Published: July 20th 2009May 30th 2009
And so I finally arrived on Ilha Grande. The early signs were good, as we sailed into the island under the bluest of blue skies. I could even forgive the fact that the "correct" pronunciation of Grande all but rhymes with orange. Silly Portugese.
I'd arrived with a few folk whom I'd met in Rio; Cindy, Marcus, Francis and Jacqueline to give them names. Coincidentally, that's actually what they were called. We spent our first day going for a hike through the forest to get to Lopes Mendes beach. It was a long sweaty walk, and took a bit longer than we expected for most of us. Jacqueline however didn't seem to be suffering/ had a car hidden round the corner and got there considerably before the rest of us. The beach itself was straight out of a travel brochure, a huge stretch of white sand, with just a few people dotted around here and there. Great stuff. Marcus and Cindy went for a bit of surfing, but I'm still not fully recovered from my El Salvador experience, thus stuck to swimming, and topping up my sunburn. After a sufficient amount of lazing, there existed 2 options for getting back
to town. These were taking the boat, or retracing our steps along the path. The majority of the group went for the lazy boat option, however, Jacqueline was feeling energetic and I was feeling tight-fisted so we walked. There was an incentive to get back first, as I'd made a daring bet that the last ones back would be washing up that night. We may have got back resembling sweaty blobs, but I'm pleased to report I didn't do any washing up that night. Score. The other pleasant surprise when returning from the walk is that we had been joined on the island by Marco, Steve and Lynette, who had also managed to break free of Rio. We celebrated this mutual escaping of Rio's clutches with a few cheeky beverages by the sea.
The following day, despite some of us maybe not being on top form, we arranged to go for a boat trip and a bit of snorkelling around the island. This was a really fun day, although I did get mildly/majorly freaked out by a sea urchin. I hate those things. The day also saw the inaugaural beach flipper race betwen myself, Steve and Marcus. I was
The jolly crew
L-R: Me, Francis, Marcus, Lynette, Steve, Jacqueline, Cindy, Marco
looking strong for victory, when completely unexpectedly my flippers came off, with Steve taking full advantage to claim the chequered flag. I was pretty gutted about this, and remained downbeat until later in the day, when I spotted a coconut floating in the water as we made another stop. By this time, most of the group were too scared of the cold water, so it was left to me to dive in and retrieve it. This turned out to be the last action of the day, and we returned to base just in time to see the end of the Champions League final.
After the football, it was Marcus' time to shine. He happens to have trained as a chef, and had taken it upon himself to cook for everyone most of the nights we were there. Who was I to complain? Because I've been so tardy writing this blog, I've forgotten exactly what he knocked up that night, but I do remember that it was delicious. Top stuff.
Jacqueline left us the next morning, and a lazy Steve and Lynette had a lie in. The rest of us however went on a gentle 2 hour stroll to
We await the start of the 2009 Ilha Grande flipper race
another of Ilha Grande's beaches, this particular one going under the moniker of Dois Rios. It was yet another beautiful beach, and as this was our last day, we possibly lingered slightly longer than we should have done. We paid for this by having to walk home in the pitch dark, and through a torrential rainstorm. Luckily, we were accompanied by 4 of the islands dogs, all of which were named Fatima. Obviously. We called in on Steve and Lynette on our way back, and found them just polishing off pork chops, after they'd had a nice lie in, done a shorter walk and got back before the rain. This was the end of our friendship.
Anyhow, the rain continued into the next day, which I wasn't too fussed about really, being as we were leaving anyway. The boat back to shore did seem rather full, and quite a few people had made quick changes of plans based on the weather methinks. In Angra, our group went our separate ways. For me, it was a couple more days faffing about in Rio, then flying on to Santiago for my last leg of South America.
There are more photos below