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and with the hours of the high or low tide, to safely sail along these risky coasts. There are experienced pilots who are more likely to take advantage of signs, almost imperceptible to other eyes, along the low, uniform continent.

We had also a plan aboard, which guided us as we passed beyond Ponta da Areia and Sao Marcos Fort, across the shallows, to the other side west of the middle bank, and as evening fell, we returned to the city in our canoe. The seabed gradually deepens in this northwest direction to 13 bracas. The pilot can count on safe sailing going north, and keeping a distance of some leagues from the

Itacolomi Hill

coast as soon as he sees from here towards N. W. Itacolomi Hill, Cuneiform Hill, the entrance from the bay of Cuma.

Cuma Bay today

Favorable east wind drove us through the night; so we sailed with a few sails. At sunrise we faced the bay of the Cabelo da Velha. The coast is low, in all its

Rhizophora mangle, mangrove

length, and bordered by dense mangroves, among which, here and there, there are stretches of white sandy beaches. At 11 am, we passed the latitude of Sao Joao Island, northwest of the entrance to Turiacu Bay. This island, two and a half leagues long, very low and with thick vegetation, is not inhabited, although it has fresh water, and in the north and northeast offers some safe coves for small boats. Turiacu Bay has considerable length; the ends of its low, jungle-covered banks are lost on the horizon to the seafarer, who, because of the sandbanks, drifts out to sea. The Turi River (1), which forms a boundary between the provinces of Maranhao and Para (2), flows into the bay;

However, with the obstruction of the sand bars, only small boats can be accommodated at the mouth of the village of the same name. and the commercial traffic of this village in the far north of Maranhao is still unimportant, although the surroundings are very fertile. The Turi River, of all the rivers between Parnaiba and the Amazon, is said to have the strongest flow, and perhaps proceeds from an orogenous formation older than the dominant formation along the coast of gravel, rising in higher banks, covered with virgin forests, perhaps inhabited by tribes of brave Indians, who are still unknown to Brazilians to this day (Note I). Near the river, recent gold mines were discovered; the metal appears pure, set in a white quartz, and so abundant that the Para Government began


1) Turi-acu = the big Turi. (Rev. note, Ed. Melh.).
2) The interstate border now follows the Gurupi River further west. (Rev. note, Ed. Melh.).