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CHAPTER V
Travel by sea from Sao Luis to Santa Maria de Belem, capital of the province of Grao-Para

Maranhao to Grao Para

Sailing between Cabo de Sao Roque and the mouth of the Amazon River is now, in fact, very frequent, but always taken as risky, so that seafarers, who for centuries, have followed the route first taken by Manuel Pimentel (1), who recommended traveling to Maranhao only during the rainy season. The general advice is that the trip should be made from December to July, because at that time the land is clearly visible, not covered by thick fog, which makes it very dangerous for bats to approach, because the strong winds at the same time predominate from the east and northeast. Although these more or less violent winds that blow here almost all year round facilitate navigation to Brazil's northern coasts, the movement of waters along the coast here, as well as elsewhere under the equator, flow generally to the west. Due to these conditions, ships from Europe, destined for Maranhao, usually approach the southernmost coast, near the tip of Mucuripe (3 °, 40'30 '' south latitude), and from there, at a distance of six seven miles from land, head to WNW. This route also corresponds to the length at which these ships most advantageously cut the equator (between 27 ° and 30 ° west of Greenwich), because, conserving their easternmost course, they reach the coast of Brazil sailing far to the south. However, in the west, they run the risk of hitting, near Fernando de Noronha Island, in the Rocas,

Fernando de Noronha Island

a row of dangerous stumbling blocks (at 3 °, 52'30 "south latitude and 33 ° 31 'west longitude from Greenwich). The prevailing winds on this coast favor both entry and exit at all times of the year, and the seafarer has only to worry about the innumerable shoals and canals,

(1) Martius refers to Manuel Pimentel's work, published in Lisbon in 1681, under the title of "Practical Art of Navigating, & Roadmap, & Maritime Coasts of Brazil, Guinea, Angola, the Indies and the Eastern Isles, and Occident ". The "Art of Sailing" was written by his father, Luis. Serrao Pimentel, having been published by his son on the date mentioned above, having it added and improved in later editions (1699 and I712), which followed those of 1762 and 1819. (Rev. Note, Inst. Hist. Geogr. Bras.).

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