Shipwrecks in Alagoas Brazil

25 11 2009

The capital of Alagoas (Maceió) is know for its beaches, nightlife, highly competitive prices and the traditional friendliness of its people. Its infrastructure has improved considerably during the past ten years.

Additionally, Maceió has the largest number of know sites in the state. Water visibility is good, varying from 6 to 30 meters depending on winds and currents, as well as the rain season that usually goes from May to July. On the other hand, special days with visibility of over 30 meters are possible from September to March.

Itapagé
This is one of the most attractive shipwrecks off the Brazilian coast. Torpedoed by a German U-boat in World War II, the Itapajé appears twisted and became a giant artificial reef, offering many penetration possibilities into its interior. A huge number of small fish is present.

Dragão

The ship sank circa 1918 and became also known as the “Frenchman’s shipwreck”. It is a small shipwreck, less than 50 meters in length, but some of its compartments can be penetread. The main attractons are its gears and the intense marine life on the site. Barracudas, cobias and rays are frequently seen. Schools of very red squirrelfish stand out against the intense blue of the ocean. Some of the coral that covers the wreckage may harbor batfish. Visibility is excellent.

Praia do Frânces

The barrier reef runs parallel to the beach for 2.5 kilometers, 100 meters away. During low tide, the site is excellent for discovery scuba and check-out dives. Various tropical fish species can be seen, such as butterfly rays and sergeant fish. There are also the remnants of two seventeenth-century ships that carried tiles and brazilwood.

Sequipe

A barge built to navigate on sheltered waters that sank in rough seas. The shipwreck is about 20 meters in lenght and does not have cabins or nay type of compartment that may be penetread. A winch motor stands out among the wreckage. The site’s main attraction is its marine life. The wreckage is home to many rays, cobias and large schools of yellom jacks. Visibility is excellent.

Draguinha

The dredger is completely overturned. Its bow is formed by two hulls, separated by a space of approximately 3 meters where the dredging structure was located. It is still possible to see the dredger’s boom resting on the hull, firmly supported on the ocean floor.

Cabeço de Guaxuma

A short reef with a maximum height of three meters. The rock is literally covered by red squirrelfish. Their concentration in a single location is impressive. The coral formation is poor, but there are many lobsters in their crevices and some “well-behaved” moray eels. Schools of white angelfish make the dive even more interesting.

Pedra Baia

The rock formation is similiar to that Cabeço de Guaxuma. There are many tropical fish, including rock hind, blue tang, porkfish and blowfish. It is a good site for macro photography. Lobsters can be easily found, as well as small moray eels and barbfish.

Source: Brazil Diving Guide

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Meet the dive sites of the Chapada Diamantina

20 11 2009

Chapada Diamantina rises out of Brazil’s northeaster sertão or “backlands”. Hundreds of thousands of years ago these mountains lay at the bottom of the ocean, but now rise over 1000 meters above sea level.

The Chapada welcomes divers year-round to its crystal clear waters in places such as Gruta da Pratinha and Poço Azul, where the skeletons of prehistoric animals have been found.

Diamond mining in the late nineteenth century hacked huge wounds in the landscape, wich still bears the scars of diamond prospecting. In the twentieth century mining stagnated , and the economy suffered. Howewer, agriculture and livestock breeding then flourished, and tourism took off a few years ago. It is to be hoped that the latter activity has come to saty.

Gruta Azul

This lake possesses fascinating rock formations and exceptionally transparent water. The area of the cavern is approximately one thousand square meters, and its covers the entire lake. To reach it by land there is a steep descent down a staircase carved in the rock. The lake is fed by a spring and is heavily sediment.

Gruta da Pratinha

The cavern lies below the ranch house of the Pratinha farm. The blue is even more intense when seen from the cavern. There is a very beautiful rock formation. Thousands of fish reflect the torchlight, providing a beautiful spectacle. The visit follows the main passageway to the skinhole down to Gruta Azul. From that point onwards, only experienced divers should continue.

Rio Pratinha

The river rises in the Gruta da Pratinha, and forms a lake with crystal clear water – with visibility of 30 meters. On the opposite shore there is a cliff with a small cave, in wich divers can practice snorkeling to observe tilapia, characins and other small freshwater fish.

Os Impossíveis

The cave lies 3 kilometers from the Fazenda Pratinha ranch house, and is reached by a pathway atop a 50 meter drop, with very tight clefts, a tunnel cut from the rock through which visitors must crawl, steep slopes you lower yourself down by clinging on tree trunks, and a river flowing out of the cave and flooding the first chamber, making a type of quicksand. In the cave there are chambers decorated with stalactites, curtains and wonderful speleothems, or cave deposits.

Poço Azul

Several passages make up a kind of maze conecting with the underground lake. Several hollows have been sculpted out of the rock. Right below the wooden platform there is a skinhole down to another chamber. At the bottomthere are skeletons, including that of a giant sloth. On the opposite bank, wich is a larger area, you will find rock formations and small crustaceans.

Poço Encantado

This is a lake inside a cavern, with crystal clear blue water, through wich you can observe submerged boulders and tree trunks over 50 meters deep. From july to august, sunlight enters through a cleft in the cave, and a beam of light falls on the surface of the lake. The cavern is currently closed, but with the new cave diving regulations brought in by IBAMA it may open again.

 

Source: Brazil Diving Guide





Bonito is one of the city members of the Experience Tour

9 11 2009

Bonito_Rio da Prata

Known for its natural beauty, the city of Bonito (MS) is among the destinations covered by the project Experience Economy Ministry of Tourism (Ministry of Tourism).

The goal is to train local entrepreneurs to add value to their businesses by offering different activities that arouse emotion, pleasure, inspiration and satisfaction of tourists in a real Tour Experience – the brand of the proposed project.

In Bonito (MS), the project developed two scripts in partnership with local entrepreneurs. The script Persons and Flavors of Nice offers a full encounter with nature and its magic through activities such as diving, floating, rappelling, cave, waterfalls and boat rides.

Furthermore, the Mimosa Resort Ecotourism, tourists will be welcomed in an atmosphere tempered by the taste of cookies and cakes made of typical wood stove. Visitors will also delight in the clear waters of the Rio Mimoso and waterfall Sinhozinho.

And, how about learning to embroider? This is one of the proposed activities. Here the tourist while learning to embroider, interacts with the girls group Crafts Beautiful Handmade and hear their stories of life.

In the Roadmap Inspiration and Expiration, also formatted by the project, tourists can relax in a theme suite and be lulled by the songs and charms of nature. Or, be based on local legends and the influence of Indian culture kadiwéu bonitense. The tour of the rum Taboa, local produce, and crafts made of recyclable products are also an attraction of the script.

The Experience Economy is developed by the Ministry of Tourism in partnership with the Sebrae and managed by the Institute Brand Brazil (IMB).

Photo: Andre Seale

Source: Mtur





Diving point Paraiba

4 11 2009

The state capital, João Pessoa, is less well know than its trendy sister cities of the northeast: Natal and Recife. But it does not leave anything to be desired. On the contrary. Midway between its famous neighbors, roughly an hour by car from each one, João Pessoa is the point of departure for the major diving spots of the region: beautiful reefs and must see shipwrecks. João Pessoa really  has many beautiful surprises.

Few people know that João Pessoa is Brazil’s leafiest capital city. It is also the safest of the Northeast ant the only one where there are no skyscrapers on the coastal avenues – a strict municipal code limits the height of buildings to three floors. And thre’s more: the first sunrays of the Americas fall here, since the city lies at the eastern most point of the continent, Ponta dos Seixas – wich means visitors have to get up early. Not a problem.

There is so much to see and enjoy on the Paraíba coast: urban or deserted beaches, with powder white sand and coonut palms and cliffs of unique beauty, restaurants with excellent traditional cuisine, a wealth of handicrafts and historic attractions. That is, if one doesn’t spend every walking minute underwater.

Pedra de Baixo

The sandstone reef, covered by algae and corals, is know for its large sponges and starfish. Sharks, goliath groupers and others groupers hide in their small holes. Visibility ranges from 15 to 30 meters, during the summer. It is sough out mainly by novive divers seeking greater depths.

Erie (or Queimado)

The most popular shipwreck on the Paraíba coast. This two-thousand ton American ship sank after catching fire, in 1873, and today is found completely broken-up. The wreckage is spread over 100 meters of sand. A large patially buried propeller lies in the sand and many schools of small fish are the main attractions. Average visibility ranges from 20 to 30 meters.

Alvarenga

Intact and uprigth, the small shipping barge is a beatiful shipwreck when viewed from a certain distance. When desceding, you can see the entire outline of Alvarenga, 20 meters in length, 5 meters in width and simple in structure. It is possible to pass through the compartments from bow to stern. And there is lots of life inside there. Nurse sharks, schools of spadefish, lobsters and green eels are commonly seen. The shallow depth, clear water and white sands give the location a peaceful feel.

Alice

This 53 meter steamship sank in 1911. The iron hull is in pieces. The bow is listing to port, with the highest point at a depth of 7.5 meters. A large anchor remains linked to the ship by a thick chain. Up toward the bow, one can see the round boilers and parts of the steam engine. The aft part of the hull is in an upright position and the bow still maintains part of its original shape. Many moray eels, octopuses, small lobsters and large schools of grunts are often seen above the wreckage. And excellent spot begginners.

Cabeço dos Cangulos

On the flat seabed of the continental shelf, there are formations of small mounds and limestone algae and outgrowths of large sponges. Each with its own special microfauna, made up of small shrimp, crabs, octopuses, eels and small fish. The name of the spot comes from the large number of triggerfish species, listed as threatened with extinction.

Sapatas

This is a new diving site, a small natural reff against a seabed of light colored sand and grave. It is composed of various elongated mounds spread over the ocean floor, on wich grow macroalgae, corals, sponges and other organisms. Schools of fish frequent the area and surround divers.

Canyon

As the name suggest, it is a trench in the continental shelf probably formed by a river that emptied there eons ago. The shallowest part is 36 meters from the surface and the trench extends for 56 meters. High rockly walls separate the flat surface of the shelf from the steep slope of the canyon. Various shapes and colors of sponges almost completely cover the ocean floor.

Source: Brazil Diving Guide