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  • Writer's pictureDawnelle Salant

Beautiful Beaches, More Diving, and Deep Thoughts about Thongs

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

The next beach we explore is Baia do Sueste. It’s on the south side of the island, which we haven’t visited yet, and there is supposed to be really good snorkelling here, but the visibility is terrible and I see maybe one or two fish. None of the multitude of turtles that were promised to me. The beach is nice, but my 1 kilometre walk to Praia Leao is the highlight of my day. It’s a huge beach, down a steep hill, surrounded by black volcanic rocks and more intense green forest, while turquoise waters lap over a rocky bottom that stretches out to sand on the right. The best part is that it’s deserted. You can’t swim here due to nesting turtles and strong currents, which is fine by me as the walk down and back up looks really steep and I’m sweating just standing here in the heat. So I get to see this paradise with no humans disturbing it. Giant boulders offshore prevent any boats from getting too close, and I understand why there are no tours to this side of the island. I could stand here forever and watch this untouched panorama forever. But, alas, it’s too hot!

Thursday morning I get ready for my last two dives. Again, I am the only English speaking diver, but the staff is so nice that it doesn’t really matter. Our first dive site is similar to the others I have dived here, but our last dive is spectacular. We do a drift dive along the outside of Ihla do Medio, and the dive master explains that we will see plenty of wildlife and lava formations. He’s right. There are sharks and turtles everywhere, and he points out a flounder upon our descent. It’s yellow and green and blends so well into the sandy floor that it takes me a while to figure out what he’s pointing at. I find flounders to be hilarious, it’s like they have collapsed on their sides after running a marathon, and its marble-like eye protrudes as if someone has misplaced it there. It blinks at me and I can’t help but smile even with my regulator in. I think my favourite thing to see underwater are turtles. Because this is a drift dive, we are moving along with the current and hardly have to exert any energy. The current moves in waves, we drift back and forth over the coral and lava, and the movement is relaxing. I find a turtle munching on some seaweed in a vase like lava formation. I am hovering maybe a meter over it, and the clarity of its shell, its beady eye and the way its mouth opens and closes on breakfast has me mesmerized. It too moves with the current, and while it is anchored to the lava by its mouth on the seaweed, it’s body bangs back and forth on the lava like its had too much to drink and has no control over its movements. The landscape here is as beautiful and exciting as the wildlife. This is one of my top dives to date - not just in Noronha, but out of all my dives. The perfect finale to my diving experience here on the island.

After diving, we head back to Concecaiao beach for some relaxing. I love people watching on the beach, especially in Brazil. I find it hard to believe that so many women here have perfect butts, but the evidence is right there in front of me. I can see it all. The thing is, when you go to a restaurant, meals usually come with fries and rice. Yes, and, not or. Both. Fries and rice. How these women keep their figures amazes me.

I watch a family come in and rent an umbrella and chairs. There are two young adult children, I’d say early twenties, and they spread their towels out on the sand to sunbathe. They are both females, and naturally, they are wearing thongs. They are laying on their stomachs, looking back over their shoulders talking to their father. I imagine what it would be like to grow up in Brazil, in such a different culture. It’s hard to fathom that instead of childhood weekends at the ski hill, where I was covered from head to foot, I could have spent my childhood going to the beach with my family, and prancing around with my bottom hanging out, in front of my father. It’s as foreign to me as growing up on the moon. I wonder what kind of person I would have grown into if I was raised in Brazil. Would I be more body-confident? Would I be more relaxed? I’ll never know, but I do know that I am glad I found Brazil when I did. There is so much to learn here. Brazilians are happy. They seem so much more carefree, accepting and confident. I’m hoping this rubs off on me before I have to go back to snow covered, stress filled Canada.

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