Brazilian Tall Ship Sailing Adventure
By Jessica Taryn
Sailing on sea green waters to white sand beaches where the sun warms the earth in the daytime and the nights provide breathtaking sunsets, snorkeling among brightly-colored tropical fish, climbing mountains and hiking rainforests full of exotic animals, and partying into the night under the stars, are only a small glimpse of what the Brazil Tall Ship Sailing Adventure has to offer.
The Beautiful Beginning
It’s day one and the sixteen passengers aged 25 to 50, mostly from the UK, US, Canada, or Australia, have just boarded the "Tocorime" tall ship in Paraty, Brazil. The 120 foot ship, stocked with a 320 horsepower Mercedes Benz Diesel engine and 550 feet of sail, received its name from the words "Adventurous Spirit" in the native tongue of the Kulina tribe of the Brazilian Amazon.
Lunch is served aboard the enormous vessel and the ship sets sail for Iihla da Beixiga, a private island where only Tocorime can anchor.
Russill describes some of the country’s delicacies, including seafood chowder, Bobó de Camarão (a Brazilian shrimp dish), coconut sautéed fish, crabmeat cream canapé, and a whole fish barbeque.
The next morning, passengers wake up to a Brazilian tropical breakfast, and are free to roam the island before the boat sets sail for the Ecological Reserve Mamangua. Some passengers, like Russill, choose to find their own breakfast.
Tropical Fjord Mamangua
At Mamangua, the Tall Ship Tour provides options of rainforest hikes, waterfall expeditions, beach soccer or canoe paddling.
"It is an five-mile (8km) tropical fjord, and except for a few small fishing villages, is an uninhabited canyon of deep blue water, deserted beaches, native Atlantic rainforest, and sheer mountains and cliffs rising straight out of the sea. There are no roads to get where we are, and I hope there never are," he said.
In traditional Brazilian style, barbeque temptations are offered first, before the main dish of fantastic cuts of beef and fantastic fish are served. If we are fortunate the crew will provide a spectacular show of flame throwing. All this with the magic of the plankton lit water inviting you," said Russill.
"The Grand Island" and the "Blue Lagoon"
The captain sets sail once again, this time to Ilha Grande - Sitio Forte. The diversity of the land makes the island fascinating, from its flat plains to rolling lands to large mountains, the island is quite a view. Visitors participate in a hiking adventure, where they see a wonderful display of exotic animals: parrots, woodpeckers, monkeys, armadillos and even some species threatened with extinction.
"There are several varying levels of hikes; simple beachfront hikes taking you from one beach to another, moderate incline paths, which deliver you to secluded waterfalls, or more determined treks which bring you to the top of the world and allow spectacular views of the regions sailed and conquered," said Russill.
The island’s sea planktons show off their fluorescence at night, "As we are sailing, we notice the plankton as they react with the motions of the forward moving hull, though the best is in the calmness of the bay or cove when we go swimming in the evening and make sea angels or imaginative figures with the motion of our arms, legs and head," Russill explained.
While the trip is now half over, the excitement is far from done. The ship docks on the forth day at Lagoa Azul, or "Blue Lagoon." Here, travelers get to experience snorkeling in the clearest, warm, sparkling waters.
Beaches, Sunsets and the "Pirates Raid"
The next morning, it’s on the water again to Enseada das Palmas for more swimming, hiking and snorkeling. After lunch, the group takes an excursion to the famous, Lopes Mendes Beach, where they spend the day and watch the sun set at night.
"Lopes Mendes is a paradise amongst the beaches of the world; imagine Copacabana before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 15th Century and you will have a picture of Lopes Mendes. The sunset is at the extreme west end of the beach, mingling the atmospheric changes into a kaleidoscope of colors which never repeat themselves. The breeze is crisp, salty and inspiring, the waves tumble in, as playful children in some parts, and in others they roar like the thunder of doomsday!"said Russill.
The Marvelous City
Rio de Janeiro, also known as "The Marvelous City," is one of the most densely populated places on earth. "It is full of life; an eternal running engine of people, buses, cars, the mingling of pedestrians, the smells of the asphalt, beach, and sea, all blending into a sweat aroma which is distinctive to Rio de Janeiro," Russill said.
"The Cariocas—as the inhabitants are called—thrive on dance, drink, beach, sport and sun," said Russill.
The boat docks at Marina da Gloria on Guanabara Bay and passengers enjoy their last day on the ship before exploring the town and venturing into the Lapa area, famous for its nightlife.
"Lapa is the Bohemian Mecca of Brazil, for the last five years it has revitalized itself without losing the essence of its decadent and fascinating history. The mixture of beats, smells, races, visions and ideas is like being transposed into a very different reality. The area only starts breathing around 21:00 and continues until morning 08:00. Literally hundreds of bars, nightclubs, restaurants and street vendors offer unlimited satisfaction of every possible want," said Russill.
The Brazil Tall Ship
Upon waking on the seventh day, the group has its last breakfast together before exiting the ship.They will miss the fully stocked ship, which had bars on board, a large common area, a saloon, and a large sleeping area with four single berths and six double berths, which couples, or two people of the same sex paired together share.
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