South America – Ilha Grande, Brazil to Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ilhas Botinas

Notes by Tim Barker on Mina2 – October 2010 to March 2010

South America from Baia do Ilha Grande, Brazil to Buenos Aires, Argentina

 Having over-wintered Mina2in Marina Bracuhy (Brac-oo-EE) in the Baia do Ilha Grande (eelya-granjee), I returned in October 2010 for a continuation of our cruise round the Baia do Ilha Grande and then to continue 1100 nm down the coast of South America, through Uruguay to Buenos Aires in Argentina.


Baia do Ilha Grange – Rio Grande

 We spent a couple of weeks continuing our cruise round the Baia do Ilha Grange – arguably the best cruising ground on the Brazilian coast. Anchorages (marked out of 10) included:

Anchorages in Baia do Ilha Grange and Baia de Paraty.

 Enseada das Palmas (23°09.495S 044°08.289W). Quite pretty and enhanced by the floating raft bar/restaurant run by a Dane. But what makes this place special is the 1 1/2 mile walk across the peninsula through a well-marked track in the rainforest (look out for the little almost tame marmosets peering at you from the branches of trees). You emerge on to what is one of the most spectacular beaches we’ve seen (and we’ve seen a few). 8/10

Lago Azul (23°05.287S 044°14.286W) on the northern tip of Ilha Grande itself. This little peninsula protected by an offshore island offers two or three anchorages. The position shown is actually off a wild tropical beach just to the south of the bay. More secluded but also more open to an unexpected strong sou’westerly, as we found at 0300. 8/10

Priaia das Flechas (23°03.074S 044°20.956W). Quite pretty but when we tried to drop anchor in sufficiently shallow water we were harassed by the pleasure boat drivers who rush in and out the whole time dumping their punters onto the beach. 5/10. That and a strong southerly wind decided us to relocate round the corner to….

Enseada da Fazenda (23°02.85S 044°20.94W). Very protected deep bay, plenty of room. Upmarket houses all round the bay. The anchor had barely dug in when a marinero from a particularly charming waterside house rowed over with an invitation from his boss to come over for a drink, which we accepted. Pellicano is a famous professional racing sailor from the 70’s and 80’s (skippered 1973 Fastnet winner)  who was indescribably hospitable whilst he remained sober! 7/10

Lagoa Verde (23°38.05S 04°19.35W). We passed into and through this pretty little bay as a recce. It is too deep and narrow to anchor in, but would be OK anchored with a stern line to a tree or rocks. Good snorkelling apparently. There is a rafted bar tucked into the end. Would be a nice place on a hot sunny day. 6/10

Praia do Tapera, Enseada de Sitio Forte (23°08.912S 044°17.407W). You can pick up a buoy or anchor off (in very sticky mud). There is an excellent restaurant on the beach, the speciality of which is grilled sardines – recommended. The anchorages at Enseada de Sitio Forte are popular amongst sailors, and few power boats venture here which makes it civilised and tranquil. There are good walks through the forest and around the rocks at both ends of the beach. 7/10.

Ilha do Cedro (23°04.107S 044°38.338W). The further west one goes, towards Paraty, the shallower it gets and more pilotage care needed. Approach from the south. On the north side of the island are two anchorages. We settled on the furthest east. Off the beaten track it has a very different feel from Ilha Grande. Less brash. Fewer power boats and big houses. More wild and natural. Fabulous. 9/10.

Baia de Paraty (pronounced par-a-CHEE) (23°12.391S 044°39.619W). This is a nice tranquil bay at the eastern end of the big Baia de Paraty but with enough fishing boats coming in and out to the little fishing village to make it interesting. 6/10.

Marina Engenho, Baia de Paraty (23°13.74S 044°41.74W). We went into this marina (owned by the legendary sailor and adventurer Amyr Clink) because we had autopilot problems that needed to be fixed, but it was also convenient for topping up the batteries on shore power, and getting a taxi into the delightful old colonial town of Paraty (UNESCO World Heritage Sight) a visit to which is an absolute must if you are in the area. You can also whizz over there in the dinghy (about one mile) but I would be inclined to chain the dinghy whilst there and would not leave it there after dark. The marina does not have any facilities like shops or restaurants in or nearby bit they do have excellent loo, shower and launderette facilities (by the standards of Brazil!). There is a large, protected and well used anchorage, as an alternative, just before you get to the marina, with a fresh water tap by a deserted house on the beach. Visit to Paraty: 10/10

Paraty-Mirim (23°14.266S 044°37.931W). Anchor any further north from this position and you will find it very shallow from the bar at the entrance to the river. We had a rather disappointing lunch at the bar/restaurant on the beach. We were also told that a dinghy trip up the river is rather boring with nothing but mangroves (but from the roots of which you could harvest an excellent meal of small, irregular, but delicious oysters).

Saco do Mamanguá. A stunning, beautiful, steep sided fjord. Hardly any boats go there. For complete tranquility you can go right to the end and anchor north of Punto de Bananal at 23°17.283S 044°38.265W or to take in the local culture, anchor off the village at 23°16.030S 044°37.487W. Off the village, anchor opposite the church – not the building with AMAM painted on the side, as the shallows extend quite far out there. The fishing village is very humble with no tourist facilities at all but the locals very friendly. Boats and dug-out canoes are hand built on the beach. For the VERY fit, the huge mountain behind the village would represent a satisfying challenge – allow the whole day. The wrecked large house on the outskirts belonged to a Korean who flouted all the planning laws so the IBAMA (Customs) blew it up with dynamite which has given the locals free building materials for years! 10/10

Enseada do Pouso (23°16.09S 044°34.82W). Anchor off the beach at the end of the deep bay. Only a day anchorage unless the weather is very settled (ie flat calm and likely to stay that way) as it is prone to swell and exposed from the northeast to east. There is a charming bar/restaurant on the beach owned by the solitary fishing family. If you want to eat, they open up for you. We had a plate of excellent large fresh water crayfish which they caught in traps in the waterfalls behind. 6/10

Ports and Anchorages on Passage from Baia do Paraty to Rio Grande

 Yacht Clube de Ilha Bela (BeautifulIsland) (23º 46.212S 045º 21.216W). We had some considerable difficulty in identifying the yacht club which will allow visiting yachts to pick up a buoy, so use the lat/long above to guide you. Checking in to the yacht club for a one night stay was worse than clearing in to the country with forms of data on the boat and the need to prove identity for the crew (although they weren’t fussy about the form of identity – with our passports left on the boat one of my crew used his Esher & District Senior Citizens Bus Pass!). The club has good facilities. Ilha Bela itself is indeed a beautiful island of dramatic volcanic mountains which we did not have time to explore. The town itself is very touristy with a couple of large cruise ships disgorging the punters to overwhelm the town every day. The downside of the island is that it is stiff with borrachudos, an almost invisible fly with a bite twice as bad and long-lasting as a mosquito, so Deet up. 5/10 for an overnight stop but probably worth more if one hung around to explore the island.

São Francisco do Sul (26°14.594S 048°36.468W). São Francisco do Sul, 10 miles up a wide river, is one of the oldest towns in Brazil. Settled in 1660 by whalers from the Azores, many of the buildings, particularly on the river front, are old and attractive reminders of the town’s colonial past. It has been made a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the buildings are being slowly renovated. Anchor in 3m off the river front, good, holding. the town is geared up for tourists and has some good restaurants. We would probably have enjoyed our visit more if it hadn’t been raining torrentially the entire time. 6/10

Porto Belo (27°08.692S 048°32.094W)

 This is as far as I got in writing these pilotage notes. They will be added to in due course


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