From Fortaleza to Salvador: Memorable Moments from Difficult Month of RGS Circumnavigation

Закат в бразильской марине. Фото участников экспедиции РГО

A month ago, the trimaran Russian Ocean Way of the round-the-world expedition of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society left the Brazilian Port of Fortaleza, where the crew was putting their vessel in order after the voyage across the Atlantic. 800 miles were covered in 28 days of sailing. Now Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin are in the capital of the state of Bahia – Salvador. Russian travelers shared their fresh impressions and future plans with the readers of the Russian Geographical Society’s website.

The weather during the voyage did not spoil the Russians. Headwinds and strong currents forced them to take shelter on sandy beaches in Natal for a while. From there, the trimaran, already with an international crew, moved to the Port of Cabedelo, and then to Salvador.

“Sailing from Cabedelo completed a difficult month of a very challenging voyage Fortaleza –Salvador. We covered a distance of 800 miles in 28 days. Under favorable wind and wave conditions, the same route could have taken only 7 to 8 days. But this section is difficult for all yachtsmen – it is not always possible to finish it in a month,” said Evgeny Kovalevsky.

Headwinds blow almost all the way here; the speed of the vessel is reduced by head currents. Hard, short, constant waves literally exhaust sailors. But it is much easier to overcome any difficulties if true friends, old and new, are nearby. The difficult section of navigation along the coast of Brazil will go down in the history of the circumnavigation as the beginning of a new, international stage of the expedition. For the first time, foreigners joined the crew of the Russian trimaran.


Бразильцы Ари и Марио - члены команды российского тримарана. Фото участников экспедиции РГО

“But it was during this stage that we opened a new format of our mission of peoples' friendship. Four ‘brasileiros’ went through two stages with us, and two more are planning to go from Salvador to Santos. The expedition acquires international status. It was at this stage that we decided, on a competitive basis, to invite residents of cities and countries along the stages of the circumnavigation route,” shared Kovalevsky.

Even now, the adventures of the trimaran crew are closely watched by relatives, friends, and colleagues of the Brazilian crew members. Interest in the expedition of the Russian Geographical Society is growing; a large international team of friends and participants in the Russian project from around the world is forming.

“In Salvador, we were received by the hospitable yacht harbor of Marinha do Brasil. Its manager, the Frenchman Dominique, was very respectful towards our crew and provided services, which yachtsmen usually pay for, free of charge. We are moored next to the historical center and have already filmed the ancient buildings of the Portuguese colonial past of Brazil,” said Evgeny Kovalevsky.


Исторический центр Сальвадора. Фото участников экспедиции РГО

According to him, Salvador is located in a hilly area. It was unusual to see elevators installed to transport residents and tourists from the coastline to the residential area. At the top there is a distinct tourist area; it has a lot of visitors from Europe.

“Street performances, attractions. Local residents and visitors are wearing colorful clothes. All sorts of skilled people are earning their living however they can. Here the drummers are giving the opportunity to those who wish to use the drum sticks. Capoeira masters are imitating street fights. Women are wearing dresses of bygone centuries. It is interesting here; a lot of souvenirs. But you have to keep your eyes open. Around are the so-called ‘comunidades’ – favelas. These are, common in Brazil, squatter settlements, where it is not safe not only for the foreigners, but also for locals,” Kovalevsky shared his impressions.


Уличное представление. Фото участников экспедиции РГО

The Russians visited the museum of the famous traveler Aleixo Belov. More than seven decades ago, his parents brought him as a small boy from the Soviet Union to Brazil. In this country, he went through a difficult path from an immigrant child to a national hero. Aleksey, as Belov was named at birth, was the first to circumnavigate the world solo under the Brazilian flag.

“He has five ocean circumnavigations under his belt. And now, at the age of 79, he is again on a sea expedition on his own yacht. The Museum of the Sea, which Aleixo created with his own money, benefits people with its educational focus. Its name fully and accurately reveals its essence. Aleixo, as a former resident of the Soviet Union, speaks excellent Russian. He helps our compatriots who pass through Salvador on sea voyages,” said Kovalevsky.


В музее Алейшо Белова. Фото участников экспедиции РГО

The stay of the trimaran Russian Ocean Way in Salvador will last another two or three days. Then the crew intends to go farther south – to the city of Santos.

“Together with our Coastal Center, we will prepare another ‘Lesson from the Ocean’ for Russian schoolchildren, as well as historical footage related to the great Russian navigators who visited these places,” Kovalevsky shared his plans.

On July 1, 2021, Siberian travelers Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin set off along the route of the first Russian round-the-world expeditions of the 19th century: Ivan Krusenstern’s (1803–1806), Yuri Lisyansky’s (1803–1806), Otto Kotzebue’s (1815–1818, 1823–1826), Vasily Golovnin’s (1817–1819), Fyodor Litke’s (1826–1829), Thaddeus Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev’s (1819–1921). The international project of the Tomsk Regional Branch of the Russian Geographical Society "Following the paths of Russian explorers" is dedicated to the 250th birthday anniversary of Krusenstern and the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Antarctica by Russian sailors. These events for a long time determined Russia's leadership in the development of the oceans and the discovery of new lands. You can learn more about the project and provide all possible assistance in its implementation on the website of the expedition.

Alexander Zhirnov