The boat never really leaves when it’s meant to. If the opportunity for more passengers and money presents itself, then the crew eagerly take it.
Soon we have enough for a respectable departure, and we set off amidst cloudy uncertainty in the weather.
But 20 minutes into the cruise, or ‘passeio’, the sky gives up its fight with the sun, and lets it stream down around us.
Suddenly we stop, drop anchor, and it’s time for a snorkel while hordes of fish of all descriptions surge around the swimmers.
João picks up his guitar, and starts singing slow Brazilian tunes for the rest of the passengers as we dry off and head to the next lagoon or ‘praia’ (beach).
At the end of the day, after numerous stops around paradise and a fantastic seafood lunch, the schooner makes its way back to the picturesque port of colonial Paraty.
We dock, and all too soon, the day spent adrift is anchored back to reality once more.
The shrieks of excited children can be heard long before your trail to the waterfalls comes to an end.
And then that strange extended ‘mushy’ whoosh sound followed by a loud splash is finally explained. A smooth moss covered rockface, worn down over time, forms a natural waterslide down to the pool of water below.
Young kids, egged on by their parents, take cautious turns sitting or lying down and sliding the ten metres or so into the cool freshness of the mountain water below.
Then it’s the teenagers’ turn… not content with the simple pleasures, they prefer to surf down the slippery rock face on foot – dangerous, yes, but thrilling to watch.
I can barely make it across the flat slippery path without falling over at the top of the Tobogã, (or toboggan). The kids glide past me with grace and ease.
I think that this time, even with travel insurance on my side, I might stick with the ‘lying down’ option…
Locals here practice at the Tobogã for the annual ‘surf’ competition. That’s when you’ll see the most thrilling and daring moves come out…
It’s late in the afternoon, as the bus from Ubatuba shuffles into town. The golden tinge of the setting sun filters through to the colonial dwellings of Paraty.
A once important port for the transport of gold from Brazil to Portugal, the town is now a haven for tourists and artists keen to capture the essence of colonial Brazil.
After a quick refreshing shower at the pousada, it’s back out onto the cobbled streets for a closer look. Most of the buildings, particularly those in the historic centre, are painted white, with the only splashes of colour permitted are on the doors and their frames. It makes for an enticing photo.
The closer you get to the centre, the more Paraty’s charm takes over and you forget you are a tourist in what is quite the tourist attraction. It’s no wonder you see artists with easels out in the streets painting famous scenes of Paraty – this place is blooming beautiful. Touristic – yes. But there’s plenty of places to still lose yourself a little and grab some alone time with the village.
As I head into town, the sun sets and soon the colour of purple evening light adorns Paraty’s whitewashed walls. Night lights soon lead the way to street markets, musicians, shows and some amazing restaurants and ice cream shops.
You might not be able to lose yourself completely in Paraty’s few cobblestone streets, but you’ll definitely lose track of the time you spend in them…