Boat trip Story
adicionado em: 07/10/2013
How everything started -
There`s a point in life when you wonder if you are doing what you really were meant for. Questions like "Am i happy?" or "Should i be doing something else?" blow in your mind. And it was in one of these moments that Kauli and I met, when we were both fed up with our duties. Kauli was competing professional windsurf for 15 consecutive years, and lately he was a bit unhappy due to the conditions of the events from the professional world tour, which didn`t have much waves, and that was his passion. Me, i am a oceanographer, and was just finishing my masters on Aquaculture: tired of the 7 year of theory, anxious about the experience. So as we both had a working tool in common, the sea, we decided to find out a way to work together, with it, in a satisfactory way for both us: a boat seemed the best solution! Adventure, no routine, simple life, sun, wind and sea: thats what we wanted!
And then the plan was made: we would travel along Brazil`s coast in a boat, where Kauli could enjoy searching for new spots to windsurf, kite, sup and surf without competitions pressure, and I would experience oceanography in a practical way: observe marine life, the environments, the climate.
FOTO OLHANDO MAPA DO BRASIL!
So after a long search for the perfect boat for the trip, we found out the one: a Praia 30 feet catamaran! So Kauli started to build up a brand new in a shipyard called Maramar Nautica, at São Luis do Maranhão, a city in the northeast of Brazil. The name chosen for the boat was "Sabigati": the friendly way Kauli`s grandfather, nowadays already gone, was called. He had a special connection with Kauli, and gave him his first sailboat when he was 10 years old , it was a Toner 14 feet. From that day on, Kauli decided that one day he would have a real sailboat to travel around the world.
Part 1 – Maranhao ( Sao Luis) to Rio Grande do Norte ( Sao Miguel do Gostoso).
So that day came! After a long 1 year and a half building, the boat was ready, and we left São Luis at June 13th, 2013. The plan is to travel from São Luis to Florianópolis, the city where we were both borned, in the south of Brazil: ?????? nautic miles., in about 6 months.
The first days were simply tiring. We seemed not to go anywhere cause we were sailing against the trade winds (from east/southeast) and the Guiana current that comes from east to west , just in the opposite direction in which we were going. Not mentioning the boat swing: seasickness showed up without invitation. We couldn't eat, sleep and hardly go in the toilet. For a moment a regret feeling crossed our minds: "What the hell are we doing"?
Fortunately, 2 days after leaving, we reached our first destination: Preguiças river, still in Maranhão state. This river margins the biggest sand dunes from Brazil, called "Lençóis Maranhenses", which is a conservation unit due its unique nature features. It is a 222000 acres sand region, and in the depression between the sand mountains, the rain water accumulates making up crystalline blue pools. Guess what crossed Kauli`s mind at the moment he bitted his eye on it? "I could sail here!" . The scenery was actually perfect for it, but the wind was light. So Kauli rigged his kite, and slid into what we could easily call an "oasis": it really seemed a mirage! Massive, tall yellow mounts of sand surrounding big, warm and shallow transparent water lagoons, without one only building around. Kauli seemed to be sailing in a real desert. When we climbed on the top of the dunes, we could see dozens of pools, one next to the other, immersed in the sheets of sand. Those lonely, isolate lagoons seemed to be waiting for someone to sail on it, and the impressed look in Kauli`s eyes showed how amazing it felt!
We spent one whole week anchored in Preguiças river. The calm , freshwater was just treasure by this time and allowed us to cook properly, take long showers and sleep well. Not mentioning the amazing landscape around.
Along the river we could see fragile coconut trees leaf made houses, making up a fisherman village just in the river margin. We could see people that depend on the nature for living: fishing, using the river for showering and as source of water, building their houses with tree leafs. It is impressive how some people can live with so little, yet live well.
And suddenly, experiencing this magic nature scenario, together with this different life reality, our trip started to make sense. The hard times, the lack of luxury and the distance from our beloved ones, seemed to worth. We were meeting new places, we are in the middle of nature, we were experiencing new life realities! That's what we dreamed for! And then an amazing anxiety feeling took us: "how many thing must be out there for us to know?" And then we got courage and left back to the sea to go to our next destiny.
We sailed for 28 hours till we cross to the other state, Piauí, and arrive at Barra Grande. It is a small fisherman village, with flat, calm waters, but still very windy. For this reason, is considered one of Brazil`s kitesurf paradise.. So Kauli didn't think twice and went into the water for a bit of action with kitesurfing, due the conditions. Looking from the boat to the beach, the view of Kauli jumping as high as the coconut trees, which contrasted with the white sand, was amazing. He passed through the fisherman boats, so close, that it got me scared, but he was just having fun.
By the afternoon, i convinced Kauli to go explore a bit of the nature around, so we went to take a ride in a wooden local boat, in a river with a magrove, next to the village. The little boat simply got immersed into the green, dense trees from the margin. We could see hundreds of shy little red crabs, hiding in the mud when we got close. And when we arrived in next to the end of the river, where the water was brackish, but still calm, we could see dozen of little orange seahorses, holding their tails in the magrove trees roots, for not to go with the water flow. It was extraordinary how their bright color contrasted with the brown waters of the river! For me, it was an unique experience, cause seahorses are just a curious fish which the males are the ones who give birth to their babies! We spend one hour there observing these amazing little creatures, and then we got back to the boat and finished our days with a beautiful pinkish orange sunset. We`ve spent a couple of days there and then we left.
It took us 12 hours to arrive in one of the bests windsurf spot in Brazil: Jericoacoara, already in another state (Ceará). Kauli was anxious to get there cause it was where he passed a big part of his adolescence practicing windsurf and going to championships.
The place really got me amazed. There was a mountain of sand covered in a green grass, in the right side, protecting the village from the frequently strong wind. In the beach, we could see dozen of little restaurants, bars, windsurf clubs, all of them with sea view. The city had no streets, only sand in the floor. We could walk barefoot all day long. Kauli met lots of old friends, and got impressed how the village grown. When he first came, 15 years ago, there`s wasn`t even electric energy.
As soon as we got there, early in the morning, there were some perfect little waves breaking. So we left the boat with our boards on and went paddling until the waves. We started our day surfing those fun waves, which were long and took us till the sand. For me, the wave was perfect for surfing due its small size, and Kauli had a good time in the SUP. Sitting there, in the space between the sets, we looked to the boat right on our side: we were there, in that perfect place, with a home that follow us everywhere. That's exactly the life we imagined ourselves living, and we were so grateful!
As Kauli couldn`t wait to windsurf, he went again into the water when the wind started. He remember his old times sailing in a place that it was familiar to him. The conditions there, which are normally perfect, this time was kind of gusty and light. Unfortunately, we were there out of the right season. The wind blows strong, and there are waves from August to December, and we were at July. Despite we were in the wrong time, the sailing itself it was fun. Kauli came out of the water satisfied and happy to bring back some good old memories.
But he was still hungry for waves, so we left from Jericoacoara, and went to the next stop: Paracuru. Finally, some waves!!! The place is a big protected bay, so early in the morning, the wind blows more offshore, and it can be very fun for wave riding, and when it gets close to midday, it starts to swing to sideon shore and then becomes very fun jumping. Kauli caught some big ramps, and jumped high.
We spend two days at Paracuru and then went to Fortaleza to supply the boat. As it is a big city, we spent 5 days organizing everything: washing clothes, filling the boat with freshwater and food. Also, we had a good time with some Kauli`s windsurfer friends, that were very helpful for us too.
And then we moved on. We sailed for one whole day, and stopped in a little bay called Ponta Grossa, still in Ceará. We thought that stopping there for the night, to rest. would be a good idea. As soon as we anchored, a couple of fisherman approached the boat with a little raft. They were holding 8 lobster, and said "Welcome! You are probably seek of canned food, so here you are some just caught fresh lobsters". We tried to pay for them, but they wouldn`t accept. "Is a gift", they said. It touched us to see how real kindness still exists, without waiting for something back, even though there were simple people. Is impressive, though, that we are so used to people having an ulterior motive when doing something, that we even get surprised when someone is kind without a special reason. It made us think how glad we were to be able to live these kind of experiences. How simple things can be so rewarding!!
We left early in the morning in the next day, taking us a 24 hours sailing to arrive at Galinhos, which was situated already in another state: Rio Grande do Norte. We actually arrived near Galinhos at 2 a.m., but there, suddenly, the conditions got so hard: it was raining and the wind was changing the whole time, and it got too hard to sail in the dark. And it happened just when i took on the shift. I got scared and screamed for Kauli to come help me. He jumped from his warm sleep, and came out to lead. Thus, it would be dangerous to go up the river during the night, so when went very slowly and only arrived at 6 a.m. It was a long night!
But it worth it! Galinhos is a small important city, which lives from fishing, from the petroleum exploration and from salt mines. We`ve anchored in the river that margins the city. The wind blew so strong, even since the early morning, that Kauli went out for sailing. The landscape was amazing! Tall and white mounts of salt, margined one side of the river, just like snow mountains. In the other side there were whitish soft sand dunes that met the river. Kauli enjoyed the flat water for a seek, fun freestyle section.
The time spent there made us remember from a trip made in February of this year, during the waves season, to this oceanic wave that happens in Galinhos, but 30 km away from the coast. There is a sand bank that causes an abrupt change of depth forming these massive waves, which is impressive for being so far from the beach. The spot, called "Urca do Tubarão", is nearby some oil platform whose workers say to hear the sound of the wave breaking strongly from far, such is the strength of the wave. It took us 3 hours to arrive by a fisherman`s boat. The wind was very strong out there even early in the morning , but Kauli wanted to make sure he could surf some waves in his SUP before sailing. So he dropped this huge offshore wave, which had this shallow part in the peak making it a fast drop, and also the offshore wind made it hard to get speed to go down the wave. Then, in one of the sets, Kauli made an airdrop and landed on top of the board with only one of the legs, hurting himself real bad enabling him to do what he was really there for: windsurf. Even though he surfed for 1:30H, nowadays Kauli still thinks about this wave and how we would like to go back there for windsurf. Maybe in the next wave season!
But it was time to come back to reality and do what we have to: go on. We were in our way to São Miguel do Gostoso when we`ve put the fishing rod, trying to have some fresh food for lunch, but with no big expectative, we were already used to canned meet anyway. But suddenly, the fishing line started to pull so hard that we recovered our hopes: yeah, there it was! A big oceanic fish called wahoo had bitten the bait. We celebrated: fresh fish for lunch!
And after 11 hours sailing, we finally arrived home. Gostoso is a very receptive place, with its small village surrounded by warm water, coconut trees and white sand. People are friendly and kind, always offering a big smile, even thought you dont know them. But besides that, Gostoso is a special place that won Kauli, due its perfect conditions for sailing, that he chose there to open his windsurf station. The wind there blows most of the year, being the best period for wave riding from october to march. Kauli spends the whole day in the water, living only for having a açaí bowl, and then comes back to the water. We stays the whole season with only one sail rigged, a 4.8. Being there such a lovely place, we`ve spend one whole week, resting in our place, together with Kauli`s parents.
It was hard to live home behind, but we left Gostoso in our way to the south of Brazil, wondering what was the next adventure waiting for us in those blue, deep, tropical waters..
Wrote By Maria Fernanda da Silva Souza “ Nana” ( Kauli’s girlfriend)
Part 2 – Sao Miguel do Gostoso ,RN to Salvador ,Bahia.
These was the part of the trip that things started to flow more and we had really incorporated to lifestyle on board and also the search for better spots with waves had started. It felt like one of the most difficult parts of the trip had past , because of the constant winds and current always blowing against us , and it really forced the boat and tested its resistence and also putting us to a trial, but for us everything was new so was fun and scary sometimes in the middle of the ocean… but we completed these part with a lot of good memories .
On the prior day from our departure from Gostoso we felt abit sensible , leaving the family and home behind . Nana had a funny moment and started crying once we put the sails up and left Gostoso on the horizon , I didn’t look back because I knew once we turn the Light house of Touros ( the corner of brasil) it would be the time I was really looking forward too, the next spots we had a really good potential for wind and waves at these time of the year.
On the way we past by awesome places to snorkel , they are reefs outside of the coast , about 5 km from shore, and they have really nice corals and clear waters like Tahiti…. I was so surprised as Nana , she was going crazy.
After these we had a stop in Genipabu , very close to the capital Natal, we scored one amazing day , with some great waves and wind for a 4.6 sail. Sailing sideshore with waves made me all happy and made up for the really bad night of sleep I had on the night before that, because there was a storm the brought a lot of swell , rain and winds , the perfect combination to keep me awaked for the intire night , hearing every single noise of the boat and trying to guess if the ancor is holding … otherwise we could endup on the waves at the beach!
After that we got the chance to see some awesome places to sail going south of Natal , and we saw a few kites and windsurfers , but we continued to our destination that was Tabatinga. We anchored besides some incredible falesias and we could ride the waves from the boat . Also like these was Pipa , really nice spot , we almost past direct , and in the last minute we decided to stop , and it was the best decision ever, because there was actually the best windsurf session we got during the trip , it had a lineup like Cabo Verde , where the waves goes close to the rocks and the wind blows side off shore. I never tought it would be so much fun , I had my 4.9 rigged for 3 days in a roll on the front of the boat , I could just look and the best time , put my harness and jump from the boat with the gear and in 5 minutes I was riding waves like a happy camper. On the early mornings and late evenings we wore always surfing and supping , the waves wore really easy and mellow , perfect spot for me and my girlfriend. At these time we had a friend also with us, “ Janjao” , he was also in extasy , we surfed so much . These was the first spot that I left feeling like I would like to stay longer….
We continued our trip going south , and seen some more and more green places , with more jungle and Mata Atlantica vegetation close to the water. In those spots we could see clear that would have more rain over the year.
We had the opportunity to visit a protected area that they work on preserving the manatee, an incredible marine mammal, that is in the edge of been in extinction, and thanks to my girlfriend I had the chance to see it , because I was the tipe of tourist that only see the waves , and nothing else , but she pull’s me to this side and in the end we make a good couple where we can balance choices and enjoy the most of all.
In Joao Pessoa we stoped in Rio Jacare, where some of our windsurfing friends received us very well , and we stayed in a nice marina. There we had a surprise from my family that had come visit me and Nana and stay on board for the weekend , there we had calm waters and there was no problem for them to be sea sick , so was nice to share with them what we wore living .
Once they left we had to continue to Recife to pickup Florian Jung , he had told me that he wanted to buy a boat for him self and he would like to live on board to get experience , so he came over . In Recife we wore scared to go on the water , after they built a big harbour of Suape over the fens there was many accidents with shark attacks so we decided to continue .
Porto de Galinhas was amazing sup spot even that these spot in most known for snorkeling for clear waters , there was a outside reef that reminded me of Teahupoo and also a fun beach break . Me and Flo surfed our ass off but the winds wore not really there for windsurf , I did some kiting and Flo got lucky and did a great freestyle session on the lagoon inside the reef before he had to go back home!
Me and Nana pulled one more time our anchor and continued our trip to a private island like caribean style , palm trees everywhere , coral white sand , clear waters and nobody , and guess what , to complete we got the full moon on the horizon , amazing night!
On the next morning we went to Maragogi to meet the mother and aunt of Nana, and there I also discovered that was a home from a old friend that is addicted to windsurf racing ,Marcelo Lacerda , he received us really well and we had a awesome time there , I felt like been in paradise , palm trees every where, those amazing lagoons for diving and snorkeling on the reefs .
We had to do our next crossing over night to be able to reach out destination with high tide and during day light , it was abit tense because I had now Nana’s family on board for the crossing and we did 80 miles , and starting on the dark it was hard for them as they wore not used to the impact and shaking from the waves and we got some stronger winds for the first 3 hours , which made them sea sick during the entire trip . Once we got close to Barra de Sao Miguel the time was already getting very low because we got late due the lack of wind during a few hours in the morning. And I had to enter because the guests wore praying for some firm land , so I chouse to follow one fisherman that was entering the pass on the reef . Very scary entrance , waves every where , strong current and I was basically suring waves with the boat entering a gate of rocks almost as wide as the boat , the adrenalin went high once I heard the girls looking back and screaming “ Watch out for the wave behind us……” I was freaking out , but I knew that there was no way back do I really put the engine full power and surfed the wave until the channel got mellow…. These was the most tense moment of the trip!!!
Bahia was our next destination , and it was really one of the dream destinations of our trip , those incredible dense green beaches , full of coconut trees , packed with turtles , blue water and excelent surf, really reminded me of Hawaii . Praia do Forte was super incredible to do SUP , very nice waves , and there we also had the oportunite to meet with a good windsurfer friend called Alvaro Vieira that took us on his playground and shown us his almost private lagoon with the bests conditions ever to do water ski. We had planed to stay 1 day there and we stayed 1 week , that was how good it was . And like these was most of the spots around that area , not much wind but some fun surf and amazing people . Morro de Sao Paulo it was really turistic but still nice ambient , and the surf was really good , and I even score 1 day of fun windsurf , but the tide was a bit dry and there was rocks appearing from nowhere on the middle of the wave , it took some time to get dial to where they wore.
Boipeba Island was about 13 miles from there and was so different in question of turism , it was still so virgen and untouched. Really amazing forest and we had the chance to eat the most delicious Lobster on pineapple and mango made at the beach by the local called “ Guido”.
Our next stop , "City of the Holy Saviour of the Bay of all Saints", Salvador, is also known as Brazil's capital of happiness due to its countless popular outdoor parties, including its street carnival. The first colonial capital of Brasil , the city is one of the oldest in the America. Around there we wore able to do some mantainance and prepair the boat to stay in the marina until we could return to pick it up , because now we got some news that there will possibily have 2 PWA wave events with down the line waveriding , like Maui and Chile , and I want to take part on those events.
I feel really realized to have accomplished these dream that was planted like a seed in my heart since I was a kid , and I would like to thank my incredible love Nana to have believed on me in every moment , and to have motivated me to follow my dream and to make it come true been part of it . I think without her nothing of these could have been possible .