The beautiful island of Fernando de Noronha, with its tropical vegetation, the small wooden huts, the kindly welcoming inhabitants, its blue waters, its beautiful beaches, and breath-taking sunsets was the perfect port to reach after the Atlantic crossing. We had no port programme, but there were still a lot of exciting things to do on the island.
The majority of activities were centred around the sea, and included paddle boarding, SCUBA diving, snorkelling, swimming, surfing, and watching animals. One group of students went paddle boarding at St. Antonio beach, watching the trademark rock from a distance.
The Class Afloat dive team, consisting of Peter, Nick, Nicolai, Olivier, Adam, Liam, Allie, and Jo, spent Arrival Day (31st October) at the Atlantis Divers’ shop organising the dive from the next morning. The dive was a big success the next morning – it was basically a baby shark safari. A surf that had come in the night before reduced the visibility for the divers, but made it possible for some people to go surfing, even though normally the surfing season on Fernando de Noronha is between December and March, the opposite of the rest of Brazil.
1st November was spent at the beach by most people. Some went to Sueste beach and were very excited to see several sea turtles and a full sized shark, which they fearlessly followed for a while. Numerous other groups accidentally converged at a beach near Atlantis Divers. It was a very beautiful beach, which one entered through a tunnel of trees. There were cliffs to the western side of the beach. One of these cliffs was used by some locals, and later by some Floaties, for needle jumps into a pool of water that had collected in a lower part of the cliff.
On our last full day in Fernando de Noronha, Marine Biology teacher Asta had put Class Afloat in contact with the local marine preservation centre, which Chief Mate Dominque had wonderfully praised (he has been on Fernando de Noronha before and describes it as his favourite place on Earth). The centre was releasing two turtles back into the wild after helping them recover. The people interested in going to this programme at Sueste beach were taken to the dock with an early tender right at 0815 hours, but the other groups going to Sueste beach also had a chance to see the turtles being released.
In addition, a lot of people rented equipment to go snorkelling at Sueste beach, which included a life jacket to access a restricted area. With the life jacket, people couldn't dive down and touch the turtle food that is placed onto the ground. In addition, however, the life jackets made it safe to swim farther out to the edges of the bay, where a lot of beautiful fish were eating by the reef.