Okay Rose, here are the directions into Fortaleza. You need to try and arrive at the previously given waypoint (03D 45.0m S / 037D 30.0m W) in the early hours of the morning, preferably just around sunrise. The reason is that the next waypoint I give you will take you all the way to just outside the Fortaleza commercial
harbour and you will be sailing through the fishing grounds that have LOTS of fishing vessels from about surfboard size to some rather large ones. The rather large ones drop off pots (traps) and a marker normally consisting of a chunk of foam with a stick and flag (often black). They are unlit, so this is the reason for having daylight to be able to avoid them as you do not what to snag one of the lines in your prop or rudder
From the above waypoint go to 03D 41.0m S / 038D 29.0m W which, as mentioned above, is off the commercial port.
for 03D 42.870m S / 038D 31.350m W. This takes you through the commercial anchorage area to just off a rock breakwater. It may appear strange but there is a wreck out to sea and you need to keep well land side of the wreck and the sandbank that has formed around it. The next waypoint is only 1 cable away (1/10 nm) but takes you over the sandbank with about a depth of 3 metres at low tide.
for 03D 42.923m S / 038D 31.459m W then 03D 42.899m S / 038D 31.600m W, round the breakwater towards the fishing boats and then turn starboard into Marina Park Hotel marina.
Next warning! The marina is really crap with a floating row of metal pontoons and a bad surge. You have to drop your anchor
and reverse onto the pontoons Med style (stern-to). You must make sure the anchor
is well set for this as you do not want it to drag and bash your stern on those pontoons. Also, the wind
is always from the east, right on the starboard beam, so you need that anchor rode
kept tight - I have often put out two anchors for security
, one slightly up-wind and one dead ahead of my bows. Also, when entering the marina, the skipper must look out for any lines strung across the marina to the far wall.
Armando is the name of the marina manager (known as "The Fat Man" to delivery
skippers) - a pleasant but pretty useless individual. He speaks only a smattering of English
. There is nothing free at the marina but you can use the swimming pools and open air pub at the pools. There is no internet
in the marina. In the past I have taken a taxi to a 24 hour supermarket in town which has a coffee shop with good free internet
. If staying in Fortaleza for a few days, there are some really good restaurants on the beachfront section of the city, opposite the flea market. It is very dangerous to walk in the area outside the hotel perimeter day or night - take a taxi. Also, when paying for anything with a credit or debit card, never let it out of your sight - skimming cards is a favourite pastime in that city!
To get out of Fortaleza is quite easy but again, depart early morning to be able to get off the continental shelf before dark. From the marina go to waypoint 03D 42.7m S / 038D 32.3m W then head for waypoint 02D 55.0m S / 038D 45.0m W. Do not go west of this line as, on the continental shelf, there is a large oil
field and it is a restricted area. At this last waypoint turn NW and you will be back in the deep water with no fishing boats to worry you - just go to the next waypoint I gave you in my first post.
Hope the above helps! John.