Despite our sadness at leaving Paraty we had another beautiful beach destination to head to, the idyllic Rio island of Ilhe Grande.
Ilhe Grande is known for its beautiful beaches and is home to one that is considered one of the top five in all Brazil. So you can imagine our disappointment when we arrived on a grey and rainy day. With just a bit of drizzle Pete and I decided to head out for a quick walk anyway and managed a quick paddle before the downpour began. The evening barbecue was undercover and accompanied by the sound of the heavy rains but we still had hopes for some sunshine!
The next day, despite many prayers to the sun god, was still very overcast. The plan had been to trek two hours to the best beach, spend the day there and take the boat back. Despite the weather we decided to stick to the plan as there weren't many more options and to just hope that the rain would hold off. The trek over the mountain ended up taking about three hours instead of two due to mud caused by the previous day's rain but the rain held off and was a fairly enjoyable trek, even for Pete in his flip flops. Arriving at the beach we were greeted by a very long but very gloomy looking sandy stretch, very different on a cloudy day to the one we'd seen in postcards! Still, we had promised ourselves a swim......
Unfortunately the water was so cold it even hurt to stand on the sand after the water had washed away! Surely this couldn't be the same sea that we were swimming and snorkelling in only a few miles from here just a couple of days before?? The answer came from the other side of the beach where a couple of hundred metres away a group was gathering excitedly and getting larger by the second. Everyone seemed to be looking at something in the ground but we couldn't see what it was so we sent a scout. 'Its a penguin', he shouted back to us!?!!?!! As we also gathered round to see it and take photos Laura remembered that she had heard that penguins had randomly been turning up on Rio's beaches due to freak currents coming all the way from Antarctica!!! Hence the frozen ocean......
We took the boat back in a very choppy ocean which was a fun experience, very glad that we had made the journey out to the tropical beach to see the penguin! Perhaps Ilhe Grande hadn't offered the idyllic beaches we were hoping for but it had given us a few surprises!