We left Canoa Quebrada at 8am to head south and inland towards the town of Sousa. We stopped on the way to shop for food since we will be camping the next two days and therefore prepare our own food. I was teamed up with Stuart to prepare the next day’s breakfast and lunch. Our budget was 45 Real (26 USD) to feed ten people. This turned out to be a challenging task since due to the strength of the Real most food products are actually more expensive than back home. In addition we currently don’t carry any bulk food (cornflakes, pasta…) in the truck since we don’t do much camping during this part of the journey from Manaus to Salvador. Therefore, we actually had to purchase everything we need. Our choice were cornflakes, milk and bananas for breakfast and a pasta, vegetables and cheese for lunch. We ended up with 46 Real, only one Real over budget, after we had to give back some vegetables at the checkout counter.
We arrived in the area of Sousa around 4pm where we drove straight away to the “Vale dos Dinossauros” (link only available in Portuguese) which is basically a park where you can see the footprints of various species of dinosaurs. In this park one of the world’s longest dinosaur tracks can be seen which has a length of 55 meters and is an impressive 120 million years old. To get an impression about the size of the dinosaurs some of us stepped into their footprints and tried to walk in them using large steps.
The guy with the long white beard, who guided us around the park, was only speaking Portuguese but luckily our co-driver / mechanic girl Anki speaks pretty good Portuguese so she translated his speech to us. The guide also seems to have his live dedicated to the prehistory of this area since in the little museum of the park we were able to spot several books and videos published by him.
For the night we had originally planned to bushcamp but since it had become quite late and the guide offered us to camp on the grounds of the park, we happily accepted his offer. As this was our first camping night of this journey, Anki and Ross gave us a speech about the truck, e.g. where the cooking equipment is stored and how the tents are set up. As of this journey I have decided to bring my own tent to have a tiny bit more privacy during the next 12 months. It was therefore also my very first night in my own tent and I was quite quick to figure out how it is set up.
Tonight’s cooking group prepared Spaghetti Bolognese with salad for us which were very tasty. Only the water took ages to boil. Stuart and I also used the time to prepare the pasta salad which we will serve for lunch tomorrow.
Canoa Quebrada is a small fishing town in the northeast of Brazil and since there is a strong wind blowing it’s also a popular spot for kitesurfing and windsurfing. Actually Jeri and Canoa Quebrada are said to be one of the best kitesurfing destinations in Brazil. Others include Cumbuco and Fortaleza.
Canoa Quebrada has two major spots for kitesurfing. The first one is part of the approx. two kilometer “Long Beach” right in front of the town. There aren’t just kitesurfers here but also other people walking on the beach and swimming in the sea. However, the kitesurfers more or less stay on the Western part of the beach while the swimmers are mainly in front of the restaurants and bars. The second spot is where the Jaquaribe River meets the sea. The sea here is nice and flat and one can stand in most parts of the water during low tide. Therefore, this spot is better for practicing or doing tricks (jumping) than the spot at “Long Beach”.
Have a closer look at the first picture I have posted under today’s blog entry. Isn’t this a gorgeous spot? When kitesurfers go to heaven this is probably where they want to end up… In total I have never seen more than ten kites in the air at the same time at both spots so there is a lot of space and the ultimate feeling of freedom in the air.
I spent about half of the day at the beach and the other half walking around in town. Compared to Jeri, Canoa Quebrada has less charm and is more touristy. It’s a former hippie community but there is not much left from these times with the exception of Reggae music played in some of the smaller bars and restaurants.
We had to leave Jeri at 8am. I could have stayed a few days longer but overlanding continuously drives you forward to new destinations. However, I’m pretty sure that I will return to Jeri one day for kitesurfing, maybe already in November this year.
Leaving Jeri was the same procedure as coming here. The first 15km were off-piste in 4×4 drives until we hit our truck “Mamacita”. From there it was a 6-7 hour drive to Canoa Quebrada our home for the next two nights. We actually expected the drive to be 1-2 hours longer but there was a new road which speeded up our travel so that we arrived around 5pm.
Our pousada was situated in only one minute walking distance from the beach. When we arrived there was some confusion with our reservation. They had reserved rooms for us containing only one small double-bed for two people. Usually we don’t sleep that close to our roommate and cuddle with each other so that Anki, who speaks pretty good Portuguese, had a discussion with the hotel manager. In the end six of the eight of us got a single room which was a welcomed change after spending several of the last nights in dorms.
This evening I spent some time to create the “Travel Statistics” page of this blog so please take some time to have a look and count the countries of the world you have visited so far…
In the morning I went for a walk around in Jeri. Compared to yesterday it was much calmer probably because the Brazilians, who come to Jeri for the weekend, had left the town. It was a nice atmosphere to stroll around the little sandy streets and the beach area. There are not too many places I fall in love with and have the desire to return but Jeri has the potential to become one of these places. This little town has lots of charm: no big hotels, small restaurants with tasteful food, outdoor bars with delicious drinks, a beautiful beach, lots of sun and strong wind…
Francesco, I and two Brazilian guys left at 12pm to go kitesurfing. Jeri is also the dream of every kite- and windsurfer since it has excellent wind conditions, especially from end of July to the end of December. There are several spots for kitesurfing in the area and independent from the wind direction there is always a spot to go to.
Today I tried out two different kites. First there was quite strong wind and I had a large kite, so that I only had to move the kite a little to get good traction. When I changed to the other kite the wind was changing and less strong so that I needed to move the kite more quickly. I especially had difficulties with the first kite since it was pulling me very hardly and 2-3 times I lost control over the kite ending up in uncontrolled flights over the water. Luckily I was not flying too high and the water surface is not as hard as land or ice so that I didn’t hurt myself. Modern kites today do also have a three way safety system which allows you to completely detach the kite from your body in case of an emergency, e.g. a boat is driving into your lines and pulling you. I was also happy that I have taken my new polarized sunglasses (level 4 protection) which I have bought for the mountain glaciers and my 50+ sun blocker to the lagoon since the sun was pretty intense. I actually managed to survive the two days on the water without getting sunburned.
The guys and I again spend approx. four hours kitesurfing and it was very much fun! I’m honestly considering returning to Jeri for 1-2 weeks later on this year, maybe after my Lima to Cartagena trip in November. Let’s see…
For dinner I went with Anki, the co-driver / mechanic girl of our truck, to a restaurant serving Arab specialties. The food was very delicious and less pricy as in many other places. After spending quite some time on the water I was very much hungry and also my body temperature had dropped. While my roommate Molly was sweating and sleeping with the air-conditioning switched on, I was somewhat shivering and had to put my fleece on.
After a sleep in and a relaxing morning I went kitesurfing with the guys from “Zona Kite” in Jeri. There is an Italian guy called Francesco who speaks pretty good English and is a certified IKO instructor. If you haven’t kitesurfed before or what to improve your technique he is the guy to speak to. He also operates a website called Kitetripbrasil.com on which you can arrange several days of kitesurfing in the Northeastern part of Brazil with him.
IKO is the International Kiteboarding Organization which spans an umbrella around the three major kite sports: kitesurfing (also called kiteboarding), snowkiting and powerkiting (also called kite landboarding). Although I do related sports like windsurfing and snowboarding, kitesurfing is still very much different. Probably it’s 80% of the skill to control the kite and 20% to actually control the board which is the main differentiator from snowboarding. You also have to overcome your fear and “feel” the kite if you want to enjoy flying…
Francesco said that the wind is currently stronger in the afternoon why we didn’t leave Jeri before 1pm. Our destination was a lagoon very close to the sea which we reached in approx. 10-15 min by dune buggy. Since there are no dunes, the wind blows as much as on the sea but you have a flat surface which is optimal for practicing or doing tricks (jumping). We spent approx. four hours here which was very much fun. My fellow traveler Bob from Australia came as well to watch me kitesurfing. Since he is already seventy years old and has an artificial hip he couldn’t give it a try himself but just watched. But he said if he were ten years younger with a proper hip he would have tried it which is so typically him. Bob remains the coolest seventy year old guy I have ever met…
While I was kitesurfing the other people in my group went for a tour in a dune buggy which took them to some scenic lakes and rocks in the surrounding area of Jeri. All of them very much enjoyed this tour although some of them came back very much sunburned.
In the evening most of us went to the beach to have some kebabs. I tried each of the four different kinds offered which were chicken, beef, shrimp and cheese. Especially the cheese kebab was surprisingly delicious since it was covered with some unidentifiable but tasty spices. Afterwards we went for a drink into one of the small bars which brought this wonderful day to an end.