves with small and authentic villages, far from the skyscrapers of Joao Pessoa.

At 10am on Tuesday 2 April 2024 we dock in Brazil on the South American continent, after 5086 miles and 2 and a half months of navigation from Ravenna, visits and technical stops.
It's time to celebrate and Brazil with its proverbial Caipirinhas is the ideal place!


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