Lençóis Maranhenses National Park – WOW!

Domingo, Março 15 – Written by Lorieann

Today we were up very very early. Most were up 4am-ish. Just a few of the students slept in a little later then that but we were off on our adventure by 5:30am. While they were tired, the Canadian students were excited for today. This trip was something the Brazilian students have been talking about since they came to Canada.

The trip began with approximately a 4 hour drive on a bus. Few of the students slept on the way there. They were just too excited to get to Barreirinhas, the town where our trip would begin.

When the bus let us off it was a short walk down to the river where we boarded a couple boats and began our journey up the river to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. The park is located in the same state as São Luis but on the mainland. It encompasses roughly 1500 square kilometres, and despite abundant rain, supports almost no vegetation.

Group shot after getting off bus.

Group shot after getting off bus.

Boarding the boats.

Boarding the boats.

Ready to go.

Ready to go.

Catching up to the Middleton Regional High boat.

Catching up to the Middleton Regional High boat.

MRHS Boat.  Selina Sell waving to us.

MRHS Boat. Selina Sell waving to us.

Fishermen hauling in their net.

Fishermen hauling in their net.

Approaching our first stop.

Approaching our first stop.

Getting ready to beach the boat.

Getting ready to beach the boat.

Our first stop held a very pleasant surprise for the students before they even got to the dunes… Monkeys (macaco). Many of the students fed the monkeys pieces of banana.

Hello.

Hello.

Feeding the monkeys. The expressions are great.

Feeding the monkeys. The expressions are great.

Monkey eating.

Monkey eating.

Alex feeding a monkey.

Alex feeding a monkey.

Then we were off to the dunes. The plan was to stop and take a picture but some students had other ideas and went off exploring the dunes further. Everyone is very happy they did. The lagoon they found was great! After swimming for 30-45 minutes we did head back and finally had our picture taken.

Sleeping quarters.

Sleeping quarters.

On to the Dunes.

On to the Dunes.

Walking on the dunes.

Walking on the dunes.

Lots of sand.

Lots of sand.

On our way to the lagoon.

On our way to the lagoon.

Another view.

Another view.

A lagoon near by.

A lagoon near by.

Canada - Brazil Student Exchange Groups.

Canada – Brazil Student Exchange Groups.

We boarded the boat and were off for our next stop. At this spot we were going to have lunch but it wasn’t quite ready so we had about 30 minutes to explore this stop. On one side of the dune was the river we traveled on and the other was the ocean. The students had a great time playing in the ocean again today (even if there wasn’t any surfboards around).

Traveling along the river.

Traveling along the river.

At the beach.

At the beach.

Cabins at the beach.

Cabins at the beach.

Playing in the South Atlantic Ocean

Playing in the South Atlantic Ocean

Lunch.

Lunch.

A little friend came to visit.

A little friend came to visit.

After lunch and a little more time in the water we boarded the boat for one last stop. Here they went up in a lighthouse and were able to see all the places we had stopped at earlier in the day.

Our next stop, Farol de Preguiças.

Our next stop, Farol de Preguiças.

Farol de Preguiças.

Farol de Preguiças.

166 steps to the top.

166 steps to the top.

The view from the top.

The view from the top.

Our guide with the lighthouse keeper.

Our guide with the lighthouse keeper.

On the way back to the boat many stopped for a treat of some ice cream or some agua de coco.

Aqua du coco.

Aqua de coco.

After finishing the drink, the coconut is split open to eat the inside layer.

After finishing the drink, the coconut is split open to eat the inside layer.

Getting to head back to the bus.

Getting to head back to the bus.

Alex.

Alex.

Mr. McDonah

Mr. McDonah

Waving to the Fishermen.

Waving to the Fishermen.

Our ride home.

Our ride home.

On the way back most in our boat had a quick nap while some others spent the time trying to get the local fishermen to wave at them when we past by :).

By the time we boarded the bus for the trip home many had been awake for more then 12 hours and were ready for a little rest. We arrived home around 9pm and I, for one, am pretty sure I didn’t even move while I was sleeping because I was so tired.

São Luís: Cidade dos Azulejos (and a little bit of Beach Volleyball)

Wednesday, March 12 by D’Arcy

Azulejos

Azulejos

IMG_3636

Building in the historic section of São Luís.

Today started as a regular school day for our group in the sense that students who attend classes during the first shift were at school by 7:10 am to start their day.  However, students who attend classes during the second shift were at school by 8:55 am which is earlier than normal.  This was due to our scheduled Art Workshop activity which was a combined group activity with the students from Middleton Regional High School.

Getting ready for Art activity.

Getting ready for Art activity.

IMG_3458

Art anticipation.

IMG_3459

Professora Leyla Duarte

This activity was presented the art teacher for escola Crescimento, Professora Leyla Duarte, and was called “São Luís: Cidade dos Azulejos”.   Professora Duarte gave our students an introduction to the Brazilian art that can be seen on many of the buildings in the historic district of Sao Luis. Azulejos is portuguese for painted ceramic tile. The buildings in the historic centre of the town are covered with tiles to keep the buildings cooler.  In our activity we were encouraged to create our own design as if we were the tile makers.  We had a lot of fun with this activity.

IMG_3466

Working hard.

IMG_3468

Alex

IMG_3470

Professora Duarte checking in

IMG_3480

Maria Clara and Vinnicius, assistants to Professora Duarte.

The Art Show.

The Art Show.

Our second activity involved Beach Volleyball.  This was another combined group activity with the students from MRHS.  São Luís has many beaches (praia) along its coastline and our beach volleyball court was close to praia do Calhau.  The great thing with this location was that there was huge sand dune that we could climb which gave us a great view of the oceans and the many ships that are lined up waiting to get into the port.  São Luís has the second largest harbour in Brazil.  The students had great fun playing volleyball and playing on the sand dune.

 

The sand dune.

Climbing the sand dune.

IMG_3506

The view from the top of the sand dune.

IMG_3508

Alex at the top. In the background you can see the ships.

IMG_3507

At the top of sand looking out into the South Atlantic.

IMG_3505

The line up of ships.

IMG_3512

Students hanging out at the top of the dune.

IMG_3511

Looking down at the volleyball action.

IMG_3500

Alex  running down the dune.

IMG_3503

Praia do Calhau was just across a busy street.

IMG_3516

Middleton Regional High School students.

IMG_3521

Canteen.

IMG_3529

Alex after serving the ball.

IMG_3534

Middleton students had a neat ride home.