Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Photos from day trip in Laguna, Santa Catarina, Brazil

Fishing is a way of life in Laguna.

Lost in Translation - language barrier leads to mishap: I can't believe I slept through the whale watching trip - or did I?

Monday, September 1
Vida Sol e Mar Eco-Resort, Santa Catarina, Brazil

I woke up in a panic at 8:15 a.m. Monday morning, certain I had slept through the 7 a.m. phone call summoning me to the whale watching trip. I called the front desk to see if I were too late to join the expedition to observe the massive right whales and their calves - that was my reason for coming here. Through a jumbled mix of English, Spanish and Portuguese, I learned that the trip would depart in ten minutes. I jumped out of bed into my clothes, grabbed my camera and dashed to the dining room.

I found my new friend and fellow guest, Margarete Pollner-Schmidt, a German tour operator who specializes in organizing custom trips to Brazil and Argentina, (www.braslatinatur.de). She was drinking coffee and studying the breakfast buffet: yogurt, granola, sliced bread, cheese and slices of turkey and ham to make sandwiches, and a large tub of chocolate Nutella spread next to the toaster. I quickly assessed the sweets: six types of pastries and custardy-cheeses. I made a sugar-laden selection.

"I am so glad I did not miss the whale trip!" I gushed to Margaret, gulping a glass a fresh-squeezed orange juice and trying to pat down my disastrous, bed-head hairdo.

Alayde of Brazil, Karen of California and Margaret of Germany in Laguna.

"Yes, we leave at 10 a.m.," replied Margaret, watching my frenzy. "We are headed to the town of Laguna to see the dolphins. It is too windy to whale-watch."

Whoops! Looks like I had my first language mishap: we were leaving at 10 a.m. - not in 10 minutes! I regretted that the conditions were not good to see the whales, but relieved I had more time before our outing to Laguna, a historical town known for its dolphins in the bay. The dolphins and fishermen cooperate in a unique way - the dolphins help show the fisherman where the fish are; the fisherman corral the fish with their nets and the dolphins get to eat some fish that escape the nets. The fisherman have named each dolphin for a characeteristic - for instance, "Electronico" is the speediest dolphin.

Rodrigo Litman, our guide and part of the family that owns Vida Sol e Mar Eco-resort where I stayed, chats with a fisherman in Laguna.