Noronha By Boat
Because this island is so hard to get around, we jump on a boat tour the next morning. Again, no one speaks English so we don’t really know what’s happening. It’s definitely frustrating, but it also just proves how magical this island is. It’s real, it’s natural and the fact that we are the only English speaking people on the island so far proves that we are among the privileged who know about this island and get to experience it’s magnificence.
Straight out of the harbour we see dolphins. Not just a few, but close to a hundred. They jump up and play in the boat’s wake, flipping about in the water almost as if they were waiting for us to perform for. We spend about 2 hours cruising along the north side of the island. We see all of the famous beaches and stop at one point where the water meets a cliff and makes a deafening roaring sound. It seems as if there is a hole we can’t see that sucks up the water and spits it out as if it has a bad taste.
My first view of Praia do Sancho is breathtaking. This has been voted one of the world’s top ten beaches numerous times. Huge cliffs tower over the beach, easily 60 metres high, as straight as a cement wall. I see people on platforms on top, small as ants, looking down at the water and the people in it. The turquoise water is calmer here, turning to white only when it hits the light brown sand. As we cruise on, the cliffs give way to thick forests, so dense that you can only see the first layer. As we move on, we come to Dois Irmaos (Two Brothers) - two huge rocks resting in the ocean close to shore. These are the famous icons of the island and everyone snaps photos. Behind them we can see Baia dos Porcos (Bay of Pigs), with it’s clear turquoise water in natural pools. It’s so beautiful it doesn’t even seem real. I feel like I’m watching all of this on a life sized super HD screen. But the hot sun and sweat running down my back prove otherwise.
We head up to the end of the island where a rock wall juts out from the mainland, like a signal to stop here. An opening in the wall allows us to see out to the open sea and beyond.
Our final stop is a snorkel at Praia do Sancho. The water is so warm that as my hot body slides into it, I barely notice a difference. Snorkelling rarely compares to diving, but I see a lot more than I expected. Another giant stingray hovers under our catamaran and I see plenty of colourful fish and even one puffer. When the horn toots that it is time to go, I have to pry myself out of the water.
When we arrive back at port, there are a group of people watching something in the water right at the shore. I look closer and am surprised to see about 20 small black tip reef sharks swimming in the shallow water. They come so close to my feet that my iPhone can’t even capture the entire fish. I’ve never seen sharks so close to land before.