Islands in the Bay
Map of the Bahia de Todos os Santos, in the nautical museum at the Farol da Barra
One might note the Ilha do Medo, Fear Island, to the north of the island of Itaparica. Here's what Robert Southey wrote in his history of Brazil, published in 1810: "These last conquerors were masters of the country when the Portugueze arrived; but they had quarrelled among themselves. Those who dwelt between the river San Francisco and the Rio Real, or Royal River, were at mortal enmity with those nearer the bay, and the inhabitants of one side the bay, with those on the other; they carried on hostilities both by land and water, and all parties devoured their prisoners. A fresh feud broke out among those who dwelt on the eastern side; the cause was that which in barbarous, and heroic, or semi-barbarous ages, has furnished so much matter for history and song. The daughter of a Chief had been carried off against her father's consent; the ravisher refused to restore her; the father, not being powerful enough to compel him, retired with all his clan to the Island of Itaparica; the hordes upon the river Paraguazu coalesced with the seceders, and a deadly war began between the two parties. The Ilha do Medo, or Island of Fear, derives its name from the frequent ambushes and conflicts of which it was then made the scene."
Salvador sits on a vast bay -- a Baía de Todos os Santos (the Bay of All Saints), which at 1,100 square kilometers, 70 kilometers from north to south, and 60 kilometers from east to west (at its widest point) is the largest in Brazil. A Baía de Todos os Santos is fed by the Paraguaçu river (among numerous smaller sources), which opens into the smaller bay of Iguape, which in turn gives onto the principal bay. The largest town along the Paraguaçu is Cachoeira.
What appears to be the other side of the bay as you look out over the water from Salvador, is actually the ilha (island) of Itaparica (ee-tah-pah-REE-kah). Itaparica is the largest of the bay's 56 islands, and there are two ways of getting there: the ferryboat and the pequena lancha, or small boat (actually, if one is approaching the island from the far side of the bay, there is a short bridge). The pequena lancha has my vote, unless you're taking a car across.
The pequena lancha leaves from the Terminal Marítimo -- a blue-and-white building behind the Mercado Modelo -- and takes you right across to Mar Grande (a forty minute or so trip). It's not a small boat like, say, a rowboat (something I feel is necessary to point out given that pequena lancha = small boat), but it's small enough that the ride across the bay feels like an adventure in itself for more landlocked people...sun, sea, and air. Mar Grande (Big Sea) is a small town with a nice enough beach and some great barracas. The beach scene is especially hot (people-wise) during the summer months of January and February.
Disembarking at Mar Grande
Ponta de Areia (Sandy Point) is a huge, wide beach close to the northern tip of the island, kind of like the Daytona of Itaparica (in terms of the beach itself anyway). It's a good place to spend a day, again and more particularly, during Brazilian summer. Lots of barracas.
Transportation from place to place on the island is available in the form of kombis (a word familiar to German-speakers), usually Volkswagen vans which tend to congregrate at disembarkation points and which will drop one off anywhere along their routes. Likewise they will pick up anyone flagging them down at any point along those routes. There are also city-type buses running from Bom Despacho, the island's landing point for the big ferry-boat.
Ilha dos Frades
The Ilha dos Frades, Isle of the Monks, received its denotation for two monks who were killed there by the Tupinambás, it is said.
The island is home to three villages, Ponta de Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe, located just above a stunning beach frequented by tourist embarkations; Costa de Fora; and the principal, Paramana, with just under a thousand souls.
Approaching by schooner
The beach at Guadalupe from on high
The beach at Guadalupe
Lots more coming as I transfer the "old" site to the new system...