Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Travelling from Jericoacoara to Lençois Maranhenses, day 2

Traveling the beach Jericoacoara to Camoçin
We woke the morning after we'd been sent out of Jericoacoara to discover that the fishing boats that we'd parked between were mostly gone. I'd heard a few men at 4am and gotten up to have a look (I'd realised they were fisherman come for the boats), but I couldn't see the activity in the dark. 

We calculated that if we made an early start we'd beat the high tide, so off we went. The beach driving was great and pretty soon we turned inland to take a ferry across a creek. The ferry was more like a raft, part powered by small motor, and part by shunt. There were 2 men each with a raft trying desparately to get us to float with them. We asked 'how much weight does it carry'. The answer scared me, because instead of just answering the man carefully considered our vehicle first. '4000 kilograms'. From his careful consideration I wondered if he was thinking 'gee, if I say 3,500 maybe they'll turn around... Better jack it up to 4000'. 
Anyway, we went and it was fine, the raft stayed just above water!

The boatmen told us to follow the tyre marks through woody mangroves, and we carefully manoeuvred under low branches (we need about 3m clearance). The white sand looked like snow, but the high temperature kept it real. 
Then it was back onto a stretch of beach before cutting across low dunes to make a low tide creek crossing just a bit inland. At this point there were black pigs and piglets everywhere. Maybe you don't know how much I like pigs, just seeing them makes my day better.

Over the creek there was a small village , with a Dutchman running a guesthouse for kite-surfers who caught up with us and greeted us (in Dutch). Soon we were invited in for coffee and to meet the other Dutch people. This was great because we needed to wait out high tide anyhow. 

Apparently, some other Dutch overlanders (H knows them) passed here 3 years ago, but aside from that they don't see so many overlanders going by. 

After a while the people of 'Portal do Venta' (the kite-surfers guesthouse) had work to do, so we took a dip in their pool, said farewell, and headed to the waterfront for lunch. The first Dutchman (Marcel) also gave us a lot of instructions for the next part of the trip. 

Marcel's instructions were wonderful to have, but we still got bogged. We were stuck in mixed sand and mud, and it took us about an hour to get unstuck. But!, we should never have gotten bogged!

Whilst travelling up the beach, if the sand surface was 'easy' Hendrik would switch the vehicle to 2 wheel drive. When we first bogged down into the sand I said 'Are we in four wheel drive?', 'yes' came the reply without looking. (Note, Hendrik is a really good driver, but if you question his driving too much you get a grumpy Hendrik). 

He tried again, we bogged down more in the rear. He got out and started digging, I took photos and then decided to collect bits of timber for support. When he had dug enough and put some timbers in he decided to try again. This time I was watching. 'Your front wheels aren't turning' I said. 'Mmmm' he said with an acknowledging nod. I re-stated 'your front wheels aren't even trying to turn'. He replied with something about diff locks. 

By then we already had 4 men on motorbikes who'd turned up and were helping with the digging, getting of timber and placing it. Finally H decided to try again. The front wheels turned too, and out we went. H came around to me and said quietly 'ya know why we got stuck and couldn't get out?, we were in two wheel drive still'. That's H, he'd hate for anybody to think that Blac wasn't up to the task when he was at fault.  

I thanked the 4 men, offered them cans of coke for refreshment, and we were off again. 

Another turn off the beach and we arrived at another ferry to take us over the river to the large town of Camoçin. The ferry took 2 vehicles at a time, and a Hilux utility was already loaded. They told us we were heavy and offered to take us across for Rs50. 'How much is a regular car?' Hendrik asked. 'Rs25'. 
We reluctantly agreed, figuring that yes we are heavy and they'd need to take us without any other vehicle, ie, a private transfer, since normally they took 2 cars at Rs25 each, and they were charging us Rs50 (the equivalent of 2 cars). But, no they wanted us to board with the utility. We refused, and told them we'd wait, they could take us alone. 

Crazy as it was, when they came back for us they still directed H to drive to one side of the ferry. It was a scary crossing as the ferry rocked and Blac rocked even more, I really thought we'd lose everything!

That was enough adventure for one day. We decided to do the next few kilometres on the tar road, and rested overnight at a petrol station at Pernaiba. 

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