Paraty Water Trails
Cultural and historical rescue in defense of the environment and the Caiçara territory.
Paraty Water Trails
For me, paddling started without thinking too much.
At first, since when I came to live in the Costa Verde region, I heard about people and their canoes that sailed incredible distances and sometimes in rough seas, to sell products grown in the fields and dried fish.
They also bought products that were difficult to find in the region at that time, such as salt, kerosene and soap, always using these water trails.
First, I lived in Abraão village on Ilha Grande and, living on an island, one of the many things you need to learn is rowing.
It was, for me, as natural as riding a bicycle.
I paddled a kayak; on the boat to pick up and leave the schooner; rowed to fish; or when the boat broke down, towed clients in Sit On Top kayaks – only those who did it, know what it is (lol); I rowed Hawaiian canoes and rowed for rowing, for me they were already my Water trails.
It was always, have or have nothing to do, go rowing.
Likewise, after coming to Paraty, nothing changed.
First, I lived in Paraty Mirim, on the coast, going to Saco do Mamanguá.
There was a trail to the beach, but there were also kayaks, canoes, boats and sailboats. Of course, most days, the option was by sea and again, my water trail.
Still, when I moved to the city of Paraty, I continued doing what I had already absorbed through my pores: paddling.
Likewise, I continued working with kayaking and paddling.
That’s when and where I met my friend and partner Michael Smith, who also came to guide and tow customers around Paraty Bay.
In the meantime, the base of the company we provided service had easy access to the Pereque Açu River, where we boarded and disembarked, another water trail.
Until the day we abandoned the kayak on Jabaquara beach, after many paddles towing customers.
From there, Jabaquara became our kayak base.
We rent sit on top kayaks, Stand Up Paddle boards, until we finally get to know the ocean kayaks.
In my first experience in ocean kayaking, I was sure that I would never paddle a sit on top kayak again.
It was a friend who told me, on Ponta Negra beach, within the Juatinga Reserve, that it was common to go rowing to Paraty.
Long trip, crossing Ponta da Juatinga, a place with strong currents and, most days, with rough seas. Super water trail.
Immediately, I became very interested in the subject.
At first, fascinated by the story of adventure, challenge and knowledge of nature – it was all necessary to paddle such a distance and with the sea in adverse conditions, in a canoe that seemed to be so small and fragile.
Also, how did they manage to load tens or hundreds of pounds, not counting the weight of the rower or rowers?
It wasn’t easy…
In a second moment, I realized that it must be a very difficult life. Working the land, planting, maintaining, harvesting and processing, in the case of cassava flour, and after this whole cycle, rowing it to the local market.
Can you understand the size of the feat?
Returning to Ponta Negra beach, it was necessary to paddle with this heavy canoe, for about four days, considering a return trip, to reach the city of Paraty.
It is worth mentioning that, before 1970, there was no paved road in Paraty. The products left and arrived on the ferry that came from the region of Mangaratiba and Sepetiba / RJ.
In the same way, wouldn’t it also be the water trail?
The Paraty Indians
Continuing the research, I reached the Indians who lived in the region of Paraty.
According to his book, which many see as fanciful, others an account of almost pre-colonial Brazil, Hans Stadem – around 1549 already well described the power of the first paddlers in the region.
Other reports of those who came here to venture in search of riches also spoke of the same canoes.
With dozens of natives in the same canoe, paddling so fast that if the wind wasn’t strong, they couldn’t escape. Completely dominated the forest and the sea.
Deep experts in the construction and navigation of canoes.
Canoe is often made from an entire tree trunk.
However, not just any tree can be used as a canoe. Besides, how to get this tree out of the forest, transport it to the beach or river, and make the canoe? How many trials and errors to reach perfection?
Today we know that some types of trees in our region are perfect for canoeing, for example:
- Cedar, (Cedrela fissilis)
- Timbuiba, (Balisia pedicellaris)
- Yellow Inga, (Tachigali denudata)
- Jequitibá, (Cariniana legalis),
- Ingá arrow, (Inga sessilis),
- Guapuruvu, (Schizolobium parahyba)
- White fig tree, (Ficus insipida).
According to the study by Márcia Regina Teixeira da Encarnação:
“The men of the sambaquis, in this region, would have formed a human group (…) adapted to the living conditions imposed by the geographical characteristics of the marine coastal plain and by the lagoon system. Their canoes must have navigated the waters of the lagoons and regional rivers, to all corners, searching that homogeneous geographic region. The men of the sambaquis constituted there, a civilization of canoemen and a human group that was shellfish and ichthyophagous par excellence. ”
I was also lucky to work as a crew member on the biggest canoe I’ve ever sailed, Tocorimé Pomatojari.
Built in the Amazon, after sailing to Paraty, it also decided to make it a safe haven here.
It was a great ocean sailing school. Trips between Rio de Janeiro; Ilha Grande and Paraty, with groups of foreign visitors.
I met many sailors and captains, including a Tcheko who built his own boat with friends and traveled around the world, but when he arrived in Paraty, of course he fell in love;
For the city and for your partner. He never left Paraty again. Ah! love…
That’s another story I’ll tell one day, Mika your time will come!
And nowadays, whenever we paddle, we see scenes that refer to everything I’ve been bringing here:
Canoes casting the net and taking the net out of the sea; the lives of thousands of people who continue to live off the sea, whether for transport or for subsistence, and who need to maintain their traditions, culture and defense of their ancestral territory.
The caiçaras belong to the sea and the sea belongs to them.
So let’s go back to the beginning of the text, whether or not you have anything to do, go row!
Anyway, with the experience of 16 years and a lot of history in mind, let’s talk a little about each stretch that is possible to do rowing and with distances; places to stay overnight and where to eat.
On the way, whoever sets out to row, will understand the richness of the culture of Paraty and that the true heritage of UNESCO is the people who live here.
Tour guide and founding partner of Paraty Explorer.
1º) Tarituba – Ilha do Araújo – 18 Km
Departure from the village of Tarituba. Easy location to arrive and disembark the equipment.
Open your eyes, place of great passage of porpoises and dolphins.
Between Tarituba, in addition to all the beaches and paradise islands, it’s worth a stop at the islands:
- Ilha do Pelado – the only place with a restaurant
- Cedar Island
- Ventura Island
Arriving at Ilha do Araújo, we recommend residents’ houses to spend the night and enjoy typical local food.
2º) Ilha do Araújo x Praia Vermelha – Média de 18 km
3º) Praia Vermelha x Saco do Mamanguá – Media 20 km
4º) Mamanguá x Pouso da Cajaíba – Média 20 km
5º) Pouso da Cajaíba x Ponta Negra – Média 25 km
6º) Ponta Negra x Trindade – Média 18 km
Rodrigo Pereira de Almeida
Tour guide and founding partner of Paraty Explorer