Ohana Sailing Adventure

Touring Rio de Janeiro

Last week, Ted flew to Miami overnight to get some critical replacement parts for Ohana. (We learned our lesson with the cell phone debacle – believe it or not, it would have been easier and cheaper in the end to fly back to the US to buy the phone…) When he arrived back in Brazil, with two new rolling duffels of booty from the states, we all spent a couple of days together in Rio de Janeiro.

We took a tour with RST Sightseeing Tours. Our tour guide, Gisela, was so knowledgeable, friendly, and patient with our girls’ requests for souvenir shopping and bathroom breaks. She took some great pictures for us as well and emailed them to us afterward – so appreciated!

We learned that the name Rio de Janeiro means “River of January”, named by Portuguese colonists upon arrival in January 1502 when they mistook the enormous Guanabara Bay for the mouth of a river. Rio was the capital city of Brazil from 1763 to 1960; at that point,  Brasilia was built to encourage more activity away from the coasts and was declared the new capital of Brazil. Gisela also told us that the name Brazil comes from the tree Pau Brasil, named for the Portuguese word for ember, brasa, for the wood’s brilliant red hue. (Ironically, this tree is apparently in short supply in Brazil now – so many were cut down and taken by explorers back to Europe.)

We got an early start to Christ the Redeemer atop Mount Corcovado in the Tijuca National Forest, 2320 feet above Rio. Unveiled in 1931 after nine years of construction, it was also declared one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.


The statue is impressive in its stature – it is 38m (124 feet) tall (including the pedestal), has an armspan of 28m (92 feet), and the length of each hand is 3.2m (10.5 feet).

Grace had talked nonstop about walking up the 220 steps to Christ the Redeemer and was still excited to do it that morning. The views out over the city were breathtaking, even with the shifting clouds enshrouding the mountain top.


Our second stop was at Pão de Açucar, or Sugarloaf Mountain, another iconic image of Rio de Janeiro and named for the shape of refined sugarcane turned out of its conical clay mold. The gondola ride to the top is not for the faint of heart, but we were rewarded with more sweeping and breathtaking views of Rio.  (This is the gondola ride featured in the James Bond movie Moonraker.)


The first stage (from Praia Vermelha – Red Beach – to Morro da Urca – Urca Hill) and the second stage in the background (from Morro da Urca to Sugarloaf). Each gondola ride was about three minutes long.

At 396m (1299 feet) in elevation and overlooking the regional airport, it was disconcerting to have planes flying in below us. We enjoyed seeing the older gondolas on display – both the original one from 1912 and the one featured in the James Bond movie.

We had some time to hike the trails around the site, and we saw a new species (for us) of monkey – the marmoset.


We are now busy getting ready to leave this part of Brazil in just over a week! We are provisioning, getting Ohana cleaned in and out, and getting her bottom scrubbed for the upcoming offshore voyage. We have enjoyed our time exploring this area but are excited to start to head north again. The Caribbean awaits!

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