Remember the Rainforest 1
there. We delighted in a bath in the river, which is not as dangerous here as in Minas, because alligators and terrible piranhas appear much more rarely. Only one time, we found an alligator, which rested next to us, and had taken over an old tree trunk.
In general, the river here is less lively than in the southernmost regions; the tastiest fish only descend in large shoals to Cento-Ce; The otter also rarely appears. In the lagoons, scattered among the banks of the river, there are undoubtedly many alligators, but few boa constrictors. Agriculture does not seem to be as favored as it is in the southern region that the river crosses; the farmer's hopes are annihilated, sometimes by the continued heat, sometimes by a sudden flood. This circumstance, and the work-averse temperament of the Bahian sertanejo, may be the reasons why here, and throughout the river crossing through the province, there is always an importation of groceries from Minas Gerais.
Minas Gerais to Bahia
Local products come from the raising of cattle and horses, for which the terrain is favorable: leather, talcum, salted meat, some tobacco, and especially cooking salt, are extracted near the river.
Cattle drive in Bahia today
All these articles are not enough, however, to dispense with the articles from abroad, and the region is still taxed by the industrious Minas. Here reigns, therefore, incredible misery in most of the population. There are a few large farmers, whose aggregate estates are established, who are rich and dominate industry throughout the district.
Large farm estate
The ease, however, with which they meet their needs with the income of their salt, incites them to gamble at which they are adept. One night I saw a sertanejo lose, in the game with a Minas traveler, a shipment of 1,000 bags of salt.
Sailing on the Sao Francisco River is done, sometimes in simple canoes, sometimes in ajoujos (tied canoes, one next to the other): Upstream, they row to Malhada, Salgado and Sao Romao in Minas Gerais, passing by the villages of Pilao Arcado and Barra do Rio Grande;
Downstream, navigation is only possible to the port of Vargem Redonda, in the course of about 50 leagues. Then, the river begins to break through a region of limestone, through which it remains impetuous and deep, almost always in a very tight bed, for about 12 leagues. It forms several rapids and falls, among which the most considerable is the Paulo Afonso Waterfall.
Rio Sao Francisco. Paulo Alfonso waterfall by Franz Post
Etching 57 Rio Sao Francisco Paulo Alfonso waterfall
It is certain that; In this stretch across the mountain, some places are navigable; but an uninterrupted journey, is only possible from the village of Caninde onwards, thirty-some leagues west of Penedo Village, situated near the ocean, seven leagues above the mouth of the river. Between Vargem Redonda and Caninde, there is a trail, by which mule loads travel to the point of embarkation.