All night, there was some crazy party, including my immediate neighbours, who were having sex so violently, the fan on my wall threatened to fall right off its shelf. They brought the bongos and guitars and starting singing "blahblah Ilha do Meeelllll" over and over again, it never ended.
I turned the iPod up and attempted to sleep. I got snatches of it until 5:30 a.m. The plan was to get up real early at low tide, and walk 8 ish kilometres out to Fortaleza, the old Portuguese fort. It's a lot more difficult than it sounds.
At first, I climbed entirely the wrong mountain. I was faced with a dangerous cliff, which had some menacing rocks at the bottom. There was no way, I was going to find my way down the other side of it. So, I went back to try and find the right way I found a white flag in front of a clearly marked path over another part of the same mountain. I dunno what my problem was, and why I didn't see it at all the first time I climbed the mountain.
This led me to another beach with another white flag on it. I followed the path behind the flag again, but it only led me to a weird hippy camp, full of garbage and poorly constructed shelters. The trail narrowed and went into the dark jungle. I was a little afraid of the crazy hobo that might live there, so I didn't go any further.
I walked to the end of the second beach and almost gave up, because I didn't see anymore flags anywhere and the rocks looked extremely dangerous to climb. I decided to either figure out what to do by 8 a.m. or go back and just take the ferry instead.
On my sad, defeated walk back to the ferry docks, a couple of fishermen told me that I could climb the rocks at low tide, no problem. It was just getting to be low tide right now, so I went right back. I scrambled over the like a crazy person, scratching up my knees, feet and hands on the barnacles until they bled.
When I finally got to the next beach, past the rocks, I found a small guest house which was connected to the road to Novo Brasilia Finally, I found my way to the other side of the island. From here on out, the walk was quite easy, but the blazing sun beat down intensely once I got to the next beach, the beach leading to Fortaleza.
My first stop was this port, which was built to keep the Spanish away back in the 1700s. It looked like it was close by, but it actually took an hour to walk there. A nice peaceful walk of course, but also hot, sweaty, thirsty and hungry. I ate my two oranges when I got there and regained some energy to climb up to the lighthouse.
So, I did another hour walk down the beach and climbed up the easy stairs to the top. I could see from there how far I had travelled, and all before lunch! I had two more oranges and booted it back down to the Novo Brasilia ferry dock. I had just made the 1 p.m. sailing back to Encantadas. I made a complete circle of the southern tip of the island. The north, is inaccessible by law, so I considered Ilha do Mel finished.
After lunch, I grabbed some cold beers and went down to the beach again to sleep off the rest of the day. I looked through my photos and put my camera down on my towel. A fatal mistake. As I was snoozing, the tide came in and swept my camera out to sea. I ran after it and retrieved but I thought it was a goner. I had been waiting for it to die since I washed it last year as I was cleaning pickle juice out of my bag in Singapore. There is no explanation as to why I had pickles in the same bag as my camera, and also how I forgot that camera in the bag as I cleaned it out. Let's just move on.
With very little faith in drying out the camera, I moved my towel back a lot of metres and took the battery and SD card out to dry. It's almost too painful to say, but I fell asleep again. The tide caught up with me and swept all my belongings out to sea AGAIN. But this time, it was so much worse. I ran around picking everything up, my journal, my water bottle, my camera battery, my camera, my shorts and my towel, but as hard as I tried, I couldn't find that SD card. All my pictures from this weekend's beautiful adventures were gone into the ocean. It was as if the island itself was camera shy and took its photos back from me. Maybe I had taken a secret photo of something! It all seemed so cosmic at the time, but really I know it was only my own dumb fault.
As I walked home, dejected and angry at myself, yet again, I saw a sign for a blues festival and heard one of the bands playing English music. It was 20 reals to get in and they took my master card. Oh my yes. I took a quick shower and came back ready for the show, feeling a little better already.
The whole thing was quite laid back, only a few people danced while most everyone watched with beers in hand. Again, the English music was a relief and I had a nice night, dancing by myself, despite everything that went wrong and all the open sores and blisters on my feet. I got tired at about 10, so I went back to my shack, where it was surprisingly quiet.
Cannons at Fortaleza
Ilha do Mel
Ilha do Mel
Ilha do Mel
Ilha do Mel