I’m late writing the blog this morning because we were having our last dip in the pleasantly cool (27oC) water of Ilha Grande. We stayed in a lovely little anchorage called Saco do ceu. The bay is tucked well into the island so that the waters are very calm. There are no waves rocking the boat except the – sadly slightly too frequent – wake of passing motor boats. I think this might be the upmarket part of the island. The beautiful coastline is scattered with pousadas, small bed and breakfast style hotels, with manicured lawns (any kind of lawn is fairly unusual in these parts) and pristine, private little beaches. It’s very pretty, but a little too busy for my tastes.
Yesterday five of us went scuba diving: Mike, Lynda, Rachel, Nick and I. We set off early from Abraao and motored over to the North West end of the island. Our first dive was onto the Penguino wreck. The Pinguino was a cargo ship that caught fire. It sought refuge in Angra dos Reis, but they were concerned that if it came into port the fire would spread to other boats. So the boat was sent off to a bay in Ilha Grande where the crew were evacuated and the boat sunk. It was fantastic, diving down onto the hull, you could see the shape of the bow. The Pinguino, about 60 ft long, now lies on it’s side with it’s cargo holds open and a couple of large tears in the side (big enough for a diver to swim through). The metal of the boat is now covered in a coat of weed, crustations and sea anenomes (bright yellow and orange ones!) and quite a few fish hang around in the shelter it affords them. We dove into all three of the cargo holds, and then out through the side of the hull. Very exciting, and a new experience for me. The dive at this site is generally not very good visibility, but apparently it was very good when we were there. However, once a couple of people have been into a hold and kicked up the sediment it can be quite difficult to see even your closest neighbour.
Our second dive was onto the rocks near the coast. This was more of a wildlife dive, and did not disappoint. The visibility was good and the colours were fantastic. The quilt of small beige spongy mouths that lined the rocks were punctuated with patches of yellow, orange, pink and blue. Everywhere we looked there was a new type of fish. We saw large black and yellow angel fish, puffa fish, giant spiny starfish, spindly spider crabs, fish with fluorescent blue wings and the star find in my eyes was a yellow sea horse with its tail curled around a purple and orange piece of coral. Amazing! We all came up from the dives absolutely buzzing, but promptly fell asleep, exhausted but happy, on the lounger back on the dive boat while we motored back home to Elinca.