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A trip to the Lencois Maranhenses

Looking for wind atop Sunset Dune, Jericoacoara

I had never been to Brazil. For unknown reasons I had always minimized its greatness. Maybe it was because of my learned anglo-centrism or natural insularism. That finally changed during this year’s dry season when we decided to downwind in northeast Brazil and this experience again confirmed that all my prejudices are ill formed and unnecessary.


For most of my life I’ve lived in the equinoctial latitudes where winds are from the east- most days – and the weather doesn’t require much forethought.  But I had never been to a place that defined these characteristics fully until now. The Brazilian states of Ceara, Piaui, Maranhao, and Pará lie in Northeast Brazil bookended by the colonial cities of Fortaleza and Sao Luis. This 1000 km coast is unlike any I have ever seen for its sheer size. Palm trees, warm water, rivers, villages, little infrastructure, white sand beaches, and consistent 25 knot winds.

Downwind in northeast brazil
Sunset over Jericoacoara

Off We Go: Downwind in Northeast Brazil

Downwind in northeast brazil
Hungover in Rio after one too many Caipirinhas

My first memories of Brazil’s northeast where inspired about fifteen years ago during my re-birth into wind sports. I have windsurfed for most of my life, having learned at 13, but had not committing to the choices necessary to pursue good wind until later in life. Those greenish hued pictures of Brazil were not the best and the hyperbolic descriptions were enough to immediately turn me off. I have been burned by the fickleness of nature too many times- stuck on a cloudy sandy outcrop on a windless week being constantly bombarded by beach vendors (Cabarete). That seemed closer to reality than the promises of 25 knot winds and a perfectly spaced 4 foot sand break. But as the years went by, every once in a while someone would say: “it’s always windy there” or “I know a guy that went and said it was great”.

Downwind in northeast brazil
Lagoon in the Lencois Maranhenses, our Downwind Destination in Northeast Brazil
Downwind in northeast brazil
Jesus Looks Over Rio at Corcovado

On to Part I

AC / Lencois Maranhenses / A Trip to the Lencois - Intro

3 comments on “On Downwinding from Fortaleza to São Luis – Intro

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