Friday, September 4, 2009

Boats of Brazil

Boats seem to have a special relationship with their owners, their partners. Their reality reflects the lives of their people. I love boats. Not so much the big, sleek cruisers harbored in marinas that live bloated and pampered in a protected and unreal world apart. I love the blue collar, the scarred and leaky working boats that are held together with nail, rope, glue and hope. I love the boats looking for a better day.

Porto Seguro

I've been interested in the boats of Brazil for a long time, especially the utilitarian working boats that take on the character of their owners and partners. These boats become characters unto themselves. Their skin is cracked and lumpy, a few bones are bent and creaky, and they aren't quite as fast as they once may have been, but they have a grace and dignity that is difficult to precisely define. They seem wiser in the ways of the waters, or at least the survivors do.

The boats of Brazil I’ve paid the most attention to in the past were the small quick boats of the Amazon. Mostly handmade, but some a little larger and made to navigate the long distance runs of an ever changing and dangerously beautiful river world. They made their lives darting from shadow to light, moving people, catching food and living off the great surreal environment of the Amazon. To survive they must be ever vigilant and at peace with their world. But when I was in Brazil recently, mostly near the Atlantic coast city of Porto Seguro, I met a subtley different boat. Working boats yes, but these more lighthearted. These are boats that enjoy the sun and watch the ocean when they’re not at work. They sway gently at their tethers rocking to a sweet samba rhythm, waiting for the sunset.

Sky Boat

Brazil is, for me, the perfect place to see how boats are inextricably tied to the lives of their people. These boats say a lot about their partners, especially when their owners live in a place where boats are their home, their living, their life. These are a few of the boats made for living that life.

To see more of the boats of coastal Brazil and the Amazon River, click on either of the photos here.

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