Destination Maceió, capital of the state of Alagoas.
Episode 7. Ipioca Beach: a former Dutch look-out, now an oasis of tranquility.
Green and turquoise
We all had enjoyed very much our day at paradisaical Gunga Beach. The next morning, many of us were still talking about the unforgettable moments. However… Alagoas has more than just Gunga Beach. There are more beaches worth discovering. Therefore, I joined a small group, which had the intention to Ipioca Beach, at about twenty kilometers north of Maceió. We took a regular bus, which brought us near the beach. The bus trip took almost one hour, along the shoreline. We followed the directions of the helpful bus driver and entered an unpaved path. Indeed, this path was the shortest way to the beach. Only a few hundred meters later, we arrived at Ipioca Beach. A deserted beach at that time, the shoreline flanked by coconut trees. The ocean in front of us had a beautiful turquoise blue color, inviting for a refreshing swim.
Succumbing palm trees, due to endlessly
The Dutch and Peixoto
We did not fix too much at the breathtaking view, but we went on northward. The beach appeared to be deserted. That was surprising, since not only the view is splendid. There was a calm sea, with small waves. The shallow waters (the so-called ‘piscinas naturais’) are suitable for snorkeling activities. During the Dutch Occupation of Northeast Brazil (between 1625 and 1654), Ipioca Beach was a strategic location, from which the Atlantic Ocean could be watched over a long distance. The Dutch used a fortress, which was constructed by the Portuguese. The ruins of this fortress were then used for the construction of a church: Igreja da Nossa Senhora de Ó.
On 30 April 1839, Floriano Vieira Peixoto (1839-1895) was born here. He was the second president of the Brazilian Republic (1891-1894). There are various monuments in Maceió and surroundings that refer to the president. Also his predecessor, marshal Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca, was born in the state of Alagoas. His place of birth (Alagoas) is named after him: Marechal Deodoro, and is located south of Maceió.
We followed the beach northward, we enjoyed the warmth of the sun, the beautiful views, of the quietness. The beach became smaller, the palm trees are under constant attack of pounding waves. Fallen palm trees were spread along the beach, their trunks and roots slowly decaying by silty ocean water. We encountered pinkish blue bags along the beach. To be more clear, they appeared to be plastic bags. But these ‘bags’ were molluscs, and are known as ‘água viva’, living water. Biologists know this species as Caravela portuguesa, the Portuguese Caravel. Physalia physalis for the experts. Many consider it as a jellyfish, but that is not true. This mollusc consists of four different polyps. Their tentacles may measure more than fifty meters. Their appear to be harmless, but it is much better not to step on them. They are toxic and may be deadly. Brazilians show much respect for these Physalias, and watch their steps carefully. Fortunately, Ipioca Beach was not full of these pinkish blue ‘bags’, and therefore, we continued our beach walk.
We had to follow two curbs, in order to arrive at a barraca. a beach pavilion. We ordered a portion of smoked shrimps and another portion of freshly fried fish. Such a delicious meal was more than welcome, after having walked for more than ninety minutes.
By Adriano Antoine Robbesom