July 4th, 2013 – Time: -3 on GMT
Happy 4th of July to all our Yankee Doodle friends around the world!
We arrived at Forteleza around 8 a.m. in a blustery southeasterly. Once we came around the southeast end of the bay, the conditions became flat. The first thing we noticed was the four large wind generators in the commercial harbor and then a small coastal freighter that was sunk on a bank in the bay right outside it. Continuing on further, we saw the skyline which was reminiscent of Acapulco or Miami Beach! LOTS of high rises stretching for over two miles. Forteleza is Brazil\’s 5 largest city and has around 3 million people. A bit of a shock after 6 weeks across the Atlantic.
As we entered what is the recreational boat harbor about 3 miles southwest of the commercial harbor, we found wrecked piers, rusty fishing boats and another ship wreck we had to steer around. This one is much older and is pretty high and dry. We anchored, hailed \”This Side Up\” on the radio and came in with the dinghy. Mike directed us to Hernandez who is the marina\’s assistant dock manager.
There are about 8 small boats here, no locals! Apparently, the sailing culture is hit and miss in Brazil. There are really no cruising grounds around for hundreds of miles and hence, despite the city of 3 million, no recreational boating community. That\’s a first for me. The docks are old and chained metal floats. There is electrical power (thank goodness!) so we can run the small air conditioner at night in the heat and humidity of being almost on the equator.
We Med Moored, which is my least favorite way to be docked. For those of you who don\’t know what this is, I shall explain. Instead of tying up in a side tie manner to a dock or in a \”U\” shaped slip where we could tie to either side, we are backed into a long dock in parallel with all the other boats at a ninety degree angle to the dock.
This requires us to use our anchor at a 90 degree angle to the dock, get it to bite, have sufficient \”scope\” (length of chain) out to secure us away from the dock.
Then, we back in with the engines and cross tie to the long dock off our stern. In our case with 5 lines. Also, to get off the boat, we must pull quite close; within 3-5 feet so we can use our \”passerlle\” (gang way) to get on/off the dock. The marina has a bit of surge, a cross wind to the boats and a 7 foot tide. This of course adds to the drama. All in all, it\’s worked out, but our solar panels get a bit close to one of the pilings every once in awhile and it makes me a bit nervous. I have two large fenders tied to the back of the boat which would keep us away if we surged toward the dock.
The Marina Park Hotel is here at the docks and is extremely expensive for everything. An hour\’s internet time is over 20 USD! We went to the main shopping center here via taxi, called Iguetemi and did some fresh food and veg shopping as well as tried to find out about internet. VERY few people here speak any English and Portuguese is similar in ways to Spanish, but not enough to always get complete clarity across. Turns out, there may be a way to get internet, but it\’s complicated and as such we\’ll keep trying to use an internet cafe if we can find one locally.
I\’m trying to arrange a fuel run here today which is a big deal. I need around 400 liters (100 gallons), to be happy about going north from here. There are only a few places we might stop over the next 2000 miles and as such, I want full fuel. We make lots of water so that\’s not a problem, but we want to top off on fresh fruits, veggies and other staples like eggs before we head out. We suspect that will be Saturday, but not sure yet.
That\’s all for now….
Feel free to write, you can use our land emails or the boat email for now.
Scott and Nikki