Thursday, 16 June 2016

A Birthday In Brazil

After our arrival at Fernando De Noronha we slept like babies. Ley woke early, and watched the sun rise from the cockpit, while I slept for 10 hours and eventually stumbled on deck later, to survey the anchorage and the island.

Breakfast was bacon and eggs, followed by a “birthday cake” made of toast with blackberry jam. 

We had a very slow morning, launching the dinghy and setting up the outboard motor, washing laundry and generally recovering from the passage.

A local man was fishing from a plastic kayak nearby, using just a hand line. We waved and said hello, he spoke no English, but paddled over to us and handed over four fresh (still alive) beautiful Coral Trout. What a wonderful birthday gift – Fernando De Noronha was already starting to impress us.

Later, we headed ashore to complete immigration and customs formalities, however it was now after midday and we found the port offices were closed – siesta of course! 

Plan B was quickly implemented, and we settled in to a very fine local restaurant overlooking the anchorage and serving wonderful Brazilian specialties.

The beer was cold and the wine was good, the staff provided birthday deserts for us, and we met a fine bunch of Brazilian nationals who were holidaying on the island. Several hours later, with our credit card beaten into submission, we staggered down the hill to report in to the authorities.

At the port office we were welcomed literally with open arms, and started to wade through the many arrival forms and details, though not one of our hosts spoke any English.

The Policia Federale were called, and they arrived after a few minutes to stamp our passports and clear us for immigration.  Fortunately the locals appear to live on strong coffee, and we were plied with small cups of sweet black Brazilian coffee as the process ground onward.

Once our birthdays were recognized it was handshakes and backslaps all round, congratulations and way too much rapid Portugese for us to follow.

By late afternoon we were clear of the formalities and caught a bus to the village, looking for a supermarket and hopefully a motor cycle rental.  The motor cycle didn’t happen, however another friendly local lead us to a mechanics yard where we rented a converted VW beach buggy, the standard form of transport on the island. Of course we had no local money – not a problem they said. Take the car, go now to the ATM at the airport, then come back and pay us later ….. life here is very simple, relaxed and trusting.

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