Paraty, Brazil, South America
I got up this morning, had a few minutes to grab some breakfast at the hotel, and then my driver showed up. His name was Romulo and he is a tour guide in the state of Rio de Janeiro, although he spoke almost no english at all. We had to go pick up another diver before heading to the marina, but Romulo had no idea where this other pousada was. We drove all over the town for about a half hour before finally finding it, right next to the old center. The other diver we picked up was a 32 year old German pilot named Max. He’s a really nice guy and I haven’t seen someone that excited to dive in a long time. He doesn’t get to go very often, so this was a special treat for him.
We got down to the marina, got all of our stuff, got on the boat, and met our dive instructor for the day, Kiki. We met a couple other people on the boat as well, including a Belgian couple named Stephan and Kathleen. They are very experienced divers with way over a thousand dives between them, so they were quite happy to go off and do their own thing. They are keen photographers, so they headed off on their own, but unfortunately the visibility didn’t agree with any of us.
We had stopped at a little island off the coast of Paraty, but the visibility was pretty poor. I went diving with just Max, and I guess Kiki was helping some other people who had never been diving before. It was the first time I ever went diving without an instructor, so that was a bit different. I am so used to following a leader, that it was strange to be underwater with another fairly unexperienced diver, and no professional. We followed Kiki’s directions and went around one side of the island, but the visibility only got worse as we kept going, so eventually we just turned around and came back. It wasn’t a very good dive at all, but it was still nice to get in the water.
The boat we were on was very nice, and they had hot dogs and soda for lunch, and there was also a bathroom with a shower. That’s a luxury that most dive boats do not have. So we had a bite to eat and relaxed a bit and then went to a different side of the island before starting our second dive. This visibility was even worse than on the first one. We went down this time with Kiki and the Belgian couple, but we lost the Belgian couple at one point, and Kiki got lost at another time. It was really that bad.
We didn’t see anything too impressive on the second dive either, because we really just couldn’t see anything at all. Luckily there was good company on the boat, so it didn’t make the day seem too disappointing. We all agreed to meet at the hostel that Kiki bartends at later tonight, and then we split up at the marina. Max and I got a ride back into town from Romulo, and I spent the rest of the afternoon chilling between my room, the beach, and the pool at the pousada.
I got showered and ready to head out to the hostel, and of course it started to rain just as I was about to leave. I grabbed my rain jacket and started walking up to the hostel which is just about two miles away. It rained the whole way there, but luckily it didn’t rain all that hard. Not until I got to the hostel anyway. As soon as I got there and was under cover, the heavens opened up and it was pouring buckets.
We all hung out at the hostel bar drinking caipirinhas and beers, eating pizza, and exchanging travel stories from around the globe. It was a really nice night, even if the weather didn’t agree. I stayed until about 11pm and then walked back to my pousada, and fortunately it had stopped raining at this point. It was the first time in a long time that I’ve been able to walk around somewhere at 11pm and feel completely safe on my own That’s a nice feeling. Tomorrow I’m heading over to Ilha Grande, and from what I hear, I should feel just as safe over there, so that’ll be nice.