Despite the lack of healthy food, the island of Fernando do Noronha was beautiful. Tripadvisor rated its Baia do Sancho the number one beach in the world this year.
Be sure to scroll down to see the dolphin videos.
Baia do Sancho
Rated the number one beach in the world, you have to climb down a ladder between giant rocks, walk through a cave, and down a long stone staircase to reach it. The water is as clear as you can imagine seawater. We were lucky to have waves big enough to have fun and knock you over, but not so big to scare you. The water was warm and you felt like a kid playing at the beach. The sand was soft and clean.
From the cliff above
More cliff view
Panorama of the alcove
Starting to get sunburned. The sandals were a gift from the couple and have their names and the wedding date on them. The shirt matches Brazil’s national color. Again on the cliff.
On the other side of the cliff from the alcove, two outcrops.
More volcanic rocks amid calm waves. You can see right through the water.
Beautiful beach as far as you can see.
Birds nest on the trees growing from the cliff below.
Lizard! A species native to the island. Actually, Wikipedia says it’s a kind of skink, whatever that is.
When the water kicks up sand you can see how clear the water is in the blue-green part to the right.
Holy cow! No wonder people rate it so highly.
One person swimming in the clear water. Still viewing from the cliff.
Climbing down the ladder between the boulders.
Exiting from the cave.
Panorama on the beach. Picture doesn’t capture.
I have to post about the six-pack eventually. Only a four-pack so far. The guy on the right spoke some English and helped translate the guide’s talks.
Climbing back up. Sorry didn’t take more pictures from on the beach, but was busy playing in the clear, warm water.
Died and going to heaven?
Another beach with beautiful volcanic rocks.
Panorama of Lion beach. The big rocky island in the middle is supposed to look like a lion.
Beach geologic features.
What is there to say? Just beautiful.
Pools of water in the rocks.
Lion rock. The head is on the right.
I forget which this one was. We went snorkeling before the beach pictured below in the warm water, where we saw turtles, fluorescent fish, a stingray, and lots of invertebrates. Come to think of it, this was the beach where my friends’ wedding was, a few hours earlier. The tour guide pointed to the set-up at the other end of the beach and told us he heard there would be a wedding there later. I told him that was my friends!
Majestic waves crashing majestically against the majestic rock.
There’s another picture just like this where I have the shirt off but my friend said not to post that one. You should see how little Brazilians wear. American culture is puritanical and repressed.
My friends’ wedding. He’s Brazilian but has lived in the U.S. since before I met him, around 1998, when he was studying music composition at Juilliard. She’s American and I’ve known her since about 2003. They met in 2006.
After Esquire’s story about me in 2003, they asked me if I could recommend anyone else they could name “best and brightest.” I recommended him, and here’s Esquire’s story on him.
The couple asked everyone to wear white.
Before the procession started.
We can’t wait for the bride to arrive, although they supplied us with freshly cut coconuts with delicious sweet milk so no one was complaining.
Here comes the bride, all dressed in white.
Father hands bride to groom, with pastor/minister in between.
In the background you can see the small crowd forming to watch the open ceremony on the beach with everyone in white and the waves lazily crashing on the shore a few yards away.
The happy couple. Behind the bride is the guy who introduced them. You can also see the back of the Maid of Honor’s head, whom I happen to know from university, maybe 1995.
The village and fort
The island had a main village and fort, which dated to 1737. Facing the fort is an old church.
A room in the fort.
Another room in the fort.
Courtyard in the fort.
Building in the fort’s courtyard.
The view from the fort
If you want to defend an island, you have to have a great view.
Dusk. Just missed taking the picture during the sunset, but some people were standing on the wall here messing up the view.
The church viewed from exiting the fort.
The church up close. Try not to think about the house from Amityville Horror.
The boat tour
We toured the island by boat, where we saw some of the same beaches from a different perspective, as well as other volcanic structures.
Plus we saw a bunch of dolphins that swam around our boat. As we started moving, they swam in front of us, which they seemed to enjoy.
Baia do Sancho and the cliff above it, though not the part where we climbed down the ladder. That part is inside the cove past the rock in the foreground on the left.
The cliff over Baia do Sancho I took the pictures from.
I’d never seen dolphins this close before. They looked like they were having fun.
A small landing strip with a view of the island’s largest rock formations.
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