-- Story by Erin --
We leave Salvador after sending off the computer to the States. The computer screen had a
very large diagonal crack in it, which was spreading across the screen with each passing
day. Since we were without the computer for about a month, the following is a general
synopsis of our experiences during that time.
Our first stop after Salvador was Praia do Forte, just 60
kms north along the coast. We had intended to stop here for lunch and then ride further
north, but it was such a charming little place we decided to stay for a few days. The
little town center is one winding cobblestone street with cute little shops and
restaurants on each side. The street ends at a little plaza at the beach with the old town
church in the middle of the plaza. Beyond here at the headland of the beach is the very
impressive sea turtle reserve project run by the government environmental agency IBAMA.
Here we found a nice little pousada right near the beach and the plaza and spent a few
days relaxing, visiting the sea turtle project and the local nature reserve called
Sapiranga. At Sapiranga we met a very nice biologist named Carla, who had been working
there for over 9 years. This woman was very passionate about what she does and about the
whole area. A motorcycle rider herself, she gave us special off-road tour around the area
pointing out ecological projects and interesting facts about the area. She was so generous
she even sent us off with a huge packet of information and a new detailed map of the
beaches going all the way to the north of Brazil.
From here we basically hopped from beach to beach for the
next few weeks. The highlights included a small, secluded beach called Coruipe, the town
of Maceio, and the resort beach of Porto de Galinhas, just south of Recife. In Coruipe, we
found a little haven where we intended to stay one night and ended up staying 3! There was
just one pousada on the beach, with quaint little cabanas, a game room and swimming pool.
There wasn'tt much else around so, except for some local surfers, we had the beach
to ourselves most of the time. The sunsets from here made the surf look the color of
champagne in the twilight. The staff at this pousada were particularly friendly and cooked
some fantastic meals for us (as there was no place else to eat!)
North of Coruipe by about 80 kms is the state capital of
Maceio. Here we met some very friendly local bikers, almost immediately as we arrived in
town. They helped us find a nice, new, and (surprise!) affordable pousada across from the
beach. They hung out with us that evening to give us some good local advice on where
We decided to get off the main highway from here and go up
along the coast on the local roads. It took us through small, poor but interesting
villages, so we could see more of how the locals made their living from the sea and land.
At one point we had to cross a small river by ferryboat. Normally an uneventful thing for
us, but this time the approach to the boat was through deep beach sand. I chickened out,
didn'tt want to dump my bike in front of 20 or so onlookers, and asked Chris to ride
my bike through it and onto the boat. Chris promptly took the bike and dumped it himself.
No harm done, just to his ego. Luckily the other side was firm packed dirt and we exited
the boat gracefully. Shortly there after however, it began to rain and the dirt road
became slick and slippery. We muddled our way through the 10 kms or so of this mud to
finally get on pavement again. At this point it really started to pour! We found a beach
town called Tamandaré and got a pousada for the night to dry out.
We were close to Recife now, a significant destination for
many reasons, but still didn'tt need to be there for a few more days. So, we decided
to hang out in the resort of Porto de Galinhas for a few days before going into the
bustling, big city. Here we spent our days similar to Praia do Forte. Galinhas is not as
quaint as Praia do Forte but definitely has its own character and enough distractions
(like great pina coladas in pineapples!) to keep us content. Here also there is a coral
reef just off the beach and at low tide it forms natural pools where you can swim with the
fish. When we were there the low tide was at 7am, and we hired a jangada (a small fishing
sail boat) to take us out there. For $2 US the jangadeiro (boatman) supplied the
mask and snorkel, the fish food, and guided us to the choicest spots for an hour.
After a few days here we had to tear ourselves away, and
venture into Recife. It was hot as blazes there with daytime temperatures around 35 deg. C
(or 95 deg. F). Luckily it cools off substantially in the evenings! We had long
planned many things for Recife----- besides doing work on the bikes and having things sent
to us here, Chris was flying to Hungary from Recife to visit his family, and my mother
arrived for a 2-week visit to keep me company while Chris was away. After we found a
hotel, we promptly went to look for the local Kawasaki dealer. An old acquaintance,
Sterling from New York, who we met last year in Florianopolis in the south of Brazil had
given us the name of his contact there and said these were good guys to know. Sure enough,
he was right about that! The two brothers, Giovanni who owns the Kawasaki dealership and
Tacio who owns the Suzuki dealership, took us in and treated us like family. Giovanni
stored all our gear and Chris bike while we were away, and Tacios mechanics
did the work on our bikes (all gratis)!
My mother arrived on October 23rd, and we just
about took her from the airport to the local m/c club meeting in one shot!! She is a real
trooper and held up for the few hours of m/c chitchat and ogling at the bikes. The club
even gave the 3 of us club t-shirts! Early the next morning, Chris left for Hungary for 2
weeks to visit his 95-year-old grandmother and family in Budapest. I spent the rest
of the day doing last minute things to my bike with the help of Tacio and his mechanics at
Suzuki to make sure it was ready to carry my mom and me up the coast for 2 weeks.
Turtle measuring about 1.5 meters!
Quiet beach of Praia do Forte
Chris taking it a bit slower getting onto the ferry -- first time he was showing off and
dumped my bike!
Jangadas parked off the reef at low-tide
Nibble Nibble Nibble
Ahhh, another hard day....