_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Horses, boats and bicycles - and birds

While safely anchored off Clube Naval Charitas, Marcy was our comfortable base for exploring urban Rio and Niteroi.

Marcy at Charitas

But soon we craved a quieter part of Brazil to explore, and motored up river. We anchored at a pretty little island called Paqueta. We arrived as the sun set and found a spot to drop the hook without getting a good look at the harbor. In the morning, we got up early to explore. We startled a beautiful egret who was on Marcy's deck fishing.

Egret Paqueta

Marcy at Paqueta

We were quickly enchanted, the island has no cars, just horses, boats and bicycles - and birds. As we rowed ashore, we saw a line of horse drawn carriages lining up, waiting for the first ferry of the day.

horse carriages Paqueta

What better way to see the island? We signed up for a ride around. As we set off at a brisk trot, our driver enthusiastically pointed out the sights and explained everything in detail – in Portuguese, of course. We couldn't understand much.....

P n G with horses Paqueta . cart driver Paqueta

The houses are beautiful, the roads shady and picturesque, and the place has a sense of peace and calm. The lack of cars seemed to make pedestrians, dogs, and horses all more relaxed.

house Paqueta

elevatoria Paqueta

dog waiting Paqueta

One lady passed by with her bike loaded aboard a carriage, no doubt opting to pay a few reals to avoid the effort of cycling across the island....

trotter with bike

After our ride, we found the quay submerged at high tide.

Paqueta quay under water

Back aboard Marcy, we watched the ferries come and go. The skippers were very skilled, docking their big single screw direct drive vessels and making it look easy. No bow thrusters here! They use lots of throttle, backing and filling with flurries of black diesel smoke filling the air.

Charitas backing . Ipanema

The waterfront scenes in Brazil must be similar to the 1920's in the USA, with much varied action. Fishermen row past in skiffs loaded with nets as bigger fish boats motor past with the pleasing ”pocketa, pocketa” of slow a turning inboard engine. All sorts of goods move by small boat. We watched a load of cooking gas bottles motor past.

gas train Paqueta

dragger Paqueta

Even the smallest and humblest craft is used, named, and taken care of. We think that this little skiff might have a rude name. Sometimes it's just as well not to speak the language.


One of the most common boat types here is the dory, absolutely familiar in fishing history of the USA. Not surprising, when you remember how Portuguese immigrants shaped the fishing industry in the northeast part of our country. Rowed with single thole pins, or fitted with little inboards, steered with yoke and tiller ropes, various sizes of dories are everywhere.

power dory Paqueta . Dory Paqueta
dory 4 Paqueta . skiff Paqueta
dory 2 Paqueta

This little skiff was gathering mussels from anchor rodes.

gathering mussels

We're thinking of Joshua Slocum these days, the American ship captain who was the world's first solo circumnavigator. Slocum was familiar with Brazil. He was stranded here and built a cruising boat, the Liberdade, and sailed home in 1888 to the states with his family. Later, he rebuilt a junked fishing boat, named it the Spray, and sailed around the world alone. For a dinghy, he sawed a dory in half to fit on deck. We noted that the lines of the Brazilian tourist “schooners” are very similar to the Spray – shallow, bluff bowed, long keeled.

schooner 1 . schooner 2

We went ashore for showers. It would not be right to avoid describing the Brazilian technology used to heat shower water – the shower heads have 220 volt heater elements inside them. Wiring is usually exposed and casual. The potential mix of lethal amounts of electricity with your shower water adds a unique component of excitement.

shower Paqueta

Ashore again, we rented a tandem bicycle. It's an enjoyable experience to cycle without fear of cars, only giving way to the occasional horse buggy. Ginger negotiated with the bike shop for a good price.

bicycle shop Paqueta

P n G on tandem Paqueta

The only motorized vehicle we ever saw was a garbage truck (a Volkswagen!) that arrived and was taken away by a barge on the beach.

garbage truck Paqueta

We left Paqueta refreshed and eager to cruise further down the coast.

hills Paqueta

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Charitas and Rio

raising Brazil courtesy flag

We are anchored off the small town of Charitas across the bay from Rio de Janeiro. On the way in from the ocean we passed many fishermen and were intercepted and greeted in English by one fisherman in a rowing boat who had worked on fishing boats in Alaska. He was happy to see our American flag flying off the stern.

Rio entrance fort

aquaculture and neighborhood Charitas

Clube Naval Charitas, our host yacht club, had a problem last month with disappearing outboard motors. Being inspired by all the rowboats in the bay, as well as keeping the outboard safely stowed below decks, Peter was motivated to get our dinghy into rowing condition. He fabricated thole pins and has been rowing ever since. It's not a fair competition between the beautiful old local pulling boats

classic rowing Charitas

and our homely tinnie.

rowing Hootie Charitas

We've decided to re-name the dinghy “Hootie the wee beastie” in honor of Peter's mom. We've been thinking about her a lot after her death last week and will think of her always when we use “Hootie” now.

St Peter's celebration 1

Charitas has an active marine community. There are 5 or more yacht clubs around the bay and hundreds of fishermen too. On the 29th of June there was a celebration to honor St. Peter, the patron saint of fishermen and sailors. We were lucky to be on board Marcy to catch all of the action. We heard voices, drumming and music, it sounded as if a parade was approaching the anchorage.

St Peters celebration 5 . St Peters celebration 6

In fact, it was a parade, there were many party boats,

st peters celebration BBQ . St Peters celebration lifeguards

barbecues.................... and even lifeguards.

St Peters celebration 2 . St Peters celebration 3

St Peters celebration 4 . St Peters celebration 7

There were so many fireworks set off that the clear day quickly turned to a dense haze that reduced visibility to a quarter mile as the boats sped toward our anchorage.

paraglide launch with Susy . paraglide launch ramp rio view

Our tourism has not been limited to the water. Susy, who lives here in the Clube Naval marina, is an amazing host to all the cruisers. She took us up to a paraglide launch ramp overlooking Niteroi for an early morning view of the city.

street pastry vendor

It was a perfect morning and on the way back we even found a spot for a snack.

4th of July dogs and beans

Food is an important part of travel. Especially when celebrating national holidays far from home. We celebrated American Independence Day, July 4th, with traditional fare – with an international twist. Peter did miss the bun and mustard but beans and dogs were still on the menu on Marcy.

Santa Teresa doorway

One day we were invited to tour the district of Santa Teresa during an artist studio opening day. This artist opening happens only one day each year and was a great opportunity to see not only the art work but also to see the inside courtyards and architecture of this old neighborhood.

Santa Teresa artist studio day . Maria with puppet

Santa Teresa bread vendor . ST browsing

There were musicians, fantastic views and lots of people.

Santa Teresa musician . Santa Teresa stairs.

ST walking . ST with bull

Our lunch stop, with our hosts Maria and Max, involved a beer on the street while waiting for a table.

ST chopp

One of the traditional art items is a lady house monitor looking out the window – or guarding the front door. We couldn't figure out where to place one on Marcy.

House monitor Santa Teresa

There were so many people in the afternoon when we were ready to leave we couldn't find an room on a trolley car for the ride back downtown. We'll have to do that on a day with smaller crowds.

Santa Teresa Bonde car . ST bonde 2

Our day in town ended with a stop to see the night view of Rio and the modern art museum at Niteroi.

modern art museum Niteroi

It's always good to be back at the boat after a hectic day in the city!

shore bird and Rio

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