Its winter here in Floripa, so not every day is beautiful. We had a long stretch of cold rainy days, which finally came to an end last week. To celebrate, I went on a little surf adventure which soon became epic!
Here’s the story:
School started yesterday so the buses are full of cute Brazilian sprouts,
This map shows Barra da Lagoa (A) and Praia da Galheta (B). The big body of water to the west is actually a lake, Lagoa Conceicao.
(bonitinhos) clomping on and off with their cartoon backpacks and their school uniforms, which, like many things in Brazil, are pretty relaxed – and take the form of a cotton shirt or hoody with the school name. I take the bus to a new beach where I have not yet been, Barra da Lagoa, not sure what I will find. Each beach on this island is surrounded by its own little village with its own special feel. Today I take the bus over the mountain to Lagoa Conceicao, and then over another mountain, along a coastal route that winds in and out of clutttered little villages along the shore until I finally reach Barra da Lagoa.
Barra da Lagoa beach
This is a wide open wonderland of sweeping crescent shaped beach, with a vibrant sprawling town of small buildings backing into it — very different than any place I have visited thus far. The big beach looks out on its own collection of little islands, and is lined by open faced restaurants and shops. Brightly colored houses seem to tumble down the forested headlands on the south end of the beach in bougainvilla clad glory. Everything is perfect today except for one thing: my surfing set up is all wrong. The waves are very very tiny. Perfect for a chill day with a big longboard, but not so good for my shorter board. Still its a beach, and the sun is shining, so I am ready to have fun with what I’ve got.
As I wander down the beach looking for the best spot to put in, a run into a
The pretty bridge on the way to the trail up the headland
crew of Brazilian and Argentinian twenty-somethings who are making a documentary about the magic of Florianopolis and they ask if they can interview me. After offering some valuable soundbites in English about the loveliness of Floripa’s coast, I ask one of the local Brazilians if he’s got any advice for the best waves today. He suggests I check out one of the two beaches south of here Praia Galheta and Praia Mole. That seems like a pain, since I am already here, but I am eyeing the waves and thinking I probably won’t catch very much. For Praia Mole I can take the bus,
This, my friends, is a PENGUIN!
he says. For Praia Galheta, I’d need to walk, but there’s a path over the mountainous headlands. My ears perk up! I’d been eyeing those headlands, with their big boulders perched among giant yucca plants way up on the slopes, and had a hankering to explore them. I inquired further. This very relaxed seeming guy told me that the hike would take around 30 minutes, but he couldn’t guarantee the condition of the path due to the recent rain. He gave me further directions in Portuguese and I nodded my head happily though I barely understood. It was a beautiful day, and I’d been cooped up inside for the last few. I was ready for an adevnture, surfboard, unwieldy backpack and all. Before leaving the beach, my friendly direction giver pointed out to me that the birds I saw floating on the water were penguins. PENGUINS!!!! I am in the land of penguins. And the water is quite cold. But not, I should note nearly as cold as in San Francisco.
The start of the trail…
Thankfully, as I crossed the bridge, with my huge backpack and surfboard, about to head into the jungle with directions I only partially understood, a Brazilian guy who spoke English asked if I needed help and clarified some of the finer details of the route, warning me against a tempting but potentially disastrous wrong turn I could take that would lead to a treacherous rock path along exposed cliffs. Sounded fun, but not so fun with a surfboard in tow.
And off I went. Read the rest of this entry