Ilha Grande Day 1

Today we decided to go on a ‘half island’ speedboat tour. This tour would take us to 6 different spots.

Our pousada served an included breakfast from 8am to 10am. It was large and nicely presented, with four types of fruits, two breads, cake, meat, cheese, coffee, milk, and two juices. After breakfast we walked to a tour agency to book our boat tour (R$70 per person since we paid in cash or R$80 if you pay by credit card), stopped at a store to get some beer and granola for the boat tour, and then sat in the common area of the hotel and used the wifi.

We met back at the tour agency at the meeting time of 10:20am. The lady at the travel agency seemed to be waiting for someone to swing by to meet us, but ended up walking us over to another travel agency where we joined a larger group. Then we all followed the lady at the second travel agency to the nearby beach where we boarded a speedboat from the shore.

Once on the speedboat, we first stopped at a boat with ice. Many other boats seemed to stop at this same place for ice – an interesting, but convenient, place to sell ice. Then we stopped at a nearby hotel to collect 2 more people. This brought us to 13 passengers and a captain, which made the boat feel full but not stuffed. We started the tour itself by talking a long 45 minute ride to our first stop, which was the farthest from Abraao.

Along the way, we passed close (~1km?) to a oil rig platform just a few kms from the shore. It was massive, but we figure that this is a small platform compared to others. As we drove by, a helicopter landed on the platform – further giving us scale of the behemoth.

We didn’t know it at the time, but the first stop had the best snorkeling! We brought our own snorkels, but they had some on the boat that you could use as well. At this spot, you had to exit the boat into the shallow water, walk to the beach, walk over a rocky but flat section of land, and then get in the rocky shore on the other side, and snorkel. We were happy to have our water shoes for this small journey. Others went barefoot and seemed to not enjoy it as much. Once in the water, we saw many fish, including two types of puffer fish (one had fins that it used as arms to move things and more fins that looked like wings), two giant (2′ legs?) yellow and orange starfish, zebra fish, angel fish, and some other cool schools of fish. We really regretted forgetting our water camera for this stop and the boat was too far back to go get it – we had so much fun exploring! Being late July, which is winter in Brazil, the water was pretty cold but not unbearable. Some of our group never got into the water though – just staying on the beach! We spent around 50 minutes at this stop.

Our next spot was a small pass and lagoon between two islands. This spot was also good for snorkeling. We saw more puffer fish, some other pretty fish, and some thin needle-nosed fish swimming near the surface. We stayed near the shore here, since getting run over by a boat seemed possible if you ventured into the pass. JT started getting really cold, feeling numbness in his fingers, and decided to go back to the boat. He would not stop shaking even after getting out of the water, so he put on a windbreaker to keep heat in. Katie did so too, as she was also pretty cold. We warmed up once we put the jackets on.

At the third stop, which was at Love Beach, we opted to stay on the boat, stay warm, and eat a snack. We could see some fish from the boat, and they did not look amazing enough to make us change our minds. Only a couple of people from our group swam at this spot, most stayed on the beach. The boat captain did some minor boat repairs during this stop.

The fourth stop was a restaurant for lunch. Not surprisingly, it was expensive! Some of the backpackers in our group had smartly brought lunch with them. We opted to split an order of french fries (R$18) and 3 meat and 3 cheese pastries (R$24). The food was good at least, and the fries came in a sizable basket portion. There were some meals that cost R$80-100 (at least they were designed for 2)! The only couple in our group that opted for the large meal were the young Brazilian couple, seemingly unfazed by the cost.

The fifth stop was at a beach with an interesting lagoon behind it with a short stream running to the coast. We spent much of the 50 minutes at the beach watching seawater flow into and out of the lagoon as gravity fought against the large waves. There was also a neat bird near the lagoon that JT had fun taking pictures of. Our captain took a nap in the boat during this stop and many of our group relaxed on the beach.

The sixth stop was at another beach. It was quite crowded when we got there but cleared out soon after. The beach did not seem good for snorkeling (the captain had put away the common snorkels anyways) but had some rocks that we climbed around on for most of the stop.

All of the stops were beautiful, and in general the entire boat ride was awesome. For the price (R$70 per person cash), it was a great way to spend a day. Note: we were told when booking that drinking water would be included, but there did not appear to be any on the boat. There was ice in a cooler for drinks, and masks were provided for those who needed them (and we did not hear anyone complaining about the quality, although they were not used much). It seems that it really does not matter which agency you book with. There seemed to be two other speedboats on our route (or at least a similar route) – but surely there are many more boats during high season. There were a few stops where we were the only boat, and we never felt crowded.

We arrived back at a dock in Abraao around 4:50pm. We said our goodbyes to our group (who was having trouble paying by credit card for the trip), and headed to our pousada to hang our wet clothing to dry, wash saltwater off of items, and shower. A warm shower felt really good!

Then we hung out in the common area until going to find dinner. We tried to find some of the restaurants Katie had picked using TripAdvisor, but one was closed, one was too expensive, and we never found the other. We looked at a few menus before ending up at a restaurant near our pousada: Restaurant Gabi-biel. We originally stopped because of their single executivo meals, but in the end we opted for a R$44 2-person beef and egg meal. The meal also came with fries, salad, rice, and beans. It was a feast! We split the beef, eggs, and salad, Katie ate the fries, and JT ate the rice and beans. The meat had some fatty sections that we cut out, but overall the meal was very good. And it was obvious that our waiter – who had recruited us to eat there in the first place – was trying really hard, which goes a long way. We gave him a nice tip – in addition to the 10% customary service charge – which he seemed very thankful for. Overall, a great experience.

We retired back to the pousada and sat in the common area working on the WiFi internet (which only seemed to be available in the common area).

Our speedboat at the beach in Abraao – the starting point

Making waves on our way to the first stop

Oil rig platform on the way to the first stop

The first stop – we snorkeled on the other side of the strip of land

The second stop

 The fourth stop, for lunch

 Getting ready to wade back to the boat after lunch

The fifth stop

 The small channel leading from the ocean to the lagoon at the fifth stop

The boat parked at the 5th stop

Katie at the back of the speedboat

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