Fernando de Noronha
After 13 days at sea, the longest sail ‘til now, everybody was really happy to see land again. We saw the Brazilian flag on the mast and that was exciting, because a lot of people hadn’t been to Brazil before and it is far away for a lot of people. The first of December felt weird because for almost everybody this time of the year is usually cold. Even from the distance, Fernando seemed like it is one of the most beautiful islands ever, and it turned out that it was.
We arrived at Fernando a day early. We saw the beautiful island in the morning and anchored at noon, however we still had a full day of school before we could head to shore. Sophie, our first mate, went ashore for a long time to clear customs for us all. The problem with Fernando is that there are only a certain number of tourists allowed on the island at a time (I believe around 400 at once). We are all really thankful, because nobody wanted to miss this amazing port.
The first day of shore leave started with a ride in Black Betty (our little dinghy which can bring 20 people onshore) to get to the island, because the port is too small for big ships to get in. We found out that you can get really wet while sitting in a Black Betty, but it’s worth it as we saw a bunch of dolphins swimming and jumping around while we passed them. We saw the ship from a completely different angle and it was amazing to see our home as other people see it.
This picture was taken while we headed back to the ship in the evening. It felt amazing to need a little boat to get on ours, because it is too big to get into the port. That was the moment, when a lot of us realized again, this is our home. (Photo Credit: Svea)
On shore, we figured out that it is really hard to communicate with people if you don’t speak Portuguese. The problem was, it is a little island, so the English-speaking people are hard to find. My group and I travelled to the grocery store and the ATM and then tried to get a cab to drive back to the port beach, which became a difficult task because the driver didn’t speak English at all. So when we got into the cab, he drove us to a person who spoke English. It ended with us learning a really easy word in Portuguese: “Porto”. Back on the beach, we got a lot of ice cream and a bunch of cool Fernando souvenirs. The Port beach is also a really good snorkel spot, because the waves are quite small and we saw a turtle swimming around next to us. The curfew was 1830h, because we needed to get everyone back to the ship as they didn’t want to drive Black Betty around when it’s dark.
On the second day we woke up an hour earlier just to have more time on Fernando, and funnily enough we were an hour behind the native people anyway. That day, a lot of people had an early start and woke up at 6AM to go scuba diving and they saw a lot of cool fish and turtles. As we arrived on shore, we went to another beach and spent almost the whole day there, swimming in really strong waves. It was a lot of fun to jump over them and just play in them.
This picture was taken while we were on the beach and the waves look really awesome. (Photo Credit: Svea)
The island has a super awesome National Park with beautiful beaches and good snorkel spots, but it is really expensive to go in there, so a lot of us just chilled on the public beaches which were almost empty. We found good food in a beach restaurant and we tried a native Brazilian desert. It was baked banana with cheese (which is a weird combination) and vanilla ice cream and it tasted super good.
The departure day was a chill day. We all went to the beach and bought some last-minute snacks to tide us over as we sail to Natal. Everybody was really sad to leave this awesome place. If I had to describe what my personal paradise would be, I would say “Fernando de Noronha”, because its beaches are beautiful. Our goodbye was to sail away from anchor without the engine and it worked. You have to know it is quite difficult to go out of a port, or an anchor spot, without the engine, but we did it. Now we are all looking forward to Natal, so that we can explore more of Brazil. Luckily the sail to the main land is just one day.
- written by Ariane, an English 11 student