FROM time to time, this blog likes to provide a few tips, probably learned the hard way, which may come in handy for anyone planning their own overland adventure.
So to that end, one piece of advice became as crystal clear as the water which helped create the problem – do not jump off the back of a boat with a phone in your short pockets.
In my defence, there were extenuating circumstances involving turtles, boobies (yes, seriously), the fact nothing is normally kept in my board short pockets and the sun. Yes, let’s blame the sun.
It has, after all, been ridiculously hot for large chunks of our 11-day ‘beach week’ along the coast of the giant Bahia province in Brazil.
Jumping in the water – not always as cold as you would like – has been a very popular pastime throughout. Just most people bothered to check they had nothing of value in their pockets.
Except me when the first real chance arrived to plunge into the sea on a boat trip during our stay in the sleepy – even outside the hours of siesta – stop of Caravelas.
Our boat, shared with Brazilians and, thankfully, one returning native based in Boston and able to translate what was actually going on to those whose Portuguese still stretches little further than ordering a beer, spent the day heading out, around and back from the islands which make up the Parque Nacional Marinho de Abrolhos.
Turtles bobbing around the boat as we pulled up to our first stop upped the excitement levels before we were ushered in small groups into a smaller boat and off for a short walk along the nearby shore.
More than accustomed to the influx of visitors, the local bird life barely ruffled a feather as we wandered past just a foot or so away, grabbing the opportunity for rare close-up booby pics (stop sniggering at the back).
All good, all smiles until having used my phone to take the pictures, Lisa opted to swim back to the boat and deposited it in my pocket as we clambered back into our lift back.
Where it remained when the end of her swim was met with my less than graceful splash off the back of the boat to make the most of the glorious conditions – right up to the point, several minutes later, my phone being put in my pocket came back to me.
It remained working, right up to the point the advice to turn it off immediately became pretty unanimous and there was nothing to do other than put it somewhere safe and spend the rest of the afternoon snorkelling, splashing around (the two may appear the same in some cases) and trying to get near the food ahead of Brazilians who appear to have no concept of sharing, queueing, not sitting on your stuff or little things like someone actually sitting in the seat they wanted.
But hey, that’s for another post.
As for the phone, it was banished to the bottom of my locker in a bag of rice
nicked borrowed from the truck supplies for the next few days.
Which at least kept it free of the sand which has got everywhere, but stopped my participation in the endless Instagram posing (always with one heel raised and head tilted backwards) which seems to be the Brazilian way.
Again, that’s for another post.
Remarkably, having been through all that, my phone appears to be working (touching all available wood as that is written), rather unlike one poor travelling companion who admitted his faulty phone was working fine “apart from the phone and the forward facing camera”.
Most importantly, all the pictures – boobies and otherwise, if you really want to milk that line of humour – appear to be in place and backed up.
Until my next lapse of concentration and it gets dunked in a vat of caipirinhas (highly likely, given the current consumption rate) or buried on a beach somewhere.
Phone drama apart, our stop in Caravelas was a relaxing one.
Relax was pretty much all you could do given the wait to receive your food at most restaurants – if you received anything at all, two of us at one point just being given two glasses and a plate because they seemed to think we were sharing other people’s food and drink.
The wait one night was so long, we started tucking in to the chillis in the salsa.
Not the smartest of moves.
Caravelas’ hold on us lasted a bit longer than planned as with our scheduled stop not available, we made the shortest of drives and spent the day and night on the nearest beach, complete with a spectacular rising red moon.
Less spectacular when you consider the colour probably had something to do with pollution.
We headed further up the coast the next morning to Trancoso where the main items on the agenda were hanging around on the beach, sampling the locals bars and restaurants (mainly an Aussie-run coffee shop in our case), exploring the central Quadrado (grassy area surrounded by stalls and cafes), trying to keep the popper on my new board shorts done up, eating street food (surprisingly lovely tapioca wraps) and inadvertently adding to our truck collection of sandwich toasters.
With a joint birthday party on the beach which featured a fair bit of drama, eskie punch (some of it loaded into a water pistol) and the sad demise of several chairs and loss of our Rio gazebo.
The short drive to Porto Seguro brought us to our next stop, where the Portuguese first arrived and the African influence on the area begins to become evident.
We did explore their landing spot in the old town, collecting hammocks for what lies ahead on boats, but the highlight of our two-night stay was rather more modern – a trip to a water park to celebrate tour leader Danny’s birthday.
Which left just one more beach stop at Itacare, so brief a lot of us did not bother to make the short journey – basically walking round the fence – to the beach.
Can’t be too careful when you have a phone in your pocket.