The computer will not allow me to identify an area at sea, so Recife is as close as I can get. I just returned from 7 days on the island of Fernando da Noronha, approx. 550 km east of Recife. The Brazilians refer to it as Paradise, and I admit the beaches are spectacular. There were a few upscale Posadas (cross between a rented room in a home and a hotel) but I opted for the `true island experience`and through some good luck found an English speaking local (educated at Cornel) and arranged some floor / hammock space with a young woman (Mertes) and her daughter in thier home. Accomodations were very basic, but the owner´s friendly attitude made the place very fun, if not hard on the back. In 7 days I never once saw Mertes or her daughter without a ear to ear grin exposing a lot of bad teeth. Spent much time trying to communicate and laughing at each other. Met a Brazilian girl of Port. and Japanses decent who by chance is now a US citizen and lives blocks from my home in San Diego. Met a group of 4 from France, one of whom is a part-time chef. A trip to the docks for fresh fish and some stolen banana leaves made for a very good bar-b-que. Did a lot of snokeling with turtels until I saw a 4-5 foot shark from less than 10 feet away (and yes I have a photo taken with my underwater camera). Think it was of the harmless variety, but made going into the deeper water less appealing.
Glad to be off the island, 7 days was too long, but were the only flights that I could arrange on short notice. Hope to get some sleep now. The island is 3.5 degrees south of the equator, to say it was warm and humid at night would be an understatement, not to mention the GD. rooster living under the house that crowed at 10 minute intervals from 2:00 AM to 5:00.
Off to Belem at 5:00AM tomorrow (again booking flights on short notice you take what you can get). A day and a half in Belem to plan and stock up and hope to be on a Slow Boat to Manaus. Anticipate 5-7 days of travel to get there with at least one night in a village. Then it will get really interesting. From Manaus west to Peru it is quite unihabited. Don´t know how much computer access I will have.