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26/11/12 - Lord Nelson
Day 39 26th November.
After two glorious days in Fernando de Noronha, we are now seeing the islands disappear behind the horizon, under the continuing fine weather. The small island was once a prison and then a Second World War US marine station, and is now the distant and expensive holiday destination of mainly Brazilians and a scattering of other nationalities. The islands are very dry, with some subsistence agriculture; tourism however now forms almost the only major source of income. Somewhat uniquely however (and in keeping with their eco marine reserve status) the islands have avoided a deluge of visitors, there being a daily limit of entry by air and sea of 400 persons. The surrounding waters, whether protected by the marine park or not, contain an amazing array of sea creatures. These were very close to the shore, to the delight of our swimmers and snorkelers, as well as those who took the glass bottomed boat excursion. On one of her snorkeling expeditions, Betty had her first ever sighting of a shark…8 feet in length from just 10 feet away. The voyage crew had a goodly amount of shore leave for beaching, tavernas and grilled fish. Many have now left the island looking similarly grilled themselves.
One of the overriding features of the island was the predominance of motorised buggies. The watch 'experienced’ the joys of this particular mode of transport, as James can relate: James, Will, Cheryl and Agata took a short taxi ride to the beach in the bay. We got dropped off in main town and started to walk down to the beach. James found walking a little difficult, but help was on hand as a man called Roberto pulled up in his buggy and gave us a ride to the beach. He even took us back to the port after we had finished! (The driver only managed 100 kph downhill, to the regret of some but to the relief of the editor who was attempting to film the ride at the time!)
For the first time ever (for most) the vessel SAILED off the anchor into a brisk south-easterly wind of 20 knots, making 7.5 knots to the large commercial port of Recife for victuals. We are scheduled to arrive on the 29th. We have a new crew member until Rio – Bruno, a Brazilian sailor of considerable experience who will assist in piloting and all those other issues a sailing ship might encounter. He has been in touch with local sailing authorities in Rio and with the JST to promote sailing opportunities for the disabled.
1400 hrs: Breaking news from the Captain suggesting there will Samba lessons, caparihas,and churrachos when we meet the Cariocas in Rio! (For the uninitiated, this means lots of eating, drinking and dancing!) FORWARD STARBOURD CHRIS,RUTH, H,SAM,WILL,JAMES,HENRY,and BETTY