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Driving out of Los Angeles is an experience. There are really two routes east - take the main highways south of the San Gabriel mountains or take Newhall Pass, that separates the San Gabriels from the Santa Susana Mountains, and take the route north of the mountains. The former guarantees bumper-to-bumper traffic for 2 hours while the latter adds an 50 miles to the route but empty roads. We take the high-road. @atypicalcontent Sunset over the Prado in Taos, New Mexico. After a week of storms where over 40” fell, the sky cleared and gave us a show. We made our way to the mountain and checked in with ski patrol for the required backcountry passes. The mountain has a couple of high speed chairs and a nice gondola that takes 15 minutes to the top. Tom was leading the way and made the call to take some of the lower chairs, this netted us first tracks on most of the aspects we hit. The morning went by in a flash of powder. Deep and steep pitches, tight trees, and endless possibilities everywhere. There is so much sidecountry that earning our turns was unnecessary. Lap after lap we found first or second tracks on most everything. Kiroro was great. Kiroro is one of the special places in a special place. It is a backcountry focused area with lift access, tons of snow, a consistent fall line, and endless features to ride. With time being precious, our Aussie host, Liam, hooked us up with a 22 year old "volunteer" from the States to take us around the mountain. Tomahawk Tom had been riding Kiroro everyday for the past two months and knew the ins and outs. @ridealldamnday A story about a Yuki Ona is being written. @hopihillsfarm My morning started unlike any other. Snorting, scratching, clapping, and weezing kept on popping into my sleep and I could not understand why. Oh, that's right, I'm sleeping in a barn... someone hit the snooze button on the goats. Read on in the Blog! @atypicalcontent

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(Back to Part II)

Photo Gallery – A trip to the Lencois Maranhenses

A Trip to the Lencois Maranhenses

What to do in Atins

Atins is a small undeveloped town on the banks Preguica River delta.

Atins tides and wind

Fernando looking at the incoming tide

This estuary has fast currents and an ever moving sand bank that creates some interesting kiteboarding conditions. There is nothing truly remarkable to this place other than its proximity to a 200,000 hectare sea of white sand by the Atlantic Ocean with unending 18 knot trade winds from the east. The town itself is not much more than a group of houses that have shared electric service for a couple of years. No streets or roads, only sand everywhere that is scorching during the day. No supermarkets, pharmacies, ATM’s, sewers, doctors, or stores.

There are a couple of places to eat and a small group of Pousadas and Villas to stay at. For the group of kiteboarders (no windsurfers in sight) these two are the center of activities. From beers to eating and hanging out, the Pousadas by the beach are were you’ll spend most of your time outside of the water. The locals have that end-of-the-world look: unencumbered by current events or the rising tides created by climate change. But Atins is the best place to reach the Lencois Maranhenses and it’s hard to reach northern boundary. 

Atins tides and wind

Yours truly dealing with the sand bar and tides

kiteboarding and downwinding in Brazil

The sand bar grows is seen twice almost everyday.

Kiteboarding in Atins, Brazil

Action during high tide in Atins

The Lencois Maranhenses

The Lencois Maranhenses is arresting in its beauty and intriguing because of its isolation. Noone stumbles upon the Lencois these days. The usual litany of Eurpeans “colonized” the area. As part of the equinoctal colonies, this remote part of the world has barely developed. With few other resources than sand, wind, and space, Northeast Brazil has started to see development only in the last decade. To say the least, getting to the Lencois takes a commitment to traveling to a remote part of the world were there is little to no infrastructure and that is never for the Carnival Cruises crowd. The actual formation is little more than 600 square miles of talcum powder sand and crystal blue water – words do not do it justice. 

Atins sand dunes

The “street” in front of our Pousada in Atins. You can already see the dunes moving in.

Its hard getting to the Lencois

We arrived on a Thursday to Atins and Marco’s place. Marco, an Italian ex-pat, had helped us getting to Atins from Jericoacoara. He’s a nice-enough guy with a small hotel that he built himself through hard work and perseverance. Local lore has that Marco reached Atins in the early 00’s and rode it first. This area is a hard place to be in. No reliable local services of any kind and little to no help from anyone. But yet, Marco makes it everyday and his place is the center of the those that are not “showing off” their “global-travel-skills”.

Bouganvillia in Atins

Pousada in Atins

There are other places where you can find the Russian 55 year old business man and the 32 year old Miami based “broker” and his 21 year old girlfriend, but Marco’s is that place that exists that allows the others to provide those experiences to the kite-set – Core. 

 Getting to the Lencois requires quite a bit of coordination and some luck. The wet season is unreliable and the fresh water lagoons require rain.  Online resources are lacking and there is no tourism infrastructure further than some local “tourist agencies”. Nevertheless, after spending the afternoon figuring out how to get around – exclusively on green Honda 4×4 ATV’s or on foot – Marco put us in touch with a local that had a Honda we could reasonably rent and, a couple of days later, take us around the Lencois. 

Atins Beach at low tide
The “Beach” in Atins at low tide

 On to Part IV

AC / Lencois Maranhenses / A Trip to the Lencois Part III

5 comments on “On Downwinding from Fortaleza to São Luis – Part III

  1. Bill Whitman says:

    Very cool intel

    1. KP says:

      Thanks!

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