"We are Sarah Sylvester and Richard Boughton, the UK importers for Jochum and Nesler, JN Kites. We sell and repair kitesurfing equipment in the UK, take part in competitions and travel the globe kitesurfing. Read all about our adventures here!"

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Icarai Monkey Business

We arrived pretty late at night to discover that there was a windsurf regatta on (bad news) and most of the accommodation was full. After driving round in circles for a bit and disturbing an incredibly stoned man in a hammock we found a small family run place on the beach which was built completely of drift wood and had a fishing boat somehow attached to the front as a feature of the bar. The whole place felt like it would fall over if you stood in the wrong place and some of the floorboards moved a worryingly amount underfoot. It was a very cool place that eventually got nicknamed ‘Ewok village’. Other interesting features included the town gym, also run by the same family, being just next to our rooms so we had muscled Brazilian men dressed in day glo lycra pumping iron to the latest commercial dance tunes until 11pm every night. The kids ran the bar and pool table and would dish out beers and peanuts. There were chickens everywhere.

We kite surfed at low tide on the upwind point of the village which was a short walk from the Pousada. It was a lovely spot, protected by a shallow dead reef in front of some old fishing gates. It made a great backdrop and the wind was very smooth. There were about 4 or 5 windsurfers blasting about who seemed very aggressive towards us. In fact a small blonde woman shouted ‘Get out of my way Mother f**cker!’ at Toby. I also managed to have a small altercation with a French kite surfer who was screaming at Sarah for no apparent reason. This put us off using this area a bit, but we went down the next day to discover they had all disappeared, and we had it to ourselves again. Later we discovered that the windsurf centre was under the impression that they owned the entire ocean and didn’t like having other kite surfers there, explaining the random expletives and gesticulation. All in all it was an incredible spot. High tide also made for a nice beach break.

The next problem we discovered was a slight lack of food in the village. Initially we survived on chicken on a stick from the street vendors round the corner, which was delicious.

It was coming up to full moon and the family wanted their spare rooms back as they were having some friends round for a party, so we were out on the street. We ended up staying at another place owned by the woman in the supermarket, who also owned the restaurant. We could see a recurring theme here.

The next morning Chad, Pascal and Nick arrive out of the blue. They had driven all the way up there following a one sentence email from me saying we had wind, apparently there was very little in Cumbuco. They had very much landed on their feet and had found space at one of the French Pousadas, and had also had the foresight to find us a bungalow to stay in as well. What really clinched it was tales of fantastic food. By this point we had discovered that man and woman cannot live by chicken on a stick and sardines alone.

We settled into Pousada Malea, which was one of the best places we have ever stayed. A shining example to all European Pousada owners. It was run by a lovely French couple and their French servant boy, Seb, who we think was working for food and a roof over his head. Every night we had a fantastic sit down family meal with local food and friendly conversation. The breakfasts and lunches were also equally as incredible, and what’s more good value. It was exactly what we needed after chicken on a stick diet. The rooms were great as well, with big fluffy towels for Sarah. Two mischievous monkeys also lived here called Capi and Rinha. They bit us, pulled our hair and one morning they also hung off a lamp shade and crapped on the breakfast table which was an amusing addition to the morning.

The other good news was that they had a buggy, and weren’t afraid to use it. Seb would get 10 people plus equipment and small children onto the buggy and tank off downwind to another protected reef spot. This time it had waves. Small waist high reef breaks that funnel into the beach with perfect cross shore wind and flat water in between. A fantastic spot which we used for a couple of days, followed by sunset sessions at the upwind point to annoy the windsurfers. The tide was really high at this point and the water was eroding the windsurf centre. Justice.

Seb suggested a bit of an adventure and offered to take us to a secret lagoon. So we saddled up two buggys this time and headed off for 2 hours drive across a mangrove, several rivers and a set of dunes to an amazing, huge flat water spot. It was huge and a little inland, but the wind was very stable. There was nothing there apart from a few grazing cows, donkeys, the odd goat and us.

We all had an awesome session here. Including some comedy jumping of sandbanks and painful spiky weed experiences.

We reluctantly left the amazing cooking and headed on a few days later. I am sure we spent 10 days in the Icarai comfort bubble. An amazing place we hope to go back to one day.