Ilha Grande - The Big Island

Trip Start Aug 24, 2010
Trip End Aug 23, 2011

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Flag of Brazil  , Rio de Janeiro,
Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday 14th August

The boat took only an hour and half to arrive....and we docked on to the island of Ilha Grande. We weren't far from Rio de Janeiro either.....this is where we would be heading in a few days time for our last stop before home. This large island, it made up mostly of jungle / tropical rainforest and there are no roads for traffic around the island. The main mode of transports are bicycles and boats. The roads are made of compacted sand and are pretty good for walking around. Although we were told this before arriving, we did see some trucks used for moving trees (I think).

Anyway, after the boat had docked in we had a walk around to try and find the hostel we booked ourselves in for two nights. After asking a few people if they knew where the hostel was, a young boy kindly showed us exactly where it was. We knocked on the gate and looked around.....we couldn't see anyone. We took the liberty of sitting inside by the "pool" while we waited for someone to come. The pool was the size of a large bath and filled with skanky green water. We discovered there was nobody inside the hostel from all the knocking we'd done. Then a guy from next door came over....he told us to let ourselves in! The hostel was open but there was nobody there. They guy left and we waited outside to wait for someone.....anyone! Then an old woman with no teeth appeared. She mumbled in Portuguese to us.....and we tried to talk Spanish and English to her. Eventually we were sorted out with a room when a young couple arrived and did some translating.

There was nobody else staying there, after the young couple left, so we made ourselves at home and watched Karate Kid before going to bed. 

Monday 15th August

We wolfed down a half decent breakfast prepared by the toothless lovely at the hostel. We'd got up at 07:00 and left to catch the boat at 08:30. We'd demolished everything at breakfast to the dismay of two late-comers, I'm not sure if the hostel had anything else to offer. Arriving down at the "port"....we waited on the jetty. Somehow we'd got the leaving time we waited until 09:30 before the boat left to take us to Mendes Lopes Beach. Phil managed to get us a discounted ticket to the beach......after some bartering. The boat dropped us as close to the beach as possible, which was a good 15 minute walk away....and the other side of the island. We hiked over the top of the island, which was pretty mountainous and the not the best flip-flop walking conditions. 

We had an enjoying afternoon on a beautiful beach....really pretty. We'd heard it was one of many nice beaches in Brazil....but it was a belter. We just had the afternoon playing football and reading in the sunny / overcast weather. It didn't rain, which was the most important thing. I left my last pair of swim-shorts in I was forced to wear my boxer-shorts on the beach. Luckily, I had  few tight fitting pairs.....and that's exactly how nearly everybody else wears them in I fit right in! 

We found a quiet, secluded spot and enjoyed the scenery before walking back to catch the boat. On our way, we saw some tiny little monkeys.....really cute little chaps, I'm not sure what type though. This national park is pristine Brazilian rainforest.....I loved the serenity of it all

Tuesday 16th August

We got up early, and weather depending we were going to walk, Pico do Papagaio (Parrot's Beak) of the highest points on the island at 982 metres (3220 feet) according to our book.....which is a fraction higher than England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike. We were going to walk it from sea level too. So it was going to be a pretty exhausting one. The weather was clear....not a cloud in sight.....and so we set OUR sights on getting to the top. Had breakfast and we took some supplies with us. It is recommended to take a guide and it is estimated to be a 6 - 7 hour walk. Of course, there was an Australian guy round at the hostel, he'd done in just over 2 hours! He must have thought we were from Israel....and started laying down the challenge early on.

We got lost near the beginning, having walked past a small track off to the right. We retraced our steps and eventually found it....with help from some Brazilian lads. The turning point was when Phil was having a wee in some bushes....and walking around in a grassy area. These lads shouted up to Phil....shouting something we didn't really understand until they started using their hands to illustrate what they meant. They meant, there could be loads of snakes where Phil was urinating! He quickly finished his business and got back to the walked track.

We set off walking through some pretty dense forest....and didn't see many people on our way. The path was covered with fallen trees, small streams and slippy rocks. The track was less walked than I imagined and it was also much more difficult than I thought it was going to be. After walking and scrambling for 2 hours, we reached the top......for a phenomenal view over the island and surrounding islands. Walking with pumps on my feet......I have to admit in the temperature it was a struggle. I was quite relieved to reach the top.....and was a few minutes after Slater and Phil. Slater revived me at the top with a pack of biscuits.

Our surroundings from 982 metres were huge boulders, tropical rainforest and birds cruising on the warm air currents. We had a panoramic over the coastline of this island. The descent took around the same amount of time.....but was tricky in places due to the steepness of some of the slopes. We also got lost....and went down an unknown track. We hadn't been going long before we turned back. But I stabbed me leg we a sharp branch and had a few cuts on my arm. We all had marks on ours bodies from coming into contact with a certain plant. Some nice lacerations to remember the walk.

We romped back to the hostel, got showered, had something to eat and then caught the ferry over to Mangarativa. From here we caught a bus to Rio de Janeiro....our final stop. For the journey I bought a cake the size of my head.
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