02-Sep-2002 -- Twelve hours before arriving at Natal we had the chance to visit this
confluence near the tiny Atol das Rocas.
Atol das Rocas is a dangerous coral atoll.
It consists of circular coral reef, which can be best seen in the radar. Its
greatest width is of 3.2 km.
Within the reef, in the lagoon, is an area of sand and shingle with shallow
Numerous detached rocks lie around the atoll.
A light is situated on Atol das Rocas. Two ruined
buildings and some palm trees are visible as well.
A conservation area has been established which encloses Atol das Rocas and
the bank on which it stands. Overflying, anchoring, disembarking, landing,
diving, hunting, fishing and any other action which might affect the
environment are prohibited within the whole area.
After having taken some pictures from close the atoll we proceeded to the
Although this is not my first Brazilian confluence, I would like to write
down here a few notes about the history of Brazil:
The first European to land on the shores of Brazil was Pedro Álvarez Cabral,
a Portuguese who sailed into Porto Seguro an 25th April 1500. The coast, in
the vicinity of Cabo Santo Agostinho, had first been sighted in January of
that year by Pinzon, a companion of Columbus, but he had sailed on without
After various expeditions by the English, French and Spanish, a thirty-year
struggle for possession of the country began between the Dutch and the
Portuguese in 1624.
The Dutch had held several settlements between Cabo de São Roque (just South
of Atol das Rocas) and Aracaju, but they were finally expelled from the
country in 1654.
The Portuguese Royal family fled to Brazil in 1807, as a result of the
invasion of Portugal by the French and in 1815 Brazil became a kingdom. They
remained there until 1821 when the king returned to Portugal, leaving his
son Dom Pedro in Brazil as Viceroy. The Brazilians, however, by this time,
had acquired the desire for independence, which was also prevalent in the
Spanish colonies of South America. They seceded from Portugal in 1822 and
persuaded Dom Pedro to accept the title of Emperor of Brazil.
The Brazilian Empire lasted until 1889 and was a period of social and
economic progress. Both Dom Pedro and his son introduced many reforms, one
of which, the abolition of slavery, turned the large landowners against Dom
Pedro II and brought about the overthrow of the monarchy. Since 1889 Brazil
has been a republic.
Rio Amazonas, with its great tributaries traverses the country in the North
from the Andes to the Atlantic ocean. It forms the greatest river system in
the world and provides more than 13,000 nautical miles (more than 24,000 km)
of navigable channels!!!
The entire area is so flat that from the Andes to the Ocean it does not fall
more than 76 metres.
Brazil is unique in that it is the only part of the world where there are
large tracts of country virtually untouched by men.
There are more than 20,000 species of trees, many are not found anywhere
else in the world.
The rivers teem with fish and reptiles.
Last but not least it is high time to introduce my actual confluence
companion, Chief Officer Dimitriy from Saint
Petersburg. Here he is reading an incoming email from Natal regarding the
cargo to be loaded tomorrow.