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Dream anchorage, sea fortune and brotherhood

For our last stop in Brazil, we are in an exceptional place, an archipelago almost completely away from civilization.

We are anchored halfway between a mangrove and a large dune. As the current is strong and there is a significant tide we unrolled 60m of chain : a very important detail.

It is a dream spot : iconic landscapes of the Nordeste: wind, water, sand, dunes, mangroves and a village built on the sand.

Here, there is only fishermen and their family. They are very friendly. They come to greet us in the morning, and cast their net a few meters from the boat.

One of the main problems near the mangroves is that there is big roots in water and sometimes trunks float. Well, this morning our chain is wrapped around a large branch. And when I say wrapped, I mean very very tangled, so much than the boat is getting too close to the mangrove.

In fact, the branch is only the least of our problems : the chain is winded all around a big tree under water.

We dive in the water with the machetta and begin to cut all we can see.

We thus freed a few meters of chain but the boat is still stuck and it is difficult to see what is going on under the water because near the mangroves, it is never clear.

Quickly, our hands are streaked with cuts, shallow but bloody.

After one hour, our efforts only tightened the chain a little more around the trunk which has become our new anchor. To free the chain, we should give it some slack but in doing so, we get dangerously close to the mangrove during the gusts (to make matters worse, there is a lot of wind). One of the fishermen sees us, lets his family on his boat and goes into the water with us. I offer him the machetta : more useful for him than for me !

Another hour in the water : diving, cutting and getting rid of piles of roots and small wood. The diagnosis is bad: it is a very large dead tree trunk, planted vertically, more than 7m high, given the depth of water at this location. It is impossible to untangle the chain in the water, so attached it is to the trunk. And the tide goes out. If the boat get stranded in the mangrove in such an isolated place, it will be impossible to free it.

The only solution would to abandon the chain and anchor or to tear the trunk from the ground and pull it with the boat to a place where we could rid it of the chain. The fisherman has experience : he explains we need to uproot the base of the trunk, using the boat as a lever. What a splendid idea !

After some discussion, I start the boat engines at full speed to head towards the dune opposite. The boat remains stationary: the force of the engines is insufficient to tilt the trunk. But our new friend has the solution!

We attach the top of the trunk to one side of the boat and the length of chain closest to the foot of the trunk (that our new friend has recovered underwater) on the other side. I did offer gloves, he tried them on with a smile and quickly abandoned them. He prefers to work with the chain bare-hand !

Once the tree is separated from the ground, the boat drifts very quickly towards the mangrove. Engines at full blast I quickly flee towards the dune pulling the trunk with me, letting the boys in water,

This dune is a blessing because its slope is ideal to untangle the chain from the trunk. I finally see it, horizontally : a tree over 8m long! I recognise the hard and heavy wood that is used to make the masts of fishing boats.

Afterwards it is possible to untangle the chain. But it weighs a ton and the trunk is just as heavy. Fortunately village people come to help us!

At 12:30, victory! We open our last bottles of wine to celebrate with our new friends. It is time to exchange our first names !

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2 commenti

05 apr

Hi Catherine,

Well, we had no choice but in fact, it is not dangerous. In Surinam , everybody swim in the Maroni and you see nothing at all.


Mi piace

30 mar

What a morning!

Meeting such helpful people in this difficult situation surely created friendly bonds. Were you not worried about going in the water near a mangrove?

Catherine Salai

Mi piace
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