A while after, Oliver from England and Brendan from Canada joined us, they'd spent the whole night on a trip coming from a two weeks stay in Jeri but they didn't want to miss the chance to explore this part of the coast with us, Eduardo the importer of Liquid Force and Ocean Rodeo brands, from Chile, and myself, CRIS from kite school kiteboardcumbuco in Hotel Golfinho, CUMBUCO.
First task was to rent a 4 wheels Toyota Hilux which took a bit longer than expected, due to some problems with the money caution we should leave and the credit card, once all was arranged, we moved towards CUMBUCO where Oscar and Patricia from Argentina, lodged in Golfinho hotel were waiting for us.
At 10h 30 finally, with all stuff inside the two cars, we started heading west, after 140 kms of road, and crossing many round abouts with traffic signs posting such refreshing spot names as Pecem, Taiba, Paracuru and Lagoinha, finally we got the first glimpse of the sea at the beggining of Fleixeiras beach, needless to say that everybody was looking forward to get into the water asap and therefore, it was not much chance for me to convince them to keep driving a bit more, we chosed Embuaca beach, some 3 kms after the cross road of Fleixeiras, this is a wave spot which generally works better under the conditions of Sept-Dec, time in which the best swells hit Ceara state, the waves were almost not noticeable unless if riding at 500 mts from the beach and heading a bit upwind but the water was almost flat, in Embuaca in high tide there is not much sand left, barely 3-5 mts, and if in low tide, the beach is almost 150 mts broad, white sand, some local fisherman's boats and that was it!, compared with our kite spot, CUMBUCO, and its beach action; here, no cars on the beach (except for ours! Sorry, no horses, no beach walkers nor, in fact anybody on sight, just white sand and blue water.
As we started preparing the kites, the local kids moved by their curiosity surrounded us, first shyly and after asking questions and laughing when answered in other languaje than theirs.
We rode in 14-16 kts for the first hour and around 14h the wind picked up and we enjoyed 20-23 kts; from next month the wind conditions range the 22-33 kts frequently, while we were there, we received the visit of a Portuguese kiter that announced us that a new kite center will open doors next month, to give lessons, offer some kite trips and lodge kiters on their way to Jeri; a service that I found quite interesting for those that decide to do this trip and don't want to miss the chance to kite along the way.
At 15h 30 we packed all and followed trip until Mundau, all were amazed of the beauty and potential of the area but it was a bit late to start kiting again considering that our goal was to cross the river and follow until Baleia through the beach, tide was mid high and nobody knew what was awaiting for us on the beach track once on the other side of the river.
We contacted the balsa service that cross the vehicles and we were taken to the other bank, after getting the vehicles (one at the time) on the balsa, actually a kind of big jangada (local fisherman's boat) without the mast and sail, of course.
Once on the other side we rode some 7 kms until the tiny village of Baleia, coinciding with the sunset (18h), we got to the first pousada of the village, beach front, and after, checking the price and the conditions of the lodging, we decided to stay, the place was quiet and silence, the rooms, at barely 40 mts of the water, perfect scenario to share some beers first and caipirinhas after until a great meal came, fresh fish, shrimps and lobster gave to the day a perfect end.
Next day at 6h 30 everybody was up, we took a walk on the beach, checking the perfect flat water conditions and the already 16 kts blowing; we could also presence the arrival of the fishing boats unloading their captures, it seems that they spend up to 4 days in the sea without having any land on sight and orientating only by the sun and the stars.
After a big breakfast and loading back all the kite stuff (that the night before we stored on a especial room on the back of the pousada), we made the way back to the river and started riding for the next 3 hours, the forecast was announcing east wind for Friday and Saturday, which was mostly the reason that took me to decide for that trip.
Mundau is a bay which on its upwind tip, can receive the mostly predominant ESE winds on a side off shore direction, which meant that E winds will be cross shore wanted direction, but the forecast failed this time, cloud formations coming from SE brought clears and clouds intermitently making the ride a bit gusty, though valid, as the perfect flat and the long track rides were more than rewarding, wind was blowing between 14 and 22 kts at most, things stayed that way until 12h when we decided to follow way and keep looking for new spots and scenarios, curiously at that time and coinciding with the end of the clouds, the wind stabilized on 20-24 kts, but we had to go on or all our plans of search and ride would be not achieved.
We crossed Baleia village and resisiting the temptations to unload the car and ride right there, we followed the beach up west; we were told that on some parts we may find rocks making the ride impossible on the wet sand and meaning that we should be forced to ride on the dry soft sand for many kms, after all, the things were not too bad and we managed to follow through the beach, passing the villarejos (very small fisherman's villages) of Inferno, Pracianos, Apiques, Sabiaguaba and Caetanos, where finally we sucumbed to the water and wind conditions and we decided to rig and ride again, at the time the wind was blowing 18-24 kts, in few minutes everybody was on the water, while on the beach, some kids first and a sworm of them after, gathered on total bliss, enjoying the never before seen show, sometimes, some 4WD carrying tourist from Fortaleza towards Jeri cross their village but seldom (or never) nobody stops there.
The kite ride lasted until 15h 30, we packed the stuff and after putting everbody together on a picture and under the promise to make 56 copys and mail them, we followed track, this time on mid low tide, towards our original task, see, at least, the famous bay of Icarai de Amontada.
The trip of the final 12 plus kms took almost one hour due that on the wet sand there were rocks almost the half of the way and we were forced to ride soft sand again, we finally arrived at Icarai de Amontada at 17h, it was no time for a last ride but in the memory of all us wil stay the picture of the huge bay, the perfect flat and the 22kts side shore, a pitty not to have got there before but the ride back to Baleia was in front of us and the dark would start in 45 min, on the way back we spotted a group of local beauties on a footbal match improvised on the beach, also some currais de pesca on service, (local way of producing some sort of wood cages on the water to, on high tide, catch all fishes that getting in, can't find their way out.
We arrived to Baleia just in time to take the last picture of the day, the always present fire in the sky at sunset, and from there, Eduardo and Oscar, they had yet enough strength and wish to go for a dusk (ending in almost total darkness) ride, after that, the same ritual than the day before, fresh drinks, fresh fish and fresh lobster, what a hell of life!
The next day was time for saying goodbye to Oscar and Patricia because they wanted to go to Jeri and it was better for them to start riding from there.
The day was rainy for the most part, luckily we had two perfect kite days on the trip, so, we made use of the remaining time for making our way back to CUMBUCO through the beach, first crossing the Mundau river back on the balsa, then following all the way through Fleixeiras, Guajiru, crossing the Trairi river on the third balsa ride of the trip, and following until the sangradouro da Lagoa das Almecegas and further up until Lagoinha; there, by road until Paracuru and from there down the beach towards Taiba, on the way we could see the effect of the last rains, the Taiba lagoon (barra do rio Sao Goncalo) was gone!. The sand bar couldn't resist the water volume and broked, it took us a good half hour to find a crossing, driving up the river until we found a way to cross, after, Taiba and always through the beach towards Pecem, while on the way we had to cross several riachos (small rivers), we saw also a big turtle of at least 250-300 kgs dead on the shore, the poor animal probably died of age,I have to say that I've never seen before such a big one.
We went through Pecem, not before finding that we were unable to cross the last riacho before the village, chest high water level, and making a round trip to catch the beach again, after making a stop to see the spot of Port of Pecem, we followed the beach until the sangradouro of Cauipe, also not possible to be crossed, and further until Golfinho were the trip ended.
EPILOGUE: Oliver decided to lodge in CUMBUCO, Eduardo and me followed until Fortaleza where we took Brendan to the Rodoviaria (bus station), it seems the good friend has fallen in love with Jeri and has even rented a house for the whole next month, he said he's never seen so many friendly european chics together on a night party mood.
The general opinion was that the trip was probably among the best moments of their holidays, the car ride through the beaches without anybody on sight for so many kms except for the presence of the always present urubus (local sort of vulptures) was really a new experience for our visitors, the spots, the conditions, the contact with the locals and their ways of life was worth well the three days it lasted.
As an advice, if you decide to do it by yourself, a 4 WD is a must, and also beware of the soft dry sand if you don't want to burn the clutch, and of the wet sand traps which sometimes, without any possible sign can show up anywhere.
GETTING THERE: Leaving from Fortaleza and across the Barra do Ceara river, after CUMBUCO, heading west , follow the road CE-085 until the cross road marked with a sign TRAIRI, till there you have made probably some 130 kms already, after crossing the town, follow towards FLEIXEIRAS, once you'll see the beach, drive straight down and at the cross, turn left, direction MUNDAU, Embuaca is a small village on the left side of the road some 3 kms from the left turn, there, due to the shape of the beach, the ESE winds are cross shore, if there's swell, there will be best and ordered, as the point upwind kills the chop, in Fleixeiras there are also some breaking waves on the reef but depending of the tide level, you must be carefull unless you want to find yourself riding a wave that ends on a rock plataform 5 mts broad.
Once in Mundau, there are two ways to kite there, one is drive through the beach until the river, you can stop the car there, rig and ride but the predominant ESE will come side off and there is rather very gusty, you'll be standing right under the coconut trees or very close, the second option is to cross the village and head towards the dirt track that goes to Baleia, there you can kitesurf the same side of the river but before the curve, if ESE is blowing, it will be gusty too but less, as the wind is coming over the dunes but there, are not any trees.
To cross to the other side, you must arrange it with the balseiros, once there, follow the 6-7 kms that separes Baleia from Mundau.
From Mundau until Icarai, you can go always through the beach (beware of rocks and sand traps) or go through the interior tracks and roads, by road, is the only way for a not 4 WD car, and, even possible, you'll miss the best beach parts.
The pousada where we stayed in Baleia is called Pousada Maresia, especial thanks to Marcilio and Alberto the swiss owner, the rates (off season yet) were quite affordable.
If you are interested on a scorted trip or in need of help, info or advice, contact us to the mail firstname.lastname@example.org or directly on the Hotel Golfinho in CUMBUCO.
Edited by John Barresi, 28 October 2005 - 10:59 AM.