Natal, Brazil

A major shipping port, known for its extensive coastal sand dunes, star-shaped Forte dos Reis Magos and the cultivation of cashews, Natal, Brazil, is located on the country_s northeast

A major shipping port, known for its extensive coastal sand dunes, star-shaped Forte dos Reis Magos and the cultivation of cashews, Natal, Brazil, is located on the country’s northeastern tip with popular beaches

 

Natal is the capital city of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, on Brazil’s northeastern tip.  It’s known for its extensive coastal sand dunes and star-shaped Forte dos Reis Magos, a 16th-century Portuguese fortress at the mouth of the Potengi River.  North across the river, Genipabu is an area of towering dunes with a freshwater lagoon.  The city was founded in 1599 and grew over the centuries into a major shipping port, particularly for the early Portuguese sailors who resupplied their ships on the voyages from Portugal to and from South Africa and around the horn to India.

 

The skyline of the city of Natal, Brazil is visible behind Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach)

The skyline of the city of Natal, Brazil is visible behind Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach)

 

“The fishing industry is strong (shark cartilage being a major export to Japan) as is the cultivation of tropical fruit, especially mangos, guavas, and cashews (the fruit and the nuts).  In fact, the largest cashew tree in the world is located near the coast in the neighborhood of Pirangi, south of the city center.  This tree has a circumference of 500 metres (1640 feet) and occupies an area of 7,300 square meters (8,731 square yards), making it 70 times the size of average cashew trees.” — Wikipedia

 

Street art (graffiti) on a retaining wall, with the downtown high rises of Natal, Brazil visible behind Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach)

Street art (graffiti) on a retaining wall, with the downtown high rises of Natal, Brazil visible behind Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach)

 

Today the city has a total population of 862,000 with about 1.5 million inhabitants in the greater Natal area.  For us, it was the final port in a month of sailing around Brazil, with customs clearance to head across the Atlantic Ocean towards Africa, with our first destinations after the crossing being several of the Cape Verde Islands, just west of Senegal.

 

Typical local shops along the road parallel to Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach)

Typical local shops along the road parallel to Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach)

 

Located within 5 degrees (south) of the equator, Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach), Natal, Brazil has a warm and humid tropical climate, creating high demand for the beach umbrell

Located within 5 degrees (south) of the equator, Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach), Natal, Brazil has a warm and humid tropical climate, creating high demand for the beach umbrellas and a big market for the drink and snack vendors with carts

 

Boats on Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach), Natal, Brazil

Boats on Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach), Natal, Brazil

 

Busy during the week (pictured), Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach) becomes even more crowded on the weekends, Natal, Brazil

Busy during the week (pictured), Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach) becomes even more crowded on the weekends, Natal, Brazil

 

The Brazilian flag flying over Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach), Natal, Brazil – a fitting last photograph from our time on this journey in Brazil

The Brazilian flag flying over Praia de Ponta Negra (Ponta Negra Beach), Natal, Brazil – a fitting last photograph from our time on this journey in Brazil

 

We have enjoyed our time in Brazil, but will be relieved to not have to deal with either the crime or the mosquitoes after we depart.  In addition to the well-known tropical diseases (Yellow Fever and Dengue Fever), the Brazilian mosquitoes also pose great risk of possible exposure to Zika.  Regarding crime, after a month of wearing no jewelry and carrying nothing valuable, it will be refreshing to leave those worries behind.  Here’s today’s warning to all those aboard the ship headed ashore in Natal: “IMPORTANT NOTICE – SAFETY ASHORE: [Passengers and crew] are asked to exercise a high degree of caution when exploring on your own.  Petty crime and theft are commonplace, and you are urged to be aware of your surroundings at all times.  Traveling in groups is always safer than walking alone, particularly at night.  Leave valuables at home, including expensive handbags, and only travel with a small amount of local currency.”

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2018 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

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