Saint Peter and Saint Paul (SPSPA) - English Version
The SPSPA is located in the Equatorial Atlantic Ocean (00°55.1'N,029°20.7'W), being 1,010 km from the city of Natal (RN-Brazil). The only habitable island is Belmonte which has 5,380 m2, all in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, where the nearest support is Fernando de Noronha archipelago, which is two days of travel by boat. The archipelago is considered one of the most inhospitable of Brazil.
In 1998, the Research Station was opened on the Belmonte island, initiating the archipelago program. The permanent presence of scientists in the Research Station grounds for living in the archipelago, essential to obtain international recognition as a Brazilian territory and maintain the rights of 200 nautical miles around the site. All scientists have to go through training on Brazilian Navy, before travelling to SPSPA. The training has duration of one week and covers several topics, which are included: sea survival, fire extinguisher, radio communication, first aid, etc...
I travelled to the base of the Brazilian Navy in Natal (RN) to recycle the instructions. There I knew Marcelo and Kiko, and met Werner, who attended the same class of the Pre-archipelago training than me. These were the researchers who formed, with me, the 109th expedition.
The next day we flew to Fernando de Noronha, one day later we board the boat "Transmar II" that took us to our next stop, the St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago. Travel for two days, seeing only sky and sea, until we get to our destination.
The first look at the SPSPA cause a strange feeling, but nice, is a mixture of happiness with anxiety, uncertain if is only a dream or reality, for many the greatest feeling is to relieve those balances from the boat, for those who don’t get a sea sick, the greater feeling is the satisfaction from getting there. In parallel, and as intense as those sentiments, is the certainty of having been blessed by God, being given the opportunity that very few people that lived in this world had.
We talked briefly with those who are leaving the site, because the fishing boat that was supporting them is in a hurry to go, but before we took a picture, which is traditional and not fail in any of the trading groups.
We that are coming, bring in the bag adventurous spirit, the desire to know and enjoy each little place here, so that when our time comes to leave, we do so with the awareness that we enjoyed as much as we could these accelerated fifteen days. We dived a lot during the days in the bay and outside it. We have not seen any sharks during the dives, despite knowing they were there. We dived with dolphins, rays, great barracudas and various species of fish. The biodiversity is spectacular and each dive is always better than the previous. Crystal clear waters and warm, with several places to be explored; the place is worthy of a documentary by Jacques Cousteau.
Throughout the expedition the boat remains in the adjacencies to give us support in any need, while fishing with longline or hand line system. In the early morning and ending the afternoon they fish with a hand line moving the boat forward in the adjacent areas of the rocks. Most nights I spent in Transmar II, monitoring and participating in the fishery, and doing part of my job that was collect biological samples to the university.
The island and the scientific station also need care take and maintenance, the station is powered by solar energy and the solar boards must be cleaned constantly to better functioning. The brown boobies always flush their excrement throughout the island, and the solar boards are not exception.
In my opinion, one of the best places is the lighthouse, the Belmonte Island’s highest point, excellent place to reflect, relax and enjoy the beautiful view, the only problem is the brown noddies (birds), which make their nests near the lighthouse and protect them threaten to attack us by flying close to our heads. The best way to enjoy these wonders of nature is to understand the place and respect it.
Another exception is the local southeast side of the Belmonte Island, a few meters in front of the station, there you can see the spectacular dolphin show; it is amazing.
Thank God, our expedition was peaceful. Shortly before arriving there, big waves bended one of the walls of the station. We just lived with the result: a damaged wall and the kitchen window without closing.
At the end of our expedition, we carried in our luggage the burden of uncertainty we may return someday, but we leave prided of ourselves for having been residents of the St. Peter and St. Paul Archipelago.
Escrito por Thiago Landim Maia às 19:54:21
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