After fifteen months we let go of the lines and Hope slowly moves out of the marina. It feels a bit uneasy when I turn her rudder to starboard and she slowly starts moving into Salvador’s tropical bay. I set sail and with Bob Marley’s the Sun is shining, Katia and me drink a beer on the deck enjoying some crackers with Italian cheese.
We are headed for some tropical islands north of Salvador. It is about two hours sailing and en route we watch how the endless favella’s and skyscrapers of Salvador get smaller. In Salvador the poor live in favella’s, neighborhoods without sanitation and with a lot of garbage and drug abuse. The rich live in enormous, almost military guarded sky scrapers.
The contrasts are enormous in Brazil. And not only between rich and poor. We stayed In a somewhat better neighborhood in Salvador which was cleaned every day. Every morning the street was covered in human droppings, dog droppings and garbage. Disgusting! More inland we visited villages where on the contrary the inhabitants would keep their villages very clean.
But also in the bay we are surprised. We sail to the island of Bom Jesus (Good Jesus). The island is maybe only 4 kilometer in diameter with only a handful of people. It is beautiful. It is covered In a thick, green jungle like vegetation and it has idyllic beaches and –what would you expect- a small beautifull church. On the background thee are however big oil tankers, tugs and oil refineries which export the newly discovered oil.
But the biggest surprise is when we talk with the people. Last year I followed the Portuguese on their route to Brazil. After Portugal I sailed via the canary islands to the Cape Verdes. On the Cape Verdes Portuguese sold many slaves. From there they where transported to Salvador in Brazil. Currently more than a third of the population in Brazil is of African origin or mixed. But many of these people we speak don’t even know where the Cape Verde’s are and where their ancestors come from!
After seven weeks of Brazil we dream of Suriname, French Guyana and the Caribbean. The Caribbean are still far however. It is still some 2600 nautical miles or 5000 kilometer. Tomorrow we go to make our first trip. We go 500 miles north along the coast. Four days and Four nights at sea. I am curious to see how that will be, for the first time with my girlfriend longer at sea…