Leg 1 of Tour of SA: Florianopolis, Brazil

Published: May 9th 2008
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So I finally finished exams and classes in BA, came out with a B average and my GPA didn´t go down, which I can´t complain about since I was studying abroad. Victoria, another girl from the CofC program decided last minute to travel with me! So now I have company with my grandparents and parents are happy about!

We flew out of BA on the same day everyone else in our group flew home, we just left bright and early that morning at 6am and they left that night. We flew all day, changed planes in Porto Alegre, Brazil and finally arrived in Florianopolis around 4pm. We decided to go ahead and take a taxi to the bus station and buy our tickets for the bus to Rio de Janiero to make sure we could stay on schedule. Then since the local buses left from the station next door decided to take one of those instead of a taxi to our hostel (which turned out not to be a hostel at all), not knowing that the buses have turnstiles like the subway on them and we had to lift our huge suitcases overthem and sit crunched up in a bus seat for the 30min ride onto the island. You see Florianopolis is a city split in half by a river or intercoastal waterway of sorts that seperates it from the mainland. And Florianopolis is the gateway city to exploring Ilha do Santa Catarina or the Island of Saint Catherine. We finally made it to Canto do Lagoa or Center of the Lake, the town we had planned to stay in just the first night, but ended up staying here for four nights. You see because its the off season everything kinda slows or shuts down completely. So all the smaller towns on the island are basically dead to tourists because well there are none this time of year. We ended up staying in a random Pousada (bed and breakfast, without the breakfast, more like a little apartment) the first night because we couldn´t find the one my guidebook had recomended. We went to bed early that night, tired from travelling all day.

The next morning after getting breakfast we went to the tourism agency where thankfully Eduardo spoke English, called and found the Pousada my guidebook recommended and gave us the number for a taxi service. He also called one of his fishermen friends down on the south part of the island so see if he could take us by boat to another smaller island off the coast to go snorkeling and see ancient indigenious inscriptions on rocks. He was a big help! So after settling into our new apartment - Pousada Dona Zilma, whose owner is Dona a nice old lady who brought us chicken, coke, and cornbread as a welcome meal! we went to the nearby beach called Joaquina. At this beach are humongous sand dunes where for 5 reales or about $2.50 USD you can sand board surf down them for an hour. It was so much fun! Then we layed out on the beach for the rest of the day and cooked dinner in the apartment that night - pasta with chicken, mushrooms, onions, and peppers.

Yesterday, on Thursday, we went to the south part of the island pretty early, and luckily caught a fishing boat to Ilha do Campeche, the small island Eduardo told us about. The fishermen won´t go unless there are six people, so we had a wait until 6 showed up but in the end they did, two women from Brazil, one who could speak English luckily, and two other guys. The island was absolutely beautiful. It felt like paridise. It turns out one of the guys was a guide for the Island and said that because it had rained recently we couldn´t go on the trail to see the inscriptions but took us on another trail to a point on the far side of the island. Then we were able to go snokeling, but there were not any fish or coral anywhere to be found. Only afterwards did the guide tell us that during the high season they usually take a little boat around the corner of the island to go snorkeling! Oh well, it was still fun. Then we had a picnic of PBJ sandwiches on the beach and layed out until it was time to leave. And that was only the morning. Then we took a bus down further south to a small fishing town called Pantano do Sul which was pretty dead and depressing and cold. We thought we would be able to hike over the nearby mountain to unspoiled beaches and lay out some more, but rain clouds came up and we decided to head back to the apartment. Later that night we attempted to get some good seafood, to only be disappointed by cold mussels, bad fried shrimp and fish, and some from the frozen bag french fries. Guess we went to the wrong place, but hey, were going to cook again tonight so we know that will taste good.

Today, Friday, we tried to go to a beach called Mocambique, which is supposed to be the longest on the island, which turns out it was, but it was also the most undeveloped. There was literally a beach and nothing more, no restaurants, no surf shop, nothing. And seeing as how we hadn´t had breakfast or lunch yet, we decided to head back down a ways to a beach called Barra da Logoa and ate some steak and fries there, and layed out afterwards. We were going to try to go surfing and get surf lessons, but the waves were either small or non-existent and ended up just laying out again. So if it´s one thing we did in Florianopolis was to take advantage of their beaches and come back with a tan!

Tonight we´re going to attempt to see a movie, which we hope will be in English with Portugese subtitles, since we´ve decided Portugese is not as similar to Spanish as we thought, and more German, Russian, and Chinese, or at least that´s how it sounds to us. Then were going to cook again and go to bed early since we will be travelling all day and night tomorrow. Florianopolis truly is a beautiful place with beautiful people, beaches, and culture. It´s probably just better to visit in the high season when they´re on their game. Anyways, one leg down, three to go, look for another update after Rio de Janerio in about 5 days! Until then, hasta luego!

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 26


board 2 board 2
board 2

trading in the traditional snow board style for a sit down version after falling down several times
Black Bird in ParadiseBlack Bird in Paradise
Black Bird in Paradise

they all had their wings open and would run and chase each other, don´t know if it was a territorial thing or what, but interesting none the less
Island 3Island 3
Island 3

This is the point he took us to, there was a random vertical rock that no one knows how it got there that way...
Rock FormationRock Formation
Rock Formation

Supposed to look like a skull

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