Day 4&5 (tue, wed): Canoa Quebrada – Icapui (56km)
On Monday we arrived to Canoa Quebrada. Surprisingly it is a very touristy town. Has a main street packed with restaurants, small shops and street merchants. Seems to have a good environment for kiteboarding because there were a few kites flying along the beach. The town, albeit being a bit touristy has a nice, cozy atmosphere. We stayed in a very nice pousada owned by a Portuguese couple, for a very good price (35 real = $R35 =~$18USD …somebody was asking). Its situated on the hill, right across the street from the beach so while chilling on the hammock you can see the ocean. Because it was a monday night the town was kind of quiet. We were told that there are good bars and nightlife but most of such places were closed on Monday.
Tuesday morning (day 4 of cycling trip) we got up, got some lunch at pousada and and after the tide went out (about 2pm) the beach sand was hard packed and ready for riding, thus we starting peddaling on the beach. It was pretty tough and so after going for about 2.5 hours and making only 15 kilometers we took a break near this small village called Fontinho (maybe 50 people live there) and noticed dark clouds coming in. We walked up the shore to the village and bought some spam and bread (nice lunch heh?:) The tide has also started to come back so we either needed to go fast or decide where to stay. As we were eating a fisherman from the village was walking by and started talking to us (Thomas was the main point of conversation as this man, and most people in the coastal areas, don’t speak any english). He showed us his fishing gear and seemed very friendly. Told us a little bit about the houses that are being washed away into the ocean as it keeps washing away the sand from the shore. Long story short, to make it to the destination (Punta Grosa about 25 kilometers away) would not be possible as the tide is coming in and some areas of the beach are not “passable” when the tide is high or approaching high, the fisherman Mauricio offered us to stay at his brother’s house. We considered for a little bit and decided that since we spoke with this man for about an hour and he seemed pretty trustable we are safer staying in their village rather than approaching another village and trying to camp out in the wild. Btw as we are riding through these towns we are learning that its quite dangerous to camp in the middle of nowhere, thus so far we have not used our tents. Mauricio’s humble dwelling provided hammocks for us to sleep on, delicious chicked dinner (while the family ate only rice) and at night we went “showering” in the natural spring water. Also we spend a few hours that evening talking about their life, their village and just …well stuff. Couple things worth mentioning: at night when it was dark (well it gets dark at 6pm here but it was already 9:30 or so = very late, since they usually go to sleep at 8 or 9pm) we were standing outside their home and Mauricio and his brother Kafu were telling us about this beast that they have seen around, called Batata (found more info about it on wiki here Boi-tata). Although being very religious catholics they also seemed to be strong believers in the mystic powers of these wild beasts. They so clearly and vividly explaiend the times and circumstances under which they have seen the beast. They also claim to have seen many ghosts in their area. According to them the next village was burrying their dead in this hole across their village thus the souls are now making their way back. Btw the Batata (or Boi-tata) can consume you if you are afraid of it when it appears, so you must be fearless! To top this story off – Kafu told us that they have also seen a warewolf and he knows who that person is. It is their mother’s sister!!! Accoring to the Kafu she doesnt pray and doesnt follow much religion and thus she turns into warewolf at night. I dont know what to make of these stories, but they were very entertaining. Even scary, as Kafu brought out this oversized machete with a huge handle and showed how you must react when you see the Batata. Enough said 🙂
In the morning the breakfast was served and because it was raining all night and most of the morning, we left the Fontinho village only at around 11am. You know… the hospitality that was provided to us, strangers, was unbelievable. And I wonder, what is the incentive for them? I mean, they didnt take money, they didnt want money. Maybe its religion? They had many religious artifacts in their home. “Feed the hungry” ? – Perpahs, but what I do know is that if there were more people like Mauricio and his family – the world would be a better place.
So on wednesday cycling through the beach again, got a little bit of rain, had to carry bikes through this river and also maneuver along the huge piles of seaweed left after the tide receeded. We passed Punta Grossa (beautiful local with wide intertidal area, cliffs and huge dune) and reached Redonda where we ate fish and relaxed before getting back on the road and cycling in the heat of the 3pm sun towards Icapui where we hitched a bus taking students to university in Masseo. Icapui is this cozy town, what to me seemd like mostly retired folks lived in. In Masseo we biked to the bus station and took a bus to Natal. Being precautious we didnt wander far from the bus station and at 1am we just headed to the closest hotel. This morning we cycled from the bus station to the beach in Natal (Ponta Negra area). I am writing too much….
Oh bicyce’s pedal broke after leaving Canoa Quebrada. Replaced? Check (25 or so kilometers later:). Chain broke this morning. Replaced? Fixed = Check.
If you are near the beach in Ponta Negra, Natal – you will find me there… on the beach somewhere, surfing perhaps ;))
(photos are following this post)