Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What's happening in Fernando de Noronha

AMARA will be heading to Brazil to the mouth of the Amazon.
Yesterday, Monday, we spent the morning "checking into Brazil" as the officials weren't working on Sunday when we arrived.  The Brazilian Federal Police handle the immigration paperwork here, and after the paperwork was finally done, they gave us a ride to their favorite restaurant where we all had lunch. They have become our good friends.  

After lunch we did a two tank dive in the National Park, and observed a big red snapper grab an octopus for his lunch.

This morning we went for a ride in the AMARA tender and filmed the local spinner dolphin by holding the GoPro camera underwater; we got some great footage.  We then toured the coastline inside the National Park boundary. 

Several hours later, the National Park Police stopped by AMARA and told us that it is illegal to take a boat into the National Park, and tried very hard to give us a ticket.  We had no idea about the "no boating" rule as the charts just say not to anchor there, and the local tourist map doesn't say anything about not boating in their list of Park Rules.  We were then escorted to Park Headquarters to meet with the Park Director who spoke a little English.  The director initially said that it should be obvious to us not to bring a boat into the Park.  We carefully explained that it isn't obvious to a visitor when the rule isn't posted in any of their literature.  It also isn't posted on the Marine chart, and not mentioned when you check into the Port.  He finally understood and accepted our rationale, and we were able to be on our way.

Following that adventure we spent some time at the beach were we watched a "Footvolley" match (beach volleyball where players only use their feet) and then a beauty contest.  To top off the evening, we went to every ATM on the island (3) trying to get money so we can pay our $460 departure tax in the morning.  No luck at any ATM even though the locals could withdraw money.  Hopefully tomorrow our teenage friend, "the money changer" might rescue us or we won't be leaving Fernando De Noronha anytime soon.